Best Beaches In San Diego
It doesn’t matter what you want from a beach, San Diego has it all from popular bustling beaches, surfer’s paradise, secluded and even a legalized nudist beach to choose from. With the clement climate most of the year, you can take advantage of these picturesque spots morning, noon and night.
Beach and surf life is a mainstay of the culture of San Diego, and residents say that San Diego was actually founded and exists because of the coastline, and that so much of the culture and values come from this outdoor life. A comment from the San Diego Tribune – ‘some say Life’s a Beach, but we say Beach is our Life’. When you visit, you will certainly understand what they mean.
6 Most Popular Beaches
The beaches mentioned here are all popular, busy areas which attract many tourists at all times of the year and you will see plenty of bronzed bodies and colorful beach towels laid out by the sun worshippers and fun-seekers.
If you are looking for a family-oriented beach, head to La Jolla, a perfect and safe beach for the children, with a large grassy area behind for picnics and play. The waves are gentle, making it ideal for the smaller ones to splash around. You can definitely make a day out in this area, as very nearby is Steven Birch Aquarium and Kellogg Park where kids can play or visit the inhabitants of the aquarium and enjoy interactive pursuits.
For a more activity driven day at the beach, try Mission Beach which can be very busy in the summer months. Extending for 2 miles, you can also enjoy biking and walking along the boardwalk, ride the huge roller coaster or enjoy the numerous shops along the Strand. There is something for everyone.
Image credit: Tim Jankowiak
Ocean Beach is also a multi-activity area and dog-friendly, so there are plenty of playful canines around, even though they do have a restricted area. Plenty of shopping is available and a good selection of eateries once you have exhausted yourself. Be aware though, that there are strong rip currents so surfing is only recommended in designated areas. Lifeguards are on permanent patrol to ensure safety.
One of the most picturesque beaches is Solana Beach, which in fact is really made up of several beaches interspersed by beautiful bluffs and secret coves. In order to reach the beaches, you have to go down one of the many staircases to reach your favorite. Just off Tide Beach there is a small reef and plenty of gorgeous sand, whereas Fletcher Cove will see the majority of surfers.
Silver Strand State Beach
Image credit: California Beaches
The Silver Strand State Beach is extremely popular with campers and has a variety of activities such as kayaking, surfing, and water skiing, as well as good, safe swimming. You can also rent boats here as the water is very calm (it is also extremely warm). This beach attracts day trippers as well as locals as there is a very large well-equipped picnic and barbecue area with all you need to light up and enjoy a burger or two!
If you are lucky enough to visit during July, Imperial Beach is home to the Sun and Sea Festival and one of the largest exhibitions of sand sculptures that you will ever see. The beach itself offers swimming and surfing, but other attractions include hiking and bird watching on the Tijuana Estuary (the beach is only 5 miles from the Mexican border). Stay until late and watch the sunset, or nip into the Tin Fish restaurant at the city end of the beach for the best fish tacos around!
Here are some other popular beaches for different reasons!
Voted one of the most ‘romantic beaches’, Coronado Beach has the best weather most of the year and many people are attracted here because of the very wide and flat beach with gentle waves lapping the sand. The beach is famous for the shots of Marilyn Monroe who starred in ‘Some Like it Hot’, believed to be one of the roles that turned her into a worldwide goddess! If you are not an aspiring Marilyn, the beach is also perfect for boogie boarding and surfing.
Surfers are really tested at Windansea Beach, where the rocky and difficult surfing conditions attract top quality surfers from all over the world. The beach is part of the popular La Jolla area and the surrounding scenery is nothing but beautiful. The beach is partitioned with rocks so that a certain amount of privacy is available. Swimmers should take caution though as the surf breaks here can border on being tricky.
Image credit: Jack Brauer
For more solitude and a chance to get naked, the beautiful beach out at the Torrey Pines end of La Jolla is known as Black’s Beach. The beach drops away from the bluffs and is gloriously sandy, and a contrast to the busy La Jolla. Whilst the beach is only half a mile long, it still remains relatively uncrowded and a hidden gem, which makes it popular with the locals. The water can be pretty dangerous, and once again it attracts serious surfers looking for a challenge. This could be the first and only time you will see nude surfers – honestly, they do exist!
Moonlight State Beach
Image credit: Russ Harris
Moonlight State Beach at Encinitas is a place to take your date or a loved one. It is a beautiful white sandy beach with stunning cliff faces extending in both directions prior to the beach start. Visitors say the beach has a ‘special feel to it’, including the town of Encinitas itself. Cook a romantic meal for your date on the grills available as the sun begins to drop above the ocean. Alternatively, head to Lobster West for delicious seafood all day. If your budget doesn’t run to that, there is a great ice cream and snack bar!
Whichever beach you choose in San Diego you will be sure to have a great time.