What to Expect at San Diego Beaches Right Now

Many of us tend to think of summer as being prime beach season in Southern California. And it is! 

Still, many locals know that fall may be the best time to visit the shore. So if you’re planning a trip to one of San Diego’s countless picturesque beaches, here’s what you can look forward to.  

COVID-19 

San Diego’s beaches are now open and provide a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air. Visitors are required to practice social distancing and shouldn’t get too close to anyone not in their group. Group sports such as beach volleyball and football are discouraged. You can find more information on the San Diego Beaches website.

Milder Temperatures

San Diego’s famously consistent climate keeps temperatures pretty even year-round. Even so, summers can get pretty warm, with temperatures that climb into the 90° range some days. But by fall, the daily highs settle comfortably into the mid-70°s. So whether you’re hoping to get a little surfing in, have a picnic, or just dig your toes into the sand and unwind, this time of year may just be exactly what the doctor ordered.   

Smaller Crowds

San Diego’s beaches are some of the city’s biggest draws. So, naturally, claiming your spot on the sand is a bit more challenging during peak travel season. However once autumn rolls around, the already-laid-back vibe of Southern California gets even more relaxed. So grab your chair, pack a towel, and head to the water’s edge without worrying about how hard you’ll have to jockey for a place to relax.  

Clearer Skies

Southern California is famously sunny, but some summer days can be unexpectedly overcast due to the marine layer (sometimes locally referred to as “June Gloom”). The marine layer forms when a warm air mass moves over cooler water, causing surface evaporation to rise as a thick, foggy cloud. Once the air cools in fall, the temperature of the air and water are a bit closer. So — the “gloom” gives way to sunshine. 

Earlier Sunsets

West Coast sunsets are legendarily picturesque. And with the shorter days giving way to longer nights, the sunsets happen just a little earlier every day. That means you’ll be able to enjoy a sunset picnic without having to push your evening meal (and/or romantic stroll in the sand) out to too late of an hour. So be sure to soak up the sunshine during the day — but don’t miss watching the moon rise over the water.  

Cooler Evenings

Make no mistake: Even in autumn, that famous SoCal sunshine is a warm reminder of why America’s Finest City earned its title. But by mid-to-late fall, the evenings do get a bit more brisk than you might expect once the sun goes down. So if you plan to be at the beach post-sunset, you may want to consider packing some longer pants, close-toed footwear, and maybe even a light jacket. It never gets truly cold here, but the after-dark sea breeze can sometimes catch us a bit unprepared if we don’t remember to layer.

Occasional Precipitation

As the famous song says: “It Never Rains in Southern California.” And that’s mostly true — rain is a rare thing around here. However, the cooler fall months do increase the chances of rain from “near-nonexistent” to “not unheard-of.” So while dodging raindrops is unlikely, it may still be a good idea to bring an umbrella on your beach visit. Even if there’s no rain in the forecast, it may still help keep the sun at bay.