San Diego, named after San Diego de Alcalá, is a city in California, USA, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It was the first place European explorers landed on the American West Coast and was once was Mexican territory, so embrace Latin Culture here. There are plenty of passions to pursue in San Diego, from arts and culture, beaches and bays, food and drink, nightlife, parks, and many more. Step outside your comfort zone, and you might find something new to love.

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
James McCullough

Being near the Pacific Ocean means that San Diego has countless fantastic sandy beaches. In our 25 Things to Do in San Diego list, we encourage you to at least swim or visit some beaches or reserves in this city. There are many beaches here, so we have rounded up the top 10 best beaches in San Diego to make things easier.

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Here are the best beaches in San Diego, California

1. La Jolla Cove

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by gsloan CC BY 2.0

La Jolla Cove is a small, picturesque cove and beach that is surrounded by cliffs. It is protected as part of a marine reserve, so prepare your scuba or snorkel gears as you dive and see different marine life underwater. You can also kayak to the cove to swim next to dolphins or sea lions. If you don’t know how to swim, you could catch a view of sea lions, too. The view and the sunset will make you forget all your problems for a few hours. La Jolla Cove is one of the best beaches in San Diego, California.

Recommended Hotel: La Valencia Hotel

2. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by Sergei Gussev CC BY 2.0

Watch the glorious sunset with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. There is a steep walkway to be nearer the ocean, so you could bring your surfing gear and shoes as you ride through the waves or take a dip. There are also tide pools where you can enjoy the sand and see tiny creatures crawling. Get your camera ready as the rock formations plus the gorgeous sunset are great backgrounds for pictures.

Recommended Hotel: The Inn at Sunset Cliffs

3. Fletcher Cove Beach

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by Sergei Gussev CC BY 2.0

With easy access to one of the best beaches in San Diego, you would love Fletcher Cove Beach. It’s great for kids to swim as the water is shallow and there are lifeguards on duty. If you want to have some more water fun, you can also surf or boogie board. Showers and restrooms are available as well as ramps. It’s a great place to chill and appreciate the view of the ocean and sun.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites

4. Torrey Pines State Beach and Park

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by ANDR3W A CC BY-ND 2.0

In Torrey Pines State Reserve lies one of the best beaches in San Diego, Torrey Pines State Beach. It is a lovely stretch of sand and a vast view of the sea. You can surf or boogie board on this spot too. If you are bored, you can hike along the trails in the Reserve. Come and enjoy the ocean with your family and friends; you will not regret your getaway in San Diego.

Recommended Hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton

5. Coronado Beach

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by Kari Sullivan CC BY 2.0

Another one in our list of best beaches in San Diego is Coronado Beach. With pristine soft white sand, crystal blue waters, and excellent facilities you will appreciate the beauty of nature. It’s magnificent for family and friends, furry or not. The view of Point Loma and Hotel Coronado is gorgeous, too, especially during sunset time! You would love to swim, sunbathe or plain relax on this side of California. It’s not overcrowded, so you would have a spot for yourself.

Recommended Hotel: San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina

6. La Jolla Shores Beach

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by john farrell macdonald CC BY-SA 2.0

Bring your snorkel gear as well as your family and friends at La Jolla Shores Beach. It is a mile-long beach that’s also an ecological reserve. When you snorkel or dive, you will undeniably see fishes or swim with seals. There are restrooms, lifeguards, a playground, and a big parking area. With its beauty, you will agree that it is one of the best beaches in San Diego.

Recommended Hotel: La Jolla Riviera Inn

7. Mission Beach

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by zemistor CC BY-ND 2.0

Have fun with your family in friends in one of the best beaches in San Diego. As waves are mild, go boogie boarding or learn how to surf. Don’t worry about the water; it’s perfect for swimming, lifeguards are everywhere and friendly. If you are ever bored, there are restaurants nearby and also an amusement park. But with the enjoyable atmosphere, you would love to spend the day here, try catching the sunset or have bonfires at night.

Recommended Hotel: Bahia Resort Hotel

8. Pacific Beach

PB is a favorite spot for students and young adults enjoying the party atmosphere. It is one of the best beaches in San Diego, especially for those who want to surf. Look for a surfing teacher and learn to surf over the waves. Don’t worry about food as there are tons of places nearby where you get a scrumptious meal or a tasty snack or a drink. In this long beautiful stretch of sand and sea near the pier, you will find fun under the sun.

Recommended Hotel: Tower 23 Hotel

9. Dog’s Beach

Bring your furry friends on this off-leash beach in San Diego. You can bond with your dogs as you both play in the water or get to meet new dogs and fur-parents. On the north part of this mile, long beach is calmer water for your little ones. However, don’t worry if you don’t have pets, you can still enjoy swimming or sunbathing. You will have great memories of one of the best beaches in San Diego.

Recommended Hotel: Ocean Villa Inn

10. Imperial Beach

Best Beaches in San Diego, California Top 10 Beaches in San Diego
Photo by chrisinphilly5448 CC BY-SA 2.0

A beach for all ages is Imperial Beach. Enjoy the ocean breeze and the sand at one of the best beaches in San Diego. A farmers market is nearby as well as restaurants and shops. You also fish in the pier. You can find a sweet surf spot to ride a wave. If you are not up for a swim, enjoy the view, sunbathe or relax. The best time to come here is during sunset as it is magnificent.

Recommended Hotel: Pier South Resort

San Diego offers a lot from culture, food, history, nature; you will not regret coming here. This beautiful place near the Pacific Ocean provides you long sandy beaches, amazing oceans, and gorgeous views (especially the sunsets.) You will fall in love with the best beaches in San Diego.​

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By Sarah