Beach time never goes out of season in San Diego, especially when the climate is perfect year-round. Renowned for its laid-back beaches along 70 miles of California coastline, you are constantly surrounded by sandy beaches and gorgeous sunsets in San Diego. There are over 31 beaches across the county for different water and dry land activities, each all have their charm and appeal to diverse crowds. But the top beaches in San Diego stand out because they offer more than just sun and surf. We’ve summed up a list of the top 8 beaches in San Diego for you to explore and discover their own unique vibe.
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Mission Beach is rated one of the best San Diego beaches because it offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages from diverse backgrounds to enjoy. Its close proximity to Belmont Park and Ocean Front Walk allows you to check out plenty of bars and restaurants while you soak in visitors and locals engaging in beach volleyball, boogie boarding, surfing, whale watching, biking, sport fishing, kite-boarding, swimming, and people watching.
La Jolla Shores
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Located in the northern La Jolla neighborhood, La Jolla Shores is a mile-long family-friendly beach that is rich in marine life with calm waters with beautiful scenery. It is a popular spot for scuba divers, kayakers, stand up paddle boarders and snorkelers. Just up the hill from the beach is the Birch Aquarium, where you will find 70,000 gallon, two-story kelp forest exhibit, and 60 tanks of colorful marine life and coral reefs. This is the biggest tourist attraction where you can take your children to kids’ camps, navigate through educational exhibitions, and explore outdoor activity such as snorkeling and tide pooling.
La Jolla Cove Beach
La Jolla Cove Beach is an intimate coastal deep water bay that’s located below the sandstone cliffs of La Jolla Village. Known for its clear blue waters, it is a part of the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve. Since this is a relatively small beach, you will find minimal crowd here, so it’s a good location for a calm and relaxing beach day just basking in the sun and cool waters. The rich marine life draws eco-friendly underwater enthusiasts to enjoy mainly scuba-diving and swimming, and snorkeling.
Coronado Beach is San Diego’s most nostalgic beach and home to the iconic Victorian-style Hotel Del Coronado that dates back to 1888 with a sight famous for ship-watching. Located just across the bay from downtown San Diego, the City of Corona is filled with charming old houses and has a small-town vibe, perfect for renting a bike to tour around the island. The beach on Coronado Island is ample clean, wide with pillow-soft white sand, ideal for calm water sports and a romantic, relaxing vacation.
Located south of La Jolla and north of Mission Beach, Pacific Beach is a laid back neighborhood adored by sunbathers and surfers surrounded by trendy hotel bars and boutique stores that attracts the college students and young professionals crowd. In addition to popular water sports like kayaking, sailing, and paddle boarding, Pacific Beach also has its 3.5-mile Ocean Front Walk that stretches parallel to the Pacific Ocean. You can find plenty of beach cruisers, joggers, and skateboarders zooming along the strip.
Flat Rock Beach
Located at Torrey Pines State Park, the Flat Rock Beach is a sandy beach below the steep bluffs in the middle of the state park shoreline. In order to get to the beach you need to hike through the Beach Trail and Broken Hill Trail. The trail is long but the view is worth the walk because along the way you get to admire the rock formations and enjoy the beautiful nature trails overlooking the ocean.
Ocean Beach is a wide 1-mile long sandy beach that is home to Dog Beach, where dogs are allowed to roam freely in the sand and play in the water without restrictions. This mile-long beach is the original and oldest dog beach in San Diego and one of the first American beaches where dogs are allowed without a leash.
Imperial Beach is located just five miles northwest of Tijuana, Mexico, making it an ideal place to take a Tijuana day trip and explore the neighboring country. The Imperial Beach pier wooden-plank extends 1,491 feet out towards the horizon, providing a grand view of the Los Coronados Islands and is a great spot for pier fishing and watching the sunset. Imperial Beach is also home to the Tijuana River National Estuary, one of the most popular birding spots in San Diego with many endangered birds and wildlife for viewing.