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

  • 01 of 04

    San Diego in Spring: March, April, May

    Cherry Blossoms in Balboa Park
    Steven Bevacqua/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Spring is one of the best times to visit San Diego, especially if you avoid going during crowded spring break school holidays. 

    Beaches are uncrowded, especially during the week. And if you time your visit well, you can get lower hotel rates than in other seasons.

    During spring break, it will seem like summer at local theme parks and animal attractions, which will be open longer. The rest of the time, the big attractions reduce their hours and offer fewer extra activities. 

    Spring Break in San Diego

    San Diego is a popular destination during spring break. Spring break may be held around Easter where you live, but in California (where many San Diego visitors live), schools schedule their breaks anytime between mid-March and the end of April. 

    Families also flock to San Diego during the spring school vacation, filling the local theme parks to near capacity. 

    San Diego's sunny climate also draws crowds of college students enjoying spring break, many of them intent on consuming as much alcohol as they can. They often rent houses at Pacific Beach and Mission Beach or visit the Gaslamp Quarter. Use this calendar to find out about university breaks

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    San Diego Weather in Spring

    San Diego Weather in Spring
    ©2013 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    The graphic above covers the basics about San Diego in the spring, with temperature, rainfall and sunshine averages, and hotel occupancy information compared to the rest of the year. A few additional facts and tips:

    The rainy season ends by April in most years, and skies are frequently bright and sunny.

    It's also less likely to be foggy and cloudy in San Diego in the spring than in the early summer when June Gloom starts to set in. And you'll have 12 to 13 hours of daylight to enjoy the attractions.

    Water temperature remains near its winter lows through March and April, warming slightly in May but it's still too cold for all but the hardiest swimmers. The beach will be a better place for walking than water play until summer arrives. 

    To pick the season that's best for you to visit, check the guides to  San Diego in SummerSan Diego in Fall, and  San Diego in Winter.

    What to Pack

    Any time of year, San Diego attire is casual, and you won't need dress clothing unless you're attending an event that requires it. In fact, if you get too glammed up, everyone will know at a glance that you're a tourist.

    Near the ocean, layers are always a good idea, especially in early spring.

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  • 03 of 04

    Spring Events in San Diego

    San Diego Baseball Season Starts in April
    Justin Brown/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Spring holidays include Easter (a lunar holiday which can occur between March 22 and April 25) and Mardi Gras (which happens 46 days before Easter), St. Patrick's Day (March 17) and Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a festival of Mexican heritage and pride.

    All of those are events that San Diegans love to celebrate. If you want to join in, you can plan your visit around them.

    San Diego Mardi Gras fills the Gaslamp District with a parade and other themed events. The date changes annually.

    Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is a time to enjoy cultural festivals, live mariachi music, traditional Folklorico dancing, margaritas, authentic Cali-Baja tacos, lucha libre wrestling and more.

    Baseball season begins in March and the San Diego Padres play home games in their stadium downtown. Check their schedule if you want to attend a game.

    If you want to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields here, you don't need to plan too far ahead, but you do need to check their website to find out whether the flowers are in bloom before you make the trip to see them. 

    In San Diego whale watching season usually ends after March. Find out how, when and where to see them in the San Diego whale watching guide.

    March is the beginning of the annual grunion run when thousands of tiny, silvery fish mate by the light of the full moon (or the new one). To be sure you visit on the right dates see the schedule.  La Jolla Shores is a good place watch, or take a guide trip sponsored by the Birch Aquarium.

    If you want more detailed information by month about things to do, you find that in the guides to San Diego in March, San Diego in April, and San Diego in May.

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  • 04 of 04

    Spring Travel Tips

    Carlsbad Flower Fields, San Diego in March
    Eric Gorski/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Hotel prices will be lower in the spring than in summer, at least some of the time. Plan your trip before or after spring break and use these unexpected tips to lower your rate.

    Exceptions to lower spring prices are three-day weekends are Easter and Memorial Day. And spring break, which is detailed above. Use this calendar to find out about university breaks.

    Conventions are less common in the spring than later in the year, but when they happen, they can also fill the downtown hotels. Check for conventions scheduled during your planned trip dates at the San Diego Convention Center website, which also shows how many people are expected to attend.

    The rest of spring when there's nothing else going on, attractions may cut back on their hours and activities. Some of them may be closed on weekdays, making it essential to check the websites of local businesses and activities before you make your plans.