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Guide to Del Mar Beaches – Where To Go and What To Expect

a group of people on a beach near a body of water

The City of Del Mar, California, is on the Pacific Ocean just north of San Diego. As a quaint seaside city is only 2.2 square miles, it receives millions of visitors every year looking for fun activities and beautiful beaches, including Del Mar Beach. You should know about these beaches and what to expect when you get there.

Getting There

You can get to Del Mar, California, via bus, train, or plane, but you can also make a road trip out of your vacation. The beaches are on the coast, and you can use public transportation, such as a bus or tram, drive yourself or hire a car. All the beaches are located off of the Pacific Coast Highway.

If you drive, you can find free parking near the beaches, but be respectful of the residents by not parking in their driveways and learn about local parking regulations to avoid a ticket. Del Mar also has on-street and garage parking for a fee. Parking areas are typically a short walk from the beach. However, arrive early because parking fills up fast.  

Three Most Popular Beaches

The three most popular beaches in Del Mar are Del Mar County Beach, Dog Beach, and Torrey Pines State Beach. Each beach has different activities and features, from great surfing to family and pet-friendly activities.

Del Mar City Beach

Del Mar City Beach is quite long and is divided into three sections: South, North, and Main Beaches. These areas offer whale watching, swimming, surfing, sunbathing, picnics, and walking on the beach.

If you seek a quiet beach with great surfing, find the reef at South Beach. You can expect residents primarily. Main Beach is the central area of City Beach, and it allows access to two parks. Powerhouse Park is family-friendly, with a playground for your children, while Seagrove Park is a common event space and is great for sunset walks due to its panoramic ocean views.

Del Mar Dog Beach

North Beach, part of Del Mar City Beach, is also known as Dog Beach. Locals and vacationers with dogs enjoy this beach throughout the year. You can let your dog run on the beach in the winter. However, you need a leash during more popular, warmer beach months and times of the day.

Due to its ideal break, North Beach is also popular with surfers. Beach sports enthusiasts also enjoy volleyball, fishing, and walking trails. However, this is also a great location to relax in the sun or bring the family for a day of togetherness and fun. The lifeguard station offers showers and restrooms.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines is a state-run beach inside Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This beach is great for families due to its lagoon and year-round lifeguards. This is also a famous beach for hiking, walking, and running due to its long shoreline and proximity to the natural reserve. Although no dogs are allowed on this beach, you can swim, surf, sunbathe, or participate in beach sports like a frisbee.

You can expect to find facilities with fresh drinking water, restrooms, and showers. You may also see paragliders and hang gliders over the water because this beach is close to Torrey Pines Gliderport. However, don’t expect to sunbathe or otherwise set up on the cliffs because they are unstable and often crumble.

a view of a mountain

Other Activities

While visiting Del Mar, California, don’t forget to check out the shopping, incredible restaurants, and unique services. Check out the fairgrounds, racetrack, and wildlife watching. You can also take a hot air balloon ride or charter a boat for some whale or dolphin watching.

Del Mar has some of the most beautiful beaches in California. Check out the views, amenities, and the three most popular Del Mar beaches on your next visit.