Ocean Water Temperatures in San Diego

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The Sunny City by the Sea
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San Diego’s oceans are typically pleasantly warm in the summer, though the water temperatures are cooler in the winter.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Ocean Water Temperatures
What to Expect
Ocean Temp Charts
Tides
Stay in San Diego
Popular Beaches

Highlights

What to Expect
Ocean Temperature Charts
Tides
Reason for Mild Weather
What to Expect
Ocean Temperature Charts
Tides

What to Expect with San Diego Ocean Temperatures

Beautiful Day in the Water at Del Mar City BeachGreat Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove

Unless you’re especially well-acquainted with swimming in frigid waters, visiting the beach and sticking your toes in the surf is best experienced during warm days when the ocean has absorbed the heat of the sun. For most people, a comfortable swimming temperature is at minimum 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with the sweet spot around the mid-70s.

Here’s some great news for people planning to visit San Diego: most beaches have great ocean temperatures! While during the winter the beaches get cooler currents, many of San Diego’s best beaches are warm enough to be comfortable during the summer without being so warm as to no longer be refreshing on hot days.

Of course, these temperatures also vary depending if you are at a beach alongside the ocean or at a bay beach. Spots like La Jolla Cove and Del Mar City Beach are among the most popular spots to swim, even for families with young children, as the shape of the coves provide protection against ocean currents.

The time of year greatly depends on the ocean temperature, so it’s important to know what ocean temperatures to expect when you visit!

Ocean Water Temperatures plus Charts

Sunset and Low Tide at Scripps Pier
Sunset and Low Tide at Scripps Pier

Scripps Pier

The waters around Scripps Pier usually provide the benchmark ocean water temperatures around San Diego. The water's heat up from a minimum average of 55 to 57 degrees in the winter months, reaching a mild 68 to 72 degrees in the summer months of June, July, and August.

San Diego Ocean Water Temperature Averages
Scripps Pier Chart (°F)

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Temp
58°
57°
58°
60°
62°
65°
67°
68°
66°
64°
61°
59°

Path Along San Diego Bay at Spanish Landing
Path Along San Diego Bay at Spanish Landing

San Diego Bay

San Diego has some of the finest beaches in the region, and they attract surfers and surf watchers from all over the world. In the San Diego Bay area, you can expect the warmest waters in the region.

Take your kayak out or go for a swim with a water temperature at a minimum of 59 degrees in the winter month of January and temperatures rising rapidly and remaining in the low 70's between June and September.

San Diego Ocean Water Temperature Averages
San Diego Bay Chart (°F)

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Temp
59°
60°
62°
64°
67°
70°
71°
72°
71°
69°
65°
60°

Having Fun at Pier View South Beach
Having Fun at Pier View South Beach

Oceanside

The picture is pretty much the same as for Scripps Pier, with the temperature ranging from around 57 to 58 degrees in January and February, to a maximum of 72 degrees by August and September.

San Diego Ocean Water Temperature Averages
Oceanside Chart (°F)

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Temp
57°
57°
58°
60°
62°
65°
67°
69°
67°
64°
61°
59°

San Diego Weather Forecast

August
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
September
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
October
61°F / 81°F
Sunny in October

Tides

Beautiful Day at Del Mar City Beach
Beautiful Day at Del Mar City Beach

There are two high tides along the coastal area and, unsurprisingly, two low tides per day. There are many features, such as tide pools, caves, and even natural arches, formed over millennia to explore at low tides. Select beaches in San Diego may only be accessible at low tides.

For surfers, the best waves tend to be on an incoming tide, but this does depend on the break. If you choose the perfect moment, that is, in the middle of a rising tide, you can expect a couple of hours of almost-perfect waves for an unforgettable challenge!

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The Reason San Diego Weather Is So Mild

Relax at North Pacific Beach
Relax at North Pacific Beach

San Diego's excellent climate is often referred to as being 'Mediterranean.' That's no surprise, really, considering it is situated on the same latitude as Italy, Greece, and Spain and is, therefore, the same distance from the equator.

The year-round mild temperatures, even in the height of summer, can be attributed to the Maritime Effect from the Pacific Ocean, the effect the ocean and coastline has on the weather.

In the summer, ocean currents from thousands of miles away are cool and have the effect of lowering the temperatures on the nearby areas of San Diego and keeping the weather dry.

In the winter, the currents are warmer, which means that the air passing over them isn't cooled down as much and prevents the land from becoming too cold. They also bring welcoming rain. The result is mild winters and relatively cool summers and a cool sea breeze along the coast for much of the year.

Climate Change in San Diego

La Jolla Cove and the Path Above the Beach
La Jolla Cove and the Path Above the Beach

Along with the rest of California, and the western USA, the region is already feeling the dramatic effects of climate change. As the oceans heat up and sea levels rise, possible effects could include heavier rainfall and longer wildfire seasons in the whole of Southern California.

The effects of climate change can already be felt in the gradual warming of coastal waters over time, especially within the last decade. While sun-warmed water is no doubt enjoyable when you’re going for a swim, it’s important to recognize the effects that these changes have on San Diego’s climate as a whole.

Not only do shifts in ocean temperatures cause higher rates of humidity during summer months, but they also impact the habitats of marine life. The stunning biodiversity you see when snorkeling and scuba diving off the coast is increasingly threatened as the effects of climate change continue to grow.

While the spectacular cliffs along San Diego's coastline could act as a natural barrier against flooding, the climate change will directly affect San Diego in a negative way and is something we should do our part now to slow or stop to protect the future of San Diego.

This Month's Forecast
66°F / 81°F
Sunny in July
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Oct
61°F / 81°F
Sunny in October

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