People flock to San Diego in droves during the summer months for obvious reasons – sun, sand, and a good time in America’s Finest City.
What first-timers may not know is the summer months can bring a boatload of disappointment to tourists. Late spring and early summer are actually not the best times to come here.
Have you ever heard of ‘May Gray’ or June Gloom’? San Diegans know all about it as May and June don’t see much sun for a city known as Sunny San Diego.
And late summer can be hotter than expected, not exactly aligning with the reputation of having perfect 75-degree weather all year long.
July through September can be deceiving, but they still draw a crowd. In fact, hotels are still packed with tourists.
San Diego’s hotels crack the top 10 in the nation as we head into the fall season with just under 80% of rooms full.
The common joke among San Diego’s locals is that nobody is really a local. The city is a very transient place where it seems like nobody is from here. But once you visit, you’re hooked!
@jessquiz First dip in the ocean in 2023! I wanna be like those florida girlies, but our san diego water is so cold🥶 #socal #sandiego #beach #beachlife #california ♬ Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley & The Wailers
The key is to know what to expect. Those looking for an awesome beach getaway can come to San Diego year-round for beautiful beaches from just across the border all the way to Orange County.
What travelers may not know is the water is cold all year. That’s why visiting in the summer is often an illusion. Grey skies and cold water sounds more like Iceland than Southern California.
Factor in paying inflated prices for flights, rental cars, and hotels. Is that the beach escape you had in mind while you shiver in your skivvies?
The warmth you may find is from the body heat of all the overly-crowded beaches, but the water is always chilly.
@mollie.zee Have you ever heard of May Gray to June Gloom??? #sandiego #maygray #sunnysandiego #travel ♬ original sound – the.healing.hairstylist
The beautiful coastline doesn’t go anywhere, but as summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, crowds and sky-high prices will gradually dissipate.
A Big City Overshadowed By L.A.
Those who haven’t been here, or those who have visited but never left the beach, tend to think of San Diego as a small beach town.
Often overshadowed by Los Angeles just 2 hours north, it’s actually the second biggest city in California, with so much more to experience beyond the scenic coastlines.
@lajollaca Windansea #LaJollaCa #LaJollaBeach #SanDiego #Beach #Summer #pacificocean ♬ Numb – Marshmello & Khalid
San Diego is a huge draw to every type of traveler. If you want to be a beach bum, there are dozens of picture-perfect places for you, such as Solana or Windansea Beach.
If your love for nature goes beyond the ocean, San Diego doesn’t disappoint with jaw-dropping hiking trails like Potato Chip Rock or chase waterfalls to Three Sisters.
In fact, San Diego is one of the top destinations for solo travelers this year, with so many cool places to embrace solitude.
Maybe you’re bringing the whole crew for a family vacation. There is Legoland, Sea World, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and the newly opened Sesame Place.
@ventureaddicts San Diego's Epic Challenge: Hiking Potato Chip Rock #SanDiegoHikes #PotatoChipRock ♬ original sound – Jacob
Beer snobs and foodies can hop around the endless breweries of North Park, and you gotta have a California burrito.
Even digital nomads love San Diego with trendy cafes around the city and free public wifi in gorgeous places, such as the largest urban cultural park in the U.S. – Balboa Park.
San Diego really has it all, and there are so many great places to stay, with new hotels opening in some of the best spots in the city.
Where Locals Go For A Taste Of Fall
@desert.brett Looking for a Fall Adventure in California? Head up to the Southern California mountain town- Julian. Full of pie and foliage, this day trip will not disappoint! #julianca #juliancalifornia #californiaroadtrip #daytrip #fall #falladventures #palmspringsbrett ♬ original sound – Desert.Brett
Ron Burgandy aside, San Diego’s claim to fame will always be the beach. As such, travelers should not expect never-ending treelines of fall foliage here.
That doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent choice for a fall trip, but it’s great for different reasons. While tourists flock to the beach, San Diegans have some secrets up their sleeves to get a sense of crisp fall air, colorful leaves, and the usual fall activities.
In fact, did you know it even snows in San Diego? The storybook mountain town of Julian is just an hour from downtown, making it the perfect fall day trip.
Not only will this former mining town take you back in time with its old-timey western flare, but it may be the highlight of your trip.
@brisofia01 The cutest little town 🍻🥧 #roadtrip #californiahiddengems #julianca #travel ♬ original sound – Bri🤍
This gem tucked away on San Diego’s picturesque backroads is famous for its pie shops, in particular the Julian Pie Company.
There are multiple orchards for apple and pumpkin picking, stunning views of the rolling hills lined with fall foliage, and cideries to enjoy a fresh cup of cider (with or without alcohol) in the crisp fall air.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com