Land use change and management affect climate by altering both the biogeochemical and biophysical interactions between the land and atmosphere. Whereas climate policy often emphasizes the biogeochemical impact of land use change, biophysical impacts, including changes in reflectance, energy partitioning among sensible and latent heat exchange, and surface roughness, can attenuate or enhance biogeochemical effects at local to regional scales. This study analyzes three years (2015‐2017) of turbulent flux and meteorological data across three contrasting wetland restoration sites and one agricultural site, co‐located in the Sacramento‐San Joaquin Delta, California, USA, to understand if the biophysical impacts of freshwater wetland restoration can be expected to attenuate or enhance the potential biogeochemical benefits. We show that despite absorbing more net radiation, restored wetlands have the potential to cool daytime surface temperature by up to 5.1°C, as compared to a dominant drained agricultural land use. Wetland canopy structure largely determines the magnitude of surface temperature cooling, with wetlands that contain areas of open water leading to enhanced nighttime latent heat flux and reduced diurnal temperate range. Daytime surface cooling could be important in ameliorating physiological stress associated with hotter and drier conditions and could also promote boundary layer feedbacks at the local to regional scale. With a renewed focus on the mitigation and adaptation potential of natural and working lands, we must better understand the role of biophysical changes, especially in novel land use transitions like wetland restoration.