What To Pack For A San Diego Winter Holiday

Don’t forget layers!

San Diego packing
Sometimes sunny days at the beach can be chilly enough for a light jacket. Photo: Storrey Lance

San Diego is a popular destination during the holidays for jetsetters trying to escape the cold in the rest of the US. If your ideal holiday season includes endless Mexican food and riding bikes on the boardwalk then San Diego is the perfect place for you. One thing I have found after living in the area for two years is that it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to wear. Visitors assume that is 75ºF and sunny all year round but this simply isn’t true. This is meant to be your guide for what to wear for your San Diego winters.

San Diego packing
Pants and a light long sleeve are usually a good call. Photo: Storrey Lance

Surprisingly it does get “chilly” in San Diego. By “chilly” I mean sometimes it drops below 60ºF  and the locals pull out their down coats. In the mornings and evenings, it can be in the mid to upper 50sºF  which means that bringing a jacket or a vest and long sleeves is definitely important. It isn’t all tank tops and t-shirts 24/7. Additionally, regardless of your gender, you will want to bring long pants because at night it is definitely cold enough to warrant jeans, leggings, or sweatpants.

San Diego packing
My mom and I layered up on a November morning. Photo: Storrey Lance

In the morning it’ll start out in the low 60sºF  and sometimes foggy. It’ll warm up around noon and the fog usually burns off. At this point it will become warm and the temperature can rise into the upper 70sºF  to low 80s. People wearing a sweater and jeans will be sweating. The key to this kind of weather is layers. Long pants, a t-shirt, and a jacket is a perfect example of how to prepare for a cooler morning and a warmer afternoon. If you want to wear shorts, then throwing a sweater or jacket on top is usually a safe bet. Either a jacket on top or pants on the bottom. After 4 pm, it starts to cool down and by sunset it can be cold enough for pants and a jacket again.

San Diego packing
Of course, don’t forget a bathing suit!! Photo: Storrey Lance

Of course, it is still important to bring a bathing suit and a towel because you will likely be relaxing by the beach during your vacation. I advise bringing a jacket or sweatshirt to the beach because the wind can be cold. Even if you don’t wear it, it makes a great pillow.

Whatever you pack for your San Diego vacation, don’t forget layers!

Storrey has lived in San Diego for two years.

Storrey Lance


Storrey's passion for travel has never stopped, including studying abroad in Italy. She's a foodie, vegetarian & loves to bake pies.

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