11 Best Beaches in San Diego
When it comes to living in San Diego, one of the first things people think of are the beaches here. The city is hugged up against the coastline and with an ease of access to the beaches many residents frequent the shores whether they are avid surfers or simply sunset goers. If you’re interested in moving to San Diego or already live here and want to know what the best beaches are in the San Diego area, then check out these spots below.
San Diego’s Beach Beaches
Number one on our list of best beaches in San Diego is Windansea. Named after the Windansea Hotel in 1919, this beach is loved by many long-time locals. The shore is a bit rocky, but by this we mean smoothed down cliffs with sandy beaches below that are fairly easy to access. Windansea is known for its beautiful scenery, great surf breaks and a beautiful small palm hut, perfect for reading underneath of.
Tourmaline beach is a surfers beach haven. It’s perfect for moderate to experienced surfers, and great for people watching (or instead surf watching). Located just south of La Jolla proper, Tourmaline features a large parking lot – that fills up quite quickly – and steep hill to descend if you can’t find parking in the lot. But the quality of surf breaks and the local community at this beach makes that all worth it.
La Jolla, Childrens Beach
Nestled within La Jolla coves is Children’s Beach. Childrens Beach is a well known San Diego beach as it’s home to the infamous sea lions sunbathing spots. The entire area is great for snorkelers and scuba divers and features the famous La Jolla bluff cliffs that you often see in images of the Southern California coast. There is quite a bit of street parking available, but be prepared to walk a bit if you choose to venture here.
La Jolla Shores
Another popular beach in San Diego is La Jolla Shores. La Jolla Shores is the area’s largest beach with excellent access for everyone. There is a large parking lot that feeds directly to the sand, as well public restrooms and fire pits. La Jolla Shores makes for great pictures as it’s tucked between those cliff bluffs. It’s also a great area for kayakers and stand up paddle boarders to take off from with fairly mellow waves.
Learn More: All About Living in La Jolla
Up in North County San Diego, specifically Encinitas, lies Moonlight Beach. This beach is a great community loved beach that has a lot to offer. There is a great sized parking lot, volleyball courts, public restrooms and a playground area. Moonlight Beach is well maintained and bonus! It’s just across the street from the main area of downtown Encinitas; making it easy to spend the day at the beach and ending it with a great meal at one of Encinitas’ many delicious eateries.
Pacific Beach is one of San Diego’s most lively beaches. The area is home to an active nightlife scene, and if we’re being honest, a daytime bar scene as well. Which makes sense because who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail with a view of the Pacific Ocean? There isn’t one main parking lot to access Pacific Beach. Instead you can easily find street parking within a few blocks of the coastline. The demographic here is fairly young, but that doesn’t mean the beaches aren’t incredible. In fact, Pacific Beach is still incredibly clean and great to spend a day at no matter your age.
Connected to Pacific Beach lies another well known beach in San Diego, Mission Beach. Mission Beach is much more laid back when compared to Paficic Beach, but it still has access to many delicious restaurants and bars. One of the main attractions in Mission Beach is Belmont Park, which is a small amusement park right next to the coastline. While an amusement park next to a beach may not sound ideal, it’s actually done wonders for the area. Plus there is plenty of parking available here due to Belmont Park, making it incredibly convenient to access the beach.
Silver Strand State Beach
Silver Strand State Beach is located on the ‘island’ of Coronado, or more specifically, on the strip of land that connects Coronado to San Diego’s most southern beach neighborhood, Imperial Beach. Silver Strand beach is great for overnight camping beach goers.
Del Mar Dog Beach
Call us crazy, but anytime the phrase ‘dog beach’ is used in association with a beach, we are thrilled. There is something amazing about witnessing blissfully happy dogs run about the beach enjoying the surf and sand. And the Del Mar Dog Beach brings that joy to life. You can find this beach just off of Highway 101, which makes it easy to access. This top beach in San Diego has earned a reputation for a wonderfully friendly atmosphere.
Also in Encinitas is Beacons Beach. Known more so by the locals, Beacons Beach is great for surfers and families. It’s well maintained and a bit off the beaten path which means it’s rarely overcrowded. One thing to note about this beach is that it’s not ideal for those with strollers. To get to the actual beach you have walk down switchbacks, some of which are stairs only. If you can manage that, then you’ll love it here. Parking can be found on Neptune Avenue or along the main road.
Learn More: The cost of living in San Diego
Also in North County is Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad. Tamarack is a beloved family friendly beach that is typically less crowded than central San Diego beaches like Pacific and Mission Beach. There is plenty of parking and flat walkways making it easy for families to walk around.
Torrey Pines State Beach
Last on our list of best beaches in San Diego is the Torrey Pines State Beach. Torrey Pines is most well known for its golf course and great hiking trails, but did you know it also has its own beach? We love the Torrey Pines beach because you can relax on the sand while watching hang gliders float down to the shoreline as they launch from the Gliderport.
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