10 Beautiful & Must-See Beaches in San Diego (2023)
Noted as one of America’s Finest cities, the beautiful San Diego is famous for its sand, sun, water, and surf or, in short, the magnificent beaches. The city is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in the United States and California, and its 70 miles of beautiful coastline contributes a lot to this fact. Needless to say, some of the San Diego beaches are famous all around the world and are also classified amongst the best you could ever found on any coastline.
San Diego is the second most populated city in California and the eighth-most in the United States; thus, the tourism crowd here is uncountable, and you can find travelers all-round the years seeking the beach beauty of the city. The beach options in San Diego range from accessibility, size, vibes, offerings, water adventures, and whatnot. These aren’t just the relaxing beaches but the spots that can bring the best out of your vacations. Hence for your next trip to the South of California, consider the 10 beautiful & must-see beaches in San Diego.
10 Beautiful & Must-See Beaches in San Diego
La Jolla Shores Beach
A beach with diverse natural scenery, golden sandy stretch, and huge rocky points, the La Jolla Shores Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Diego. The huge rocks near the beachside keep the harsh waves from rolling towards the coastline, making it safe to swim or enjoy anywhere over a mile longshore. The water here is turquoise-green in color and usually calm, making it an ideal location for scuba diving and snorkeling where you can encounter colorful Garibaldi fish, Harmless leopard sharks, and several other marine animals, specifically during summers. Thanks to the La Jolla Cove and cliffs, it is also one of San Diego’s most photographed locations as well. La Jolla is equally famous amongst kayakers who want to explore the seawater on kayaks.Image Source
The most famous beach in San Diego and also the main Public beach, the Pacific Beach is the authentic South California beach you would ever come across in the city. Its wide beachside goes up to 3.5 miles long, where you can often encounter cyclists, skaters, walkers, and nature admirers who are here to seek the best out of this beautiful location. Surfing here is allowed at the dedicated areas, and one can get the equipment easily from the rental shops nearby. Pacific beach is also known for its lively bar scenes, specifically during the night hours when the sight lights up with beach parties and bonfires. Not only the beach but also the pathway lying towards the Pacific itself is filled with some of the finest restaurants and charming shops. Travelers who seeks a happening beach location must surely visit the Pacific Beach in San Diego.
Swami’s Reef or Swami’s Beach
Located in the Northern county of San Diego, within the Encinitas beach city, Swami’s Beach is one of the internationally known surfing spots with a laid-back Southern Californian vibe. It is named Swami’s as it is one of the prime contributions of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, following and preaching the teachings of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda. Surfing here is one of the major points of attraction, specifically during the winters when the water conditions are favorable, tides are low to mid, and the wind blows towards the favorable direction. There are a few lifeguards on duty, making it a very safe, comfortable, and finest surfing experience in California. When here, one can see the nearly 45-million-year-old fossils in level rocks or the marine creatures, including brittle stars, sea hare, and octopuses.
Cardiff State Beach
Within the Encinitas beach city lies another San Diego’s beauty, the Cardiff State Beach. It is a protected beach location popular for surfing, beachcombing, and swimming amongst the locals and visitors. What attracts swimmers more towards Cardiff State Beach is the comparatively warm water which is a result of mild and safe currents and riptides. During the high tide days, the beach becomes narrower; however other days, you can walk, lay down or just relax on the sands overlooking the ocean. Being a state park-protected area, Cardiff State Beach is served with two huge parking lots, restrooms, showers, and lifeguards on duty.
From the South of downtown San Diego, the mile and a half long stretched Coronado beach is one iconic location with a combination of a super wide and beautiful beach right in front of a hotel. It is one totally flat beach that is popular for surfing and skim boarding. The beachside welcomes pretty low and calm waves, mainly protected for swimming, wading, or water dipping purposes. Also, there are several lifeguards on duty from dusk till dawn, making it a safe place for visitors to enjoy and explore inside and over the waters. Due to the high mica content, Coronado Beach seems very shiny throughout the day and thus is one popular location for social media-influenced photographers and enthusiasts. Though apart from the beach, what attracts people most here is the Hotel del Coronado, an iconic beachfront resort that belongs to the 18th century and is still quite popular.
Famous for its boardwalk, beachfront volleyball, and wide range of activities, Mission Beach is surely one of the loveliest beaches in San Diego. Unlike several other beaches in the city, it is less famous for its water activities and more famous for the beachside fun and endless explorable you can be a part of in the boardwalk. Also, it is one of those famous spots of the city from where you can grab one spectacular ocean view like never before. Within the location, you can find several surf schools, rental boats and jet ski, showers, restrooms, picnic spots, and lifeguards for ultimate visitors’ safety. Mission Beach is also quite famous for its Belmont Park, a historic amusement park right at the beachfront with popular thrill rides and an authentic feel.
One of the secluded and hidden spots of San Diego, Black’s Beach is one of the unique locations which you cannot miss to see. The beach sits right below a 300 feet tall cliff, the peak of which is also the busiest glider port in the United States. However, what makes it unique is the non-existential nudism law of San Diego, as it is the only lawfully functional nude beach here in the city. It is also counted amongst the top 5 of the west coast’s surfing spots, though due to the less reliability of lifeguards, it is only safe for professional-level surfers, swimmers, and divers. Reaching down the beach requires a hike all way down from the Torrey Pines Glider sport. The water here is amazingly dark blue, and the sand is crystal clear without a touch of trash anywhere around. However, considering the excessively adult culture, visiting here with family, especially with kids, is not recommended.
Moonlight State Beach
One of the famous additions in the Encinitas beach city, the Moonlight State Beach is a must-see beach in San Diego for both adults and kids. It is never too crowded and blessed with soothing weather most times of the year, making it perfect to relax all across the day. The beach is served by a huge parking lot, water sports rentals, a snack bar, public washrooms, and outdoor showers for extended comfort for the visitors. There is a shaded playground for kids, a volleyball and tennis court for adults, picnic spots, water sports rentals for surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving supplies, and unique geocaching facilities around. Being west facing the beach, the splendid sunset view here is breathtakingly beautiful, and you can find quite a lot of people around waiting to capture the same.
Leucadia State Beach (Beacon’s)
Another protected Californian Beach, the Leucadia State Beach or the Beacon’s, is a popular recreational spot in San Diego. Beacon’s is famous for surfing, swimming, and fishes amongst the locals of Encinitas. It is one of the raw, unspoiled, and less explored beach locations in San Diego, sitting between high bluffs around. The weekdays here can be peaceful and relaxing from the city’s crowd however; the weekends can be slightly crowded and packed parking. It is one of the purest beach locations where during the low tide days, one can explore the marine life in several tide pools around. Visitors who are especially fond of extensive ocean view consider sitting over the high bluffs and capturing the unending beautiful merge of the ocean and the sky.
Considered as the hidden gem in San Diego, Bermuda Beach is a peaceful site below homes and apartment buildings on the Ocean Beach district of the city. It is famous for the large moss-covered rocks and favorable surfing conditions most of the time throughout the year. However, the rip currents are quite frequent here; thus, it is advisable to look out for warnings and cautions before you get down into the waters. Along with the peaceful beach environment, what draws the locals most here is the beautiful sunset view every day along with picturesque wonders all around. Not much with tourists, the Bermuda beach is mostly filled with locals only.