So, you’ve decided that you’re going to visit southern California and have already started searching for San Diego luxury homes near the beach? Good choice. San Diego is one of California’s best travel destinations with fantastic weather at any time of the year, beautiful beaches and a rich history. But, you’re not the only one who chose this city for a vacation. Another 35 million tourists will be visiting this year, which makes it essential to find ways to dodge the crowds.
When is the Best Time to Visit San Diego?
Peak season in San Diego usually corresponds to the summertime, school holidays and Christmas. During these times, expect hotel prices to soar and to be jostling for space at attractions. Most tourists come during the summer to enjoy the warm weather and often stick around until late September. But, the climate here is warm and sunny throughout the year, and winter temperatures are quite pleasant too.
If you want to avoid the crowds and find cheaper accommodation, the best time is between October and November. Fewer tourists visit meaning you won’t have to face the same level of crowds. However, don’t expect the streets to be empty or to be able to walk straight inside the museum. San Diego gets visitors all year round, fewer come in late fall and early winter.
It’s not always possible to plan your trip during the low season. We all have work, commitments and don’t have the luxury of being able to take a vacation whenever we please. The city gets busy on weekends for two reasons. First, domestic tourists from California or the United States love San Diego too and often head down for a weekend of relaxation and fun. Second, the locals aren’t at work and will go to the best spots in their city.
An example of this is at the Sunshine Cliffs. The Sunshine Cliffs if you didn’t know are near Point Loma a few kilometers from the city center. Imagine yellow cliffs hugging the coastline with the Pacific Ocean below. And now picture the orange-yellow sun slowly dipping behind the horizon. It sounds magical, doesn’t it? Well, you’re not the only one who thinks so. Both locals and tourists love this spot. And the locals often come on weekends.
Other examples are to visit the museums and parks on weekdays to avoid the crowds. But if you can’t avoid visiting on weekends, make sure you go to the more secluded spots, especially the beaches.
The Best Beaches Without the Crowds
There are lots of beautiful beaches along San Diego’s 100+ kilometers of coastline. Imperial and Coronado Beaches are two of the most famous. However, as you can expect, thousands of tourists will be out sunbathing and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. Other times, local surfers are out on the waves making the place feel busy. And a packed beach isn’t exactly relaxing.
Luckily there are some spots that get relatively few tourists and are much quieter. If you do visit either Imperial or Coronado and it’s super busy, head to the four-kilometer long sandspit that joins both the beaches together. The sand is beautiful, and the waters are clear, but the best part is having hardly any visitors. You can go snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean or rent a kayak for a few hours.
Marine Street Beach is another good spot to come to avoid the hordes of sunbathing tourists. The waters are rougher making it a favorite place for local surfers. But you’ll find hardly anyone else around. Head here for a few hours of peaceful relaxation away from the tourists. If you have kids, it’s probably not the best place to come as the waves can be high and the currents are strong. Blacks Beach gets even fewer tourists. However, this is perhaps not a place for children as it’s San Diego’s only nudist beach!
Other Ways to Beat the Crowds
Some attractions have special tickets offering a VIP service, such as SeaWorld’s Spotlight tour. The higher costing ticket gets a private tour that avoids the crowds. Not all places have this kind of ticket, but it’s worth checking out. If you’re travelling as a group, the total cost may be better value for money than buying individual tickets for each person.
If you want to explore downtown and both the Old Town and Gaslamp Quarter, the best time to visit is early in the morning. Few tourists wish to wake up early when they’re on vacation giving you the edge if you can get out of bed in the morning. You don’t have to be up and about by sunrise. The best time is probably around 9:00 am when the other visitors are just waking up and going for breakfast. It’s strongly recommended to try to explore earlier in the morning because you’ll have more time to find and take the perfect photograph. Another advantage is the waiters won’t be shoving overpriced menus in your face either.
How to Avoid the Crowds
If you want to visit San Diego and avoid the millions of tourists, try to come during late fall and early winter. When it’s unavoidable, go to the attractions on weekdays when there will be fewer people around. Finally, wake up early to explore the city and search around to find tickets that let you skip the lines and crowds. If you visit without the crowds, you’re almost certain to have a better experience.