When is the Best Time to Visit San Diego?

With pristine weather and stunning beaches, who wouldn’t want to visit the coastal California city?

With destinations such as SeaWorld, Comic-Con, LEGOLAND California, the USS Midway Museum, and the San Diego Zoo, it’s no wonder 35 million people visited San Diego last year!

Deciding to visit San Diego is an easy choice. Figuring out when to travel, however, is the difficult part!

So, when is the best time to visit San Diego? Well, that all depends on your travel goals! Whether you want the lowest rates or the best beach weather, your travel plans will all dictate when you should go.

Discover the best time to visit San Diego for your trip below:

People on an Old Town Trolley Tour Driving Down Palm Tree Lined Street - San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Old Town Trolley Tours (San Diego) via Facebook

When is the Busiest Time of Year in San Diego?

From late May to late August, San Diego is packed with tourists. Why? School’s out for the summer!

The summer season draws visitors from all over the world to San Diego’s theme parks, museums, beachfront vacations, and other hot spots. As a result, the city becomes jam-packed during these months and hotel/transportation rates increase.

If you’re not partial to crowded tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels, I’d steer clear of this season.

A group of children running and playing at New Children’s Museum - San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: New Children’s Museum via Facebook

Which Season Has the Fewest Crowds?

In the spring (early March to late May) and fall (September through November), tourist crowds decrease as families head home for the upcoming school semester. During these shoulder seasons, the weather is mild and so are the travel rates!

Plus, several events are held during these off-seasons. Try planning your vacation around one of San Diego’s festivals and events!

Oceanside Municipal Pier on a cloudy day - San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: San Diego Reader via Facebook (photo by: Staci Kratz)

When Should I Visit for the Best Beach Weather?

If you’re like me, you take advantage of any beach time you can get! Travelers looking for ample beach days will find the best time to visit San Diego is in the late summer.

Yes, this season is the most expensive and crowded, but the weather is beautiful. You’ll find pure bliss as you lie on the beach, soak up the sun, and listen to the waves crash on the shore.

Of course, some of the more well-known San Diego beaches will be packed, but there are numerous beaches to choose from—including a few hidden gems!

Keep in mind, San Diego experiences overcast weather during May and June, leading to the names “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” While you can still sneak in a beach day, the sun may not be joining you!

san diego california coastline at sunset

Which Season Has the Lowest Hotel Rates?

For budget travelers, the best time to visit San Diego is all throughout the winter season. Since this is San Diego’s rainy season, going to the beach is not possible (and cold!) and most travelers are flocking to warm, tropical destinations instead.

Although, this means hotel and transportation prices drop, just in time for you to take advantage of them! If you can deal with dismal weather, you’ll find incredible hotel deals and rates during the winter months.

To save even more money on your San Diego vacation, bundle your hotel room with your attraction/tour/activity tickets for extra discounts!

View looking down at Upper East Bar rooftop from across the street with their lounge area set up with green umbrella and the hotel next to it in San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Upper East Bar via Facebook

When Should I Go to San Diego Theme Parks and Attractions?

Thanks to San Diego’s mild year-round weather, there’s never a bad time to visit San Diego’s theme parks and attractions. However, keep in mind that water parks may close during the colder seasons.

San Diego’s theme parks such as SeaWorld and LEGOLAND are open all year long, so you can chase a thrill whenever works best for your budget and schedule. Plus, the theme parks host various festivals throughout the year, which tend to be the highlights of visitors’ experiences.

Attractions such as the San Diego Zoo are also open all year long. However, do know hours of operation may shift to accommodate the seasons.

Child up close to a Dolphin in its tank at Birch Aquarium at Scripps - San Diego, California, USA

When is the Absolute Best Time to Visit San Diego?

For affordable travel rates, fantastic weather, and minimal crowds, the top time to go to San Diego is in the spring and fall.
From March to May and September to November, you’ll avoid the summer break crowds and have ample time to explore the area’s attractions and beaches. Plus, you’ll encounter the perfect vacation weather!

The Best Time to Visit San Diego is Whenever You Go!

Ultimately, the best time to visit San Diego depends on your goals. Would you rather save money or splurge a little and enjoy the nice weather? Or, is there a specific theme park festival you’ve been longing to attend?

No matter when you choose to visit San Diego, you’re in for one awesome vacation. Book your San Diego getaway now!

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