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Best Beaches in San Diego to Experience This Summer

Best Beaches in San Diego to Experience This Summer

Summer is about many things, but what comes to mind for this San Diegan is long days, warm nights, and sandy beaches. Summer beach time is about sinking your toes in the warm sand, smelling the salt, and relaxing the day away. But what beach to do this on?

San Diego calls home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in California and has something for every kind of beachgoer or road tripper. So grab your straw beach bag and get ready to explore some of the best beaches in San Diego to experience this summer.

Coronado Beach

White-Kissed Coronado Beach 

The prettiest beach in San Diego is Coronado Beach. It’s located across the San Diego Bay in a small beach community of wealthy homes called Coronado. It’s also home to the infamous Hotel Del Coronado and the U.S. military. 

You can access the beach from Hotel Del, and free parking stretches along Ocean Boulevard from the hotel to Sunset Park, a popular dog park. 

Coronado Beach has public bathrooms, beach showers, and volleyball nets dotting its powdery shores. After spending a day soaking up rays, you can grab a bite or ice cream cone at the Hotel Del or at one of the local bites close by. Or better yet, create a beach picnic you'll never forget. 

Miguel’s is a popular Mexican restaurant, and Coronado Brewing Co. has fresh brews and pretty good bar food. If you hit only one beach in San Diego and want the prettiest one, Coronado Beach has it all. 

La Jolla Beach

Sun & Surf at La Jolla Beach

La Jolla Beach may not be as wide or long as Coronado Beach, but it is a lovely spot to unfold your beach chairs and lay out all your beach bag essentials. It is located in La Jolla, a wealthy suburb of San Diego and home to the University of California San Diego and Scripps Oceanography. 

The popular beach destination has parking, beach showers, bathrooms, a playground, and fire pits. Parking spaces can be hard to score on a clear, sunny day, but if you’re willing to park a few blocks away, you’ll find a spot or two waiting for you.

Sunset at La Jolla Park

Sunsets can be pretty magical here, and if you want to grab a quick bite, a few restaurant choices make this urban beach a popular spot for all kinds of people. Get there early to grab a fire pit and spend the evening roasting marshmallows or enjoying a California burrito. La Jolla Shores is also a popular surfing spot.

Pacific Beach

Vibrant Pacific Beach

Those who enjoy the nightlife, people watching, and being in the middle of the action, will love Pacific Beach. It’s lined with a long beach walkway that crawls past beach rentals, restaurants, and more. On a busy day, it may feel like a beach party rather than a quiet day enjoying the sand. 

As far as people watching goes, you can find surfers, families, spring breakers, and more lining the sand and frolicking in the waves. Even if you don’t surf or know how to use a boogie board, you can have the best time playing in the waves.

At night Pacific Beach has a thriving nightlife scene with many bars and clubs all along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Those who desire a quiet stretch of sand head up to North Pacific Beach, away from the hustle and bustle. 

Mission Beach

Action-packed Mission Beach 

Mission Beach is south of Pacific Beach along the same stretch of road. While it can be just as busy, it does have a different vibe. This is where the hippies, renegades, and dreamers hang out. Or ones who want less of a party crowd; although, it has that as well. Mission Beach is also home to Belmont Park. 

It has a roller coaster, carnival rides, and arcade. Dotted all along are restaurants and shopping choices. There’s free parking along the PCH and paid parking at Belmont Park. 

Del Mar Beach

Blissful Del Mar Beach 

Head north past La Jolla along the coast, and you’ll find yourself in the upscale community of Del Mar. The beach is beautiful and close to food and shopping. You can park all along the PCH or at the South Beach Parking and North Beach Parking. The train runs right through Del Mar between LA and San Diego. 

It’s a gorgeous ride if you have the time. But, if you’re interested in splurging on a meal right on the beach, the Pseidon is a popular place to toll away a few hours. 

Pontos Beach Encinitas

Family-Friendly Pontos Beach 

If you want to travel outside of San Diego, head north to the lovely beach community of Encinitas. It has everything you may desire in a sleepy California beach town (tasty grub, window shopping, and eclectic crowd). On the edge of Encinitas, right before Carlsbad, is Pontos Beach. It’s a locals beach with a laid-back vibe and perfect for families

If you grab parking along the PCH, do that, but if not, there is a smaller, paid parking area next to bathrooms and beach showers. Parking isn’t cheap, but paying is the way to go if you have kids or hauling a lot of beach stuff.

They did just build a fancy hotel up on the cliffs that bring in tourists. The locals aren’t happy, but it does have a restaurant and room choices for those who want to stay overnight. 

San Diego is a huge draw for travelers looking to catch some rays. It’s a sleepy big city with gorgeous beaches, vibrant nightlife, and world-class attractions. You have more than one beach to choose from and can spend days exploring each one. Pack a bag and get exploring! 


Amber Roshay is Content Manager for Sea & Grass. 


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