San Diego Beaches | A Local’s Guide To The City’s Best Beaches

San Diego, known affectionately by Ron Burgundy to be a classy place, is also known by many as having the best beaches in the Country. Tourists flock from all over the globe to bask in the 250+ days of seemingly perfect sunny weather, and locals pay a pretty penny to call them home. From surfing to snorkeling, and walking piers to boardwalks, San Diego beaches have the additional benefit of being unique. There’s something for everyone, and there’s no doubt you will love at least one.

Having lived in San Diego and enjoyed its beaches for almost a decade, I felt like it would be helpful to put together a no-nonsense guide that will fast track your fun-seeking. These are the best beaches in San Diego, with a little something for everyone.

Best Sunset Walks On The Sand

Coronado beach is without question the “best” beach when considering the actual quality of the sand and size of the shoreline. The beach is massive, and the white sand is so soft it’s almost hard to believe. Nestled in the middle of the beach is the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado, an upscale resort that serves as an excellent nav point and place to explore on its own. This beach is best enjoyed at sunset with your loved ones, make sure you stop in the upscale downtown district for dinner or a drink before you leave.

Best surf (er) Vibes

Ocean Beach is one of the closest beaches to downtown and is nestled where the 8 Freeway and the ocean meet. A funky, eclectic beach town, OB (as it is affectionately known by locals) is said to be one of the last well-preserved hippie beach towns where time has stood still since the ’60s. The surf here is equally groovy, as surfers from all over the city (and world) flock here to surf the jetty, pier, and cliffs. Speaking of the pier, the pier there is the longest walking pier on the West Coast and has a seafood restaurant about halfway out. (1)

Best Boardwalk and Parties

Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are the next beaches north from Ocean Beach, and together make up a three mile stretch of sand and surf. The most prominent feature of the beach is the double-wide pedestrian boardwalk that stretches the entire three miles, lined mostly with college students, young professionals, and vacation rentals. The boardwalk works as a perfect transportation system between the two beach towns, both of which feature prominant streets lined with bars and restaurants. Be sure to hang on to your hat; there’s a lot of fun to be had here. (2)

Best Family-Friendly Fun

If you are looking for a place to take your little ones, or, in general, would just like a more family-friendly and relaxed atmosphere, then the La Jolla Beaches are perfect. This upscale neighborhood is home to many families and is, in general, about as clean and cookie-cutter as San Diego gets. There are a variety of smaller beaches that dot the coastline, all of which will likely have other families enjoying the sunshine. If seeing wildlife sounds fun, a walk down to La Jolla Cove (located in the middle of downtown) to see the sea lions is sure to entertain.

As someone that has enjoyed the beaches of San Diego for many years, I especially love that there really is a beach for every situation. With so many days of sunshine each year, there’s plenty of time to enjoy them all. If you have the time, visit them all! Otherwise, I hope this guide helps you find your own fun in the sun, whatever that looks like.

Written by Samuel Hill