San Diego in Dec and Jan

Possibility that I could be in the San Diego area the week after Christmas through the first week of the new year. Was wondering if the conditions are generally good enough to justify carrying the kayak along for the 1500 mile drive. I am not equipped for water temps below 50 degF so that might be a deciding factor.


water temps

– Last Updated: Oct-28-14 5:59 PM EST –

You can see here that San Diego Bay and Scripps Pier (La Jolla) are only expected to get to 59-60F as water temperature during that time. Not temps that would scare me from paddling.

I am ion NorCal, so not an expert on San Diego climate. But from what I know, January is our rainy season, but that just means that every few days it will rain, the other days will be nice. Could be sizable waves on the coast from off shore storms, though.

Bring a kayak, or rent one
If you are going to be in the Mission Bay area, contact Jen Kleck at Aqua Adventures. The shop is right on the water and they have high-quality rentals at reasonable rates; ask if there’s a weekly rate. Since you own and frequently paddle nice glass kayaks, tell them about that experience.

Water temps normally would not be below 50 degrees. You’ll still want cold-water clothing, though. I paddled there early January one year and the day’s water temperature was 53 (air temp not much warmer, either).

Mission Bay itself is like a huge saltwater lake with an outlet to more open water. It’s a fun place to visit. If you time your outing right, you can watch the penguins being fed in back of Sea World, no admission required.

The only downside is that camping is pretty limited and expensive. KOA or Campland on the Bay, mostly RVs. Hit the taco shops for good cheap eats.

Bring or Rent
As Pikabike says you can rent from Aqua-Adventures

Weather is usually in the 60s in the day time but can be warmer or colder. Watertemps can drop into the 57 F range or a bit lower if we have storms and upwelling. This year however water is very warm, still above 70 near end of October, this is the warmest I remember since moving here in 1999.

Paddling is always possible on very protected Mission bay and San Diego Bay. End of December/ early January is when we usually get a big wave event - which means you might not want to venture out on the open coast. However most of the time the surf is manageable. So far it looks like we are moving into a good winter storm pattern which means big surf, and hopefully some rain around Christmas time. Post up when you are in town and I can show the sea caves in Lajolla and some surf if you want.

Great In Dec and Jan!!!
especially if one is coming from a colder area - both air and water temps. Had a great session with SeaDart one time. Biked and boogie board surfed another time.

Had wanted to do it this winter but will end up in the Bay Area to visit a friend fighting myeloma and then likely head down Santa Cruz for some ocean time. Chillier than San Diego but still warmer than the northeast.


on top of the hill in a new County Park…check internet listings. Use GPS to get there.

See also the sailing gray whale tour boat for a day off the bay. Great bar run if the tide’s are right.

As others mentioned, if you just want to rent, Aqua Adventures is the place that I currently rent from (have an annual pass). If you launch from their dock they typically ask that you stay in the bay (instead of open ocean), but I believe you can rent foam blocks and take a kayak elsewhere if you like.

They have a nice selection, and water in the bay should be high 50’s at that time.

contact me
Sing - contact me if you want to get together when you are in the Bay Area.

Talk to Jenn beforehand.
If you are an experienced paddler you can take boats out on the ocean.

Thanks For The Offer…
gonna have to see how things play out when the time comes…


Thanks all
for the good info. Looks like it would be worth it to carry the kayak. There are a few places on the way to and from San Diego that I want to paddle. They either have no rentals or no decent rentals so for the overall trip I probably need my own boat.

It is good to know that Aqua Adventures does have high quality rentals in case I decide to simplify things for this trip.


San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff
If you want to camp, see if you can reserve a spot at San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff. It’s right on the beach. Another spot is the Ponto State Beach campground in Carlsbad.

The campgrounds are not very private but all my friends who have stayed there have enjoyed the location right on the bluff.

are made very early for the bluffs. Here’s Sweetwater…