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San Diego in Spring: March, April, May
Spring is one of the best times to visit San Diego, especially if you avoid crowded spring break school holidays. For this guide, spring means March through May. The rainy season ends by April in most years, and skies are frequently bright and sunny.
Read on to find out how to visit San Diego in the spring in general, but you can also get more in-depth information for each month of the spring season in the guides to San Diego in March, San Diego in April, and San Diego in May.
Reasons to Visit San Diego in the Spring
Summer-Like Hours: During spring break weeks, local theme parks and animal attractions will be open longer, following their summer schedules.
Beaches Are Great: Beaches are uncrowded during the week
Skies Are Clear: In fact, it's less likely to be foggy and cloudy in San Diego in the spring than in the early summer. And you'll have 12 to 13 hours of daylight to enjoy them.
Prices Are Low: That is if you avoid conventions and spring break. See more about that below.
Reasons to Avoid San Diego in the Spring
Spring Break Crowds: San Diego's sunny climate draws crowds of college students, 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.
Families also flock to San Diego during the spring school vacation, filling the local theme parks to near capacity. 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.
Off-Season Hours: Except during spring break when hours are as long as in the summer, theme parks, and other attractions reduce their hours and offer fewer extra activities than they do in the summer.
Cost Considerations in the Spring
San Diego is one of the country's most popular convention destinations, and the larger events can fill hotels and drive up rates all over town and even in nearby communities. The busiest convention months are late May through July. To plan your trip during dates when fewer conventioneers are in town, use this convention calendar.
If you plan your trip before or after spring break and avoid those big conventions, spring is a good time to get a lower hotel rate and a particularly good time to use these unexpected tips to lower your rate.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Spring Events Worth Planning Ahead For
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.
If you want to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields, 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.
Whale Watching season in San Diego usually ends after March. To see them, go in early spring.
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). See the schedule to be sure you visit on the right dates. La Jolla Shores is a good place watch, or take a guide trip sponsored by the Birch Aquarium.
More Seasons in San DiegoContinue to 3 of 3 below.
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What to Expect in San Diego in Spring
The graphic above covers the basics about San Diego in spring, with temperature, rainfall and sunshine averages and hotel occupancy information compared to the rest of the year. A few additional facts and tips:
Average hotel occupancy in San Diego is more than 70%. The average San Diego hotel rate in 2017 was $130 per night. Rates will be higher when they're near capacity and lower when they're less busy. Rates typically increase about 5% per year.
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.
All of the popular tourist attractions will be crowded during spring break. Otherwise, expect a leisurely pace in spring and fewer people around.