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
The La 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
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.
ACCESS MY EXCLUSIVE TICKET DISCOUNTI have unpublished deeper savings on tickets through my partnership with aRes Travel, an authorized San Diego Zoo ticket seller. Use password lajollamom to access it on this page.
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.
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:
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.
If you are a local, please share your thoughts about San Diego in March!