If San Diego is known for one thing, it would be for its gorgeous beaches. With 70 miles of pristine coastline, year-around sunshine and mild temperatures, you can enjoy the surf and sand almost any day of the year. For visitors and locals alike, the beach is a veritable wonderland and the place to spend entire days with family and friends. On any given day at any beach in San Diego, you’ll find a front row seat to a magnificent display of the western sky as the sun descents into the Pacific. So grab your towel and slather on the sunscreen because here are the Top 10 beaches in San Diego!
1.Sunset Cliffs: Named for the sheer cliffs which border the ocean, “the Cliffs” is popular spot for hiking and watching Hawaii-caliber sunsets. In addition to a swimming beach at the base of the cliffs, there are several renowned surf-breaks stretching from Point Loma to Ocean Beach.
2. Coronado Beach: Voted the “Best Beach in America” by the aforementioned Dr. Beach in 2012, Coronado Beach offers 1.5 miles of silvery white sand and epic views. Great for swimming and beach activities, it’s also the cleanest beach in San Diego.
3. Windansea Beach: Named after the oceanfront “Windansea” Hotel in 1919, this stretch of coastline has served as the home surf break to many notable surfers. The distinguishing landmark at Windansea is a palm-covered shack that was originally constructed in 1946.
4. La Jolla Shores: Stretching from the sea cliffs just north of La Jolla Cove to Black’s Beach, La Jolla Shores is a haven for locals seeking a well-rounded beach experience that includes swimming, surfing, kayaking and beachcombing. It is a great place for a barbecue with the family.
5. Moonlight State Beach: One of the most visited beaches in Encinitas, this awesome spot is used for surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, and bonfires. Family friendly, Moonlight Beach has been called the center of recreation and social life in North County San Diego.
6. Torrey Pines State Beach: Nestled at the bottom of 300-foot sandstone cliffs, Torrey Pines is a local favorite among surfers and beachgoers. Located south of Del Mar and north of La Jolla, this picturesque beach is the perfect place to take visiting relatives.
7. Mission Beach: In the summer, Mission Beach draws large crowds. It features two miles of pristine coastline and offers something for everyone. You can stroll along the boardwalk, where walking, biking and related activities are allowed. You can shop along the Strand, ride the giant roller coaster or join in a game of beach volleyball. Surfing is permitted at this beach in designated areas.
8. Pacific Beach: Located just south of Crystal Pier, this beach stretches more than two miles. This location is ideal for a sunny sunset stroll or a leisurely bike ride. This is the most popular beach in San Diego, and often draws large crowds. Shops, restaurants and beach-equipment rental outfits are found bordering the north end of the beach. While tourists and teens congregate at Mission Beach, many of the city’s longtime surfers hang out at Pacific Beach, specifically at the surf spot Tourmaline.
9. Ocean Beach: “Keep O.B. weird” is the unofficial motto for this spot, where you can find drum circles and nightly sunset gatherings. Ocean Beach lets pets and their owners run free. Dog lovers love Ocean Beach. It features a special dog-run area where dogs can roam leash-free. This beach also offers a variety of shopping, restaurants and fishing spots. This beach is also know for its great surf.
10. Imperial Beach: Imperial Beach is home to the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition every summer. It is five miles from the U.S./Mexico border. There are many things to see and do here; swim and surf at the beach, take a walking tour of public art or take a nature hike and experience bird-watching at the world-renowned Tijuana Estuary.