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May Gray June Gloom - Unraveling San Diego's Cloudy Mysteries

  • 4 min read

May Gray June Gloom - Unraveling San Diego's Cloudy Mysteries

Despite what they say, 'Sunny California' is more a state of mind than a guarantee. Around here, May Gray is so cloudy and gloomy you can barely see the sun through the thick layer of mist. Then, just when you think it's all gonna clear up, here comes June Gloom to keep the party going. And some years it's even worse with Graypril, No Sky July, and Fogust! It's more of the same, but with a twist of extra dampness and chill to keep you on your toes. On the plus side, you can always call in to work and tell the boss you just can't see yourself coming in. It might not get you the day off but if you do there's nothing like a lazy cloudy day with a California burrito cheat meal.

Table of Contents

What is May Gray June Gloom?

If you're not from San Diego, May Gray, and June Gloom are annual phenomena that describe the weather patterns that occur along the coast of Southern California during late spring and early summer. Specifically, May Gray refers to the overcast and foggy conditions that often occur in May, while June Gloom refers to similar conditions in June.

In 2023, San Diego saw a harsh winter with cloudy, cold and rainy weather from January until May. Locals joked about additional months of cloudy weather including Graypril, No Sky July, and Fogust. 

Why is it cloudy during May and June? 

The weather patterns are caused by a combination of factors, including a marine layer of cool, moist air that forms over the ocean and is pushed inland by onshore winds, temperature, and pressure differentials between the coast and inland areas. The result is often cloudy, cool, and damp weather along the coast, with periods of sunshine later in the day.

Best things to do during May Gray June Gloom? 

Actually, the locals love this time of year as it keeps the tourists away. Despite sounding a bit dreary, this natural phenomenon has its perks. The marine layer helps to moderate temperatures, preventing them from skyrocketing during the summer months. This leads to mild, comfortable temperatures, one of the many reasons San Diego is such a fantastic place to live and visit.

For two months, it's like the coast is playing hide-and-seek with the sun, or having mood swings like an indecisive toddler. If you're visiting, make sure to bring a hoodie and some hot cocoa instead of your bikini.

Go Hiking

This is a great time of year to go on hikes before the summer weather starts rolling in. You might actually get to take a picture at the end of the Potato Chip Rock hike. This is also a perfect time you head to Torrey Pines to get some exercise without the sun beating on your head. 

Visit Balboa Park & the museums

Take a stroll through the tranquil gardens or visit the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. The slightly cooler temperatures make these outdoor activities even more enjoyable. Discover a wealth of history and culture at Balboa Park's numerous museums. Immerse yourself in fascinating exhibits and enrich your knowledge.

Dive into San Diego's Coffee Scene

There's not a neighborhood in San Diego that doesn't have a cozy local cafe. We recommend grabbing a physical copy of a book and heading to a local coffee shop to escape the gray skies. 

Enjoy the empty San Diego Beaches

Even though the weather may not be ideal, it's important to stay active and get some exercise. Head for the beach for a run on the hard sand while the tourists are confused. It'll be empty but that's what we all love, right? You might run into confused tourists sitting on the beach in bikinis while the locals will be wrapped up in fur coats. 

Visit the Birch Aquarium

Haven't checked out the Birch Aquarium yet? Well, a cloudy day in San Diego is the perfect time. This place is seriously cool - it's not just an aquarium, it's the public exploration center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That means you're not just looking at fish; you're diving into some of the cutting-edge ocean research happening right now. And it's not just a couple of goldfish in a bowl - we're talking over 5,000 fish across more than 60 habitats. You can wander through a kelp forest, get face-to-face with tide pool critters, and yes, you can actually touch sharks. Plus, you'll get some wicked views of the Pacific Ocean, even on a cloudy day. Whether you've got a bunch of curious kids or you're just a big kid yourself, the Birch Aquarium is a total must-see.

Check out the craft beer scene

San Diego is often known as the "Capital of Craft Beer". San Diego is home to over 150 craft breweries. What better way to spend a cloudy day than diving into the world of hops, malt, and yeast? There are some very well-known breweries such as Stone Brewing and Ballast Point along with some local favorites like Bolt Brewery in La Mesa and Amplified Ale Works in PB. Each of the local breweries in San Diego brings a local feel to their brews with a cozy atmosphere that is great for those gray and gloomy days. Check out our article where we break down the best breweries in San Diego.



When all else fails, grin and bear it. Most San Diegans have learned to accept May Gray and June Gloom as a fact of life and make the best of it. This is the perfect time of year to turn on your space heaters or put on your hoodie and embrace your inner emo. Don't trade in your whole wardrobe for black sweaters just yet though. Once July hits, it'll be hotter than the red salsa from your favorite taco shop.