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Visitors Guide: Best Beaches in San Diego

San Diego is well-known for many reasons- the incomparable weather, great restaurants, shopping, and, of course, the incredible beaches. If you are left wondering, what is the most beautiful beach in San Diego? Well, expanding over 70 miles, San Diego’s coastline has a plethora of beach options for those who are looking for a fun day in the sun. Read on to learn more about the best beaches in San Diego.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is one of the most popular, stretching from the Mission Bay to the cliffs of La Jolla. Being a part of the plethora of nicest beaches in San Diego, in addition to its beautiful views, Pacific Beach has the widely appreciated boardwalk, Ocean Front Walk. Alongside the boardwalk you will find local shops, restaurants, hotels, bars, and more! The Crystal Pier is adjacent to Ocean Front Walk, which is a public pier and hotel for people to enjoy. Bring your rollerblades or rent a bike to cruise on the boardwalk along the palm trees for a quintessential Southern California experience.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is well-loved for many reasons. The first being- you can bring your dogs! On one area of the beach, dogs are able to run around without leashes which is rare to find on most Southern California public beaches. If you love to fish, there is an area for that too found on the Ocean Beach Pier. There are numerous restaurants at arms length for those who are wanting to relax and eat a good meal or visit with friends over drinks.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is one of the most desired vacation spots in San Diego. The beach is about 1-mile long and is widely popular with those who enjoy stand up paddling, swimming, and snorkeling. Kellogg Park can be found when walking down a little further, making it the perfect place to bring a picnic with the family.

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach is a residential beach that is south of downtown San Diego. With lifeguards on duty year long, this beach has become a spot for surfing, body boarding, and beach volleyball lovers. The Pier Plaza, the area found around the Imperial Beach Pier, hosts the U.S Open Sandcastle competition and has for 31 years! As well, the Pier Plaza holds the only beachfront farmer’s market in the San Diego county.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is one of the most crowded beaches in the city due to its oceanfront boardwalk and being in close vicinity of Belmont Park.  This is a great place to bring the kids for there is a variety of activities to keep them entertained. To name a few- beach volleyball, biking, boogie boarding, whale watching, and the exciting boardwalk amusement park. Mission Beach is adjacent to Pacific Beach, so you can park at Mission beach and enjoy a long gorgeous beach walk to Pacific Beach and back.


North of San Diego you will find Cardiff-by-the-Sea. This beach carries the Cardiff Reef, which is famous for being one of the most popular spots for surfing. You will be nothing short of impressed when watching the surfers skilfully take on the high waves. As well, Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a part of Elijo Lagoon, which consists of a plethora of campsites and picnic tables for people to enjoy.

Del Mar City Beach

Del Mar City Beach is a favorite amongst families. Consisting of both the Powerhouse Park and Sea Grove Park, this area welcomes picnics, weddings, and any kind of get together you can think of! If you are wanting some adventure, the south side of the beach carries both cliffs and tide pools.

Moonlight Beach

What is the warmest beach in San Diego? Well, located in Encinitas, Moonlight Beach is extremely family-friendly and one of the most packed beaches to come to during the summer. There is a grass area for the kids to play and a lifeguard on duty for those deciding to take a swim. The three sand volleyball courts are a crowd pleaser as well as the surfing location which can be found outside of the swimming area.