Spring break season is busy, so finding things to do in San Diego in April isn’t hard. In fact, you’ll want to plan your vacation during this time of year as early as you can.

I’ll tell you about the weather, events, what to expect at hotels, and more so that you can decide when the best time to visit San Diego is for you.

Through my affiliations, you can save on tickets, tours, and hotels. I may be compensated if you purchase through some links in this post—our editorial guidelines.

San Diego Weather in April

As with any season, April weather in San Diego depends greatly on microclimates. From the coast to the valleys and mountains (and even the desert), a lot depends on your location at any given time.

Most people make plans based on current coastal conditions; this is where many of the most popular San Diego attractions are located. Still, you’ll want to think carefully about regional differences as you head for the desert or dress for mountain hikes.

With all that in mind, you’re in luck if you visit during the spring. Much of the rain has likely ended at this point, but the overcast time known as May Gloom has yet to kick in.

Hiking, for example, is fantastic in San Diego in April, when the temperature is comfortable and the views are gorgeous. Even lounging in the sun can be enjoyable on the beach. However, there will still be some cloudy days.

If you prefer to get your weather data with stats, you’ll find the following San Diego averages enlightening:

  • Average temperature (high/low): 68/56 degrees
  • Rainfall: 1.01 in
  • Days of sunshine: 67%
  • Daylight: 12-13 hours
  • Ocean temperature: 61 degrees
A girl runs on the sand of La Jolla Shores Beach on a cloudy morning.
An overcast early April morning at the beach (still shorts weather)

What the Beach Is Like

If you’re not committed to the quintessential San Diego beach experience (complete with sunbathing and hanging out in the water), you can find much to love about San Diego beaches in April.

This is the perfect time to visit if you want to enjoy the best of beach scenery without also encountering summer crowds. While the beaches will see some action from locals who are eager to soak in the sun after emerging from the rainy seasons, many locations will feel downright peaceful during this lull before the main tourist season.

As mentioned, a wetsuit is essential if you intend to surf or ocean swim. The more time you spend in the Pacific Ocean during this time of year, the more important this protection is, regardless of the average high.

Advice for Booking Hotels in April

Main pool at Fairmont Grand Del Mar in April
The main pool at Fairmont Grand Del Mar on a sunny April morning

If you are considering coming to San Diego in April of 2024, please book your trip now. The spring break season usually starts about a month before Easter (see also San Diego in March) and ends about a week after Easter.

San Diego is one of the most popular spring break destinations in the country, especially for families, thanks to our beaches, good weather, and theme parks.

Again, the most popular choice is Hotel del Coronado and its hotels within the hotel: Beach Village at The Del and Shore House at The Del. They will, of course, have a list of fun activities to coincide with this holiday season. So will our other resorts, like Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where I stayed in April. As you can see, the weather was spectacular.

You can also see my list of San Diego resorts for more staycation and vacation ideas.

San Diego April Events

While San Diego events aren’t as plentiful in April as during the jam-packed summer months, there are still plenty of fun things to do. Residents primarily frequent spring events, so this is your opportunity to understand the local scene better.

Chicano Park Day

Paying homage to San Diego’s Chicano culture, this spring festival brings a variety of traditional music and dance groups to one of the area’s most historically significant parks. The stunning murals of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge form the perfect backdrop for this event.

Other highlights include arts and crafts, informational displays, delicious cuisine, and hundreds of lowrider cars. Set aside a few hours to check out the shows, the food, and the vibrant atmosphere.

The festival will be held on Saturday, April 20th this year, from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.

La Jolla Concours d’Elegance

The Southern California premiere automotive event brings the world’s most fashionable car enthusiasts to La Jolla’s Ellen Browning Scripps Park. The entire event has an upscale appeal in keeping with its name’s meaning: competitive elegance.

Stop by to check out various exquisite vehicles between April 19–21, 2024. Tickets are required ranging from General Admission to a VIP experience.

Art Alive at San Diego Museum of Art

This fun four-day exhibition is the annual fundraiser of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park and runs from April 25–28, 2024.

Fusing art and nature, the event features spectacular floral displays and installations throughout the museum, all inspired by the museum’s in-house collection of paintings and sculptures. Art Alive 2024 will showcase Indian art with a special installation from Edwin Binney’s 3rd Collection of Indian paintings.

Outside, the Garden of Activities will keep children and artists busy with many creative options. Many food and drink options are also dotted alongside the beautiful outdoor displays.

The main exhibition runs Friday–Sunday, while the Garden of Activities is only open on Saturday–Sunday. The museum’s extra special fundraising events include the Premiere Dinner on Thursday, April 25, and the annual Bloom Bash on Friday, April 26.

Butterfly Jungle at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

A butterfly lands on a boy's face at Butterfly Jungle.
Photo credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Delicately make your way around the park’s beautiful aviary while hundreds of butterflies flutter around you. You can learn more about butterflies’ role in nature on the daily 20-minute Butterly Jungle Safari. Or, for serious butterfly lovers, you can book the Roar & Snore Safari: Butterly Jungle All Access option.

Both of the Safari options require a separately purchased ticket in addition to the day’s park ticket. Note that children aged 3 and over will need a valid San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket or membership for the day of entry.

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Belmont in Bloom

This popular annual event transforms San Diego’s historic Belmont Park into a spring floral festival. Now in its third year, the event supports local talent by showcasing live art performances by San Diego artists while local musicians provide entertainment.

Stunning murals and floral displays adorn the park, while fun characters, including a flower princess, are on hand to entertain children. There’s also face painting and even a caricature artist so that you can take home a fun souvenir from the day. Belmont Park borders Mission Beach, so you can pair your event attendance with some time on the sand.

Belmont in Bloom runs from March 30–May 27 in 2024, so you have the whole of April to enjoy it!

SeaWorld San Diego Seven Seas Craft Beer Festival

Proving SeaWorld San Diego really does cater to the whole family, adults can enjoy the park’s Seven Seas Craft Beer Festival. You can sample an array of international craft beers (and wines) in the beer garden while being entertained by live music throughout the festival.

You’ll need to purchase park admission, as well as tastings. The festival runs from March 1-April 28.

Things to Do in San Diego in April

In addition to the events mentioned above, you can keep busy by visiting several of San Diego’s top attractions. Many are even more beautiful in April, thanks to the blooming flowers. Certain hikes are also preferable at this point, as they can heat up enough to become dangerous as early as May. Feel free to add the following to your San Diego in April itinerary.

Catch a San Diego Padres MLB Game

Head to downtown San Diego for a Padres home game. Check the schedule, and don’t forget that some of our best restaurants have outlets at Petco Park.

Hike the Anza-Borrego Palm Canyon Trail

This three-mile hike is one of the most popular in the Anza-Borrego desert, but for good reason: it contains a palm oasis and is also a top site for viewing bighorn sheep. It can also be surprisingly treacherous — especially when the summer heat arrives.

As such, this hike is best undertaken between November and April, when temperatures are more likely to be tolerable as you ascend the steep trail. Visit at the right time, and you’ll enjoy a wonderful introduction to the desert.

Take a Sand Dune Tour

Another desert activity that can be uncomfortable or even dangerous during the summer, a sand dune tour can introduce you to natural wonders that feel otherworldly. The average high is reasonable enough in April to make this activity feel reasonably safe. Tours are best enjoyed on ATVs and under the guidance of experts, who will show you the desert’s most awe-inspiring locations. Set aside a few hours or take a full-day trip; either option is bound to please.

Go Whale Watching

Gray whale season typically ends in mid or late April, although there is some variation from one season to the next. If you’re in San Diego at the beginning of the month, you could try your best to see the whales in action before their 10,000-mile migration between Alaska and Baja California ends.

You’ll have to join a whale watching tour as the whales will be returning to Alaska with their babies when they swim further from shore.

Visit the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

People walk through The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch on a sunny day.
An average day at The Flower Fields in a prior season, complete with wagon rides.

The saying “April showers bring May flowers” isn’t entirely applicable in San Diego, where the rainy season generally ends in March and produces stunning flowers in April. Various attractions promise a visual feast, but few are as awe-inspiring as Carlsbad Ranch’s Flower Fields when they are in full bloom.

These vast fields of beautiful flowers are the product of nearly a century of hard work, which has resulted in dozens of acres of Giant Tecolote ranunculus. Unlike any other bulb you’ve seen, the memorable ranunculus features double petals and vibrant colors.

The Flower Fields are open from March 1, 2024, and stay open throughout April.

What to Wear in San Diego in April

Your San Diego packing list for April includes sweaters, long-sleeved T-shirts, jeans, and jackets, among other things.

Here’s what to put in your suitcase:

  • 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
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • 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 might rain here in April, you don’t need to pack a raincoat if you don’t have one. 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 about longer days and signs of spring.

If you are a local, please share your thoughts about San Diego in April!

Next up is San Diego in May.

Weather and temperature sources: seatemperature.org, currentresults.com, NOAA

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

Explore More Things to Do in San Diego

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