San Diego’s Mediterranean climate has propelled it to the forefront of beach-going in California, with swells and sand stretches to rival even the totemic names of Venice and Huntington Beach near to Los Angeles in the north. Here, surfers, swimmers, hikers, beachcombers, water skiers, sailors and a whole host of other beach-related tourists enjoy year-round waves, mild temperatures and some of the most breath-taking natural scenery this side of America.
Here are five of the top beaches in the oSan Diego area. Some are suited for hard-core surfers looking for the crashing Pacific waves, while others make perfect family-friendly stop offs on the way through the center of town.
Here, a four-mile beach is shrouded by the rugged mountain cliffs of the Carmel Valley, offering up a stretch of coastal land that’s at once startlingly beautiful and enticingly full of action. Visitors can opt to take one of two treks on arrival; one leading straight to the cliff bottom, where surfers, swimmers and sunbathers can make the most of the sandy spots and coastal lagoons, the other heading to high ground, where some magnificent panoramas of the San Diego coastline can be found amidst the protected pine woods that first gave the park its name.
Drama at the Carlsbad State Beach Park starts from the get go, with visitors enjoying unrivalled sea views of the Pacific Ocean from the clifftop Coast Highway that runs up from San Diego. But, despite its undeniable beauty, few tourists choose to stop here, and the various sand stretches remain relatively unknown amongst visitors on the beach trail north of the city. Surfers should be sure to head to the fabled Tamarack spot, where some of the coast’s best point breaks are waiting to be had, while families should make for South Carlsbad, with its open beachfront and welcoming campsite facilities.
For more than 40 years the State Park Beach at San Onofre has represented one of the most-coveted surfing spots in all of California, while the unique array of wildlife that exists between the cliffs and the waters has attracted nature lovers, eco-tourists, hikers, bikers and divers to boot. For recreation and relaxation the beachfront closer to the San Onofre Bluffs is perhaps best, while board riders should be sure to head to the eponymous San Onofre Surf Beach, where there’s an array of point break swells on offer.
Located in the very heart of San Diego’s most popular tourist area, the Mission Bay Park Beach is without question the most visited destination on this list, and one of the most family friendly seaside spots in the whole city area. Watersport activities abound, with tour operators offering everything from pedal boat rental to water skiing, while there’s an abundance of barbecue spots and fire pits that come alive until late at night. For a quintessentially San Diego beach experience, this one is simply not to be missed!
Small and hidden beneath the cliffs near Scripps Park, La Jolla Cove Beach is one of the most secluded spots of sand within San Diego city limits. It’s hailed as a jewel of the city for its paradisal setting amidst the leaning palm trees and rocky outcrops of the coast, while it’s also a family favorite because of its relatively calm waters, lack of surfboards and accessibility from the nearby Children’s Pool – where the rough Pacific swells are stopped by a purpose-built sea wall.