When it comes to things to do and weather, San Diego in August is among my favorite times of the year.
The purpose of these monthly posts is to help people decide when the best time of year to visit San Diego is for them. But, if you’re a resident, this guide should help you plan your month around town as summer winds to a close..
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 August Weather
The sun shines brightly during most of August. Let me tell you what that actually means.
San Diego microclimates (a local section of atmospheric conditions) include coastal regions, inland valleys, mountains, and the desert in that order from west to east. San Diego weather in August that you care about depends on which of these microclimates you’ll spend the most time in.
I’m going to guess that you’re interested in the coastal microclimates because most people are here in August to enjoy the beach and cram in one last vacation before school starts. Temperatures increase the further east you go and can sometimes rise to over 100°F.
I always like to point out that when you see an average temperature for San Diego quoted on TV or online, it’s likely referring to the coastal regions where the San Diego International Airport and our beachfront San Diego resorts are located.
Glorious Summer Sunshine
San Diego August weather along the coast is the stuff that dreams are made of…for the most part. It may get a little cloudy early in the morning, but it usually burns off so that you can just hang out in your beachwear for the rest of the day, well into the evening.
Earlier in August 2022, we experienced a bit of a heatwave, but these are usually short-lived. For about a weekend, temperatures rose into the 90s, but they quickly returned to that tame 75 everyone adores. It’s also been more humid than it has in past years.
For those of you who like weather stats, here they are for August:
- Average temperature (high/low): 75°F/68°F
- Rainfall: .1 inches
- Days of sunshine: 70%
- Daylight: 13.5 hours
- Ocean temperature (high/low): 69°F/66.2°F
What the Beach Is Like
San Diego beaches are busy nearly all of the time, and the good mood of pretty much everyone there can be contagious. Bring your boogie board, beach games, and your best beach accessories for a fun day in our famous sunshine.
The tourist season peaks in August, and locals are at the beach, too. Like in July, they’ll be busy, but you’ll be able to find plenty of space for your towel and umbrella (don’t forget the shade) on big sandy beaches like La Jolla Shores Beach, Pacific Beach (especially at Law Street on the north side), Mission Beach, Coronado Central Beach, Moonlight Beach, Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad, or near the pier in Oceanside (pictured above).
Take an Uber or arrive early to park your car. This is especially important to consider on weekends in August. The beaches can become densely populated pretty quickly.
Unless you’re planning to spend a long time in the ocean, or you’re headed out in the early morning to catch the stunning sunrise, a wetsuit isn’t necessary.
Kids in surfing lessons and surf camps may want one, though. Be sure to shuffle your feet when entering the water to scurry away any stingrays that may be chilling near the shore.
Advice for Booking Hotels in August
San Diego hotels near the coast tend to sell out quickly in August because vacationers want to enjoy our tourist attractions and beach activities. It’s best to plan as far ahead as possible so you can find the best lodging options in San Diego for your budget.
Rates tend to increase closer to the date of your trip, so reserve your room as far in advance as possible to avoid your favorite San Diego hotel selling out and higher rates. Remember that three-star hotels near or by the beach will price like luxury hotels in other cities. You pay a premium for beach proximity.
If you’re entitled to a room upgrade subject to availability at check-in, like people who book my portfolio of hotels and holders of elite hotel program status are, don’t plan on receiving it. Book the hotel room that you really want to avoid disappointment. Hotels project to sell out in August.
Prices peak during the first and second week of August. Some kids return to school in the third week of August, while public schools in San Diego return the Monday before Labor Day weekend.
This means that as far as hotel rates go, there’s a little sweet spot during the last week of August leading up to the Wednesday or Thursday before Labor Day weekend. Rates dip from August highs in this sweet spot. Remember, San Diego is also a popular staycation spot. Many residents enjoy the benefits of our hotels when they need a mini getaway.
Even though some schools are in session, we receive an influx of tourists during Labor Day weekend, which sometimes starts in August. Labor Day is the weekend of Monday, September 5 in 2022 and Monday, September 4 in 2023.
San Diego August Events
We don’t have many big seasonal San Diego events during August. They’re usually smaller street fairs and one-day events except for the ones listed below.
Del Mar Racing Season
Thousands of guests visit San Diego every summer to check out our iconic racehorses. You can watch races in person at the track and place bets online. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club horse racing season is a festive, multi-week event with family days on Sundays and live concerts on Fridays.
The track at Del Mar is world-famous, and it has a rich history. Thankfully, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to check out Del Mar’s racing season in August as the horses run through Labor Day weekend.
Padres Baseball Season
Baseball season started on April 7th for the Padres in 2022.
August is a great time of the year to buy tickets for a home game. PETCO Park offers some of the best sightlines in Major League Baseball. Some of our most popular restaurants have outlets in the park, and games are family-friendly. Who doesn’t want soft-serve ice cream or Dippin’ Dots served in a moderately-expensive, commemorative mini helmet? Or a stellar fish taco from Blue Water Seafood?
TIP: WATCH LIVE FROM THE MARRIOTTWhile you can’t enjoy a live game from a seat at PETCO Park, some rooms at San Diego Marriott Gaslamp offer views of PETCO PARK. You can also watch from their outdoor rooftop bar, Altitude.
Things to Do in San Diego in August
After a few years of restrictions, a broader range of possibilities is now possible for your travel party. Here are a few of the most popular things to do in San Diego this month.
This event is perfect for beer lovers. San Diego has some incredible craft distilleries, and this fest is giving them time in the limelight. Over 20 craft distilleries will be showcasing their products at this festival. Plus, there’s live music and beer experts ready to ensure you have a relaxing time. Date: August 27, 2022.
Bike The Bay
San Diego is an insanely popular spot for bikers. That’s unsurprising; the immaculate ocean views and crisp sea breeze are excellent motivators to get your pedals pumping.
Bike The Bay allows you to cruise through San Diego at your own pace, including a breathtaking venture over the gorgeous Coronado Bridge. Date: August 28, 2022
Annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational
When you think of San Diego, you probably think of surfing. Our beaches are among the best in the world, only comparable to places like Hawaii.
This event allows you to Surf For A Cure. Every cent this event makes directly supports Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. You can enjoy the sweet surf while supporting a fantastic cause! Date: August 28, 2022
Go to the Beach
Yes, the number one thing to do in San Diego in August always involves the beach. People come to San Diego’s beaches in August, but they also happily stop by in the middle of winter.
Our temperate climate is enticing, certainly, especially around midsummer. Ocean temperatures peak in August, which means taking a dip in the Pacific is incredibly pleasant.
Swim or Snorkel with Leopard Sharks
The beach in front of The Marine Room restaurant on La Jolla Shores Beach is home to the largest annual aggregation of leopard sharks in the world. They start to arrive in June, with numbers usually peaking in August and September.
If this is the first you’re hearing of this incredible natural event, don’t panic. They’re harmless—we let our kids swim with them! They love it so much, and it’s a great way to educate your kids about local wildlife.
You can see them on your own in knee-deep water or with your own snorkel gear. It helps to stay as still in the water as possible to avoid scaring them away with kicking. The old adage is true; the sharks are way more scared of you than you are of them.
The best way to see them is via a snorkeling tour focusing on this part of the La Jolla Underwater Park. I recommend tours for people who are unfamiliar with the area or for residents who are looking for a new-to-them outdoor activity.
EXCLUSIVE EVERYDAY CALIFORNIA DISCOUNTUse code LJMOM20 for a 20% discount on kayak and snorkeling tours, lessons, and rentals. Book now.
Go to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Our world-famous Zoo, and Safari Park, are absolute must-sees. Even lifelong residents return to the Zoo and Safari Park in August.
San Diego Zoo offers a Nighttime Zoo throughout the summer. Your whole family will get to enjoy the San Diego Zoo’s extended hours and special events until usually 9 p.m.
There is tons of live music, cultural education (such as presentations about Africa), and of course, the animals can get wild once the sun sets! This exciting experience is available through September 5th in 2022.
Explore a Pretty Garden
I adore San Diego’s iconic Japanese Friendship Garden. You can easily spend an hour or so exploring the artful placement of rocks, plants, and bridges in this gorgeous space while admiring the show-quality koi collection. Have lunch at the Tea Pavilion before or after to enjoy their curated tea or sake offerings.
Ride the Old Town Trolley
Spend the day hopping on and off at various stops, including Balboa Park, Old Town San Diego, and downtown throughout the day. Enjoy the sunshine and breezes that blow by your seat. Get your tickets.
Visit the USS Midway Museum Hangar Deck and Flight Deck
The USS Midway Museum is not to be missed. This experience is integral for the education of kids and adults alike. You’ll be able to visit the over 30 aircraft on the Hangar Deck and Flight Deck, which is always a fun way to spend some time downtown.
You can see my other tips for summer in San Diego with kids for more ideas.
Visit the La Jolla Seals and La Jolla Cove Sea Lions
For a full run down and map, see how to visit the La Jolla seals and sea lions. However, since Children’s Pool Beach where the seals hang out, is open to the public in August, they vacate early in the morning and return to the beach in the evening.
(It is also important to remain respectful of the local wildlife. There is signage around the area that discourages visitors from getting too close to the seals and sea lions.)
What to Wear in San Diego in August
What to pack for San Diego in August includes layers, but it’s not the end of the world if you forget them. It simply helps to have a light sweater for evenings after sunset, which happens around 7:45 p.m. on most evenings.
If you’re from a state that has “real winters,” though, you will be able to brave the evening without a sweater or cardigan. However, the little beach shops do have cute souvenir hoodies and sweaters available.
San Diego is notoriously laidback. Athleisure and beachwear are what we residents are wearing in August. To be honest, residents wear athleisure and beachwear year-round in San Diego.
There’s really no need to dress up unless you’re going to clubs downtown (check required dress codes online) or to one of our nicer restaurants. The packing list is similar to July:
- Face covering
- Bathing suit
- Rashguard or UV shirt for sun protection
- Flip flops
- Bathing suit cover-up
- Tank tops
- Light sweater or wrap for evenings
- Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing
- Casual dress or collared shirt and nice jeans (only if you plan to dine in one of our nicer restaurants — even on the patio)
Lifestyle: What Residents Are Up To
Right now, I’m cycling through the list of things I meant to do earlier in the summer and am trying to figure out how to jam them into August. This summer feels a bit more normal than previous ones. Events like PRIDE popped back up last month, reminding us that everything is getting back to life as we once knew it.
In our circle, I can tell you that there is plenty of spontaneous beachgoing. We’re barbecuing and eating at San Diego restaurants with patios and ocean views. There has also been some great live music, like the Stadium Tour featuring bands like Motley Crue that’s hitting Petco Park on August 28.
And, because it’s hotter outside than it was in June or July, visiting parks and attractions becomes a morning activity. So, I wake my daughter up early to head out. Days are usually finished with a late afternoon at the beach session.
Staycations are still in full effect at the best resorts in San Diego. If you can’t carve out enough time to sleep over, a nice happy medium is to buy a ResortPass, which gives you access to hotel pools, including cabanas for the day.
If you live here, please share your thoughts about San Diego in August!