Almost three million county residents can't be wrong: it's the weather. While many areas of the country are hibernating under blankets of snow or sweltering in muggy mid-summer humidity, San Diego's climate is generally sunny and mild year-round.
The Pacific Ocean has a strong influence on weather conditions. Springtime visitors to Cabrillo National Monument should be prepared for cool, windy, and foggy conditions, even if it is sunny, hot, and dry further inland. An overcast marine layer can develop near the coast at any time of year, but this phenomenon is most common during the late spring and early summer. Locals call these times "May Gray" and "June Gloom." Thinking of hitting San Diego's beaches to laze in the warmth of sun-baked sand? You'll probably want to trade the swimsuit for a sweatshirt and pants, as cloudy skies dominate and temperatures rarely rise above 70 degrees. The upside: you can pack away the umbrellas, because there's little chance of rain.
Ahhhh, summer in San Diego. Blissful visitors stroll the park, the air redolent with the scent of sunscreen. The city enjoys temperatures in the 80s during July and August, but fog can roll in suddenly, resulting in a quick drop in temperature.
Following the rhythm of the seasons, San Diego begins winding down in autumn. Rain is rare, skies are clear, and temperatures usually hover in the mid-70s. Fall is also the time when Santa Anas hit the county. These ferocious winds howl in from the desert to the east, bringing dramatic temperature increases (daytime highs can quickly rise into the 90s), hot, dry air, and virtually no humidity. Startled yelps provide the park's autumn soundtrack, as visitors and staff endure recurrent static electric shocks when coming in contact with metal exhibits, car doors, or each other.
November through February is the rainy season here, with chilly weather fronts roaring down from the Gulf of Alaska, delivering sometimes torrential downpours and temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Once storms move out, however, the views from Cabrillo are usually the best of the year: the rain cleanses the air and makes for crystal-clear panoramas.
What to Wear
A well-prepared visitor to Cabrillo National Monument will dress in layers any time of year to accommodate changes in weather conditions, and will remember the sunscreen and hat for sunny days: coastal sun can be bright, even on cold winter days.
Last updated: July 11, 2020