15 Photos That Show Why San Diego in the Fall is Fabulous

When is the best time to visit America’s Finest City, otherwise known as San Diego? The general consensus among long-time residents, including myself, is that fall in San Diego is simply unbeatable. And perhaps that’s one reason we’ve taken so long to post on the SavvySojourns blog: we’ve been out enjoying the best that San Diego has to offer.

Long stretches of sandy beaches -- and no crowds -- are what await you during San Diego's warm autumn months. This photo shows D Street Beach in Encinitas -- located in north coastal San Diego County.
Long stretches of sandy beaches — and no crowds — are what await you during San Diego’s warm autumn months. This photo shows D Street Beach in Encinitas — located in north coastal San Diego County.

If you love the California coast like we do, and revel in clear, sunny days along with spectacular sunsets, then San Diego should be at the top of your destination list for autumn travel. Most San Diegans agree that fall not only delivers the best weather of the year — with daytime temps averaging 73 degrees Fahrenheit in October — but also provides a relaxing alternative to the summer chaos, along with off-season savings on lodging and other travel costs.

Here in this post, we’ve captured our little slice of paradise in 15 photos to give you an idea of what you might be missing if you don’t make your way to our fair corner of the world in the weeks ahead:

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is a family favorite — with a children’s playground, snack bar, restroom facilities and lifeguard services. Check for seasonal availability of these services.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, in north coastal San Diego County, offers plenty of year-round water sports to enjoy, from kayaking and paddle boarding, to wave runners and more.
Beautiful La Jolla is the gem of San Diego’s coastline. Whether you walk along the sand — shown here empty on a fall day — or above the bluffs on the meandering path, gorgeous views will await you.
Golf during the autumn season in San Diego is also spectacular, with low rainfall (approximately half an inch for the entire month is typical), plenty of sunshine and lots of available tee times.
Swami’s Beach in Encinitas is named for the nearby Self-Realization Fellowship and offers excellent surfing, plenty of tide pools to explore and incredible views. It’s a local favorite.
A channel separates San Elijo State Beach, which offers ocean-view camping, from Cardiff State Beach, known for its excellent surfing — with a number of spots that attract surfers year-round: Seaside (on the south end), Cardiff Reef and George’s. Pipes is also a popular surf break — located just north of the San Elijo campground.
A typical fall day on Cardiff Beach — no crowds!
Hiking trails abound throughout San Diego and the weather is perfect for enjoying a nice long trek.
View toward the point at the south end of the San Elijo State campground in Encinitas on a fall evening.
In fall, San Diego means sunny skies and very few clouds. Pictured here is the Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad, with the Park Hyatt Hotel located across the shore.
Georgeous sunset view from the patio at Bull Taco, a favorite locals hangout and provider of great Mexican food. The restaurant is really more like a snack bar, and is located within the San Elijo campground in Cardiff.
Another spectacular sunset in La Jolla.
Ocean Beach is a dog-friendly beach in San Diego proper. A locals’ favorite, it offers sailing in the nearby channel, great surfing and a throw-back culture that everyone enjoys.
A lone surfer at Cardiff Beach — once again, no crowds in autumn.