No trip to San Diego is complete with out a visit the beach, but with over 70 miles of coastline it can be hard to figure out the best ones to visit. We’ve decoded the top seaside destinations so you can spend your hard earned vacation watching sunsets, not searching for destinations.
La Jolla is quintessential California. Not only does it have incredible restaurants and shopping, the views are some of the best in the entire state. Check out La Jolla Shores, a local favorite with it’s mile-long beach with soft sand and gentle waves. It’s great for sunbathers and families alike.
Another gorgeous destination is La Jolla Cove, a small beach surrounded by cliffs and a favorite hangout of local sea lions. It’s also popular for kayaking, snorkeling, and diving if you feel like a more active trip.
Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s funkier beach towns, known for its laid-back, small-town vibe. Antique-lovers will enjoy the Antique District, and you’ll find a number of vintage and surf shops around the neighborhood too. OB also has some great restaurants and bars: kick back a few craft brews at local hangout Pizza Port and grab a burger at Hodad’s.
Traveling with a dog or just enjoy seeing blissful, sand-coated canines? OB is home to Dog Beach, a popular place for dog owners. There is a nice “human” beach too, along with the impressive Ocean Beach Municipal Pier. Ocean Beach is also where you’ll find Sunset Cliffs, one of the most beautiful spots in San Diego and a must-see on your trip there.
Coronado is actually an island—accessible by the famous Coronado Bridge or by ferry from downtown. It has an expansive 1.5-mile-long beach and you can sometimes see dolphins not far from the shore.
Coronado is also full of beautiful, well-manicured homes and some spectacular oceanfront mansions; renting a bike and riding around the island is a great way to spend a couple hours. Make sure you get a photo of downtown San Diego from Coronado—the view is fantastic.
The most southwesterly town in the U.S., Imperial Beach is probably the most laid-back and unpretentious of all the beach towns in San Diego.
While Imperial Beach feels like the beach town that San Diego forgot, hardcore surfing fans surely remember its importance. IB was a legendary surf spot in the late 1930s to the 1950s. Surfers from all over the country made their way to IB to surf the then-biggest waves in the continental U.S. On the Imperial Beach Pier, there is a colorful public art monument honoring the community’s surfing legacy.
There are four miles of beach here, and if you hit it at the right time, you may have a large swath of it to yourself.
What are your favorite beach towns in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below for a chance to win $25 in Stayful travel credits!