San Diego Beaches

Along the west, 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline supports year-round outdoor recreation, such as surfing, boating, sailing and swimming. San Diego County also features some of the best beaches in United States.
Gaslamp Quarter
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Top 15 Beaches
  1. Coronado
  2. Mission Beach
  3. La Jolla Shores
  4. Del Mar
  5. Pacific Beach
  6. Mission Bay Park
  7. Ocean Beach
  8. Windansea Beach
  9. Carlsbad
  10. Black's Beach
  11. Solana Beach
  12. Imperial Beach
  13. Children's Pool
  14. La Jolla Cove
  15. Oceanside

With over seventy miles of sandy coastline and blessed with warm, clear waters (May through August are the warmest) that range from tranquil snorkeling coves and ecological preserves to some of the best surf spots in the world, San Diego beaches epitomize the Southern California beach culture, from flat, family-friendly beaches to nudist-friendly coves backed by 300-foot cliffs.

In addition to oceanfront beaches, San Diego is also home to Mission Bay, a massive inland bay and prime water wonderland for water-skiing and windsurfing. Or, head farther north up the San Diego coastline for excellent surf spots favored by locals and significantly less-crowded beaches, such as Beacon's in Leucadia.

Coronado

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach, stretching wide and long, is located on Ocean Boulevard, in front of the famous Hotel del Coronado. This white expanse of San Diego coastline first gained fame in 1959 due to its prominence in the classic Marilyn Monroe film, Some Like It Hot. Today, with plenty of room to spread out, Coronado is one of the most family-friendly beaches in San Diego. As twilight nears you'll find it is also one of the most romantic settings for a stroll through the sand as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Coronado Beach was voted the fourth "Best Beach" in the U.S. as well as the "Best Weekend Getaway Beach" by the Travel Channel.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach
Just south of Pacific Beach is one of San Diego's most popular beaches for tanning, volleyball, horseshoes, surfing, and socializing. Although there is a high number of rental properties along the ocean, there is a significant amount of year-round residents, making Mission Beach more of a locals' beach than neighboring Pacific Beach. South Mission beach, marked by the historic roller coaster and the Plunge - an indoor swimming pool - has two famous beach bars: the Beachcomber and the Pennant, both Mission Beach institutions. These bars have been popular with the locals as well as the college students that crowd Mission Beach.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores
The summer waves at the Shores are some of San Diego's gentlest, making this a popular beach for scuba diving; it is also the only beach boat launch in San Diego. The Shores are an ideal place to learn how to surf; you'll find many surf camps take their students out here before braving some of La Jolla's other famous breaks. There is also an underwater canyon off of La Jolla Shores Beach, designated as an ecological preserve, making this beach the richest of all for marine life. Bonfires at night are popular at La Jolla Shores Beach, just make sure you leave the bottles at home.

Del Mar

Del Mar
The City of Del Mar, 'where the surf meets the turf' in reference to its famous horse racing track, has one of North County's most popular beaches. Wide, long, and blessed with several great surfing spots for both beginners and enthusiasts, Del Mar has year round appeal. Lying just north of Torrey Pines State Beach, Del Mar beach is a favorite for swimmers, walkers, surfers, body boarders, and even grunion hunters.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach
Considered the nearest equivalent to Venice Beach, Pacific Beach is more spirited than other San Diego beaches. A narrow boardwalk skirts the beach and in the summer months is teeming with rollerbladers, runners, and bike riders, not to mention the locals that make the sea wall their home away from home in the warm weather. There are several hubs of activity, specifically the point where Pacific Beach Drive dead ends into the boardwalk. Here you'll find a few funky cafes and a few great restaurants where you can watch the sun slip below the horizon while enjoying a fine meal.

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park
Mission Bay Park is everything the rowdier Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are not: family friendly, uncrowded, laced with wide, winding paths, and peppered with picnic areas. Usually only long-time locals are found under an umbrella at the edge of the bay or enjoying the solitude from their patios but in the summer even the bayside sees a rise in visitors. If you're looking for a place to spread out with your children, Mission Bay is great. There are also parks with swings, slides, and merry-go-rounds should the little ones tire of looking for sand dollars at the shore. The bay itself is popular with windsurfers, sailors, jet-skiers, and water-skiers.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is one of the most eclectic and different San Diego neighborhoods and beaches. It has the same feel as the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco, only you can feel the breeze and smell the salt water from the surf shops, funky boutiques, cafes, vegan restaurants, and tattoo parlors. Ocean Beach is typically for surfers to the south - swimmers and surfers should be wary of Ocean Beach's notoriously strong rip tides - and for locals to the north. To the north you will also find Dog Beach; where owners can let their pups run leash-free all day.

Windansea Beach - La Jolla

Windansea Beach
One of the best beaches in San Diego, Windansea has created quite a few famous surfers and is regularly featured in surf magazines. Marked by the famous shack, Windansea is home to a notorious shore break that is a dream for surfers and body surfers but can be dangerous to the inexperienced. Windansea has a reputation for being a locals-only beach but in the summer there are usually large numbers of Europeans basking in the sand throughout the little coves. South of the shack, near the pump house, made famous by Tom Wolfe's The Pump House Gang, the beach is wider and you'll see clusters of kids and families as well as a few friendly games of horseshoes.

Carlsbad

Carlsbad
Carlsbad's seven miles of beautiful beaches are fantastic for surfing, swimming, fishing, and sunbathing. With loads of amenities like showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and nearby parking, Carlsbad beach is great for families with younger kids as well as favorite place among the older kids. The Carlsbad Seawall is a great place to gather to watch the sunset or to start a seaside stroll. Carlsbad is also blessed with three picturesque lagoons; these sensitive ecosystems are ideal for bird watching and nature walks.

La Jolla Black's Beach - Torrey Pines

Del Mar
Called Black's Beach by locals, the official name is Torrey Pines State Beach and is home to one of San Diego's most famous surf spots. Black's Beach is also a notoriously, though not explicitly sanctioned, nude beach. The sand and surf of Black's Beach stretches for two miles and is backed by majestic, 300-foot cliffs, down which potential beach-goers and surfers must traverse. Gliders take the easy route down from the Glider Port at the top of the cliffs of this popular San Diego beach.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach
Fletcher Cove, part of the Solana Beach coastline, has lifeguards, restrooms, showers, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard courts and is ideal for surfers or body boarders. This is because erosion has done away with much of the sand and the pounding surf and narrow beach restricts most of the activity to the ocean. If you want to spend the day on the beach with your toes dug into the sand, you might be happier elsewhere. However, if you want to ride the waves and explore tide pools and then wander around town, Solana Beach is perfect. The town has a unique feel: the boutiques, art galleries, and design center add to the feeling of an upscale community while the surf shops and funky cafes remind you the non-traditional surf culture is alive and well.

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach
Imperial Beach, San Diego County's southernmost beach, is not only famous for its annual sand castle contest but also for its vast expanse and easy access. You can enjoy tranquil moonlight strolls and magnificent sunset views and with ample parking and clusters of restaurants and shops, you can browse through a few boutiques, pick up a picnic lunch, or enjoy a dinner as you admire the ocean view. Imperial Beach is another family-friendly beach; Dunes Park, a new beachfront park with state-of-the-art playground equipment, a volleyball area, and picnic tables is a perfect place for the kids to enjoy a sunny day.

Children's Pool

Children's Pool
The Children's Pool, also known as the Casa, is a very picturesque, small beach partially protected by a seawall. In the winter, you'll be lucky to catch sight of an enormous storm wave breaking over the top of the wall that encloses this pool. Originally intended as a fully protected swimming area, this beach is no longer accessible as the seals have claimed it as their own. Even though swimming is prohibited, it is worth a trip to down just to see the seals basking on the shore.

La Jolla Cove Beach

La Jolla Cove Beach
La Jolla Cove, a small, idyllic beach, is one of the most photographed beaches in San Diego for its breathtaking views and quaint feel. Its position between sandstone cliffs and proximity to La Jolla's upscale shopping and dining make the Cove one of the most admired and most visited beaches in San Diego. You can also take in the view from the restaurants and cafes that overlook the cliffs or the patio and gardens of the world-famous La Valencia Hotel. The cove is ideal for snorkling; the water is so clear you can often see up to thirty feet. This is also a great place for kids to explore the tide pools filled with sea anemones, crabs, and tiny schools of fish.

La Jolla Cove Beach

Del Mar
Oceanside's 3.7 miles of pristine beach attract over 4 million visitors annually. If you love to surf, swim, jog, bike, tan or stroll there is no better place than the beaches of Oceanside. Oceanside's most popular beach, is located south of the Oceanside Pier. Surfing, body boarding and body surfing contests are held at the Oceanside Pier throughout the summer. There are also various events that are held in the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. The pier itself is also a beautiful walk and a popular fishing spot. At the end of the pier is Ruby's, a 50's style diner. For picnics, there are plenty of tables, benches and barbecues. Facilities: playground equipment, restrooms and showers Parking: there are pay parking lots located south and north of the pier. Another pay parking lot is located one block east of Pacific Street on Mission Avenue and Myers Street. There is also metered parking available on Pacific Street.