San Diego is known for its beautiful beaches, but the best beaches are often the ones you don’t know about, so we decided to take a look at some of the best beaches in the region. If you’re looking to explore the best beaches in San Diego, you have to start somewhere, and our list of the best beach towns should help you narrow down your search.

San Diego is a great town to visit, and there are many popular attractions, top restaurants, and great beaches throughout the city. But what about the beaches? San Diego has a variety of beaches that offer a wide variety of scenery and activities. Here are some of the best beaches in the area:

San Diego has some of the best beaches in the country, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one that has more to offer than another. The beaches in San Diego have something for everyone. Whether you’re an avid surfer or a beach bum, or if you’re a little of both—you’ll find the beach that’s right for you in San Diego.

LEGOLAND, DISNEYLAND or La La Land. Tourists traveling north from sunny San Diego often want to visit amusement parks or major cities. Unless they like to surf. In this case, they are probably exploring the many breaks in the area, ranging from gentle rollers to powerful tubes. But the string of coastal towns in northern San Diego County – from Del Mar to Oceanside – has much more to offer than surf, sun and rides. Each has its own unique atmosphere, ranging from the eccentric to the contemplative High Design. If you’re drawn to California farmers’ markets, wood-fired restaurants, and modern galleries without a hint of gaudy beach or resort art, invite Woody in, with or without the shelves inside. This southern section of Highway 101 is worth at least a long weekend. word-image-7035

Toney Bevacqua in Solana Beach.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal

For the demanding beach-goer: Solana Beach

Surfing: The high cliffs and relatively narrow beaches of Solana Beach keep the crowds down. Fletcher Cove may not be for experienced surfers, but there is free parking and surf contests are held. Go ahead: Just a few blocks from the palm-fringed Cedros Avenue Design District are dozens of independent shops and restaurants, some of them very sophisticated. The Tucci boutique offers women’s clothing and jewelry from brands such as Isabel Marant and Spinelli Kilcollin ( Across the street is the discreet Gerhard, which specializes in luxurious and minimalist fashion. It includes pieces from Peter Cohen, cashmere from The Row and sunglasses from Salt Optics ( In a former warehouse, SoLo now sells antiques, accessories, books and household items selected by a team of eight women ( Madison Gallery showcases the work of emerging artists in a 4,000-square-foot industrial space ( word-image-7036

Homestead, a modern caterer in Solana Beach.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal Food: Drive through the parking lot to Homestead. This modern deli sells vegetarian banh mi sandwiches, Scottish salmon with beetroot and waffles with brown butter, and has an outdoor patio ( Souvenir: SoLo sells small ocean paintings in postcard or business card size, hand-painted by local artist Sue McKibben. word-image-7037

Surf Break Swami is named after the nearby temple of Encinitas.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal

for carnivorous short-fingered fingers Encinitas

Surfing: Swami’s, named after the ashram that overlooks this bay, is one of the most popular shortboard spots in the area. The water is so clear that you can see all the way to the reef. Go ahead: Park at Moonlight State Beach, walk south to Swami’s Restaurant and continue along the shops and restaurants of South Coast Highway 101. word-image-7038

Salt Culture beach chic in Encinitas.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal Food: Head south to Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a small village home to the Waverly, an all-day dining restaurant with gold bar stools and original artwork by Australian artist Jai Wasicek. Menu highlights include the Selva shrimp, grilled to enormous sizes (and organically grown), and roasted pork shoulder with salsa verde ( For dessert, go around the corner to the 52-year-old VG Donut Cafe (very nice) for a round donut that’s crispy on the outside and crunchy on the inside. The prices are almost as good as the pastries: Donuts start at $1 ( You can also visit JoJo’s Creamery on Main Street in Encinitas. Artisan ice cream flavors include Honey Lavender and Banana Foster, and each serving comes with a chocolate chip cookie ( Souvenir: Salt Culture offers beach chic clothing and accessories for men and women, and boards created by professional surfer Rob Machado ( word-image-7039

Mario Ordoñez-Caldero at Swami Beach.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal word-image-7040

Seaweed & Gravel, an eclectic clothing and home decor store for the geeks and misfits who never grow up.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal

For the ever-increasing eccentrics Leucadia

Surfing: A steep, winding path leads along a sheer cliff to Beacons Beach, where most locals vacation – just the way they like it. word-image-7041

Restaurant Valentina, a European bistro with Mexican influences in picturesque Leucadia.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal Go ahead: The quaint town of Leucadia may seem like a small outpost of Hawaii, with several small strips of independent shops. Leucadia’s Farmer’s Market (on Sundays) is one of the best in the area if you like fresh field produce, homemade jams (from Jammin’ Stan) and fresh gluten-free pasta from Bisogno. Food: Restaurant Valentina has a worldly menu that includes chipirones a la plancha, seafood paella and churros with Mexican chocolate ( Souvenir: Seaweed & Gravel describes itself as a commercial extension of the collective consciousness of misfits who never grow up. Translation: You can buy motorcycle helmets, bonsai trees and surfer t-shirts ( word-image-7042

Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail, which runs approximately one mile.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal

For Campy treasure hunters: Carlsbad

Surfing: The wide sandy Tamarack State Beach is popular with families and surfers (and is just a short walk from the resort). There are constant breaks to the left and right here, but beware of ebb and flow. Go ahead: The Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail runs about a mile along the shoreline between Pine Avenue and Tamarack Avenue. word-image-7043

Roasted carrots and beets at the Campfire restaurant.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal Food: At Campfire, almost everything is prepared with fire and smoke; even the s’mores come with a small cauldron full of coals in which the marshmallows melt ( You can also indulge in dessert – Goods Donut Shop makes extra-large, chewy donuts in fantastic combinations, like Prosecco with fresh berries and mint ( Souvenir: At Succulent Cafe, you can have a latte and a blackhead at the same time (505 Oak Ave.). If you prefer to buy souvenirs with a little history, head to Oceanside, a few minutes north. The Sea Hive Market is perhaps the most beautiful antique shop in the world. He sells vintage guitars, vintage Hawaiian shirts and mid-century furniture. Lastly, you may not have a place for this sign (


Local surfer Daniel Black Lyons, co-founder of Textured Waves – a collective that advocates for diversity and inclusion in surfing – talks about his favorite spots in North County and offers advice to aspiring surfers. word-image-7044 Photo: Daniel Black Lyons.

The best recreational activities for beginners in North County

Chardiff offers a large stretch of beach and the opportunity to surf. I always suggest you stay inside and practice catching the white when you start. Follow surfing etiquette, make room for the more experienced surfers riding and riding the wave, and hold your board, especially in a crowd. Have fun!

Best Surf Shop

There are so many local gems it’s hard to pick just one. Surf Ride has the best selection and lots of local knowledge ( The staff at Bing Surfboards ( is always exceptional. I suggest you go to a local surf shop and build a relationship with them. There’s nothing better than riding boards made by locals for our waves.

For breakfast in the morning

The Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside serves a great traditional breakfast – a great option to share with a buddy after surfing ( I love their scrambled eggs with baked potatoes and coffee cake! For breakfast on the go, I love Roberto’s burritos (

For fish tacos

Fish 101 makes delicious fresh fish tacos and poke bowls (

Favourite place to have a drink at sunset

Lately – my garden! I make a great margarita with mango and jalapenos. Leaving the house, the South Shore Highway offers many options. Pacific Coast Spirits ( and Local Tap House ( are good options. word-image-7045

Ryder England in Encinitas.

Photo: Kasi Tomita for The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal receives no compensation from the retailers named in the articles as sellers of merchandise. Listed dealers are often not the only outlets.


What San Diego travel tips can you share with our readers? Join the discussion below. The Wall Street Journal receives no compensation from the retailers named in the articles as sellers of merchandise. Listed dealers are often not the only outlets. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8San Diego is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. It’s one of the few places in the country where you can find a beach bustling with activity every single day. With topography that ranges from San Diego Bay to the Pacific Ocean and the Coronado Islands, locals and visitors alike have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the city’s natural beauty.. Read more about ocean beach san diego and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the prettiest beach in San Diego?

So you want to enjoy a day at the beach and find the best beaches in San Diego to do just that? There are two things you should consider in order to find the best beach in San Diego. First, the tide allows you to get as close as you want to the water, and the sand is perfect for spending hours outside. Second, go to a town that has a natural beach. Beach towns throughout California are known for their beautiful sunsets, stunning ocean views, and gorgeous beaches. As the stereotypical summer destination for the state, San Diego is no exception, with its gorgeous beaches, lively downtown areas, and charming towns. But what makes a beach really beautiful? Why are certain beaches considered to be among the best in the state?

Where is the clearest water in San Diego?

The most unique feature of San Diego is its diversity. The San Diego region is filled with beaches and coastline. Some are well known, such as La Jolla, and some people don’t even know they exist, like Mission Bay. However, nothing is quite like the clear blue water of San Onofre, or the warm turquoise water of Carlsbad. San Onofre is a famous beach in the southeastern San Diego coastal region, which is known for its clear sand and its large, clean, and warm waves. Carlsbad is a quiet beach town with a beachside shopping center and lots of restaurants. It can be difficult to find clear, fresh water in San Diego. For years, locals have reported seeing large patches of green algae in the San Diego Bay. Photographers have taken pictures of the algae in the bay for years, but a few weeks ago several different news outlets reported that a brownish-green slime was covering the San Diego Bay, and was causing a stinky odor.

Which beach in San Diego is best for swimming?

The area of San Diego with the most beaches is Mission Bay, a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. There are many areas of San Diego with multiple beaches, but Mission Bay is the only area with such a huge variety in beach types. Whether you want a beach with warm water, a sandy beach, a rock ledge to jump off, or just a place to fish, Mission Bay has it. And if you’re looking for a calm, serene beach, Mission Bay is the place to go. The waves crashing on the beach are a great place to relax, but most people don’t know that there are actually different beaches according to their quality. If you can still have a good time swimming in the ocean, you should look for beaches with white sand and pebble beaches, since they allow you to move faster, which will allow you to keep up with the waves. If you don’t have to worry about getting swept away by the waves, you should go for a beach with no waves, since they are safer and will enable you to have a relaxing time.

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