The small town of Del Mar sits on 3 miles of Pacific Beach shoreline. Most visitors go to the beach on the northern half of town starting from 15th Street. However, the 1.5 mile portion of beach called Del Mar South Beach is definitely worth a visit if you want to find a great secluded area in the heart of busy Southern California.
Beach Type: Isolated sandy beach backed by cliffs
Access: Either from La Shores North parking lot or 15th Street in Del Mar
Parking: Free street parking, paid parking at La Jolla Shores North and Del Mar
Facilities: Restrooms at either end
Good For: Surfing, swimming, avoiding crowds, sunbathing, walking/jogging
Not Good For: ease of access
Del Mar South officially starts where Torrey Pines State Preserve ends at the intersection of Carmel Valley Rd and Camino Del Mar (Highway 101). This intersection is on a bluff that overlooks the ocean. The bluffs continue 1.5 miles before they start to level off at the north end of Del Mar.
The bluffs mean that the only way to access Del Mar South is from either the north or south end. There is no official access down the bluffs (although some do try and carve out trails). Access from the south is via Torrey Pines State Beach North. Northern access is at Del Mar City Beach near 15th Street. near Seagrove Park.
The entrance to Torrey Pines State Beach North lies right off the Carmel Valley Rd exit of the Interstate 5. You need to pay for parking ($10 to $20 depending on season), but if you are willing to walk a few hundred yards there is usually free parking along Carmel Valley Rd.
Parking in Del Mar proper is free, assuming you can find a space. Much of the spaces are along the road, with a few meters and paid parking. Usually I drop people off and go find parking.
Del Mar South beach is primarily used for walking and jogging. Going to the beach here is difficult because it means dragging your stuff. There is also limited lifeguards watching the area. Of course, at high tides, the beach area can be rather small.
Other than the difficult access, Del Mar South Beach is a fairly standard sandy beach area. The bluffs give the area some great scenery. Pipes draining water from above create some cool waterfall effects. They have also have provided water to some interesting plants and trees.
We mainly do Del Mar South Beach as a hike. You can combine walking the beach with the trails and roads along the bluffs above for a 4-mile walk. The town of Del Mar has many good places to eat, including restaurants with an ocean view.
For our hike of Del Mar South Beach go here.
For an overview of Del Mar City Beach go here.