Beaches, San Diego
San Diego is situated along the coast of California with the Pacific Ocean. There are many beaches, beach communities and beach cities in the County of San Diego to choose from. Each beach has it's own personality which offers a variety of experiences depending upon one's mood. Some beaches are young and vibrant, some are pristine and elegant, some are rough and challenging and some are a dream for anyone interested in water sports. Throughout my San Diego page and other pages about towns and communities in SD County, I've given clues about the personality of most or our beaches. So, you can pick one that fits with you.
If your hotel is downtown, it will be on the east side of S.D. Bay but the Bay is not a place to swim. You could take the Coronado Ferry across the Bay to Coronado Island and from there it's a mile or so to the beach. Also, Imperial Beach is just down the Silver Strand from Coronado if it is a surfing beach that is of interest.
Other than that the nearest beaches are Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
Accessable by public transportation, take the SD Trolley at the Station nearest your hotel and get off at the Old Town Station, from there catch the bus to any of these beaches.
Keep in mind that the Pacific Ocean is a much larger body of water than, say, the Mediterranean Sea and it takes much longer to warm up. The water here never gets very warm. Of course, even when it's cooler, once you start swimming you'll warm up.
Along with the regular surfers, we caught up with several kite surfers on our trip to Imperial Beach.
These guys & girls are true thrillseekers, as with a good wave and strong wind, they would get pulled up, way out of the water. It was awesome to watch them!
You simply cannot come to California, and not check out the surfers! Stop along any stretch of beach, and there are many, and you'll find surfers trying to catch a wave. Even on foggy, calm days, they will be there, waiting for the perfect curl.
We saw many people surfing at Imperial Beach, including this guy. If you're taking pictures, be patient. These folks will be there all day, so they won't just jump on any bump in the surf!
It seems that San Diego's lifeguards are training all year round and that they are really well equipped and prepared for the summer season.
I met this team from my picture on Imperial Beach in April.
If you bring your pets with you on vacation, there are a few beaches that you can go to where they are allowed to run without a leash. At Dog Beach (behind the Del Mar Racetrack/I-5 and Via de La Valle) you can let your dog run free in the surf from January to June (from the middle of June until the middle of September they must be on the leash) and again from October to December.
The dogs had a blast!
Another beach which I have gone to is Dog Beach @ Pacific/Ocean Beach (I-8 west until it ends, then follow the signs) where your dog can run free all year long. The water is shallower than Del Mar and everyone has a great time.
San Diego beaches are becoming more and more crowded and there is more competition for good waves between surfers and body boarders as well as swimmers. There have been fights with injuries due to this competition.
Some areas of the water are specifically set aside for surfers, swimmers, and body borders. But, in case there's no specific area, observe the people who are out in the water. Are there mostly swimmers? Are there a lot of surfers in one area or body boarders in another? Also, ask a lifegaurd where the best area to swim or surf is. This will save on some unneeded aggravation.
At sunset time in San Diego it is time for a break... go to the beach and just relax watching how the sun sets....
San Diego is bordered on the west by the blue Pacific which brings a warm and dry climate. Don't forget the sunscreen and hat and drink plenty of water.
Alcohol and glass are illegal at many of the beaches, boardwalks and parks. You would be best to check signs and/or ask lifeguards or police before taking either of these onto a beach.