We all know that last March didn’t turn out as planned. However, San Diego in March 2021 is looking pretty great.
In fact, this post is late because I’ve been swamped with spring break vacation questions and hotel bookings. (I’ve never, ever seen this kind of volume before.)
All traveler types are choosing San Diego as a destination, because they feel good about safety protocols in place and, well, we have fantastic weather, beaches, and things to do.
You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through the links in this post, I may be compensated.
San Diego Weather in March
A jacket is still necessary in the late afternoon and evenings, but it’s starting to warm up. I say this realizing that East Coasters probably don’t think it’s cold here to begin with.
San Diego weather in March is mostly sunny, but there are some cloudy days, and it does rain.
We have four microclimates in San Diego: coastal (where most tourists are headed), inland valleys, mountains, and desert. I’m going to cover them here in a bit more detail since March is a very popular time to visit San Diego, and you can hit multiple microclimates in one vacation.
Our local television stations give weather forecasts by microclimates. However, if just punch in “San Diego” on your weather app, it’s may not give you the data you’re looking for. It’s giving you data for the City of San Diego in the coastal region, not for the full county.
So, here’s a tip. Put in the city within San Diego County that you’re headed to. Here are some examples.
- Coastal: Coronado, La Jolla, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Downtown San Diego
- Inland Valleys: Rancho Bernardo, Escondido (where San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located), Ramona
- Mountains: Alpine, Julian
- Desert: Borrego Springs (where Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located)
Looking at the weather in each microclimate will help you decide what to pack (layers).
Here are your San Diego March weather statistics (coastal region):
- Average temperature (high/low): 67°F/54°F
- Rainfall: 1.8 inches
- Days of rain: 4
- Days of sunshine: 70%
- Daylight: 12 hours
- Ocean temperature (high/low): 60.7°F/58.1°F
Can You Go to the Beach in March?
You will see more people on the beaches in San Diego in March (especially later in the month) than in February. People will actually be enjoying the ocean.
Spring break for some schools starts in mid-March, so this is part of the reason. Tourists are in the water swimming, taking surfing lessons, kayaking the La Jolla sea caves, and enjoying beach weather. Locals are beginning to join them, too.
Once the time changes and the days are longer, I really enjoy going to the beach in the late afternoons. It’s a nice way for the kids to unwind after school and to watch the sunset. Bring a picnic or a pizza. Highly recommend.
What It’s Like to Swim in the Ocean
You’ll see people without wetsuits enjoying the ocean. Kids especially don’t seem to mind the chilly water. But, for water sports, you’ll want more warmth.
You can rent wetsuits, including kids’ sizes (call ahead for availability) at various surf shops and surfing schools around San Diego.
Advice for Booking Hotels in March
If you are thinking of coming to San Diego during the summer of 2021, please book your trip now. Our hotels are booking up already during some summer dates.
If you’re looking for places to stay in San Diego during Easter week, you are still in luck. Inventory is shrinking, however.
During normal times though, I’d tell you to book spring break hotels as far in advance as possible.
Many people are choosing Hotel del Coronado. Know that they are renovating the Windsor Lawn in the center of the resort so you will walk by and see construction during your stay. You’ll be okay in Pool View Cabana or Resort View Victorian rooms.
You can also see my list of San Diego resorts for more staycation and vacation ideas.
San Diego March Events
March events in San Diego this year are food and drink related.
Take Out Taste of the Village in La Jolla
TheLa Jolla Village Merchants Association(of which I am a member) has put together a neat event called Takeout Taste of the Village. This elevated dining experience takes place from March 22-25. The cost is $85 and features a four-course menu for two people from some of La Jolla’s best restaurants.
Also, 20% of all tickets sold will go towards the restaurants to provide some financial relief from the struggles and hardships they have suffered over the last year.
San Diego Latino Film Festival
The 28th San Diego Latino Film Festival takes place from March 11-21. Purchase a pass to watch films online at home or at a drive-in movie theater. Check the schedule of events to learn more.
St. Patrick’s Day
Look for an Irish pub like The Field where you can sip Guinness on an outdoor patio. Many, many restaurants and bars across San Diego County are offering their own food and drink specials. Here’s a fun list.
Remember that food orders are required to accompany alcoholic drink purchases due to temporary state ordinances. So, bring your appetite.
The Kia Classic LPGA tournament is normally a family-friendly event to attend in March at Aviara Golf Club. This year, you’ll need to catch the tournament on television between March 25-28 as it will occur without spectators. Plan to attend next year.
SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival
Between now and May 2, head over to SeaWorld San Diego to taste your way around the world at their Seven Seas Food Festival.
The park is open as an accredited zoo, but rides are still closed. I’ve written in detail about how to buy discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets.
Things to Do in San Diego in March
Because of spring break, people are looking for family activities in San Diego but rest assured what’s on tap is great for all ages.
You can also read my list of fun outdoor activities for even more ideas.
Visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Now through Mother’s Day, you fill your Instagram feed with photos from the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Walk or take an antique tractor ride through rows of colorful Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers near the coast in Carlsbad.
You can learn from Master Gardeners, let kids enjoy the playgrounds, shop for plants and flowers, and much more.
Make Plans for Easter
Sometimes, Easter happens in March, but this year it’s on April 4. That being said, it’s never too early to start thinking about Easter celebrations in San Diego that may happen earlier in the week.
Look for Baby Seals
It’s still pupping season at Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla. While the beach is closed, you can still see the babies from the boardwalk. Read my guide on how to see the La Jolla seals.
Check Out Our Tide Pools
March is one of the last months with minus tides during daylight hours. Check the tide charts.
Check the tide charts. Afternoon minus tides are happening between March 24-29, so use this as a chance to go out and safely explore. Pair a visit to the La Jolla tide pools with a stop at the Children’s Pool seal rookery.
Go Grunion Running
Here’s a fun activity for the night owls. Grab your headlamp and a warm beverage and head down to the beach at night. You might see some slippery silver fish.
Check the calendar of expected runs.
Visit Our Open Attractions
The list of what’s open in San Diego is growing!
San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Reservations are required but you can pick a day and go any time. Some activities have been modified but since their exhibits are outdoors anyway, you can enjoy a full day at either park.
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USS Midway Museum
The Hangar Deck and Flight Deck tour routes are open! This means that guests can still take the audio tour to get a complete understanding of what it was like to live aboard the ship.
Closed areas at the USS Midway Museum include climb aboard cockpits, flight simulators, the theater, and below-deck tours. You’ll need date- and time-specific tickets.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Things to do in San Diego in March definitely include the new outdoor touch exhibits and sea babies exhibit at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Plus, you can admire one of San Diego’s best views and even grab a bite to eat in their Splash! Cafe.
Other fun options around town include:
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- San Diego Botanic Garden
- Balboa Park (indoor museums are still closed)
Go Gray Whale Watching
It’s nearing the end of the season, but you can still go gray whale watching in San Diego on tours running with enhanced health and safety measures in place.
The whales are headed back north with their calves further away from the shore, so your best chance of seeing them is on a boat tour.
What to Wear in San Diego in March
Your San Diego packing list for March includes sweaters, long-sleeved T-shirts, jeans, and jackets among other things.
Here’s what to put in your suitcase:
- Face coverings — required everywhere you’re not 6′ away from someone and in many attractions no matter the distance between you and other guests
- Medium weight jacket for the afternoons and evenings (I wear a Patagonia or Lululemon puffer jacket)
- Athleisure (a San Diego wardrobe staple)
- Hiking shoes for trails
- Portable umbrella (optional)
- Bathing suit and warmer cover-up
- Rashguard or UV shirt for sun protection and warmth
- Hat for sun protection
- Flip flops for the beach and pool
- Shorts for beachgoing
- T-Shirts (mix of long- and short-sleeved)
- Pants or jeans
- Sweaters or sweatshirts
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing
- Casual wool/warm dress or collared shirt, sweater, and nice jeans (if you plan to dine in one of our nicer restaurants )
- Sweaters and sweatshirts
- Wetsuit (you can rent one)
Even though I said it may rain here in March, you don’t need to pack a raincoat. Many San Diegans don’t even own them.
Lifestyle: What Residents Are Up To
Locals are planning staycations and road trips for spring break. We’re excited for longer days and more attractions and businesses to reopen once we hit the red tier.
California amusement parks and theme parks have permission for limited reopenings starting April 1. Belmont Park has already announced their rides reopen on April 1.
If you are a local, please share your thoughts about San Diego in March!
San Diego's Central Beach Neighborhoods. All three of these beach neighborhoods–Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach–are my recommended places to stay on your first visit to San Diego. From all three of these neighborhoods you can walk, bike, or rent a scooter to get around.Is San Diego worth visiting in March? ›
March is a great month to visit San Diego, because it's not that crowded. The earlier you visit in March, the fewer crowds there will be to contend with for a spot on the beach. Soon you will start to see the springtime flowers and green foliage blossom, and San Diego will spring into action.What are San Diego locals called? ›
The original inhabitants of the region are now known as the San Dieguito and La Jolla people.What should I wear in San Diego in March? ›
San Diego Spring Weather
Pack a sporty anorak for cooler mornings / evenings and a pair of comfortable sneakers and casual leggings for a day of exploring. In the evening, pull on some cool jeans to dress your outfit up for dinner out.
The San Diego average March temperature is a high of 67 and low of 54 degrees. While this sounds very mild, the temperature can also be higher during the day and lower at night. Either way, San Diego weather in March is usually pretty warm during the day and cool at night.Is it warm enough to swim in San Diego in March? ›
The water temperature in San Diego in march is cold. Swimming in San Diego in march is possible... with a wetsuit! Indeed, the water is cold at this time of year with an average sea temperature of 60°F (minimum: 58°F - maximum: 62°F).What smells in La Jolla? ›
Something smells rotten in the La Jolla area of San Diego. Bird and sea lion droppings have accumulated on ocean bluffs for years there, creating a powerful stench in the wealthy seaside town.What time of year are the seals at La Jolla? ›
According to the La Jolla Seal Conservancy, you will see the most seals on the beach between the last week of April and the first week of June. The greatest chance of seeing a live birth (yes, seal pups are born on the sand) is between February 4 and March 4.What time of year are sea lions at La Jolla? ›
2022. In April, the California Coastal Commission approved a permit calling for the city to close Point La Jolla and most of Boomer Beach during the annual sea lion pupping season from May 1 to Oct.What are the biggest problems in San Diego? ›
When asked to name the single biggest problem facing their part of San Diego, residents say traffic (29%), followed by crime (15%) and population growth and development (13%). Growth-related concerns again top the list when residents are asked to rank a number of local problems.
- Downtown, Gaslamp Quarter, and Embarcadero. The Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego. ...
- Little Italy. ...
- Coronado. ...
- Mission Bay, Mission Beach, & Pacific Beach. ...
- La Jolla. ...
- Balboa Park. ...
- Hillcrest. ...
- Mission Valley and Old Town.
Just north of Downtown is San Diego's home for all things hippie.
The least crowded beaches in San Diego are San Onofre State Beach, areas of Torrey Pines State Beach, and Black's Beach. These beaches tend to receive fewer visitors because access requires some walking, hiking, and/or an entrance fee.What is the hippest neighborhood in San Diego? ›
Two miles east of Hillcrest is North Park, San Diego's hippest neighborhood, with trendy thrift shops and retro bars – Coin-Op has dozens of vintage arcade games, and Polite Provisions is a smart apothecary and old soda shop-style bar.What are people from San Diego called? ›
San Diego: San Diegan.What colors are best to wear in March? ›
Your March color story can mirror the story of the coming of spring. Begin with icy grey, silver, charcoal and chocolate brown. Introduce some textured ivory or beige. And then add perhaps a bit of very pale yellow or buttercream.What do you wear to a bar in San Diego? ›
Most venues we visit require a collard shirt (preferably dress shirt not polo shirt). Jeans are ok as long as they are not overly baggy. Shoes should be closed toed and semi formal (This does not include your favorite pair of Jordan's, Timberlands, or Sketchers) Why can't you wear your Jay's to the club?Are San Diego beaches warm in March? ›
Here are your San Diego March weather statistics (coastal region): Average temperature (high/low): 67°F/54°F. Rainfall: 1.8 inches.Is San Diego crowded in March? ›
Spring in San Diego and La Jolla | March – May
Crowds are lower than fall so you'll have an easier time getting into restaurants without reservations and lower hotel prices.
While San Diego is not a major spring break party destination for college students, it is a popular destination for parents and younger children who have the week off, including the locals. The top attractions do get crowded in March and April, especially on weekends.
62 or below is cold and people break out the heavy coats. 63-66 is chilly and you need a sweater. 67-72 is what most in San Diego consider comfortable, but you still might need a sweater.What is the warmest beach in California in March? ›
|High °F||Low °F||Place|
- Mission Beach. The two-mile stretch of beach between Belmont Park and Pacific Beach is a thriving boardwalk with many, many attractions for travelers. ...
- La Jolla. ...
- Pac Beach. ...
- Ocean Beach.
As long as the sun is out, you will be fine. March is the tail end of our rainy season, so there is still a possibility of rain. But usually late March sees very nice, spring-like weather. It won't be hot, but as long as there is sunshine, you will be just fine sunbathing at the beach.What is so special about La Jolla? ›
La Jolla's biggest draw for locals and visitors alike are the beautiful beaches. During the summer and autumn months, the surf is relatively gentle, with warm waters in 70s. Swimmers, snorkelers, scuba divers, kayakers and surfers can enjoy the golden sands of La Jolla Shores, the Cove and Windansea.Why is La Jolla famous? ›
La Jolla beaches are famous for their surf, white sand, and La Jolla tide pools during low tides. People come to see the sea lions and seals. Outside of beachgoing, people visit because they want to see these top attractions and landmarks: La Jolla Cove.What is La Jolla Cove known for? ›
San Diego's most desirable spot for swimming, diving and snorkeling. The water is calm and the cove is ecologically protected. There is also a world famous dive site that is located in the La Jolla ecological preserve.What time of year are sharks in La Jolla? ›
"During the summer and early fall, we see the migration of leopard sharks who come over to the La Jolla area to enjoy the warmer waters and give birth sooner than a typical pregnancy of sharks," said Meir y Teran.What should I wear to La Jolla Cove? ›
3 additional tips about visiting the La Jolla Cove seals
Wear close-toed shoes if you plan on walking out on the beach or any rocky areas. It can get slippery very quickly out there, especially coming down the stairs to get to La Jolla Cove. Wearing pants that you don't mind getting wet. Don't forget your camera!
Head to Children's Pool Beach to see seals in La Jolla. This is an almost guaranteed spot where you can enjoy the wildlife in the city. However, it's worth noting that you are less likely to see the seals if you visit in the summer when there are more people around.
What is the best time of day to see seals and sea lions? Pinnipeds can be seen in La Jolla any time of day, but just like humans, they do like to have lunch in the mid-day. If you're viewing them from the shore, you might have a few less sightings around noon when they go into the water to hunt.When can you see whales in La Jolla? ›
The best time to watch for gray whales is from December through mid- to late April, depending on the year. To see a blue whale, wait until the spring and summer seasons.What time of day is best to see the leopard sharks at La Jolla? ›
During this time, thousands of leopard sharks congregate in warm, shallow water along La Jolla to mate and hatch their young. We recommend going in the morning, on a sunny day when the water is calm. It makes it easier to spot them.What actors live in San Diego? ›
- Shaun White. You might know Shawn White as a snowboarding Olympic gold medalist. ...
- Bill Gates. ...
- Deepak Chopra. ...
- Aaron Rodgers. ...
- Steve Perry. ...
- Phil Mickelson. ...
- Zandra Rhodes. ...
- Tony Hawk.
Languages Spoken in San Diego
And although English is the most widely spoken language, about 25% of the population are native or fluent Spanish speakers.
The count covers several areas of downtown San Diego, and the largest population of homeless people in August was found in East Village.Is there a big homeless problem in San Diego? ›
In the city of San Diego there are 2,307 people in shelters and 2,494 living on the streets. Throughout the county there are 8,427 homeless people with just over half in shelters. One local option is to build our way out of this crisis, but the cost to construct nearly 10,000 new units is currently prohibitive.Where is the safest place to live in San Diego? ›
- Gaslamp Quarter.
- Normal Heights.
- Rancho Bernardo.
- Rancho Penasquitos.
- Scripps Ranch.
Here's a quick rundown of our list: Carmel Valley. Del Mar Heights. La Jolla.What is a good salary to live in San Diego? ›
To put things in perspective, the median salary in San Diego is $63,739. This is a good salary to aim for if you're thinking of moving to San Diego.
The city defines middle income as between 80 percent and 150 percent of the region's median income. For a family of four in 2022, that range is $97,000 to $142,650.What is the hipster area of San Diego? ›
North Park (9.3 miles away)
North Park is among the coolest neighborhoods in San Diego. This hipster's paradise is a mix of residential and urban areas, and an absolute must-see during your stay in San Diego.
The city of Ocean Beach in San Diego County has always been the place to be to experience the hippie vibe in SoCal.Where do hipsters hang out in San Diego? ›
- All "hipster bars" results in San Diego, CA. Showing 1-60 of 1121.
- N. 1 Noble Experiment. 5.5 mi. 1682 reviews. ...
- N. 2 Raised By Wolves. 6.5 mi. ...
- N. 3 False Idol. 4.9 mi. ...
- N. 4 Polite Provisions. 2.5 mi. ...
- N. 5 Convoy Music Bar. 2.3 mi. ...
- N. 6 One Door North. 3.7 mi. ...
- N. 7 Aero Club Bar. 3.9 mi.
The Gaslamp District is in downtown San Diego near the convention center. Officially called the "Gaslamp Quarter," the rectangle-shaped, sixteen-square-block area is bounded by Broadway and K streets between Fourth and Sixth streets.What is the nicest part of San Diego? ›
- Oceanside. The artistic beach community of Oceanside offers some of the most affordable coastal living in all of Southern California. ...
- Carlsbad. ...
- Pacific Highlands Ranch. ...
- La Jolla. ...
- Solana Beach. ...
- Torrey Pines. ...
- Downtown San Diego. ...
- South Park.
- All "celebrity hangouts" results in San Diego, CA. Showing 1-60 of 676.
- N. 1 C Level Lounge. 5.0 mi. ...
- N. 2 Werewolf. 5.5 mi. ...
- N. 3 Raised By Wolves. 6.5 mi. ...
- N. 4 Duke's La Jolla. 7.9 mi. ...
- N. 5 The Pool House. 5.6 mi. ...
- N. 6 The Cordova Bar. 3.0 mi. ...
- N. 7 ALTITUDE Sky Lounge. 5.7 mi.
Hippie Hill is found on the eastern end of Golden Gate Park. Head for the hill located in between the Conservatory of Flowers and Haight Street.What are the black neighborhoods in San Diego? ›
Blacks or African Americans are concentrated in the Cities of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, parts of the City of San Diego, and in the unincorporated community of Spring Valley east of Lemon Grove.What is the most exclusive neighborhood in San Diego? ›
- 1) Carmel Valley.
- 2) Del Mar Heights.
- 3) La Jolla.
- 5) Point Loma.
- 6) Rancho Penasquitos.
- 7) Rancho Santa Fe.
La Jolla is a renowned coastal resort near San Diego. It has about 40,000 inhabitants and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. La Jolla, famous for seals and sea lions resting in the sun on the beach and rocks in front of the town, is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the county.What is Gaslamp Quarter known for? ›
Today, Gaslamp Quarter is known for its great abundance of entertainment sites and its nightlife venues. However, it's also known for its historical places. From ghostly hauntings to the wild west, San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter has an entrancing past.Is Gaslamp Quarter worth visiting? ›
Having gone from being the most infamous to the most “in” district of the city, today the Gaslamp Quarter has good restaurants, entertainment, and shopping for tourists and locals alike. We were so impressed when we visited it that we had to include it in the list of places to visit in San Diego.