Sea surface temperature (SST) data obtained from coastal stations in Jiangsu, China during 2010–2014 are quality controlled before analysis of their characteristic semidiurnal and seasonal cycles, including the correlation with the variation of the tide. Quality control of data includes the validation of extreme values and checking of hourly values based on temporally adjacent data points, with 0.15°C/h considered a suitable threshold for detecting abnormal values. The diurnal variation amplitude of the SST data is greater in spring and summer than in autumn and winter. The diurnal variation of SST has bimodal structure on most days, i.e., SST has a significant semidiurnal cycle. Moreover, the semidiurnal cycle of SST is negatively correlated with the tidal data from March to August, but positively correlated with the tidal data from October to January. Little correlation is detected in the remaining months because of the weak coastal–offshore SST gradients. The quality control and understanding of coastal SST data are particularly relevant with regard to the validation of indirect measurements such as satellite-derived data.