Guide To The Best Beaches in San Diego

Not one San Diego beach is the same,
here's what you need to know about each one...

Ani Grimaudo
Best Beach In San Diego

Best beaches in San Diego. These are our favorites:

Blacks Beach Wave

Black Beach / Torrey Pines:

Nature: Big Waves, Massive Cliffs, a Naked Good Time

This beach is located just north of La Jolla and is known as an optional nude beach. With its large cove quality, it is secluded and connects with the beautiful Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park. This park earned its name from the Torrey Pines that live here. Take a break from the water and wander some nature trails through the pines. Right along Highway 101, you will see spectacular views, including perhaps some hang gliders soaring above you with the birds.  After visiting, you will see why this is one of the best beaches in San Diego.

La Jolla Snorkeling

La Jolla Shores + Cove:

Snorkeling, Wildlife, Beauty

This mile-long sandy stretch of beach is known for the safest swimming waters in the summer months. It is an exquisite area where seals call to one another and have no fear of humans, allowing you to get close to them as you both swim. The Underwater Park Ecological Reserve is right beside this beach so all wildlife is protected and preserved here, do not take anything but what you brought with you! Enjoy a scuba or snorkeling lesson, take in the beautiful fish swimming around your legs. And feel safe, this is a family beach area and there are always lifeguards on duty.

Pacific Beach Hostel

Pacific Beach:

Parties and Excitement, a Classic California Experience

Pacific Beach is the stereotypical California beach experience. There are surfers all times of day with their boards under their arms, college kids talking loudly to each other about classes and the future as they sunbathe their cares away. There are events day and night, all week long at this happening beach. If you get a little too crazy you can book a bed at our beach hostel and have a complimentary breakfast in the morning to set you right the next day. With tons of local businesses, and a farmer’s market every Tuesday, this is a bustling beach town where excitement awaits by the surf.

Lance Asper L5aI2jU0i50 UnsplashMission Beach:

Water Sports and a Boardwalk of Activity

A classic boardwalk beach town that is nearly two miles long, and has numerous rental shops. Belmont Park, an amusement park on the boardwalk, gives thrill right by the ocean, featuring the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. If you want some amusement park fun this is the beach for you. Along with the roller coaster, there is also miniature golf, bumper cars, rock climbing, and an arcade.  It is a popular beach with the 20-something crowd since there are plenty of bars and it is so close to Pacific Beach. A hot nightlife scene for young adults and the young at heart. No matter what age you are, there is biking, beach volleyball, boogie boarding, surfing, whale watching, sport fishing, and scuba diving activities to choose from. If you want some sound waters, Mission Bay is a quick walk away and is home to SeaWorld San Diego. It is the largest aquatic park of it’s kind and there is plenty of space to enjoy some leisure time in this one of a kind oasis on your own, with family or friends.

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Ocean Beach:

Bohemians, Hippies, Surfing, Oh My!

Closer to the heart of the city this beach has a hippie/bohemian feel. As you walk the small streets and take in the colorful beach bungalows you will see your fair share of tie-dye shirts and barefooted residents. This is an active community with community co-ops, local shops, and a drum circle/fire-throwing event every Wednesday night on the beach. Enjoy the chill vibes of Ocean Beach where no one is judging, just existing contently by the sea. If you are staying closer to the Downtown San Diego, this is the closest beach to you and easy to skip over to when you feel the need for the sea.

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Sunset Cliffs:

Peaceful Nature and a Spectacular View

This unique coastal environment features expansive ocean views, dramatic cliff formations, and caves. A native coastal sage scrub habitat that connects to Point Loma Ecological Reserve. Sunset Cliffs has my vote for best beaches in San Diego and is an attraction for San Diego residents as well as national and international visitors. With its rugged coastline and panoramic views, this area is popular with surfers, ocean-gazers, and folks who like beautiful drives. Sunset Cliffs Boulevard runs the length of the cliffs, begins at Adair Street and continues south to Ladera Street. It is a breathtaking view of the most amazing sunsets that you will ever see. Grab some serenity of the Pacific Coastline as you gaze out at the sunset from the best vantage point in San Diego.

Coronado San Diego Hostel

Coronado:

Charm with Vast Golden Sands

As you travel across the 200 foot tall Coronado Bridge you will enter into the charming beach town of Coronado. There are quaint shops along Orange Avenue, classic film trivia with the Coronado Hotel being a glamorous spot for old film stars and the set for “Some Like It Hot”, a Marilyn Monroe movie from the 60s. From there, walk down onto the expansive beaches of sparkling sand. It really does sparkle because of the mineral mica, making it healthful as well as beautiful. Grab a brew from the Coronado Brewing Company, take a trolley tour; this is the beach of charm and beauty.