Looking At The Beaches In And Around San Diego

The city of San Diego has a lot going for it. It has for a number of years had strong military ties with various branches of the armed forces having bases there. It has one of the finest shopping districts of any major city on the West Coast. It offers a great many options for those interested in historical sites, museums, art galleries, and libraries.


The climate of San Diego and the surrounding area are legendary and most people who live there, move there, or even visit cite it as one of the biggest reasons they have done so. But above all, San Diego is a first class beach destination.  The beaches in and around the city attract millions of people on a yearly basis as they get away from their permanent surroundings to enjoy some quality time in the sand, sun, and surf of San Diego.  The beaches available in the area vary from popular wide expanses of unending sand to small out of the way and little known areas.  Many days can be spent on the beaches of San Diego because they are all at least a little bit different from each other.  Here is a look at the beaches in and around the city.

Children's Pool
Located within easy walking distance from downtown La Jolla, the Children's Pool beach area is a great place to chance a view of sea lions that flock to an offshore protected area known as Seal Rock.  Occasionally, the sea lions can be seen playing in the waters near the beach or even venturing up onto the beach itself.  With a sea wall nearby protecting it from the strong surf, Children's Pool was originally designed to be a fully protected swimming area.  Nature had its own plans though and as sand filled in what was intended to be a natural pool area, a very nice beach was created.  There are a number of reefs offshore which makes this a popular location for scuba divers.

La Jolla Cove,
La Jolla Cove is both one of the smallest beaches in the area as well as one of the most recognizable.  Due to its uniqueness, the beach area of La Jolla Cove is often photographed and used in promotional materials related to Southern California, including brochures and calendars.  The area is popular with snorklers and scuba divers due to the water clarity that is usually present there.  Lifeguards are on duty at La Jolla Cove and the park is located within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve which means it is unlawful to remove items or creatures found there.

La Jolla Shores
Some of the most gentle and easy to tolerate waves of any of the beaches in the San Diego area can be found at La Jolla Shores.  The beach is about a mile long here and is bordered much of the way by a concrete walkway that separates the sandy area from the grassy park area which is perfect for picnicking.  La Jolla Shores does offer one of the few places in the area where a small watercraft owner can launch their vessel directly into the ocean via a beachfront boat launch.


la Jolla Shores
La Jolla Shores. Photo by: timhollosy

Mission Beach
Mission Beach sits directly south of Pacific Beach and is the heart of the most popular and frequently visited beach areas in the San Diego area.  A cement boardwalk lines the beach and is a great place to go walking, biking, and skating, as well as people watching.  Mission Beach has the most development surrounding it of any of the local beaches and it is no problem to find both shopping and eating opportunities in the area.  There is also a very active nightlife surrounding the beach area with a number of popular bars and dance spots being located there.

Mission Beach, San Diego
La Jolla Shores. Photo by: nhall

Ocean Beach
The southernmost of all of the more popular beaches in the San Diego area, Ocean Beach sits south of the Mission Bay channel entrance and is popular with both locals and vacationers alike.  A number of activities are popular here including surfing, volleyball, fishing, walking, bicycling, and more.  Ocean Beach is home to one of the few open dog runs in an area known as Dog Beach where dogs are permitted to run and play while being off their leashes.  Ocean Beach is adjacent to a well developed retail area where shopping and dining establishments are both popular and easy to find.

Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach combines with Mission Beach to form the most popular stretch of sand in the San Diego area.  Pacific Beach sits south of Crystal Pier and stretches for two miles before meeting Mission Beach.  Crystal Pier forms the northern boundary of Pacific Beach and is a fishing pier open to the public.  The beach area can be viewed from the sidewalk up above the cliffs that line the shoreline in this area.  Near the north end of the beach there is a well developed business district which offers shopping, beach equipment rentals, and eateries.

Torrey Pines Beach
Stretching more than two miles in length, Blacks Beach sits between rugged cliffs and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  Known to locals by the name Blacks Beach, the beach is partly administered by the City of San Diego and partly by the State of California as much of it falls within the borders of the state park system's Torrey Pines State Reserve.  The beach is popular with locals and tourists alike.  One of the more unique features is the Torrey Pines Gliderport which sits atop the cliff overlooking the beach.  From there, it is not uncommon to see a number of hangliders and paragliders launch into the sky above the surf and sand below.

Windansea Beach
With possibly the most unique shoreline of any of the San Diego area's beaches, Windansea Beach is popular with sunbathers as well as beachcombers.  In many areas along this beautiful stretch of oceanfront scenery there are sandstone rocks that stretch across and divide the sandy areas all the way down to the water.  This creates the effect of there being a number of smaller hidden away beaches where people have a possibility of escaping the crowds.  The surfing at Windansea Beach is great, though because of the limited amount of space where the water breaks, the area can become crowded which can limit the opportunities for each individual surfer.  The waves crash hard at places along Windansea Beach because of a steep shoreline and young children should be supervised closely.

A visit to San Diego isn't complete without some quality time spent at one or more of the beaches there.  The chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city by relaxing in the sun and sand and listening to the breaking waves of the Pacific Ocean is truly the best part of any vacation to taken to the area.  The beaches have several unique characteristics, with some being ideal for people watching and relaxing while others are ideal for outdoor recreation, both on the water and off.  Anyone visiting the city of San Diego cannot go wrong by planning to spend a day or more just enjoying the many beaches that line the area's coastline.

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Last updated by traveldude on 7/13/2009
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