San Diego beaches might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking about this Southern California city, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth your time. Quite the opposite actually, local beaches offer the chance to escape the bustling streets of San Diego for a few days of soaking up the sun. However, just like other places in Southern California, not all beaches are created equal. A surfer will have a different idea about the best beach in San Diego than a family looking for somewhere quiet and safe. No matter what type of beach fits your fancy, San Diego has one to offer.
One of the most famous San Diego beaches is Coronado Beach. This beach is well known for being one of the finest beaches in California—and in the whole country. On a basic level, this beach is wide, well-maintained, and family friendly, but there’s more too: The community of Coronado adds another element of mansions lining the ocean and yacht clubs lining the bay. Beyond sunbathing and swimming, there’s plenty to do at Coronado Beach including al fresco dining, working on your skills at the skate park, or simply taking in the sunset.
Some locals might choose Mission Beach as the best beach in San Diego. Many visitors compare this beach to places on the east coast, including Coney Island or Atlantic City. At Mission Beach you will find nightlife, entertainment, and some great surfing too. If you’re looking for that quiet, picturesque beach, Mission Beach isn’t the best option for you. On the other hand, if you want a destination that has more to offer than just a patch of sand for sunbathing, you might be interested in Mission Beach. For surf shops and beach bars, Mission Beach is a perfect match.
Another of the most popular San Diego beaches is Pacific Beach. Here, young people are attracted by the three-mile long boardwalk packed with beach bars. Not only is Pacific Beach a great place to sunbathe and swim, but you will also find surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding too. After an active day, the beach bars on the boardwalk are the perfect place to unwind with a drink. Shopping, eating, and music all round out the entertainment available at Pacific Beach. Parking here can be difficult, so arrive early to avoid this common problem.
The fight for the best beach in San Diego also includes names like the La Jolla beaches, the Del Mar beaches, or Silver Strand State Beach. With so many beaches to explore right outside San Diego, you might be tempted not to venture further into Southern California, but there are so many more beautiful beaches beyond this immediate area. Some favorites include the beaches of Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, or Zuma Beach in Malibu. For entertainment, check out the pier in Santa Monica. Once you visit some of these beaches, you will understand the laid-back, relaxed atmosphere that Southern California is famous for.