6 Beautiful San Diego Beaches

It should come as no surprise there are many beaches in San Diego, and as a beach lover, I can say that they are all great! Every beach has its own vibe, but they all have the key ingredients of sun, sand and water. 

Here are some of the most popular options:

Ocean Beach

Photo courtesy of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association

Featuring one of the longest piers in Southern California, Ocean Beach attracts visitors for pier fishing, surfing, shopping and dining.  The vibe here is more ‘hippy’ than most other San Diego beaches. It is also home to one of San Diego’s most popular dog beaches and a wonderful weekly farmer’s market. Parking can be a challenge, so plan ahead!

Pacific Beach

Photo courtesy of ILEA San Diego

A popular destination among 20 somethings, Pacific Beach has ample night life, surfing and restaurants. Like OB, parking can be a challenge! There are plenty of good dining options on the boardwalk and within walking distance in the community. The boardwalk here is very busy on summer weekends! Grat spot to watch the sunset into the Pacific Ocean.


Photo courtesy of California Beaches

Coronado is a spacious beach with soft sand, fire pits and lots of nearby shops and dining. The beach is also recognized by its iconic Hotel Del Coronado. The northern end just before you reach the base is a dog beach.

Mission Beach

Photo courtesy of California Beaches

Mission Beach is a popular spot for water sports, there are spots here for volleyball, picnics, bonfires and more! Fiesta Island on Mission Bay is a great spot if you are looking for a dog beach with calmer bay waters. Be sure to avoid the campground and Tern nesting sites where dogs are not allowed.

Del Mar

Photo courtesy of California Beaches

For surfing and sunbathing in North County, check out Del Mar. With stunning views from Highway 101, the area is known for its sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and quaint seaside village. The beaches in Del Mar only allow off-leash dogs during the off season. For more details, click here.

Military Beaches

Photo courtesy of California Beaches

Both of these on-base beach options have cabanas available for rent, bathrooms, volleyball courts and fire pits or grills.  They are also some of the few beaches where alcohol is allowed!  Since only military members are allowed on these beaches, they tend to be less crowded than public beaches.

Breakers Beach is located on Naval Station North Island offers a spacious place to watch aircraft or sunset over Point Loma!

Gator Beach located on the Naval Amphibious Base might give you a glimpse of Navy SEAL training in action while you bask in the sun or watch the sunset.

Have you been stationed in San Diego? What beaches should we add to the list?

2 thoughts on “6 Beautiful San Diego Beaches

  1. I am SHOCKED that this article does not include the beach on the Point Loma Naval Submarine Base considering that this a submarine community blog! There is a fantastic beach on the Submarine base at Smuggler’s Cove that is perfect for kids and never crowded. It has a playground and a running/walking track. There are also fire pits on the beach. The beach was just completely resurfaced with new sand. And there is a boat launch and MWR rental facility at the beach. My kids and I can make a full day of alternating between riding bikes along the path, playing on the playground and playing at the beach. Parking is just steps away. There is no lifeguard, but the beach is tucked into a little cove with very calm water and no waves. Definitely a best kept secret!

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