Insider’s Guide: San Diego’s Best Beaches

Insider’s Guide: San Diego’s Best Beaches

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

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert

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

Photo Credit: Justin Brown

Photo Credit: Justin Brown

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

Photo Credit: Halbag
Photo Credit: Halbag

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.

Imperial Beach

Photo Credit: Oliver Weihrauch

Photo Credit: Oliver Weihrauch

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!

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Written by Penny Q. Lane

Penny is a travel specialist for Stayful.com. She loves collecting antique luggage, and then proceeding to drag her collection around the world on her frequent travels. “Boutique hotels have been something of a hidden gem for some time. It is so refreshing that travelers now have a clear avenue to satiate their growing appetite for a unique hotel experience.”

12 Comments

    1. Allen Gruber

      You are probably referring to “Swami’s”, an immensely popular surf spot. Great restaurants in Encinitas, including some seaside eateries like the Charthouse.

  1. Allen Gruber

    Both Coronado and OB have designated dog beaches where Rover can frolic. There is a very quaint downtown on Orange Avenue on Coronado, and a very popular Silver Strand State Beach just a couple miles south of the Landmark Hotel del Coronado. Christmas is beautiful, and the hotel even has an outdoor ice skating rink than. La Jolla has a fabulous downtown, and an incredible modern art museum. The cove beaches are popular for snorkeling and kayaking.

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