10 Best Beaches in San Diego

Plan your San Diego beach vacation here! There are so many fun things to do and great tourist attractions, museums and beaches to visit that it’s hard to know where to start.

As the southernmost beach area in Southern California, San Diego enjoys mostly lovely sunny weather year round. Temperatures generally range in the upper 70’s in summer and upper 60’s in winter. The ocean water is the warmest of all the Southern California beaches.

Besides being a very popular beach resort, San Diego’s other great appeal lies in its many cultural offerings and attractions.

San Diego Beaches

The three main San Diego beaches from north to south are Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. All three have wide sands and good waves to swim, boogie board, or surf on. A boardwalk for skating, biking and strolling runs along Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is less touristy and a bit more laid back. Mission Beach has Belmont Park with its roller coaster and other rides. Pacific Beach has Crystal Pier. Sometimes you can see hang gliders floating peacefully over the ocean just to the north. Tons of surf shacks and beach gear rentals line the main drag that runs through Pacific beach and it’s very much a beach “scene”.

Within walking distance just east of the ocean is Mission Bay, a boaters haven, where those who want a more peaceful beach experience can sit on the sand and watch the sailboats and kayakers. A boardwalk goes along much of this as well.

Home of the world famous Dog Beach, O.B. offers shopping, restaurants and a wide variety of characters. There’s also beach volleyball, fishing spots (where permits are not required), and amazing surf breaks.

Tourmaline Surfing Park

When it’s firing, Tourmaline Surf Park is considered a gem by local surfers. Bordered by cliffs up to 75 feet high, the beach is staffed by lifeguards year-round, and there are separate areas designated for swimmers and surfers.

Solana Beach

Boasting hidden coves and beautiful bluffs, Solana Beach has staircases at nearly every street corner to help you descend the cliffs onto the beach. There are five main spots: Seaside, Tide Beach, Fletcher Cove, Seascape Beach, and Del Mar Shores.

Mission Beach

Featuring two miles of pristine coastline, Mission Beach offers something for everyone.

You can walk, skate, or bike the boardwalk, ride the giant roller coaster, or jump in a game of beach volleyball. Surfing is permitted in designated areas (but, South Mission is for locals only).


Carlsbad’s beaches remain one of San Diego’s best kept secrets, which is why it didn’t make the TripAdvisor list.

With coastal bluffs for days, popular activities include swimming, surfing, scuba diving, fishing, and camping. For some great surf, head to Tamarack or Ponto.

Moonlight Beach

Located at the end of Encinitas Boulevard, Moonlight Beach is one of the best family beaches in San Diego COunty.

With a large sandy area, a recreational playground, snack bar, bathrooms, showers, fire pits, and beach volleyball courts, this popular beach offers great surfing and swimming areas too.

Silver Strand

Silver Strand State Beach is the ultimate spot for oceanfront RV camping.

Located between Coronado and Imperial Beach, it is a great place to swim, kayak, surf, water-ski, picnic, play volleyball or go wakeboarding.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is the perfect destination for families. It is a sandy beach, about one mile long, with a large grassy area, Kellogg Park. In the summer, waves are usually the most gentle here, and there are scuba classes for beginners.

Coronado Beach

The stunning Coronado shoreline is famous for Marilyn Monroe’s starring role in “Some Like it Hot” in 1958. The wide, flat beach has gentle waves that are perfect for learning to boogie board or surf.

Coronado Beach is constantly rated as one of the most romantic beaches, as well as one of the best beaches in the world for families.


Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a classic southern California beach town that boasts a perfect climate, breathtaking views, two miles of Pacific coastline, a 900-acre ecological reserve, world-class surfing and caring residents who take pride in their community.

Cardiff is also home to a few world-class surf spots, such as Swami’s and Cardiff Reef.

You might also be interested in the Top 10 oceanfront hotels in San Diego





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