August in San Diego: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

A bench at the beach on Coronado Island

TripSavvy / Sharyn Umaña-Angers 

August is San Diego's hottest month of the year, but it's still quite pleasant with temperatures in the mid to high 70s. Surfing season begins, and tuna sportfishing season is in full swing.

All of summer is a busy tourist time in San Diego because of its many family-oriented attractions, but the crowds get even worse toward the end of the summer when visitors from Phoenix and other hotter places head to San Diego to escape the heat. 

San Diego Weather in August

August is San Diego's best summer month — it's still warm with a low chance of rain, clear days, and little fog.

  • Average High Temperature: 77 F (25 C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 67 F (19 C)
  • Water Temperature: 67 F (19 C)
  • Rain: 0.02 in (0.1 cm)
  • Humidity: 70 percent
  • Water Temperature: 68 F (20 C)
  • Sunshine: 68 percent
  • Daylight: 13.5 hours

The weather information above is best used as a general idea of what things may be like. It can help you make general plans, but don't count on the conditions during your trip being "average." The best way to get prepared is to check the San Diego weather forecast before you leave home.

If you want to compare these weather conditions to what San Diego is like the rest of the year, you can find that all in one place in the guide to typical San Diego weather.

What To Pack

Pack short-sleeved shirts and lightweight pants or shorts for the warmest days. Few places in San Diego require anything but the most casual attire.

If you plan to hit the beach, take a swimsuit. In sunny San Diego, everyone needs sunscreen.

If you’re going to the beach, you may want to wiggle those ten fine toes in the sand. But getting that sand off your feet and out of everything else you own can be hard. To make it easier, pack a little bit of baby powder or cornstarch to put into your day pack. Sprinkle it on your skin and the sand will brush off much easier.

Temperatures drop quickly near the beaches, so pack a mid-weight jacket or a couple of layers.

The city also offers some trails for hiking, so if that interests you, be sure to bring active clothing and appropriate footwear. 

August Events in San Diego

Labor Day is the first Monday in September, but in some years, the three-day weekend begins in August. To get some ideas on what you can do in San Diego over the long weekend, use the guide to Labor Day fun in California. Here are some other annual events to check out throughout the month of August.

  • Del Mar Races: Thoroughbred horse racing has been happening at Del Mar since 1937. If you attend a race, your admission price includes any of the weekend's concerts.
  • San Diego Spirits Festival: All in the name, this festival is about craft cocktails, good food, and fun culture.
  • Bike the Bay: This 25-mile bike ride is the only opportunity you will get to ride a bicycle over the Coronado Bay Bridge. At the finish line, you can celebrate your accomplishment with food, beer, and entertainment.
  • World BodySurfing Championship: Held in Oceanside next to the pier, hundreds of the world's best bodysurfers come to compete for the title.
  • CityFest: Held in early August, this yearly festival celebrates the community of Hillcrest, and it takes place in the heart of it with food, crafts, and entertainment.
  • Humphreys by the Bay Concerts: Catch a show at this outdoor summer concert series held on Shelter Island from June through mid-October.
  • Old Globe Theatre: Mid-June through late September, outdoor Shakespeare productions occur in a reproduction of the playwright's original Globe Theatre.

Things to Do in August

  • Watch Grunion Run: March through August is time for a uniquely Southern California event. During the annual grunion run, thousands of tiny, silvery fish mate by the light of the full moon (or the new one). (See the schedule.) The best San Diego beaches to see the show are La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach between Tourmaline Park and Lifeguard Tower 20, Mission Beach between Lifeguard Towers 19 and 10, Ocean Beach between Mission Bay Channel and the Ocean Beach Pier, and on Coronado between the Hotel del Coronado and Dog Beach.
  • Camp Out at the Safari Park: On Saturdays in July and August, the San Diego Zoo offers special overnight campouts at the safari park. Most of them are geared toward families, but one weekend is an all-adult version.
  • San Diego Padres Baseball: The Padres' pretty downtown baseball stadium is a great place to watch a game.
  • Between July and September, leopard sharks gather just off the La Jolla coast of La Jolla. These beautiful spotted creatures are timid and docile. You see them and wade alongside them at La Jolla Shores. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps hosts leopard shark snorkeling adventures and La Jolla outfitters like Hike Bike Kayak and Everyday California offer leopard shark snorkeling tours. 

August Travel Tips

  • San Diego hotel occupancy is near the year’s highest levels in August. To avoid sellouts and high rates, reserve as far ahead as you can, making sure that there are no cancellation penalties if you change your mind.
  • Anytime a big convention comes to town, hotels in the Gaslamp and downtown fill up, and room rates rise. To plan your trip during dates when fewer conventioneers are in town, use this convention calendar.
  • In August, beaches in San Diego are susceptible to so-called "red tides" when red-colored algae grow so fast that they "bloom," coloring the water in the process. It's unsightly for sure, and it's safer to avoid swimming while they're happening. Find out everything you need to know about red tides.
  • If you're expecting unrelenting sunshine in San Diego in early August, you may be disappointed. Through the middle of the month, the coastline is sometimes gloomy, overcast, and cool instead. The condition even has a name: "Fogust."
  • San Diego's warm summers make it an excellent place for outdoor activities in the evening.
  • Any time of year. you can use these tips to be a smarter San Diego visitor who has more fun and puts up with fewer annoyances.
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