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

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition
Nathan Rupert/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Summer is San Diego's busiest tourist season. Lots of conventions are in town; families are on vacation, and lots of Arizonans flee their state's blistering summer temperatures for the more temperate Pacific coast.

If you want more detailed information by month about things to do and what to expect, you can find that in the guide to San Diego in JuneSan Diego in July, and San Diego in August.

Reasons to Visit San Diego in Summer

Reasons to Avoid San Diego in Summer

  • Cost: Summer is the most expensive time to visit San Diego.
  • Crowds: If lots of people getting in your way makes you cranky, summer may not be the best time for your San Diego vacation. To enjoy the warm weather with fewer companions, go in early September instead.

Cost Considerations in Summer

It will be hard to get a room during the busiest periods and equally difficult to get a good rate on it. Try some of these unexpected tips to get the best possible hotel rate.

Conventions can fill hotels and drive up rates from late May through July. To plan your trip during dates when fewer conventioneers are in town, use this convention calendar.

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Summer Events Worth Planning Ahead For

Del Mar Race Track
Horsephotos / Getty Images

Summer holidays include Memorial Day1, July 4 (Independence Day) and Labor Day2

  • Del Mar Racetrack: It's far from what you might expect, an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon and admission includes some great evening concerts. Use the Del Mar Visitor Guide to find out why it's so much fun.
  • Baseball: The San Diego Padres play in a lively, fun downtown stadium and what's more American than a baseball game?
  • Festival of SailHeld every three years in late August or early September, it brings a fleet of tall ships to join the ones docked at the local Maritime Museum.
  • Grunion Runs: The annual grunion run happens all summer when there's a full or new moon. That's when thousands of tiny, silvery fish mate on the beach and it's a sight like no other. See the schedule. La Jolla Shores is an excellent place to see it, or Birch Aquarium offers guided trips.

More Seasons in San Diego

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

1Memorial Day is the last Monday in May 2Labor Day is the first Monday in September

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What to Expect in San Diego in Summer

San Diego Summer Travel Data
©2013 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

The graphic above covers the basics about San Diego in Summer, with temperature, rainfall and sunshine averages, and hotel occupancy information for recent years. A few additional facts and tips:

  • Summer brings long days and balmy nights, with theme parks and animal attractions offering a full range of fun entertainment and lots of time to enjoy it in.
  • Water temperatures are at their warmest in summer, peaking a little below 70°F (21°C) in mid-August, but only a little cooler in July.
  • Averages are interesting, but the most important thing is what's going to happen during your trip. Check the current forecast to get a better idea.
  • Average hotel occupancy is highest in the summer. Nightly rates will be highest when they're near capacity, and it may be hard to find a good discount rate.
  • Comic-Con is San Diego's biggest convention by far, bringing more than 100,000 people to the city in July. Hotel rates go up, and it's probably best to plan your trip at a different time to avoid the crowds. Check this year's Comic-Con dates.
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