The 15 Best Beaches in San Diego, USA

The 12 best beaches in the San Diego area

Located three hours south of Los Angeles and 20 minutes north of the Mexican border, San Diego combines what may be the most perfect weather in the country a mile beyond the beautiful coastline. The area has both wide, flat public beaches that are easily accessible and convenient for even brief visits, and secluded unspoiled cove beaches that can only be reached on foot via a winding path from the cliffs. San Diego has beaches within its city limits, and there are beaches in various towns and villages both north and south of downtown. Surfers gravitate toward towns like Encinitas, Leucadia and San Clemente, while sun and family fans may prefer Oceanside, La Jolla or Pacific Beach.

1 Pacific Beach.

Pacific Beach, the city and its main public beach, offers an archetypal Southern California coastal experience. There’s a wide, smooth beach that continues for miles. Most of the beach is fluffy white sand, and little of it is covered most of the day. The beach is flat, but slopes down right near the waterline. You also get a beach boardwalk filled with small stores, cafes and even rooms right on the sand. Pacific Beach is great for those who like to be active outside. There’s a dedicated bike path and beach activities like surf schools and yoga. Surfer Beach Hotel is right in the middle of PB (as the locals call it), and most rooms overlook the ocean. The hotel is home to World Famous Pacific Beach, one of the region’s best restaurants.

2 Del Mar Beach.

Del Mar may be known for its famous races, but it’s a beautiful seaside community with beautiful beaches. Del Mar City Beach is over two miles long, wide and clean, with several lifeguard towers. There are two parks across the street, Powerhouse Park and Seagrove Park, both are great places to picnic before or after heading to the beach. The adjacent beach, North Beach, is dog-friendly. Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar is a 15-minute walk from the beach. It is a resort hotel with stylish bungalows.

3 La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores

Minutes from Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores is one of the most picturesque beaches in all of San Diego. The mile-long, gently curving beach is protected from big waves, and it’s a great place to wade and sharpen in the surf. Lifeguards are on duty, and San Diego has been known to have the softest surf. Rains and amenities are available. Divers and snorkelers will love exploring the San Diego-La Jolla Ecological Reserve underwater park, which is near La Jolla Shores. The city of La Jolla offers upscale stores and restaurants. If you want a laugh, it is home to Hollywood’s second world-famous comedy vault. Hotel La Jolla, Curio Collection by Hilton is a great choice if you want to stay in town. It is centrally located in La Jolla, close to the Torrey Pines Golf Club, about a 10-minute walk from the beach.

4 Swami Beach.

This beach, located in Encinitas, is one of the best surfing areas in the world. It’s a typical cove beach, with limited access and high cliffs on both sides. Surfers love it because the waves break to the right of the land that sticks out into the ocean. There’s also beach and reef surfing here, and the area is especially crowded during the big winter swells. It’s a great place to watch surfing because the breaks are a few hundred yards from the beach, and some surfers can ride the waves for a long time. Swami has lifeguards on duty, but no facilities or products.

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5 Playa Pacifica in Mission Bay

Playa Pacifica in Mission Bay.

Mission Bay is a bay and marina located between Old Town San Diego and Pacific Beach. Playa Pacifica is a wide strip of beach between the bay and the bike path. It sits between the Old Visitor Center building (shaped like a giant shell) and the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa on East Mission Bay Drive. There’s an indoor picnic area, basketball courts and a fire pit area. There’s plenty of stuff for the kids, which is a free dog sledding area. The beach is artificial and the sand is very clean and soft.

6 Cardiff State Beach.

Cardiff State Beach.

Located a mile south of the city of Cardiff on Old Highway 101, Cardiff State Beach is a gentle beach popular for surfers, swimmers and beach lovers. The beach, which is also a state park, has lifeguards and two large paid parking areas. There are also restrooms and showers. Swimmers especially love Cardiff State Beach because the currents keep the water warmer here than some other beaches. Take a hint from the locals and grab breakfast at Cardiff’s Pipes Cafe before hitting the waves. Holiday Inn Express Encinitas – Cardiff Beach Area is on a hill with some rooms overlooking Cardiff and the sea. It offers free parking, free breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

7 Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach is located on Coronado Island in San Diego Bay. It is the most famous famous Hotel del Coronado, located right on the beach. Coronado Beach is an hour and a half beach area directly across from the hotel. The beach is very flat, so it’s great for snowboarding. Your eyes don’t play on you, this beach is very shiny because of the high mica content in the sand. There are duty men on duty during the day (most of the work is from 9am to dusk on state and city beaches), and there are both bathrooms and showers. There is free parking on Ocean Boulevard.

8 San Onofre Surf Beach.

San Onofre Surf Beach, famous in the Beach Boys song, is all about surfing and more. Sure, you can surf here, but you can also fish, bike, kayak, keeper or just relax. San Onofre Surf Beach is one of San Onofre’s beaches, which is one of the five most visited state parks in California. Surfing stays here range from easy beginner to Trestles, considered the best surfing spot in the continental United States. It’s a large area; the beach is three and a half miles long. There is a long nature trail that connects to San Onofre Bluffs, the beautiful cliffs that overlook the beach. Circular camping is available here. San Onofre is just north of San Diego, about three miles south of San Clemente. When you’re done watching surfers, dolphins, whales and sea lions can often be seen swimming just offshore. The San Clemente Inn is an inexpensive boutique hotel in the middle of a small town.

9 Scripps Beach.

Located on either side of Scripps Pier (not open to the public) the Scripps Beach area is a beautiful, wide expanse of sand with powdery white sand. It is right below the Birch Aquarium in Scripps, which is a fascinating attraction in the area. The beach is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing and exploring the aquarium. Scripps is close to La Jolla Shores, but much less crowded. You can park at La Jolla Shores, as it is a nice five-minute walk. The area is popular for kayaking, and there are rentals. Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa is right up the street, and its cliff-top location means it overlooks Scripps Beach and the pier. Take some time to visit Torrey Pines Gliderport, a cliff top mini-airport for paragliders and hang gliders. It’s beautiful to watch them take off, running to the cliff, and then floating and rising through the air currents. Tandem rides are available with experienced pilots.

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10 Voltaire Street Beach.

Located in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood, Voltaire Street Beach is an oceanfront hotel surrounded by a beautiful beach with interesting attractions. Voltaire Street, before it freezes in the beach parking lot, is lined with cool local stores and restaurants. The beach has a grassy picnic area and basic amenities. All the beaches at Ocean Beach are less crowded than those at neighboring Mission Beach or Pacific Beach. At one end of Ocean Beach is the famous original Dog Beach. It remains one of the only beaches in California and is a fun place to visit, with or without a dog. Ocean Beach puts you right on the sand (okay, there’s a little street across from the hotel), a few blocks from Voltaire Street.

11 Bikona Beach

Bikona Beach is part of Leucadia Beach in Encinitas. The untamed, pristine beach is surrounded by tall bluffs, with densely built houses and pitchforks on top. Like many beaches in the area, you park at the top of the bluffs and walk down to the beach via a winding trail. This is a popular surfing hike and sunbathing spot, so parking can be found in a small lot. Visitors are rewarded with a very clean experience, it’s just the beach and the ocean. This beach has rough sand with lots of rocky spots. At low tide, you can explore the marine life in the many tide pools.

12 Water Way Beach.

Wolf Road Beach, named after the breakwater or rock jetty that creates Oceanside Harbor, is a great place to enjoy the sun. Because the area is more residential, the beach is quieter than some of Oceanside’s other public beaches. This town beach has lifeguards as well as basic amenities (bathrooms and showers). Barbecues and picnic tables are also available. The beach is popular for volleyball, and there are a bunch of volleyball courts. Wolf Road Beach is next to the Beach, a small street and bike path that reaches the Oceanside Pier. The Southern California Beach Club is a modern boutique hotel located right on the sand in Oceanside.

10 Facts about San Diego | USA

San Diego

San Diego is one of the best and most famous resort cities, one of the top 5 tourist destinations in the United States, which is located on the Pacific Ocean coast in the state of California. Compared to sunny Los Angeles, it has a better tourist infrastructure, including the old city and modern skyscrapers, a strip of beautiful beaches along the bay, grand amusement parks and shopping centers with branded boutiques, great restaurants and inexpensive cafes with a variety of cuisine and dishes from around the world. Every traveler is sure to find something different in San Diego, from a good hotel to an unforgettable vacation experience.

san diego, usa

San Diego attracts vacationers looking for sandy beaches, sunshine, and a milder climate with better weather than foggy San Francisco, which is suitable for year-round tourism. And family travelers are primarily interested in visiting the famous attractions here, such as the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld Oceanarium.

Before you travel to this wonderful city of contrasts and a mix of cultures, we suggest checking out the basic facts about San Diego California , and for detailed background information, read Wikipedia. We’ve been here too during one of our independent travels in America, and in this article we’ve gathered all the things you should know about San Diego – the most interesting and important information about the city and useful recommendations for tourists – to help you.

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San Diego is

Facts about San Diego

Let’s list the most interesting, in our opinion, facts about San Diego:

1. San Diego is located in the southwest of the U.S. state of California on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, very close to the border with Mexico. Judging by the geographical position of San Diego on the U.S. map, it is one of the largest cities in the south of the country, and the neighboring city in Mexico called Tijuana is literally within arm’s reach (you can take a streetcar to the border).

  • Life in San Diego is so relaxed and measured that many homes don’t even lock their doors. There’s no hurry like you’d find in big metropolitan areas.
  • Houses in San Diego stand along wide streets and look clean and tidy because of strict laws urging residents to take good care of their property.
  • The time in San Diego is 10 hours behind Moscow in summer and 11 hours in winter.

Where is san diego on the map

2. You can get to San Diego by car or bus, by ship, or by plane. Self-travelers are advised to book a car in advance at the LAX airport, as we did (read our review about car rentals at LAX).

How long does it take to fly to San Diego? There are direct flights from major cities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but you can’t fly to San Diego from Moscow without changing planes. You will have to use flights with 1-2 connections. First get to New York or Los Angeles and then fly to San Diego airport, also known as Lindbergh Field. The flight time is 18-20 hours. Click here to see flight tickets.

How to get to San Diego

Here are the three most popular bus and air routes:

  • Los Angeles to San Diego (distance 120 miles, travel time 3 hours)
  • Las Vegas to San Diego (distance 330 miles, travel time 5.5 hours, take 1 hour to fly)
  • San Francisco – San Diego (distance 540 miles, travel time 9 hours, fly 1.5 hours)
  • Our review of an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Los Angeles

San Diego weather

3. The weather in San Diego is nice and sunny and warm almost all year round. The mild Mediterranean climate and lack of hurricanes is one of the main advantages of San Diego compared to the beaches of Miami. It’s generally not very hot here, with temperatures in the summer being very comfortable at around +26-28°C (almost like in the Maldives), and in the winter at around +20°C. It rains in San Diego mostly in winter, and in summer it is dry and sunny, not a strong refreshing wind from the ocean blows.

Important to know: Water temperature in the bay is cool enough to swim and swim – not higher than +20°C. So if you are going to spend more than a day in San Diego, it is better to choose a hotel on the coast with a good pool, such as the Marriott Marquis .

San diego marriott hotel with pool

Pool at the Marriott Marquis on the San Diego Bay

4. Unlike Miami, where almost the entire population is Spanish-speaking, San Diego residents speak mostly English, although quite a large portion of them are immigrants from Latin America or their descendants. And in the XVI century San Diego was inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians until the Europeans arrived there – the first was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who founded the port of San Miguel.

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san diego coast

Today, San Diego’s population is about 1.5 million people (with suburbs over 3 million), a third of whom are Hispanic and another about 16% are Asian. Whites still make up the majority of the city’s residents. The city of San Diego is second in the state of California and eighth in the United States in terms of the number of residents.

Holidays in San Diego

5. Vacations in San Diego are not as expensive as in Miami or Hawaii, but still quite expensive because of the high prices of houses, hotels and hotels, expensive tickets to amusement parks and not cheap restaurants, as well as good shopping opportunities. According to expense statistics, the average per person comes out to about $200 per day.

Thus, a trip with children to the beaches of San Diego lasting – from 1 to 2 weeks on average costs $ 4-7 thousand for four people, plus airfare, which is roughly comparable to an inexpensive vacation in the Maldives. It is possible to go to San Diego for 2 to 3 inexpensive days for $500, but you will have to live not in the center.

san diego hotels

6. Hotels in San Diego, as opposed to hotels in New York, are for every taste and budget. To make it easier to decide on housing, we wrote an article about which area to choose a hotel and where it is better to stay for 1-2 days. It’s better to book a room 2-3 months in advance, so you don’t overpay at the last minute.

Here are the best hotels in San Diego:

    – A 5-star beach hotel, where the movie “Only Girls in Jazz” was filmed. It is the most popular and prestigious hotel, in addition, originally built entirely of wood – a 4* resort hotel for families near SeaWorld – a new downtown hotel with a panoramic rooftop pool and views of the bay

Hotel del Coronado in San Diego

Hotel del Coronado – the best place to stay in San Diego

We also recommend good and inexpensive hotels in San Diego :

    – A cheap but clean and comfortable hotel near SeaWorld Oceanarium – A stylish, inexpensive hotel with a homey feel downtown – A modern waterfront four with a view of the bay and a high rating

san diego california

Good to know: The best neighborhoods in San Diego for tourists are: Downtown, GasLamp, Little Italy, Coronado, Old Town, Mission Valley, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and most prestigious, La Jolla.

San Diego neighborhoods USA California

A map of San Diego neighborhoods.

7. The San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park (San Diego’s largest and most famous park, like Central Park in New York City). The Zoo covers an area of about 40 hectares with many species of exotic plants and more than 3,500 animals including the rarest animals such as the giant panda and the red panda.

Interesting fact: It was at the San Diego Zoo that a short video was made about an elephant, which became the very first video uploaded to YouTube.

San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, with the peculiarity that there are no aviaries for each animal species. It would take more than one day to see it in its entirety. By the way, in this zoo you can not only walk, but also ride a bus or move through the air on a suspended gondola.

san diego panda zoo

The big panda at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo ticket prices:

  • 1-Day Pass – $56 (adult), $46 (children)
  • 2-Day Ticket – $89 (adult), $79 (children)
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But if you are going to visit three major amusement parks in San Diego (Zoo, Safari Park and SeaWorld Oceanarium’s killer whale show), it is better to buy a single ticket for $149, it is cheaper than to visit them separately.

8. San Diego’s beaches are known far beyond the United States. A long and beautifully equipped strip of beach-perfect coastline stretches for dozens of miles along the Pacific Ocean. Americans, Mexicans, Canadians, and sometimes Europeans come here. Despite the fact that there are enough beaches for everyone, the question arises, which of San Diego’s beaches is better to choose?

San diego beaches

A diagram of San Diego’s beaches

We visited some of the beaches in San Diego, and we generally liked them for their cleanliness and not as crowded as the beaches in Los Angeles. Despite the rather cool water, it is nice to sunbathe on them, but the most interesting thing is to meet beautiful sunsets on the beaches of San Diego. But it is not very convenient to swim, unlike the beaches of the Maldives, so beloved by us, as there is no escape from the waves of the ocean.

In our opinion, the best beaches in San Diego are:

  • Coronado Beach, with its clean sand and no algae, is an ideal place to vacation with kids as it is protected from the ocean waves by the Point Loma Peninsula; great for surfers and people who like to be active and have fun;
  • La Joya Beach with its sandy coves, picturesque shoreline and sea lions.

9. Highlights of San Diego include.

  • Old Town, the Gaslamp District and the waterfront (San Diego Zoo) (SeaWorld)
  • Coronado Peninsula and Coronado Beach at Cabrillo National Monument
  • The First Aircraft Carrier Midway (USS Midway)

San Diego is also home to the largest naval base in the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

san diego tourist map

10. There is only one national park near San Diego – Joshua Tree (260 km, drive 3 hours), and in the city itself there is Cabrillo National Monument. As independent travelers, it was very interesting for us to wander there among the rocks and unusual trees of Joshua, and then go to Palm Springs for the night.

If you want to admire desert nature and wander the rocks, you can visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, located in eastern San Diego County in the Colorado desert, a 2-hour drive from downtown (90 miles). This park is fun to drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle on special trails among the sand and rocks, and it is also where the famous Pacific Crest Trail or Pacific Crest Trail begins.

close to san diego

Interesting to know: Every summer, San Diego hosts the Comic-Con International Festival (since 1970), originally dedicated to comic books and their characters, and later to other pop culture phenomena – TV series, fantasy, video games, anime, horror, etc. About 200,000 people visit it in four days.

If you are going to go to San Diego for the first time, be sure to check out this interesting vacation video:

San Diego on a map

As you have probably already realized, San Diego is a resort for absolutely everyone, but with its own peculiarities. Some people will enjoy spending two weeks on the beaches here, and for others a couple of days will be enough to make an impression of the city. Either way, it will be interesting, so choose the right time to travel to San Diego and pack your suitcase for a trip! Have a great vacation in the USA, dear readers!

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