San Diego is known as America’s Finest City and if you have ever been here, you probably will agree! I can say that things are not always perfect here, but it is pretty darn close. The California lifestyle is in full force around here with surfers galore conquering every wave. Where flip-flops are considered business casual. You will find the laid back lifestyle contagious when you are here. So I compiled a list of must see spectacular beaches in San Diego that will most certainly make your experience here unforgettable!
**Reminder: Please check the Coronavirus Updates from San Diego area.**
Torrey Pines State Beach
The community of Torrey Pines is located north of La Jolla and south of Del Mar. Torrey Pines State Beach has it all! With a visit to Torrey Pines, you will find hiking trails, cliffs, beach, and views! If you visit San Diego, you must see Torrey Pines.
The 2.3-mile loop trail takes you through natural shrub and landscapes. Eventually leading you to a stairway path down to the beach. As you hike the Torrey Pines trail, you will see amazing cliff side and ocean views, birds, and beautiful wild flowers.
There is a parking lot where a fee is collected, however, there is also free parking along the road side which is No. Torrey Pines Road / So. Camino Del Mar if you can find an open spot. Explore the entire area and visit Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. DIRECTIONS
La Jolla Cove | La Jolla Shores
This quintessential smaller coastal community of La Jolla is located in San Diego County. It might be one of the most beautiful beach towns I’ve ever seen. This small beach community isn’t your typical little beach town.
There are numerous things to do and see in La Jolla. You will find art galleries galore, quaint swimsuit boutiques, and collectible shops throughout.
You will also enjoy delicious dining with an ocean view, picnic hot spots in the park, and a lovely afternoon chatting with the seals and sealife up close and personal.
The coastal beach walk is amazing! Now you will see why San Diego calls La Jolla, Jewel By The Sea. DIRECTIONS
Beach In Coronado
Known as the Crown City, Coronado features one of the prettiest beaches in town! Also home to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, of which you can schedule tours and learn more about this historical place. With its sparkling beach sand and cresting waves, Coronado offers endless possibilities for fun! You will soon know why this beach is named one of the top beaches for families by this vacation critic. DIRECTIONS
I have many fond memories of when I was hanging out at PB, as the locals call it, during my younger days of fun. I’ve spent many weekends soaking in the sun, playing volleyball, and enjoying a fruity beverage on this beach. It is known for its parties and as a spring break destination. There are, however; many activities to do here outside of the ‘party’ thing. You might be surprised. Here are a few ideas:
- Enjoy an early morning treat at Kono’s Surf Club Café; breakfast is served all day.
- Bike or walk along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk
- Watch the sunset on Crystal Pier
- Enjoy a beer at PB Shore Club- yummy sandwiches too!
- Grab a tasty ice cream treat at Baked Bear. (You’re welcome).
- Take a short detour over to Mission Beach and enjoy Belmont Park! Take a roller coaster ride, browse the shops, and indulge in some tasty treats! DIRECTIONS
Beach In Encinitas
Moonlight State Beach, Encinitas
I love the drive to visit the beach in Encinitas, the gorgeous Moonlight State Beach area. Known as a haven for surfers and at times lingering sea life such as sharks.
You might ask why do they call it Moonlight State Beach? During the days in the early 1900s’ locals would come to the beach area and enjoy a picnic at midnight. You will find the ultimate beach experience here with tons of activities for both adults and kids. From surfing and swimming to volleyball, you will find something to enjoy! DIRECTIONS
Beach In Carlsbad
Located about 30 miles north of San Diego, you will find this beautiful beach a favorite to add to your list. If you are looking for a quiet, unique beach setting, look no further. We enjoyed the afternoon here with our parents as we spent the day walking along the beach, sifting through numerous rocks, and watching the seagulls. It is the perfect clean and quiet beach to visit. It’s also great for families and picnics! Popular activities include swimming, surfing, picnicking, and camping. DIRECTIONS
Sunset Cliffs | Ocean Beach
One of the most beautiful beach areas to photograph is at Sunset Cliffs. Although not your typical soft sandy beach, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is comprised of 68 acres of unique coastal property. Located south of the Ocean Beach pier, along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. There have been several incidents in the area because the rugged fragile coastal edge, people get too close to these areas and fall. This place is amazing with its panoramic breathtaking views and magnificent sunsets, you won’t want to miss out seeing Sunset Cliffs!
I don’t think there is a better way to spend the end of the day enjoying the sunset and surfers at Oceanside Pier. The original Oceanside pier was built in 1888 but was destroyed by storms in 1890. There have been about six renditions of piers built and then destroyed from storms. The current pier was built in 1987 is one of the most beloved iconic landmarks in the city today. It will be a place popular for fishing, surfing, dining, swimming, and even the IRONMAN Triathlon!.
These spectacular beaches I have listed above are merely a small part of beautiful San Diego. It’s not called America’s Finest City for nothing. San Diego is the ultimate place for sunshine, adventure and beaches! If you are looking for even more unique fun things to do, you might also enjoy the local hiking trails and a ball game at Petco Park downtown!
I hope you are feeling the California beach vibe! Looking for more So Cal beach inspiration, check out WhereGalsWander!
I didn’t know that San Diego is home to beautiful beaches! Sunset Cliffs is a perfect place for me to see sunsets. Although, I love the settings of La Jolla.
Oh yes,.. these beaches are all so beautiful and have their own characteristics. Definitely, Sunset Cliffs is the ultimate place to capture sunsets! Thank you for reading, Jane!
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches in San Diego! I think I’d go to Sunset Cliffs, too!
Yup, it’s pretty amazing here! You need to come visit! La Jolla Shores is still my favorite – with the live Seals entertaining you.. 🙂 Thanks for reading my friend!!