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What Cruisers Need To Know About The Weather In San Diego

San Diego cruise port in September

San Diego is blessed with a pleasant climate all year round, making it an ideal destination no matter the season! From its warm and sunny days in summer to its mild temperatures in winter, San Diego's weather is highly sought after by tourists and that of course includes cruise visitors.

While San Diegans often joke about the weather here always being 70 degrees and sunny, there are some seasonal variations to that pattern. Notable exceptions include "May Gray and June Gloom" when the heavy marine layer during late spring makes the town very cloudy before burning off and becoming sunny in the early afternoon, and the fabled "Santa Ana Winds" which can bring hot, dry, desert air over the mountains and raise fall temperatures to peaks higher than you might assume you'd find only during the summer months like July and August.

Best Time To Cruise From San Diego

There's really no perfect time to cruise in San Diego, and there's no bad time either. The practical reality though, is that most cruising from San Diego occurs during the shoulder seasons - Fall, Winter, and Spring since most cruise ships that spend Spring and Fall sailing from San Diego head north to Vancouver and Seattle for Alaska Cruises during the summer and head south to the Caribbean and other parts of the world during the winter.

Regardless though, it is important that you check local forecasts and plan accordingly. After all, while San Diego averages 146 sunny days and 117 partly cloudy days each year with less than a foot of rain ... sometimes you will find an unexpectedly cold and rainy day in America's Finest City.

If I had to pick a single season that would be best for a San Diego cruise, it would be the fall. Not only is this harvest season for California Coastal Wine Cruises but the water is nice and warm for Baja, Mexican Riviera, and Catalina cruises. 

Summer (June-August):

San Diego's temperatures soar between June and August, reaching as high as 84°F (29°C). However, thanks to the cool Pacific Ocean breeze that extends along the San Diego coast, it rarely feels too hot or uncomfortable. You can expect lots of clear skies and sunshine during this time, perfect for activities like beach visits or outdoor sightseeing. Just remember to bring plenty of sunscreen!

Autumn (September-November):

As autumn quickly approaches, temperatures begin to dip slightly yet remain quite moderate with average highs of about 73°F (23°C). One interesting quirk of San Diego's weather, however, is what they call "Santa Ana Winds" or "Devil Winds". These strong winds bring with them hot, dry air from the desert. Most visitors coming to San Diego on a fall cruise will appreciate this burst of dry heat while the winds are blowing but you should pack accordingly since the temperatures could spike to mid-80s or 90s and be some of the hottest temperature days found here at any time of the year.

As the fall progresses, having short periods of rain is not unexpected. Similarly, in recent years an increased number of hurricanes and tropical storms have also been seen in southern Baja and the Mexican Riviera so this might be a concern for those that have their heart set on visiting a specific port. Don't worry, though; these storms generally won't affect the safety and comfort of your cruise since the Captain will steer well clear of any trouble. The fall months are ideal for staying outdoors, though, so make sure you bring an umbrella if you plan on exploring San Diego during late fall and winter.

Winter (December-February):

The coldest months in San Diego are December through February when temperatures drop to an average low of 46°F (8°C). Although snow is extremely rare here, you may still experience some occasional rainfall during these months. Wind speeds can also pick up at times but despite this chillier weather, winter days still remain quite mild compared to other parts of the country.

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Spring (March-May):

Spring arrives early, bringing warmer hours and some nice sunshine just in time for spring breakers! During this time, temperatures hover around 70°F (21°C), accompanied by light breezes from nearby bodies of water. Afternoon rains may occur as well, but don’t worry—showers usually pass quickly, leaving behind a fresh smell in the air and amazing blue skies afterward!

Late spring and into early summer are also known for what locals in San Diego refer to as "May Gray" and "June Gloom." This is the marine layer of light clouds that blankets the port and areas close to the water. However, it typically burns off by 1 or 2 p.m., so you will almost certainly get a beautiful blue sky for at least part of your day in America's Finest City.

Overall, visitors should anticipate warm and sunny days no matter what season they decide to visit San Diego. However, some seasonal variations exist that should be taken into consideration when packing your bags! Whether you're planning your beach trip or simply enjoying a stroll downtown - you'll find that there's always something fun to do here, thanks to San Diego's delightful weather throughout the year!