Hello, February in San Diego. It’s really nice to see you after last month. As you know, California’s Stay-at-Home Order was lifted, giving some hope to San Diego restaurants, zoos and aquariums, and museums that can now safely open outdoors.

February, outside of President’s Day weekend, is still a shoulder month when rates are low before spring breakers and sunnier weather arrives.

And, if my inbox is any gauge, people are cautiously ready to staycation, vacation, or get outside a little more.

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 February Weather

The sign for Little Italy San Diego in February with blue skies
Sunny skies in Little Italy San Diego on a February evening.

San Diego weather in February typically serves up some rain. It’s cloudy and “cold” (for San Diego) with bursts of sunshine — though the weather is crisp even if the skies are blue.

Our Microclimates

February is also when you see more dramatic weather changes throughout our microclimates: coastal, inland valleys, mountains, and desert.

I drove between San Diego and Orange County yesterday, and while it was jeans and T-shirt weather along the coast, the hills and mountains to the east are COVERED in snow and completely white. This is when residents take San Diego day trips to the mountains to see snow.

Pack warm layers when heading to the inland valleys. I went to San Diego Zoo Safari Park last February and it was sunny but very cold in the morning. We could shed our jackets toward the afternoon.

Some Blue Skies and Some Rain

February, to me, is cold. But, those of you on the East Coast will probably laugh at me after reading the below San Diego February weather statistics:

  • Average temperature (high/low): 66°F/51°F
  • Rainfall: 2.3 inches
  • Days of rain: 7
  • Days of sunshine: 71%
  • Daylight: 11 hours
  • Ocean temperature (high/low): 59.7°F/58°F

Can You Go to the Beach in February?

Yes, you can go to beaches in San Diego in February. Lots of people are walking their dogs on the beaches, exercising, surfing and kayaking.

The hearty are sunbathing on sunny days. Most residents leave the swimwear at home.

Ocean Tips

You will need a wetsuit to swim in the ocean in February. If you don’t have one to pack, you can rent them at various surf shops and surfing schools around San Diego. Kids’ sizes are available, too.

You CAN and should still take surfing lessons or learn how to stand-up paddleboard. Our water sports are available year-round.


Advice for Booking Hotels in February

I’m stepping in here to say that if you are thinking of coming to San Diego during the summer of 2021, please book your trip now. Due to travel constraints and sensitivities, people are sticking to domestic destinations. Our hotels are booking up already during some summer dates.

Prices for San Diego hotels in February tend to be very reasonable outside of President’s Day weekend.

As I mentioned, in my San Diego in January review, there are advantages to visiting in the off-peak winter season. Aside from low rates, it’s a bit more pleasant to sightsee when it’s not as hot outside.

Beach valet services may be limited in February at some resorts, but you can ask me or call the hotel in advance to see what is on offer.


San Diego February Events

February events in San Diego this year are mostly online but nonetheless worth checking out.

San Diego Museum Month

Normally, San Diego Museum Month provides locals (and tourists) the opportunity to visit over 40 museums at half-off the normal price of admission. Since many museums are still closed, the annual event has gone online.

Chinese New Year in San Diego

Normally, I list out some very cool San Diego Chinese New Year festivals happening around town. Several have gone online while others will not happen this year.

However, remember that you can still celebrate at home. Order some takeout from your favorite Chinese restaurant. We like several in the Convoy area (we used to live in Hong Kong), including Shanghai Saloon, Jasmine Seafood, and Emerald Chinese Cuisine.

Maybe stop for Taiwanese shaved snow at Iceskimo while you’re there (conveniently located in the same parking lot as the former two restaurants).

Valentine’s Day in San Diego

Yes, it’s usually a huge day for San Diego restaurants. If you are going to take advantage of outdoor dining, I suggest that you make reservations as soon as possible since you won’t be the only one with this idea.

Black History Month in San Diego

Look for virtual celebrations of Black History month in 2021 as well. One of my favorite initiatives is by San Diego History Center.

You can visit their exhibition page to nominate a Black hero and submit milestones and memories that are important to our Black community’s history in San Diego.

Take a few minutes to scroll through the timeline they’ve already pieced together, starting in 1798.


Things to Do in San Diego in February

There is quite a bit to do with some theme parks, attractions, tours, and museums open for outdoor operations. I can tell people are looking, especially for things to do in San Diego with kids.

Look for Baby Seals

Baby harbor seals and parents on the sand at Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla
One of my favorite winter and early spring (free) activities.

It’s pupping season at Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla. Bring your zoom camera lens and get ready to be entertained by harbor seal babies in this very rare urban rookery.

Head to the Tide Pools

Check the tide charts. Afternoon minus tides are happening between February 7-14 and February 22-28. We’re slowly heading to the end of tide pooling season, so use this as a chance to go out and safely explore.

Please leave them as you found them. I’ve been a few times and have noticed people taking large quantities of shells and other items home. Outside of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, this is permitted but remember that the shells are often animal homes.

If you choose to explore the tide pools in La Jolla along Coast Blvd, you can very easily see the baby harbor seals at the same time. For other spots, see my list of where to go tide pooling in San Diego.

Walk Through a Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is open and a lovely place for a zen walk. (Did you know that you can adopt one of their koi?)

For, fun in the Hamilton Children’s Garden or to clock some miles on a mild or moderate walk, head over to the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. They are nearly fully-open as an outdoor recreation center.

San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Rhinos that you can see with discount San Diego Zoo Safari Park Discount tickets.
Rhinos sleep on a February morning at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Both parks are open! Since their exhibits are outdoors, their operations are minimally impacted. There is a new reservation system in place that moderates crowds that were an issue in October (since they have to operate at a limited capacity). You can pick a day and go any time.

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Go Gray Whale Watching

A whale tail sticking out of the ocean with a boat of onlookers in the distance

You can go gray whale watching in San Diego on tours running with enhanced health and safety measures in place. Whales are a little more difficult to see from land in February because they’re already in Mexico or heading back north with their calves (when they swim further from shore).

Popular places to try to see them from land include:

Try a Chef Prepared Meal at Home

This was delicious and came with a recipe for Winter Kale Apple salad, which I made.

If you’re looking for another way to support San Diego restaurants, look at In Good Company. It’s a new startup in town that delivers chef-prepared frozen meals.

Our drop included:

  • Juniper & Ivy: Pork Belly Shephard’s Pie
  • Ranch 45: Brandt Beef Lasagne
  • Viewpoint Brewing Co: Braised Beef Stew
  • Galaxy Taco: Braised Pork and Beans
  • LuckyBolt: Winter Pork Pie

The tins feed 2-3 people (you can order more than one) and come with reheating and side dish instructions.


What to Wear in San Diego in February

Your San Diego packing list for February sweaters, long-sleeved T-shirts, jeans, and jackets.

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 and hiking shoes for outdoor activities
  • Portable umbrella
  • 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 (mostly long-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
  • Ugg boots
  • Wetsuit (you can rent one)

Leave the fur coats and accessories at home as they are usually not well received here.


Lifestyle: What Residents Are Up To

Locals are looking forward. With vaccinations underway and numbers declining, fingers crossed, we’ll be able to travel more freely or feel comfortable about traveling and visiting attractions.

Staycations and vacations are booming. If you are planning to visit San Diego during spring break or in the summer of 2021. Please book now for this reason.

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

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