San Diego in March 2024 looks pretty great. Did you know March through May is one of the best times to visit? Despite it being spring break season, you’ll see fewer crowds than in the summer. This means easier parking, more available reservations, and skipping long lines. Days can be warm, and nights are cool.

But don’t wait to plan because I’ve been swamped with spring break vacation questions and hotel bookings. (I’ve never seen this kind of volume before.) All traveler types choose San Diego for March vacations because we have fantastic weather, beaches, and things to do.

We can help you save on tickets, tours, and hotels. If you purchase through some of the links below, we may be compensated. Thank you for supporting our small business! Our editorial guidelines.


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.

Our Microclimates

We have four microclimates in San Diego: coastal (where most tourists are headed), inland valleys, mountains, and desert. I will cover them here in more detail since March is a popular time to visit San Diego, and you can hit multiple microclimates in one vacation.

Our local television stations give weather forecasts by microclimates. So, if you just punch in “San Diego” on your weather app, it 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.

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: 1.5 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?

My daughter pets our dog on La Jolla Shores Beach.
La Jolla Shores Beach on a sunny morning in March

You will see more people on the beaches in San Diego in March (especially later in the month) than in February. Many venture into the ocean, but the water will still be pretty chilly.

Spring break for some schools starts in mid-March, which is part of why it’s busier on the sand than in other months. Tourists swim in the water, take surfing lessons, kayak the La Jolla sea caves, and enjoy 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 watch the sunset. Bring a picnic or a pizza for a picture-perfect early dinner on the sand.

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, you’ll want more warmth for water sports as it can be cold.

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 considering coming to San Diego during the summer of 2024, please book your trip now. Our hotels are already booked for 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. It’s always wise to book spring break hotels as far in advance as possible.

Many people are choosing Hotel del Coronado. Their new beachfront gated community, Beach Village, is now open, and it’s a great luxury option in Coronado. You can rent beautiful cottages and villas here, or opt for the other parts of this historic hotel. I’m happy to guide you with room selections.

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


San Diego March Events

Festivals dominate March events in San Diego, but there’s more fun to consider.

San Diego Latino Film Festival

The 31st San Diego Latino Film Festival takes place from March 14-24. Purchase a pass to watch films at AMC Mission Valley or Digital Gym Cinema. Check their website for the 2024 schedule of events and how to purchase tickets.

Cherry Blossom Festival

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park takes place from March 7-10 this year. 

Celebrate the Japanese custom of “hanami,” which means to appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms. There will be performances (including cosplays with prizes), cherry blossoms, sake, vendors, and exclusive Japanese Friendship Garden merchandise. VIP tickets gain access at the Upper Garden Back Gate. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

This year’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival at Balboa Park takes place on March 16, 2024. For the festival location, parade route, and other information, visit the St. Patrick’s Day Parade website.

If you want to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day, find an Irish pub like The Field in the Gaslamp Quarter, where you can sip Guinness on an outdoor patio. Many restaurants and bars across San Diego County offer food and drink specials. If you’re ready to join the party in progress, try a neighborhood event. Here’s a fun list.

SAN DIEGO FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE & ENGINEERING

This fun annual festival will be at Snapdragon Stadium for 2024, on March 2. The STEAM-focused festival is the perfect day out for curious young minds and includes lots of fascinating exhibits, fun and educational shows, and plenty of hands-on activities. There’s also a STEAM design contest.

Note that Snapdragon has a strict clear bag-only policy, including size limits. Check the festival’s website for details.

hot chocolate 5k/10k/15k run

What better way to celebrate completing a 5, 10 or 15K run than with what promises to be a ‘finisher mug overflowing with chocolate fondue, dippables, and hot chocolate’.

The nationwide Hot Chocolate Run and its delicious post-party hits San Diego on March 10, 2024. Races kick off at Petco Park, and course highlights on the various distance runs include Balboa Park, Golden Hill Park, and the East Village.

GOVX San Diego Half Marathon and 5K

Another fun event for runners is the 13th annual GOVX San Diego Half Marathon and 5K, on March 24. Runners will enjoy a course that includes five miles of waterfront, three picturesque parks, and four historic communities before heading for a Gaslamp finish via a two-mile jog through downtown.

SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival

Between March 1 and April 28, head over to SeaWorld San Diego on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays to taste your way around the world at their Seven Seas Food Festival, which is included with park admission.

I’ve written in detail about how to buy discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets.

Sesame Place

Sesame Place is still celebrating Elmo’s Furry Fun Fest on weekends through March 17, 2024. Every week, a different character will host a fun-filled weekend of activities for the whole family, but mostly for kids, of course.

Elmo’s Fest kicked off in January, but fun March events include Oscar’s Trash-tastic Weekend from March 2-3, Big Bird’s Pajama Party Weekend on March 9-10, and St. Patrick’s Day Weekend from 16-17.

Join in the fun and always get the best prices on tickets.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

This world-famous exhibition is currently back in San Diego but ends on April 4, 2024, so March is a great time to go if you haven’t already. The cinematic multimedia show features cutting-edge projection technology that projects stunning moving visuals of Van Gogh’s work in the huge space. The show is accompanied by a specially curated musical soundtrack.

The exhibition is located at the Wyland Center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Beyond Monet: The Immersive Experience

The Monet Immersive Experience also runs until April 4 at the same venue as the Van Gogh show. The show features more than 400 of the artist’s most iconic impressionism paintings, including the Water Lilies series, Impression: Sunrise, and Poppies.

You can get tickets for either exhibition, combo tickets to include both or a specially-priced family pack of tickets.

circus Vargas

The hugely popular circus returns to San Diego’s Mission Valley from March 8–31, 2024. The spectacular two-hour show is a great night out for all the family. It features daring trapeze and aerial acrobatic acts, a contortionist, jugglers, clowns, the thrilling Globe of Death motorcycle show, and the famed Wheel of Death where the Marinelli Brothers perform death-defying stunts in their giant rotating wheel.

The big top will be located in the Westfield shopping parking lot for the March shows, at 1640 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego.

old town trolley tours

Some San Diego residents can ride free on Old Town Trolley Tours for the month of March 2024. Everyone who purchases a full-fare Hometown Pass adult ticket can get a free additional Hometown pass, which includes free admission to some of their tours and attractions.

The accompanying adult guest ticket must be purchased at a Historic Tours of America tour or attraction ticket booth or up can call 866-753-7975. Check their website for more details on the offer.

San Diego Restaurant Week

San Diego Restaurant Week is back from March 3 -10 in 2024. You’ll get to dine your way through budget-friendly prix fixe meals at restaurants across San Diego.

One of the best things about San Diego Restaurant Week is trying out casual neighborhood spots you’ve never been to, as well as fine-dining restaurants you’ve been dying to try.

The California Restaurant Association sponsors San Diego Restaurant Week. The Restaurant Week website lists all participating restaurants and helps you plan your eats by searching neighborhoods, food types, or dining options. 

Padres MLB Season Home Opener 

Major League Baseball fans can enjoy an exhibition game between the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners on March 25 and March 26, 2024, this year at Petco Park.

But for the real excitement, the MLB home opener game against the San Francisco Giants is on March 28. It’s the first time the two teams will compete in an exciting three-game series.

Check the team’s March schedule for more game dates. And you join the fun at Friday Party in the Park: BeerFest pre-game celebration in Gallagher Square.

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

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.

From March 1, 2024, you can 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, take a tractor ride, shop for plants and flowers, and much more.

Take a Day Trip to See Desert Bloom

Desert bloom takes place in San Diego’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. If you’ve never seen them, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the millions of colorful flowers that carpet the desert floor. Some years are better than others, depending on winter rains, but you’ll rarely be disappointed. 

The best time to see the desert bloom is from the end of February to the first of April, with the second week in March often considered the peak time. The Anza Borrego Foundation has updates on what’s in bloom, directions, and what to know before you go.

Bonus: If you go on March 16 – 17, you can also check out the ‘Circle of Art‘ Fine Art Show & Sale at Christmas Circle Park, Borrego Springs. You’ll find artworks representing a variety of media from watercolors to weaving to pottery, and many more.

Make Plans for Easter

Sometimes, Easter occurs in April, but in 2024, it’s on March 31. And it’s never too early to start thinking about the many Easter celebrations in San Diego.

Look for Baby Seals

A wave crashes on the Children's Pool sea wall while seals sleep on the sand.
Children’s Pool seals on a March evening right before rain.

It’s still pupping season at Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla. While the beach is closed, you can still see the babies from the boardwalk. Read my guide on how to see the La Jolla seals.

Check Out Our Tide Pools

March is one of the last months with minus tides during daylight hours. Check the tide charts. They are showing March 6–11 March as really low, so that’s a great time to go. 18 – 23 March are a little less so, but good.

Afternoon minus tides are happening in March, 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 to the beach at night. You might see some slippery silver fish.

Check the calendar of expected runs for March 2024.

Visit Our Attractions

Beat the summer rush and visit these top San Diego attractions in the more comfortable and temperate March weather.

San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Reservations are not required to attend the San Diego Zoo or Safari Park, but you can purchase tickets online before your visit for the sake of convenience. Spring Safari featuring the Butterfly Jungle is a popular annual event at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and runs from March through May.

Do not forget that I have the BEST PRICES on San Diego Zoo tickets and San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets.

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*By texting the word SDZOO to 1-833-490-0799 you agree to receive automated promotional messages with how to secure my deeper ticket discount and this agreement isn’t a condition of any purchase. Msg and data rates may apply. 2 msg/mo. Reply STOP to cancel. Read my full privacy policy.

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum offers self-guided audio and docent-led tours. This is one of San Diego’s most popular attractions year after year. You can get tickets here.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Tide Pool Plaza at Birch Aquarium
I took this photo of Tide Pool Plaza in March 2018.

Things to do in San Diego in March definitely include the Little Blue Penguins 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 boat tours, for what will be a lovely way to spend a half-day outside.

The whales have 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:

  • 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 March, 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 March!

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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