9 Ways To Celebrate Fall In San Diego

There is NO bad time to live in San Diego, but if we have to pick a favorite time of year, fall in San Diego tops our list! After a long, hot summer, it feels great to get that subtle shift in weather that reminds you that we do actually have some sort of seasons here (shhhhh…our little secret to keep the East Coasters away!).

The tourists are away, the kids are back in school, and the weather is still nice enough to do anything.

The opportunities to enjoy fall in our great city are practically limitless! Here’s a few of our favorites:

1. Go on one of the area’s amazing hikes!

We have so many incredible hikes right here in our backyard, many of them within 15 minutes of wherever you are in the city! The slightly cooler fall weather makes for perfect conditions to go explore!

Here are 11 of our favorite San Diego hikes to help get you started!

2. Pick up a pumpkin at Bates Nut Farm

A San Diego tradition for decades, Bates Nut Farm is worth the drive to Valley Center if you’re looking to get into the fall spirit.

The expansive farm features acres of pumpkin patches open daily during the season as well of lots of family-friendly activities and food trucks on the weekends only. Plus, there’s the charming and quaint country store where you can stock up on homemade goods.

Just be aware that the farm can get busy on the weekends and the two-lane roads have a tendency to back up. Plan to get there as close to opening as possible on weekends to avoid the backup and be prepared for the $5 parking fee on weekends only.

The pumpkin patch is open through Halloween.

3. Enjoy the beach without the crowds

The weather is just as beautiful in fall, if not more so without that pesky June Gloom hanging around. Locals know that this is the best time to get out to San Diego’s gorgeous beaches.

The tourists have finally returned home and it’s suddenly much easier to find a parking spot near the water and a spot on the beach to lay out your towel and soak up some rays.

Plus, the water temperature is quite comfortable this year, so don’t be afraid to go for a dip!

4. See Leopard Sharks in La Jolla

The calm, shallow waters off the La Jolla Shores attract hundreds of leopard sharks from August through October.

While the sharks can grow to six feet in length, they are harmless to humans and no attacks have been reported. In fact, leopard sharks are likely more afraid of you than you are of them!

Want to get a close-up look at these marine creatures? You can wade into the shallow water, snorkel or kayak, depending on your comfort level.

5. Wander through Balboa Park

Balboa Park is always a good idea (sorry H.B., it’s too good of a line not to steal!).

We have one of the country’s best urban parks, and it’s crazy not to take full advantage of it! The cooler fall nights make for perfect weather to bundle up a little, go on a long, romantic walk, stop in a museum, and then go for a beer under the stars at Panama 66.

6. Rent a cabin in the mountains

“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

When I moved out here from Colorado, one of my biggest concerns was how much access I’d have to the mountains. Thankfully, San Diego delivered!

We have a lot of great, quick mountain escapes within an easy drive of San Diego, and fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy them.

My personal favorite for a fast getaway: Idyllwild.

7. Explore the new fall menus

The new fall menus are out! San Diego’s food scene is blowing up with amazing talent and locally-sourced food, and fall is the perfect time to explore new restaurants, as well as revisit your old favorites for new dishes.

And of course, don’t forget the fall cocktail menus at San Diego’s best cocktail bars!

8. Get out to the desert and experience a true dark night sky!

The California deserts can be absolutely magical, but they are scorching during the summer! Take the opportunity to visit during the fall.

One outstanding recommendation: experience a true dark night sky in Joshua Tree!

Joshua Tree National Park was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park at the Silver Tier level by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), meaning you can experience the stars there like you never have anywhere else in your life! They even have their own Night Sky Festival in honor of it!

9. Head to Julian for Apple Picking and Pie!

New England ain’t got nothin’ on us! The apple picking season can run anytime from August through October, so be sure to check the dates for the particular farm you are considering paying a visit – the u-pick season doesn’t always last long. But don’t worry, you can always get a slice of Julian’s famous apple pie while you’re up there!

Enjoy fall!

These are just a few of the reasons why San Diego is such an amazing place to live in the fall – there are many more!

Get out there and explore and let us know your favorites!

See you there!

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