San Diego is a perfect place for a summer vacation. The city is known for its warm climate, beautiful beaches, parks, surfing culture, and much more.
In this guide, I’ve rounded up the best beaches to visit in San Diego.
Let’s get started!
1. Coronado Central Beach
Attracting thousands of visitors for its white sand and warm, clear water, Coronado Central Beach offers an unmatchable beach experience.
This beach is located at the interception of Alameda Boulevard and Ocean Boulevard, and it’s ideal for many activities, including boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, and kite flying.
The beach also has clean washrooms and plenty of parking.
Are you worried about your kids getting hungry throughout the day? There are enough restaurants around, and rental tents and chairs are also available if you want some privacy.
2. Silver Strand State Beach
Experience more of the good life at the Silver Strand State Beach in South Coronado.
Seeing its glittering sand and the gentle waves striking the coastline confirms why locals and visitors love this beach so much.
The shoreline is suitable for water-skiing, boating, swimming, and camping activities.
Your young ones can also collect silvery oyster shells after some sunbathing on the soft white sand.
Once you are done with your exploration, enjoy some seafood in any of the restaurants near Silver Strand State Beach.
3. Torrey Pines State Beach
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some serenity at Torrey Pines State Beach.
This expansive beach is located in Northern La Jolla, a destination for travelers from all parts of the world.
Your family will enjoy a memorable and safe swimming time here.
There is no Torrey Pines State Beach without surfing, so come prepared!
The other popular activities on this beach include white sand strolling, fishing, hiking, and guided nature walks.
Bathrooms and shower facilities are available, as well as lifeguards.
Do not forget to treat your family to an early evening dinner at The Grill at Torrey Pines, a popular American restaurant.
4. South Ponto Beach
You will love South Ponto Beach for its tall dunes and tranquility. Visitors and locals always come back to this beach for its scenic views and ample amenities.
The beach has something for everybody, but it’s popularly known for surfing.
Your little swimmers won’t be able to get enough of swimming in the warm and shallow waters of the beach.
The other activities you can participate in include sunbathing, beach volleyball, and sunset watching.
If you want a less crowded area, North Ponto would be ideal for enjoying the beauty of the beach peacefully.
If you love going to the beach at night, the propane firepits will be an allure you can’t resist.
Do you need post-beach nourishment? Drive to Buona Forchetta, a local restaurant, and grab some pizza.
5. La Jolla Shores Beach
Usher your family to a perfect summer vibe by visiting La Jolla Shores Beach.
The one-mile beach is part of the La Jolla community, and it’s one of the best beaches in San Diego.
You will appreciate the serenity of this place and the calmness of the waters. During the summer, the waves are gentle and playful, thus adding fun to your kid’s swimming experience.
There are numerous activities on this sunkissed coastline, including surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and much more.
Do you want some private family time? The beach has benches and tables for you to catch up with your loved ones. I
f you will be in San Diego for a while, book your family at the La Jolla Shores Hotel and enjoy the beach lifestyle with unmatchable comfort and convenience.
6. Moonlight Beach
Whether you want to drink in views of the ocean or take your children to a fun-filled destination, Moonlight Beach offers all you need.
It is among the most popular and family-friendly beaches in San Diego, offering the best atmosphere for a family vacation.
This state beach is best for swimming, fishing, and surfing.
It also has tennis and volleyball courts so your teenagers can make the most of their vacation.
Remember to set some time aside to soak in the sun as your toddler plays at the beach-themed playground with swings and slides.
The parking lot is large, and the outdoor showers and public restrooms are clean.
I recommend you get to this beach early since it’s a small beach and might get crowded, especially during the weekend.
7. Del Mar Beach
The beautiful Del Mar Beach is enough reason to take a break from the city.
On the southern side of the beach are a playground and expansive grassy places perfect for picnicking.
There are also restaurants and surf shops within walking distance.
Additionally, you will appreciate the clean facilities that enhance your comfort and safety on the beach.
One of the most striking things about this beach is the beautiful sunset views, offering a perfect setting for photography.
8. Mission Beach
This is another small beach in San Diego that’s worth your family’s time.
You will love the beachfront neighborhood and the endless fun it offers. You can participate in sunbathing, swimming, walking, biking or bonfires.
Mission Beach is adjacent to Belmont Park, an amusement park featuring boat rides, an arcade, a swimming pool, and mini golf.
Picnic tables, lifeguards, and fire pits are also available at the beach. Pass by Kojack’s Restaurant after your exploration and treat your loved ones to rice, chicken kabobs, and salad.
9. Tamarack Beach
Tamarack Beach is a haven for families looking for a laidback beach vacation.
It’s surrounded by high-end beach resorts which offer all the luxury and comfort your loved ones want away from home.
Be ready for an incredible beach experience whether you swim, stroll on the soft sand, jog, sunbathe, surf, or picnic on the grassy side of the beach.
Head to the north side of the beach to access restaurants, rental shops, and vacation rentals.
The sunkissed beach is within the vicinity of some of the top attractions in Carlsbad, one of them being Carlsbad Flower Fields.
10. Ocean Beach Dog Beach
The Ocean Beach Dog Beach is a landmark in San Diego.
This is a popular beach because most residents in the nearby towns own dogs, and the beach is large to boot.
Safety is guaranteed thanks to the available lifeguards. The beach is a perfect spot for swimmers and surfers.
Showers are also available but not for pets.
Restaurants abound nearby, and you will love the delicious seafood served there. Additionally, you will find a grassy picnic area across the parking lot.
11. Tide Beach Park
Located in Solana Beach, Tide Beach Park is another must-visit family-friendly beach in San Diego. It is commonly known for its large reefs and tropical feel.
This haven provides excellent opportunities for recreational activities like snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, jogging, fishing, and walking.
The park also offers picnic and shower facilities.
Lifeguard services are also available but strictly during the summer, so if you visit during other seasons, you must exercise caution.
12. Mission Bay Beach
Your visit to San Diego isn’t complete without visiting Mission Bay Beach.
This manmade aquatic park is in the middle of 27 miles of shoreline. Visiting families can kitesurf, wakeboard, or jet ski.
After swimming in any of its eight swimming spots, lay down some towels on the sand and enjoy an afternoon of relaxation and bonding with your family.
Once you are done with the beach, head to the Mission Bay Spa and Marina’s eco-friendly resorts for relaxation and dinner.
Your young cyclists will love the carefully paved long bike paths across the bay.
You can also spend a lazy afternoon at the Mission Bay Golf Course and work on your skills on the putting green.
13. Cardiff State Beach
Cardiff State Beach is a paradise full of endless family fun.
Located between Encinitas and Solana Beach, the long sandy strip provides vacationing families with a quiet atmosphere to relax and lay down their worries.
There are so many activities that your loved ones can enjoy on this beach. They include beach combing, surfing, swimming, or building castles on the white sands for toddlers.
Adults also enjoy pampering their bodies with some much-needed vitamin D.
There is no better place to enjoy a replenishing day in San Diego than Cardiff State Beach.
14. Pier View South in Oceanside
Ending the list of San Diego’s best beaches is Pier View South Beach.
As the name suggests, this beach is on the southern side of Oceanside Pier and is the closest beach to the downtown area.
Nearby, you’ll find the pier itself, many restaurants, and shops.
The beach is ideal for bonfires, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and walking.