Top San Diego Winter Attractions

If temperatures in the 60s and 70s sound good to you right now, think about taking a winter vacation to San Diego, where the sun is almost always shining. There’s no need to stay cooped up inside for winters in San Diego; in fact, you’ll want to get out as much as possible to take advantage of the many San Diego attractions that are best enjoyed in the winter. For the best deals, just grab a Go San Diego Card and gain admission to over 45 attractions at discounted prices. Plus, San Diego even offers some winter attractions that are free and open to the public! What more could you want from a winter getaway?


West Coast Whale Watching

During the annual gray whale migration from the Bering Sea to the shores of Baja, California, an estimated 20,000 of these majestic creatures pass through the waters off the San Diego coastline. Since the migration takes place from December through March, winter is the only time to sea the Pacific gray whales up close in their natural habitat. For the most thrilling whale watch adventure—and the best view—hop on board a San Diego Whale Watch for three-and-a-half-hour ocean voyage. While this cruise guarantees a gray whale sighting, you’ll also want to be on the lookout for dolphins, sea lions, and migrating birds. Now, with state-of-the-art technology aboard the boat, you’ll even be able to listen to whale and dolphin sounds in real time!

Wildflower Wonderland

anza borrega state parkWhale watching isn’t the only activity that’s in season during San Diego winters—mid-February through early April is also wildflower season. Take a day trip outside of San Diego to Anza Borrego Desert State Park to see 650,000 acres of land transformed into a truly unique wildflower wonderland for a few months only. Since summer is too hot for much activity at Anza Borrego, winter is definitely the time to visit. You’ll spend a full afternoon hiking, biking, or simply wandering around this monumental park, getting lost in the beautiful scenery.

Zoo & Safari Exploration

While the famous San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, two of the most famous San Diego attractions are open year round, if you’re going to be wandering about in the sun all afternoon, winter is the most comfortable time of year to visit either park.

A great destination for animal-lovers, the San Diego Zoo prides itself in its conservation efforts, and of course its 800+ species of animals. The Giant Pandas are a crowd favorite here, as are the koalas and gorillas. However, if you’re the adventurous type, you’ll also want to head to the San Diego Zoo Safari park to replicate a real safari through Africa or Asia. From your intimate safari cart, you’ll observe giraffes, rhinos, antelopes, and gazelles in expansive open field exhibits and get close to these wild creatures while gaining greater respect for their habitats and behaviors.

Ice Skating SoCal Style

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Maybe I’d like winter sports if I wasn’t so cold?” Well, now’s the time to test that theory! In San Diego, you can ice skate right inside the open-air University Town Centre mall east of La Jolla. At the UTC Ice Sports Center, visitors of all ages lace up their skates to enjoy an afternoon on the ice. If you’ve got the time, combine your skating adventure with an hour spent browsing the picturesque shopping mall.

La Jolla CoastKayak, Bike, or Snorkel in La Jolla

If traditional winter sports still aren’t your thing there are plenty of other ways to get active in San Diego, and they’re all a whole lot of fun. Head out to the seaside community of La Jolla, where a scenic sprawl of cliffs and sandy beaches await you. Then take your pick between biking along the beach town streets, snorkeling in La Jolla Cove, or Kayaking along the coast. Whatever you prefer, a kayak, bike, or snorkel rental will all guarantee an afternoon of exploration and relaxation that represents what San Diego attractions are all about!

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