Top San Diego Beaches

The real draw of San Diego—for visitors and locals alike—are the miles of pristine beaches. These are among the best for children:

Ocean Beach

Located in the Ocean Beach Community, Ocean Beach is actually just south of the entrance to the Mission Bay channel. Located at 1950 Abbott Street, the beach is a very popular location in the summer. During the winter months, couples like to walk the beach and just bask in the presence.

The Ocean Beach is wide in structure, about a mile long. Along the north end of the beach, you’ll find a volleyball court. During the summer, the court is always teeming with people playing volleyball while the sand around it is teeming with people watching.

At the south end of the beach you’ll find the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier. The Pier is open to the public with plenty of walking and fishing available. Located on the pier is a bait and tackle shop along with a restaurant. Although you don’t need a fishing license to fish off the dock, catch regulations are enforced.

If you walk to the south end of the beach you’ll find many restaurants, surfing shops, and many other commercial shops and establishments. Although you can travel to the north end of Ocean Beach, it’s mostly bordered by residents of the ocean area.

The unique part of Ocean Beach is the Dog Beach, located at the north end. This sandy area is where dogs can run and play without a leash – anytime – day or night. Although dog owners are responsible for their dogs and the clean up of them, Dog Beach is actually pretty nifty for anyone who owns dogs.

For your protection along the beach, lifeguards are out each and every day, year round. They are generally on duty from 9 AM until dark although you can check with them for their specific hours of operation. They are there for your protection and very willing to answer any question that you may have.

Keep in mind while on the beach, California beaches do experience powerful rip currents. It’s because of these currents that beaches in California experience over 1,000 rescues by lifeguards every year. To be on the safe side while in San Diego at Ocean Beach, it’s always a good idea to swim near a lifeguard.

For those who like surfing, surfing is permitted at Ocean Beach in designated areas. Scuba isn’t recommended however, because of the lack of undersea life, heavy rip currents, and the surf.

For swimming or enjoying the California lifestyle, Ocean Beach is a great place to go. It is a very popular place in the summer, drawing hundreds of thousands of people. If you long for a taste of the California lifestyle, make sure you visit Ocean Beach in San Diego.

Pacific Beach

Alive with the sea and plenty of activities for all that visit, Pacific Beach is a great place. With plenty of activities to offer visitors, Pacific Beach in San Diego has seen well over 26 million visitors! With numbers like these, you know you really can’t go wrong by visiting.

Aside from the wonders of the beach, the boutique shopping distric of Pacific Beach features hundreds and hundreds of choices to find treasure in the sand. With local names such as the L.A. Rack and Starbucks, this is truly a shoppers paradise. There are also new and retail clothing stores, salons, and many other stores to be found here in this shopping paradise.

When it comes to the nightlife and exquisite dining, Pacific Beach has it all covered. The restaurant experience here is as diverse as the undersea life. You can find everything here from fusion Thai to gourmet pasta, seafood to hamburgers and virtually everything in between.

When the sun starts to set and the tide changes, the Pacific Beach seems to come to life. There are dozens of nighttime high spots with dancing, live music, and some of the best beach bars in California. With most being found within walking distance of the hotels, Pacific Beach does it’s part to simplify your experience.

Arguably the best feature to Pacific Beach is the golden sands that California is so very well known for. The beach and the Ocean Front Boardwalk are both modest in their approach to offer bike and board rental stores, beach- front dining with great views, and plenty of green parks for you to experience.

Being out on the sand, you can experience the thrill of horseshoes, the hot girls, dolphins playing in the water, and endless surf competitions in the summer. The summer is definitely a little bit hotter when you are sitting in the ocean at Pacific Beach with your toes in the sand.

With Mission Bay Park and the Historic Crystal Pier nearby, you’ll always find something to do here. Mission Bay is a public park, offering the world famous Sea World, with plenty of amusement park rides, undersea wildlife to see, and plenty of fine dining.

On the other hand, the Historic Crystal Pier offers a taste of Southern California reinvented. A walk along the pier can bring back a taste of days gone by, coupled with the lifestyle that only California can bring.

With a taste of the ocean and everything in between, Pacific Beach makes for a great and unforgettable summer. Offering plenty of shops, fine dining, and California sand, this is one area of San Diego that should be visited – time and time again!

La Jolla

La Jolla Cove is a picturesque, crescent-shaped beach protected by tall, wave-sculpted cliffs. The water is clear enough for snorkeling (look for the state fish, the bright orange Garibaldi) and calm enough for young swimmers. The expansive stretch of La Jolla Shores has some of the mildest waves in the city, and thus is also great for swimming. It’s a favorite for beginning surfers and kayakers as well; numerous organizations offer lessons here.


Coronado Beach boasts the widest expanse of sand in the city, as well as glassy waves and views that can stretch all the way to Mexico on a clear day. Public facilities are particularly well-kept at this beach, and the adjacent Hotel del Coronado offers plenty of snacking options. Silver Strand Beach (south of the Del) is the only beach in town where sea shells can be found regularly (for best results, come in the morning at low tide). The water gets deep very gradually and waves are usually gentle, so it’s an ideal swimming beach for young children.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay is a 4,000-acre natural tidelands area that was dredged decades ago to create an inland bay. Today the park offers numerous recreational activities, including a flat bike path that follows the waterline through tall palm trees and past a half dozen playgrounds. The expansive grass lawns are ideal for picnicking and flying kites, and the calm waters of Mission Bay are perfect for water toys, which are available for rent at several spots along the bay.

Mission Beach

If it’s action you crave, Mission Beach is your place. This extremely crowded two-mile-long beach draws surfers, beach volleyball players, and sun-worshippers alike—and in droves. In addition to white sand and gnarly waves, there is a nostalgic boardwalk that is immensely popular with rollerbladers. Families will likely prefer the calmer southern portion of the beach. Adjacent to the shores is Belmont Park (858.488.1549), a small amusement park featuring a white-washed wooden rollercoaster known as the Giant Dipper, an 80-year-old, teeth-jarring attraction that offers prime views of the ocean (if you dare open your eyes).

Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Beach and Natural Reserve is home to one of the quietest, least crowded beaches in the city, and the sand stretches for miles in either direction. The beach is part of a larger nature preserve, the bulk of which lies at the top of the cliffs overlooking the shores. Here miles of trails wind through the native chaparral and the rare Torrey pines (which grow only one other place in the world), and throughout there are jaw-dropping views of the Pacific.

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