Solana Beach is a small town north of San Diego that has about 2 miles of beach front. Fletcher Cove, also known as Pillbox, is right in the center of town and is a classic Southern California beach. It is right by the Amtrak and Coaster station, so it is a popular location for travelers by train.
Beach Type: Classic wide sand beach backed by bluffs
Access: Walkd down a ramp from parking lot
Parking: Free street parking, small free parking lot
Facilities: Restroom and shower area at top of ramp
Good For: Laying out in the Sun, scenery, swimming, surfing, family day at the beach
Not Good For: N/A
When I was talking to a friend who grew up in Solana Beach but has since moved away he claimed not to know about Fletcher Cove. As I described it to him he said, “oh you mean Pillbox.” During World War II this beach had a gunnery installation, hence the nickname Pillbox.
Whatever, the name Fletcher Cove is right in the center of town where Highway 101 meets Lomas Santa Fe Drive. There is a very small parking lot at the intersection, but most of the time we find parking on the nearby side streets.
Fletcher Cove is surrounded by bluffs. The walk to the beach is down a gently sloping ramp. Above the beach is a plaza area complete with play areas and basketball courts. The Fletcher Cove Community Center sits on the bluff above the beach by a Overlook Park with picnic tables and a community center.
The beach at Fletcher Cove is a great place to spend a day at the beach. It is a wide-open beach in a scenic location with surf that is perfect for bodyboarding and swimming. It is also a good spot for surfing.
This area also has some great shopping and restaurants. The Cedros Design District shopping area is right across the street. In addition to being the home of many upscale shops, it is also where the Belly Up club is located. Many famous musicians have played here over the years, including the Rolling Stones in 2015
Our favorite place to eat after a day at Fletcher Cove is Pizza Port. With its arcade games and surfing videos it is a fun place for the entire family. I have been coming here since 1992 when they were building a brewery. They are now known for award winning beer.
From Fletcher Cove, Solana Beach extends about one mile in either direction along the bluffs. Both Del Mar Shores Beach to the south and Tide Beach Park to the north are reached by long staircases from the top of the bluffs. These beaches can also be accessed from Fletcher Cove assuming the tide is not too high.