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San Diego’s Top 10 Beaches

La Jolla, CA


Famous for its super mild weather, San Diego boasts a whopping 70 coastline miles. This city really does have something for everyone. If you are planning your next vacation in San Diego or are considering a move, you’ll have access to some amazing golf, numerous museums, world famous San Diego Zoo, endless family-oriented activities, superb food, world-class shopping, and hotels for any and all budgets. San Diego’s beaches are perfect in any season. Even though swimming is not such a great option in the winter, there are many sunny winter days, which are ideal for taking a long- winded stroll along the sandy beaches.


1. Mission Beach

Beginning at the Mission Bay Channel entrance, and ending at the North end of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach attracts huge crowds and features immaculate coastline for 2 miles. You could check out the boardwalk, where biking, walking and similar activities are all allowed. Do some shopping at the Strand, participate in a game of beach volleyball, and ride the giant roller coaster. Surfing is allowed at this beach where areas are designated.

Directions: Take Interstate 5 to Grand Avenue. Follow it west to Mission Boulevard. Take Mission Boulevard south to the roller coaster at West Mission Bay Drive.


2. Coronado Beach

Coronado experiences virtually perfect weather all year-round, but accessing it isn’t the easiest. You can reach it via the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge by taxi, private shuttle, public bus or car. Its breathtaking shoreline is famous for being featured in “Some Like It Hot” (1958) during Marilyn Monroe’s starring role. Its beach is flat and wide with gentle waves, perfect for those learning how to surf or boogie board. Consistently ranked as one of the most romantic beaches in the world, as well as the best beach for families.

Directions: Take I-5 South to the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge exit (California Highway 75). Cross the bay and drop down onto Coronado Island. The first stoplight is Orange Avenue. Turn right to the Ferry Landing or turn left to the central business district, the beach and the Hotel del Coronado.


3. La Jolla

A popular destination for families, La Jolla Shores is perfect if you’re wanting to have a picnic on the grass or wade in the water. The adjacent Kellogg Park features a huge grassy area perfect for your picnic lunch. The waves tend to be the most gentle in the summer here compared to any other San Diego beach. It is very sandy, and is approximately 1 mile long. Offering several scuba diving classes for beginners, and The Steven Birch Aquarium is close by and open daily. Fishing is prohibited by law, but surfing is permitted where areas indicate. The only beachfront boat launch is also featured here.

Directions: From the north, take Interstate 5 south and exit at La Jolla Village Drive westbound. Turn left at the signaled intersection at Torrey Pines Road and follow it to the signaled intersection at La Jolla Shores Drive. From the south, take Interstate 5 northbound and exit at La Jolla Parkway. Turn right at the signaled intersection at La Jolla Shores Drive, then turn left at the signaled intersection at Avenida de la Playa. Turn right on Camino del Oro.


4. Pacific Beach

More widely known as “The Strand”, this long beach is found south of Crystal Pier, and stretches over 2 miles. Perfect for a sunset stroll or a scenic bike ride, this beach attracts big crowds and is probably the most popular in San Diego. Restaurants, shops, and beach- equipment rentals are all found song the north end of the beach. Surfing is permitted where areas indicate, and lifeguards patrol year-round.

Directions: Take Interstate 5 to Grand Avenue. Follow it west to the terminus at the ocean.


5. Imperial Beach

Every summer, this beach hosts the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition. Situated 5 miles from the Mexican border, there are so many things to do and see! You can surf, swim, take a walking tour of public art, or even a nature hike to do some spectacular bird-watching at the noteworthy Tijuana Estuary.

Directions: Take Interstate 5 South to Exit 5A for CA-75/Palm Avenue. Turn right at CA-75N/ Palm Avenue.


6. Silver Strand

If you’re an RV camper, this beach is the perfect spot for you. It’s an amazing place to surf, swim, kayak, water-ski, play volleyball, go boating or just have a picnic. It features an area which is also open to day-use visitors and includes bbq pits, fire rings that are usually available to use, and several picnic tables. The water is always calm and warm, but keep in mind dogs are not allowed on the beach and are only allowed in the day-use parking lots and camping areas.

Directions: The beach is 4.5 miles south of Coronado on Highway 75. The park is on the sand spit that forms the outer edge of San Diego Bay between Coronado and Imperial Beach.


7. Ocean Beach

Unlike Silver Strand, Ocean Beach does allow dogs and dog loves alike on the beach. It even features a dog-run area where your pet can roam leash-free. This beach also boasts a wide range of restaurants, some amazing shopping, and even some fishing spots where you don’t require a permit. It does have strong rip currents however, so when swimming make sure you stay in close proximity to the lifeguard towers. Surfing is permitted where areas indicate.

Directions: Take Interstate 8 westbound to the end, and then take a left on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Take a right at the signalled intersection of Santa Monica Avenue and follow it to the beach.


8. Solana Beach

Located in San Diego’s north Country, Solana Beach features some breathtaking bluffs and hidden coves, as well as many hot spots for surfing, and has staircases at almost every street corner making it very accessible. Solana has 5 main hot spots: Seaside, a great spot to surf with an outer reef; Tide Beach, with arguably the best sand of them all and a tide pooling reef, Fletcher Cove, with more amazing surfing; Seascape Beach; and Del Mar Shores, primarily visited by the locals.

Directions: From Interstate 5, exit Lomas Santa Fe Drive west to Pacific Coast Highway. Continue straight through the intersection to Fletcher Cove or head north or south on Sierra Avenue to explore the other options. Seaside lies directly at the bottom of the hill as you drive north on PCH toward Cardiff. (Solana Beach is north bound of Del Mar.)


9. Windansea Beach

This beach, situated in La Jolla boasts breathtaking surf breaks and mesmerizing scenery. Its rocky shores entice the most experienced surfers and huge rocks situated around the breach work to partition and lend privacy to sun-worshippers. But because of its shore break (hard breaking surf at the shoreline), all swimmers should only enter with utmost caution.

Directions: From the north, take Interstate 5 to La Jolla Village Drive, westbound. Turn left on Torrey Pines Road at the signalized intersection. Follow Torrey Pines Road to the signaled intersection at Pearl Street and turn right. Turn left on La Jolla Boulevard at the signaled intersection. Turn right on Nautilus at the signaled intersection. From the south, take Interstate 5 north to La Jolla Parkway. Continue on as it becomes Torrey Pines Road. Follow Torrey Pines Road to the signaled intersection at Pearl Street and turn right. Turn left on La Jolla Boulevard at the signaled intersection. Turn right on Nautilus at the signaled intersection.



10. Tourmaline Surfing Park

This hot spot for surfing and sailboarding is yet another North Country beach, and is renowned as a San Diego gem by locals. This beach is outlined by 75 foot high cliffs, has separate designated areas for swimming and surfing, and a year-round staff of lifeguards for your safety.

Directions: Take Interstate 5 to Grand Avenue or Garnet Avenue exits. Proceed westbound on either avenue to Mission Boulevard. Turn north (right) and look for on-street parking north of Garnet Avenue or continue north to La Jolla Boulevard and turn left on Tourmaline Street to the public parking lot.

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