San Diego Activities

Guide to San Diego Beaches

Guide to San Diego Beaches


The ocean is a major San Diego attraction.  San Diego County has 70 miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean.  Deciding which beach is most appropriate can be a difficult decision.  Fun Diego Family is mapping out the entire San Diego coastline.  This is our guide to San Diego Beaches.

The San Diego County coastline starts on the border of Mexico and runs to the city of Oceanside, into the Camp Pendleton Marine Base before it ends in at San Clemente in Orange County.  Our guide to San Diego Beaches starts right at the border and lists each beach in order, heading north.


We are actually visiting each beach and providing a detailed pictorial guide.  In this summary, we are simply providing a brief listing using the following descriptions:

  1. Family-Friendly, Active
  2. Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  3. Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  4. Scenic


A beach listed as Family-Friendly means it is good for basic swimming.  In addition, it is the type of beach where there is sand and places to spread out.

Family-Friendly, Active: The beach is located in an area with places to eat and other facilities beyond just a basic restroom.  Often, these beaches are in an active urban area with shopping and other activities.

Family-Friendly, Isolated:  This means that the beach is not near other activities beyond a basic restroom.  In many cases, these are state parks that charge a parking fee.  This can be a great option if you are willing to pay and don’t want the larger crowds at the active beach. 

Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access: Some San Diego beaches are free but isolated because they are hard to reach.  In many cases, this is because they are along a bluff.  Visitors either need to climb down a long staircase or walk along the beach from the end of the bluff.  If you do not mind walking these beaches can be a great option.

Scenic: San Diego has a rocky coastline and many beaches are not appropriate for swimming.  Scenic beaches are great to visit in winter, but not really where you go for a typical summer day out at the beach.  In many cases, they can be popular surfing spots.

We would also note that some beaches are better suited for going during low tide.  Make sure and check out the tide charts.

San Diego Tide Chart


In most cases, visitors will look for a beach near where they are staying.  If you are staying near Legoland, it makes no sense to drive an hour to the South County beaches.  The good news is that every region of coastal San Diego will have a good beach option. 

At Fun Diego Family the beaches we go to the most are the Torrey Pines State Beaches, La Jolla Shores and Seaside which is part of Cardiff State Beach.  These beaches are closest to our house.  We like the convenience of the state beaches, so we invest in an annual California State Park which pays for our parking.  If we were just visiting California, we would probably pay the $10 to $25 per vehicle entry fee that the state beaches charge.

Note, we are only including the oceanfront beaches.  There is also the San Diego Bay and Mission Bay.  Both these areas have beaches that provide sandy area and calm water great for small children.  We have a separate guide to those beaches.

South San Diego County Beaches

Guide to San Diego Beaches
Our Guide to San Diego Beaches starts literally at the U.S./Mexico border
  1. Border Field State Park, Scenic
  2. Imperial Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  3. Silver Strand State Beach, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  4. Coronado Central Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  5. Coronado Dog Beach, Family-Friendly, Active

City of San Diego Beaches

Guide to San Diego Beaches

  1. Point Loma Tide Pools, Scenic
  2. Rope Beach at Sunset Cliffs, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  3. No Surf Beach at Sunset Cliffs, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  4. Ocean Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  5. Dog Beach/Voltaire Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  6. Mission Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  7. Pacific Beach South, Family-Friendly, Active
  8. North Pacific Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  9. Tourmaline Surf Park, Scenic
  10. Windansea Beach, Scenic
  11. Whispering Sands and Marine Street Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  12. Hospital Beach, Scenic
  13. Wipeout Beach, Scenic
  14. Children’s Pool, Family-Friendly, Active
  15. Shell Beach and Boomer Beach, Scenic
  16. La Jolla Cove, Family-Friendly, Active
  17. La Jolla Shores, Family-Friendly, Active
  18. Scripps Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  19. Black’s Beach, Scenic
  20. Torrey Pines State Beach South, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  21. Torrey Pines State Beach North, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee

Del Mar and Solano Beach

Guide to San Diego Beaches

  1. Del Mar South, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  2. Del Mar City Beach, Family-Friendly, Active
  3. Del Mar North Beach
  4. Del Mar Shores, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  5. Seascape Surf Park, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access
  6. Fletcher Cove, Family-Friendly, Active
  7. Tide Beach Park, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Access

Encinitas Beaches

Guide to San Diego Beaches

  1. Seaside Beach, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  2. Cardiff Reef at Cardiff State Beach, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  3. San Elijo State Beach
  4. Sea Cliff and Swami’s State Beach
  5. Moonlight State Beach
  6. D Street and Boneyard Beach
  7. Stone Steps Beach
  8. Encinitas Beach
  9. Beacon’s Beach/Leucadia State Beach
  10. Grandview Beach

Carlsbad and Oceanside Beaches

  1. South Ponto Beach
  2. South Carlsbad State Beach
  3. Carlsbad State Beach/Tamarack
  4. Carlsbad City Beach
  5. St Malo Beach
  6. South Oceanside Beach
  7. Buccaneer Beach
  8. Oceanside Blvd Beach
  9. Wisconsin St Beach
  10. Tyson St Beach
  11. Oceanside Pier
  12. Oceanside City Beach
  13. Oceanside Strand Beach
  14. Oceanside Harbor Beach

Beyond Oceanside

  1. Del Mar Beach/Camp Pendleton, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee
  2. San Onofre State Beach, Family-Friendly, Isolated, Fee



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