The Ultimate Beach Guide in San Diego
By: Caitlyn Knuth
If you’re a traveler with a heart for heading to warm-weather vacation destinations, chances are high that San Diego has been on your must-travel list at one time or another. This iconic Southern California city is known and loved for its year-round sunny disposition. As an added bonus, a trip this direction comes with incredible opportunities for stops at museums, restaurants, stores and more. From day to night, San Diego provides guests with a seemingly endless list of options for fun and entertainment. While the evening hours in San Diego can be filled with music and dancing at a variety of top-notch nightclubs, the daytime hours beckon those with a heart for heading out to the beach to come and enjoy time on the sand and under the sun. With over 70 miles of coastline to its name, beach-hopping in San Diego is best done with an idea of how you want to spend your time. Whether you’re one for kayaking, swimming, sunbathing or scuba diving, there’s sure to be an ideal beach with your name on it. To make the most of every moment of your beach-bound adventure, here are some of the best beaches in San Diego and why they rank so high on the list of destinations that deserve to be discovered.
Don’t let the crowds keep you from enjoying one of the most popular, beautiful and exciting beaches that San Diego has to offer! Pacific Beach, fondly referred to as “The Strand” or P.B. by locals, is a bustling sandy hangout where families come to take a stroll along the water and surfers come to make the most of the designated areas that are sure to draw an audience. Pacific Beach is popular amongst beachgoers who enjoy spending time sipping something savory next to the shoreline, as this area is dotted with bars and snack shacks. Watersport rental shops and restaurants can also be found in abundance at Pacific Beach. Those looking for a stroll with a guaranteed view will want to make the most of the 3.5-mile boardwalk or a trek along Crystal Pier which has graced the area for over 90 years. Pacific Beach is conveniently located between La Jolla and Mission Beach and is host to a number of beachfront vacation rentals in San Diego for those who want to get out on the sand even quicker.
Tourmaline Surfing Park
The best beaches in San Diego inevitably call to surfers who are looking to refine their skills on the waves. If you’re a visitor who can’t wait to get out in the water and get up on the board, Tourmaline Surfing Park is definitely for you. Integrated into the greater North Pacific Beach, Tourmaline Surfing Park is a far less crowded stop that’s popular amongst thrill-seekers. This beach is known for its rocky texture and is bordered by a series of cliffs that rise over 75 feet into the air. While its bumpy surface makes it less than ideal for sunbathing, Tourmaline Surfing Park is perfect for surfing and sailing and does include a designated section for swimming as well. Nearby parking and on-site showers cater to a comprehensive day spent at Tourmaline Surfing Park.
If one were to line up all the best beaches in San Diego and give each a prize, it’s likely that Mission Beach would receive the award for being the most fun. While this long-stretch of white sand offers up plenty of inviting opportunities for sunbathing amongst amazing views, it’s definitely a destination that visitors choose when they are looking to combine both moments of relaxation with high-energy excitement. Mission Beach sits between Ocean Front Walk and Belmont Park and is home to a sprawling beachfront amusement park complete with a boardwalk. After you’ve taken some time to soak up the sun, head over to the many rides and attractions that make up the Mission Beach scene. Plenty of food and beverages stands line the boardwalk, making it simple to cure a craving whenever hunger strikes.
Travelers who find themselves in San Diego with a canine companion at their side won’t want to miss out on a visit to Ocean Beach. This pet-friendly destination offers up the perfect place for humans and their four-legged friends to make the most of a run or walk on the sand. Pet-owners are often thrilled to find that Ocean Beach also hosts a designated leash-free area where dogs can let loose and get rid of pent up energy. After a long stroll, take advantage of the many bars and restaurants that call Ocean Beach home.
If you’re more in the mood for an afternoon of fishing, Ocean Beach hosts the iconic Ocean Beach Pier which offers up sweeping views of the water and just may provide the day’s next big catch as well. While swimming at Ocean Beach is allowed in designated areas manned by a lifeguard, visitors should always be aware that this beach is notorious for its strong currents and take caution accordingly.
A border of rocky cliffs and endlessly crashing waves make Windansea Beach a tranquil, scenic and highly desirable spot to visit for those that love to spend just as much time on the waves as on the sand. Surfers love Windansea Beach for the many challenges the water here provides, while beachgoers can enjoy observing surfers or simply soaking up the sun in peace. Windansea Beach is located in La Jolla and is easily recognized by the beach shacks covered in palm fronds that dot the sand. When the tide is low, it’s fun to take advantage of the tide pools that appear and make for a relaxing dip in the water. Depending on what time of year you visit, Windansea Beach is also known as a destination where whale watchers will find exactly what they’re searching for as these massive creatures make their way along their migration routes.
Savor the San Diego Beach Scene
No matter when you arrive, making the most of the best beaches in San Diego is well worth the effort. From surfing and lounging to whale-watching or sipping the day away, there’s nothing quite like time spent on a San Diego beach. Cheers to the sand-filled adventures that surely lie ahead!
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with 710 Beach Rentals, she enjoys writing and sharing about San Diego in the hope others will pack up and head out on California-bound adventures of their very own.