Best Beaches in San Diego | Sunny San Diego Beaches

Beaches & Islands

Beaches in San Diego | San Diego Beaches

Known to have some of the best beaches in the US, San Diego must be your next holiday. The beautiful beaches in San Diego, especially the stunning Coronado and La Jolla beaches, offer its visitors a plethora of activities, eateries, and a vibe that anybody would want.

Here is the list of 26 Best Beaches in San Diego | Sunny San Diego Beaches

1. Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach in San Diego is definitely one of those beaches that look exactly like a picture of a movie. The beach is located close to the famous Hotel del Coronado that was featured in Marilyn Monroe’s film. Located close to the beach is the 200 feet tall Coronado bridge that gives you a great view of the beach as well as the community of Coronado.

Things to do: Fishing from the Ferry Landing Pier, Tidepools, Beach Volleyball, Surfing, Paddleboarding, Boogie boarding
Parking: Free

2. La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla beach is one of the longest beaches stretching across 1 mile along with the beachfront community of La Jolla. The La Jolla coastline is known for its reefs and cliffs along with its very famous cove. La Jolla Cove is a favorite that is accessible by kayaks and is one of the favorite activities of people along with snorkeling and swimming.

Things to do: Surfing, Volleyball, Scuba Diving, Sunbathing, Swimming, Picnicking, Kayaking, Scuba Diving, Sunbathing, Beach Walking, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm
Parking: Free

3. Fletcher Cove Beach Park

Fletcher Cove Beach Park

Fletcher cove beach is a small beach that is a part of Solana beach. It is also known as Pillbox because of the fake gunnery installations made during world war 2. Fletcher cove beach can only be used when the tide is low. The park however does include picnic areas and playgrounds for children. You can definitely enjoy a picnic by the beach even during high tide. The main activities include surfing, kayaking, swimming, and more. The beach also offers ample parking space which is free of charge.

Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM, Daily
Things to Do: Surfing, Bodyboarding, Fishing, Basketball, Swimming, Kayaking, Whale Watching, Picnicking, Beach Walking
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed
Parking: Free

4. Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach

Pacific beach in San Diego is one of the favorite hotspots for teenagers and college students. It is known to be the ultimate destination for beach parties, especially over the summer break. It is also the hub for many events and contests like taco-eating contests to flee markets and more.

Top Places in Pacific Beach: Tourmaline Surfing Park, North Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach
Policies: No alcohol allowed, no smoking allowed

5. Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

The ocean beach in San Diego is the most beloved beach of the small oceanfront town of point Loma. It is known for having the ultimate Californian vibe with its funky town and vintage look. The beach sticking true to its Californian nature is why it is so loved by all.

Things to Do: Surfing, Walking, Running, Biking, Sunbathing, Volleyball, Bonfires, Fishing, Tidepooling
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm

6. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Bordering the western edge of Point Loma community of San Diego, between the Pacific ocean and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, dedicated in 1983, is the 68-acre Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Known for its sprawling cliffs after which it is named, the trails along the cliff are popular for those evening strolls and witnessing the beautiful sunsets.

Other Names: Garbage Beach
Things to Do: Tidepooling, Surfing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Whale Watching
Parking: Free
Pet Policy: Leashed Dogs not allowed between 9 AM and 6 PM

7. Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

La Jolla, San Diego, has a long stretch of beaches from Boomer beach down south to Torrey Pines State Beach up north that’s part of the beautiful Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park. The famous Torrey Pines Golf Course is located within the premises and can be visited first before making your way down to the serene beach.

Things to do: Birdwatching, Hiking, Fishing, Swimming, Surfing, Sunbathing, Beach Walking
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed
Parking: A fee of $10-$25 per vehicle at the park entrance.

8. Bermuda Beach

Bermuda Beach

A few meters down the road from Mission Beach and the popular Ocean Beach at Bermuda Avenue is the local’s beach - Bermuda Beach nestled away beneath homes & apartments from the prying eyes of a visitor. To get here, you can drive to the end of Bermuda Avenue, west of sunset cliffs boulevard, and take the stairs down to the beach. Parking, although limited, is available on-street. You’ll find yourselves among the locals when visiting for the beautiful sunsets and may feel out of place but they’re quite welcoming. Proceed with caution as rip currents are frequent here as is high surf.

Things to do & Facilities: None
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed between 9 AM and 6 AM
Parking: Free street parking

9. San Elijo Beach

San Elijo Beach

San Elijo Beach in San Diego is located in front of the oceanfront community of Cardiff in California. The San Elijo beach also includes the state park which has various picnic tables and camp spots to camp by the beach at night. The currents of the water are too strong to go swimming here but it is an excellent spot for surfers. The beach is not pet friendly but is an ideal spot to sunbathe or enjoy long strolls. There is a popular Mexican restaurant that is open all year round and is the best spot to grab a snack while visiting the beach.

Things to do: Surfing, Sunbathing, Camping, Beach Walking
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed
Parking: Free

10. Windansea Beach

Windansea Beach

The name Windansea beach stands for the ‘wind and sea’ hotel that once stood on the beach in 1940. It was once called Neptune beach and has a tragic history of deaths and accidents. The beach is located on the west end of La Jolla shores and is quite small in size. The beach is only suitable to visit in the summer due to the harsh winter storms.

Things to do: Sunbathing, Surfing, Scuba Diving
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm

11. Crown Point Beach

Crown Point Beach

The sandy beach in conjunction with the Crown Point Park at Crown Point on Mission Bay, San Diego, offers a host of options for beachgoers and day visitors. The grass park provides a large open space for picnicking with benches, tables, and barbecue grills, along with a playground for children, a couple of basketball courts, and a boat launch.

Things to Do: Volleyball, Basketball, Swimming, Sunbathing, Waterskiing, Picnicking, Birdwatching, Biking, Running, Bonfires
Pet Policy: Dogs not allowed from 9 AM to 6 PM
Parking: Free

12. Del Mar City Beach

Del Mar City Beach

California is known for its sunny beaches and one such beach is the one at Del Mar, which is probably one of the most exquisite ones found in California. The Del Mar City Beach in San Diego ranges from Powerhouse Park till the lagoon entrance up north. This is where you’ll find the popular Del Mar North Beach, popularly known as the “Dog Beach” since owners are allowed to bring their pooches here with no restrictions. If your plan involves just lazing around and taking in the view, head on over to Powerhouse Park where the lawn filled with benches overlooking the sea view and plenty of snack shops, restaurants & shops welcomes you.

Things to Do: Swimming, Sunbathing, Beach Walking, Picnicking, Surfing
Pet Policy: Dogs allowed on-leash
Parking: Paid parking in lots

13. Imperial Beach City Beach

Imperial Beach City Beach

The imperial beach is located towards the south bay of San Diego about five miles from the border of Mexico. The most interesting fact about this beach is that it is the point where the Pacific ocean mixes with the Tijuana river creating one of the largest salt marshes in California.

Things to Do: Surfing, Sunbathing, Fishing, Basketball, Beach Walking
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed

14. Mission Beach

Mission Beach

Mission Beach in San Diego is known for its two-mile-long boardwalk along the beachfront. The most popular location on Mission Beach is Belmont Park, an amusement park erected in 1952. Belmont Park is just like an amusement park straight out of the movies with miniature golf, bumper cars, and more.

Things to Do: Surfing, Sunbathing, Swimming, Biking, Skating, Running, Walking, Bonfires
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm
Parking: Free

15. Blacks Beach

Blacks Beach

Officially a part of the Torrey Pines State Beach, Black’s Beach is the smaller desolated beach located beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pines in La Jolla. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park runs through this area where hikers can walk 2 miles south from the Torrey Pines State Beach to join here or drive here on the previously private roads. As you drive up here, you’re bound to pass several mansions that have various designs including the Mushroom house, connected to the beach via a funicular.

Things to do: Surfing, Hang Gliding, Paragliding, Fishing, Whale Watching
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs not allowed from 9 AM to 6 PM
Parking: Free

16. Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach

Famous for the residents of Encinitas Boulevard coming together for midnight picnics in the early 1900s, this particular beach at Encinitas was named “Moonlight Beach” for this reason. Popular among the local residents and tourists, Moonlight Beach has been a favorite for nearly a century now with the municipality taking measures to encourage tourism in the neighborhood. Children and adults find themselves involved with the various recreational activities available at the beach and the park here.

Things to DO: Surfing, Sunbathing, Tennis, Volleyball, Bonfires, Beach Walking, Swimming
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed
Parking: Paid Parking in a lot

17. Oceanside Harbor Beach

Oceanside Harbor Beach

Harbour beach in San Diego is oceanside’s largest beach. It is also popularly known as jetties beach. The beach is located adjacent to the oceanside harbor and includes the marina inn hotel on the beach. It is regarded as one of the best beaches in San Diego and is spread across quarter a mile.

Other Names: Jetties Beach
Things to Do: Surfing, Fishing, Volleyball, Sunbathing, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Bonfires
Pet Policies: No dogs allowed

18. Cardiff by the Sea

Cardiff by the Sea

Just north of San Diego in the city of Encinitas lies the small beach community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, or just Cardiff to the locals. A small quaint beach town that functions as its own, is home to plenty of shacks, restaurants, and breweries that offer a good weekend option for the ones visiting San Diego but don’t like the hustle and bustle of the San Diego crowd.

Things to do:: 
Surfing, Kiteboarding, Sunbathing, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Beach Walking
Pet Policy: Dogs allowed on leash
Parking: Paid

19. Silver Strand Beach

Silver Strand Beach

The Silver Strand Beach in San Diego is a long extended beach ranging from the Pacific Ocean to the San Diego Bay, located about 4.5 miles south of Coronado city. The offshore park here is quite an attraction with something for everybody.

Things to do: Surfing, Bodyboarding, Bodysurfing, Walking
Pet Policy: Dogs not allowed between 9 am and after 5 pm
Parking: Free

20. Ski Beach

Ski Beach

Ski Beach, located at Mission Bay, San Diego, is a favorite spot among families and the young folk alike. With a large lawn space spread across the park and picnic tables placed throughout the area, it’s not too hard to see why not. One might find themselves engrossed with the view as the gentle sea breeze caresses them while sipping on an iced tea.

Things to do: Waterskiing, Picnicking, Swimming, Walking, Bonfires
Pet Policy: No dogs allowed in the park between 9 am and 6 pm
Parking: Free

21. Boomer Beach

Boomer Beach

Tucked away south of La Jolla, San Diego is one of those hidden beaches located on the western side of Ellen Browning Scripps park - Boomer beach. Located next to the more popular and bustling La Jolla Cove beach, Boomer beach has been a more remote beach due to its secluded nature. There are no stairs here and one would have to climb down the sandstone bluff from the Ellen Browning Scripps Park to gain access.

Things to do: Bodysurfing, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Whale Watching
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm

22. Breakers Beach

Breakers Beach

If all you yearn for is peace and an uncrowded beach, then Breakers Beach in San Diego is the place for you. But do note that the beach is allowed to those only with a military ID. Located within the Naval air station, North island at the north end of ocean boulevard at sunset park, San Diego, it is probably the most isolated and remote beaches in all of California. So exclusive, that only military personnel and their families are permitted to enter this private military beach.

Things to do: Swimming, Sunbathing
Restricted Entry: To visitors with Military ID

23. Solana Beach

Solana Beach

Located off the northern coast of San Diego, about 30 minutes from Downtown San Diego is the quaint little beach community of Solana Beach. Dotted with plenty of bluffs and caves that are begging to be explored, this beach town is more than just that. An evening stroll around sunset can leave you in awe with the beautiful ocean glimmering with the rays of the setting sun and the waves crashing into the rocks below the cliffs.

Beaches: Cardiff State Beach, Del Mar Shores Beach, Fletcher Cover Beach, Seaside Sur Beach, Tide Beach Park
Things to do: Surfing, Kiteboarding, Sunbathing, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Beach Walking
Parking: Paid Parking 
Pet Policy: Dogs allowed on leash

24. Stan's Beach

Stan's Beach

Stans beach or popularly known as the shipwreck beach is located on the south of Coronado beach. The beach is famously called Shipwreck Beach due to the ghostly wreckage on the SS Monte Carlo in 1930. The wreckage of this once gambling ship appears only during low tide and fascinates onlookers. Apart from the intrigue caused due to the wreckage the silvery white sands of stans beach add to the entire look of the beach. The beach hosts activities such as swimming and boogie boarding. Stans beach is definitely a must-visit due to its eerie ship wreckage.

Other Names: Shipwreck Beach
Parking: Free
Things to Know: No restrooms, No showers, Carry water and food with you

25. Tecolote Shores

Tecolote Shores

Tecolote Beach in San Diego or Playa El Tecolote is a small beach community located in Sur, California. This is an isolated community and is absolutely beautiful with white sand and blue waters. This beach is famously known for its picturesque view and calm waters. The main activities include jet skiing and water skiing.

Things to do: Swimming, Picnicking, Biking, Running, Walking, Bonfires
Pet Policies: No dogs allowed between 9 AM to 6 PM

26. Tourmaline Surfing Park

Tourmaline Surfing Park

The tourmaline beach is located on the border of pacific beach and La Jolla district. This beach is the ultimate hub for surfers and is thus called the tourmaline surf park. The beach does not offer restaurants but has ample parking spots. The main activities of the area stay true to its name surfing, kiteboarding, and more. The surf park does not allow swimming in many areas but you can relax on the beach and sunbathe or watch people surf. The surf park allows you to build a bonfire at night and enjoy a picnic by the beach.

Things to do: Surfing, Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, Bonfires
Pet Policy: Leashed dogs allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm
Parking: Free

This post was published by Rachel Mathew

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