If “life’s a beach,” then San Diego is the place to experience life to the fullest. Whether you wish to swim, surf, snorkel, play volleyball or just lie in the sun, there’s a stretch of sand for you along San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline. Here are some of our hand-picked favorite beaches that are closest to our hotel.
A San Diego North County favorite for swimmers, walkers, surfers and grunion hunters, Del Mar City Beach provides easy access for locals and visitors to its wide sandy shore. Nearby, Seagrove and Powerhouse Parks are favored for their kids' playgrounds and expansive grassy fields ideal for picnicking, volleyball, Frisbee playing and other fun activities.
Located just south of our hotel is one of San Diego's greatest treasures, Torrey Pines State Reserve. Untamed, rugged and serene, the Reserve is a wilderness oasis where you can either enjoy a leisure walk on the shore or an exhilirating hike at the top. Below Torrey Pines' 300-foot cliffs lies Black's Beach, a two-mile-long sandy strip popular for surfing and sunbathing. Although nudism is not officially sanctioned here, Black's Beach is also popular for sunbathing in the buff.
La Jolla Shores is a quiet and intimate enclave of lovely homes, spectacular scenery and a spacious beach that slopes gently into the waves. Recognized as one of the most family-friendly beaches in San Diego County, the mile-long sandy shore is paralleled by a wide cement boardwalk that separates the beach from a large grassy park, ideal for picnicking and volleyball games.
Lifeguards watch over families splashing in the rocky shallows off La Jolla Cove, a small patch of sand tucked between weather-sculpted sandstone cliffs. Buoys dot the waters between the Cove and Shores beaches, marking the route of La Jolla's Annual Rough Water Swim, held each September, and guiding other hardy ocean swimmers year-round.
Just south of La Jolla Cove is the Children's Pool, a small picturesque beach with a panoramic view, partially protected by a large seawall. The Pool's original intent was to be a fully-protected swimming area for children, but sand has filled in much of the area inside the wall. Today, the beach is popular for numerous sea lions that have made this beach their home; Seal Rock, a reserve for these marine mammals, is located just offshore.
Continuing south, Windansea Beach is best known for its beautiful scenery and hard-breaking surf that breaks right at the shoreline due to huge underwater reefs. Sunbathing is popular here, as large sandstone rocks act as partitions along the shore to create a secluded setting. Windansea is also home to a legendary Polynesian-style surf hut, built in 1947 by pioneer Windansea surfers. Registered as a San Diego Historic Site, the hut provides shade and an excellent vantage point for watching the surfers and sunbathers below.
Unlike other spots in San Diego's North County where the wide, straight beaches are uninterrupted for miles, the coastline in Solana Beach is more convoluted and the cliffs stretch right to the water's edge. Fortunately, staircases descend the cliffs at practically every street corner, so every part of the beach is accessible vertically, if not horizontally.
The area's five main spots from north to south include Seaside, a good surf spot with an outer reef called Table Tops that breaks on big southwest swells; Tide Beach, with great sand for building castles and a patch of reef that offers tidepooling; Fletcher Cove, another popular surf spot, and Seascape Beach and Del Mar Shores, both located on the north side of the San Dieguito River mouth.