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The Most Instagrammable Spots in San Diego

a person standing next to a body of water

Vacations are for making memories and spending time with loved ones, but you can definitely spice up your Instagram feed in the process. Don’t settle for average beach pics on your next vacation. San Diego is a prime destination for attractions that are unforgettable and photogenic.

What Makes San Diego Great for Photos?

With its prime location on the southern edge of California, San Diego’s weather is sunny 266 days out of the year. It has fewer crowds and less smog than nearby Los Angeles and a thriving local art scene. Natural mountain ranges, coves and cliffs boast clear water and friendly wildlife.

Best Hidden Gems for Photos

Why start with the hidden gems? The best Instagram locations are the ones not everyone knows about, so you can get an uncrowded and eye-catching picture.

  1. Whale-watching tours are a great way to get tons of interesting pictures. On Next Level Sailing’s excursions, we encounter many types of whales, sea lions and other stunning marine life. San Diego’s climate allows for fruitful whale watching tours all four seasons of the year. The backdrop of the ocean from the Yacht America is also great for photos. 
  2. The Sunken Ship SS Monte Carlo is literally a hidden gem, as it’s only visible when the tide patterns line up correctly. The unusual, haunting lines of this shipwreck make the spot deal for a moody, atmospheric Instagram pic. The SS Monte Carlo provides contrast to pictures of blooming flowers and elaborate iced coffee. 
  3. The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is a quirky photo spot dating from the turn of the 20th century. The thick trees along this bridge make it look like you trekked through the jungle to get the perfect photo, but it’s really in the middle of the Bankers Hill neighborhood. We won’t tell.

Instagram-Worthy Cafes & Restaurants

San Diego is foodie heaven, with many different local cuisines to sample (and photograph for the Gram.) A few of the prettiest San Diego restaurants include:

  • Holy Matcha: a bold retro pink-and-green cafe with matching green matcha beverages
  • Cesarina: an Italian restaurant that’s casual, but has all the flair of Italy’s Amalfi coast
  • Cody’s La Jolla: a brunch spot with a gorgeous bird’s-eye view of San Diego’s most famous beach and pier 

Instagram-Worthy Murals

Murals are important bastions of public art that also provide great backdrops for full-length selfies. Practice your pose and check out the Greetings From San Diego Mural in North Park. This stunning piece of art is the best way to kick off your San Diego Instagram story.

Then, don’t miss the You Are Radiant Mural on Ray street. This mural’s bright colors and inspiring message make it a popular photo spot, and you’ll provide a sweet confidence boost to yourself and your followers.

In nearby Carlsbad, the Sleeping Tiger Mural is a well-kept secret. Two photorealistic painted tigers and a tasteful flow of rainbow colors make for a great Instagram pic. After you’re done, you can head to the nearby Witch Creek Winery and coffee bar.

Best Beaches for Photos

Few locales in the world can match the natural wonders found on San Diego’s beaches. The green moss cliffs of Windansea Beach make for an unusual but gorgeous photo. For the perfect sunset, head to the aptly named Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.

Finally, don’t skip the most famous San Diego photo spot: Scripps Pier. The water here is perfectly crystal blue and great for swimming pictures.

Any of these locations will fill your feed with beautiful shots, though some locations are extremely popular. For photos only you will have, consider taking a whale watching tour or renting out the Yacht America for a chartered event.