Beach party in San Diego

How to Throw an Epic Beach Party in San Diego

Who doesn’t love a good beach party? Especially if you’re in La Jolla, how can you not love a good beach party in San Diego? With so many beaches at our fingertips, you can easily throw a party to remember. Of course, there are so many things to think about – the theme, the food, the music, the invitations; heck, you could even throw your party on a nude beach if you wanted. While coming up with beach party ideas is hard sometimes, let’s aim to make that a little easier. 

Are you ready to throw an epic beach party in San Diego?

You may fancy yourself capable of throwing the best beach party in San Diego, but there’s more to consider than just the locale. Just because you’re in one of the most idyllic ocean towns in the world doesn’t mean it’s going to be a breeze. You’ve got to consider the time of year. Is it a New Year’s Eve beach party in San Diego? Consider the age range of the guests; this determines what accommodations you need to buy or rent. Considering who will be in attendance and the time of day will also influence the best beach snacks for the type of event you’re aiming to throw. 

These are just several things to consider – time, place, attendees, and the other factors mentioned above. So, if you think you are, in fact, ready to throw a beach party in San Diego, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

What are the best reasons to throw an epic beach party in San Diego?

First on the list of best reasons is location, location, location! You couldn’t ask to be in a more beautiful place in the country and arguably the world. The climate of scenery makes La Jolla an ideal place to throw birthday parties, weddings, bat mitzvahs, really any celebration – including work events! 

  • Birthday Party Ideas – When throwing a beach birthday party, there are unlimited ideas, because individuals are unique. You want to make sure that you send out birthday greeting cards and invitations that match your theme, so pick one first. Many people opt for a luau-type theme for birthday parties, and you can go in a ton of directions to keep it age-appropriate.
  • Weddings – Tons of couples decide to tie the knot on one of the many beaches in San Diego. Your wedding theme is, of course, up to you two as partners and any planners and designers you’ve hired, but remember, drinking on public beaches is not permitted in San Diego, so you are limited in that capacity.
  • Work Events – Work events are a great way to build team morale and keep the company’s values in line amongst employees. A simple picnic or buffet style will work for this type of event. Depending on your company’s budget, however, you can hire a planner depending on the size and scale of the event.

How to Prepare for Your Beach Party?

Throwing any party, let alone a beach party in San Diego, takes some prep work. You must enlist the help of friends or hire planners, designers, and decorators based on the size of the event you are throwing. The list doesn’t end there, and you’ll need caterers and even possibly permits. If your party is more elevated, an ice sculpture will obviously melt, but you could even hire a professional sandcastle builder if you’re trying to make a statement. Try to remember events you went to in the past that are similar to what you’re trying to achieve and build on that. You don’t want to plagiarize someone’s party (especially if they’re on the invite list) simultaneously; however, imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

Maybe you went to a Pacific Beach San Diego party in the last few years that had everything you were looking for – the right location, it was during the evening, and the caterer was on point. Either source the same caterer or one that serves a similar style of food. Keep in mind that you need to have a way for guests to quickly dispose of utensils, cups, and napkins that could blow away in the wind and become litter (unless you’re going more sustainable or have hired a crew to wait on guests as well). 

Locations

Just like where you decide to buy your home, start your business or throw a party – location is everything. So, picking your location is one of your top priorities. Let’s dive into some of the options our fair city has to offer.

Downtown, Harbor, and Coronado

Silver Strand State Beach

Silver Strand is great for kids and wheelchair accessible if some of your guests require such amenities. It has ocean and bay shorelines as well. 

Pepper Park 

Pepper Park is a park a little over five acres large. There’s a playground there as well as restrooms, picnic tables, and a boat launch. This is a good option if you need tables but don’t feel like spending your budget on rentals. 

Coronado Beach

Coronado is a more urban beach, which would be great if you’re planning a livelier party. Most people come here for the swimming, sunbathing, or surfing options, so if you don’t want to contend with crowds, this may not be the spot for your party. 

Waterfront Park

Waterfront is an excellent option for a young or middle child’s birthday party. There are tons of areas and equipment for children of all ages to play with and spray fountains. There are also large grassy areas for a picnic-style party. 

Harbor Island Park / Spanish Landing

This park is a beautiful public space overlooking the bay. While it does have a path for walkers and bicyclists that could distract a larger party, the scenery is idyllic and would be an excellent fit for a more intimate gathering. 

Shoreline Park

Shoreline Park is a mile long, and the views are breathtaking. Almost always full of sailboats, the perfect backdrop for any number of parties. Another cool thing about Shoreline is the public art, so there’s always a conversation starter there if many of your guests will be meeting each other for the first time. The park also has a beautiful promenade. This place makes for a great beach party in San Diego.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

The name says it all when it comes to this locale. The cliffs are simply breathtaking, and you could throw an elevated event here. You would want a planner to help you figure out its logistics, but it’s a majestic setting. 

Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Mission Bay

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Throwing a birthday party for your beloved pet? A mixer for singles who “Must Love Dogs”? This is your spot. Ocean Beach Dog Beach allows dogs to be freely off-leash. Obviously, it will be a casual party, but you can have a lot of fun here with your pet and your pet-loving pals.

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park is wildly popular as a place to swim and sunbathe, even surf, so expect a crowd. It is wheelchair accessible and friendly, which is something to consider. Mission is also super kid-friendly, so another place you should put on your list if your party is geared towards children.

Fiesta Island

I mean, come on, it’s in the name – Party! Fiesta is a pretty big island off Mission Bay and boasts 27 miles of beaches. There are fire pits that could make for a wild party or really intimate as well. As we said, it’s in the name, and this should be on the top of your list while planning. 

South Mission Beach

South Mission Beach is adjacent to lots of shops and other things going on. This is a good suggestion for a quick event and probably pretty casual. But, the beach is lovely and wide, so you could easily set something up if you went with it as your locale. 

Mission Beach Boardwalk

What’s in a name? What’s on a boardwalk? Mission Beach Boardwalk has an old-school feel to it and even an amusement park. You could throw a nostalgic themed party here for older adults in your life or go in plenty of other directions. It will be busy, though, so this isn’t the way to go if you want something quieter. 

Ski Beach

Many locals love this beach for a good reason; the beach is flat, and there are many good places to have a fire pit. It’s busy but never overrun. Ski Beach is a perfect spot if you have a medium-sized party where you want to be able to expand on a theme.

Crown Point Park

If you don’t have much budget or throw something together last minute, Crown Point Park is a fantastic option. There are plenty of picnic tables, grills, bonfire rings, and a giant grassy park where kids can play, or you could set up games like badminton or corn hole—a very casual spot, which frequently makes for the most memorable parties.

Fanuel Street Park

Another actual kid-friendly location, but the views are stunning enough for the adults to appreciate amid the mayhem. Fanuel Street Park has a playground, BBQ grills, a huge grassy park, and bath amenities (helpful if your children are young enough to be prone to accidents and messes).

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach

Though Pacific Beach is definitely busy during the daytime, the spectacular views make it an excellent place for an evening beach party. It has a great, long pier, and the white sandy beaches are perfect for party pictures.

Law Street Beach

The beachline here is backdropped by grassy cliffs, which would make it a picturesque wedding party locale. It’s known for good surfing and jogging so the evening would be a better bet. 

Tourmaline Beach

Tourmaline Beach is a beautiful oceanside like most San Diego beaches, but parking is a bit tough at this beach. So, you would need to plan on traveling as a group, or it could work for people within walking distance or a more intimate gathering.

Calumet Park

Overlooking a bluff, Calumet Park is a grassy and serene location. It’s lined with benches which could be suitable depending on the type of event you’re throwing or a distraction. 

Birdrock & La Jolla

Birdrock Viewpoint

Considered by many as one of the best seaside views in San Diego, Birdrock is beyond beautiful. This is a very relaxing and serene environment that lends itself to all types of parties. 

Windansea Beach

Known mainly for its iconic palm-covered surf shack, this is a popular surfing site. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t host an epic BBQ or luau here, though! It’s worth noting there are no public restrooms available at this beach.

Marine Street Beach

The clear water at Marine Street Beach makes it an easy place to throw a relaxing affair. This location would be great for day or evening events. There are no restrooms or parking; however, street parking is sometimes difficult to obtain. If you’re throwing a significant event here, you’re going to need a shuttle!

La Jolla Cove

This beach, while quaint, is always manned by lifeguards during certain hours. This site offers restrooms as well as showers, so if you’re throwing a proper beach party where you’ll be swimming and building sandcastles, it’s a great pick. Not to mention, there are picnic tables!

La Jolla Shores Park

La Jolla Shores Park isn’t directly on the ocean, but a mere two blocks away, which is beneficial if there are babies at the party. They have a playground which is great for children of all ages, but you’re a short walk to sand and waves if you want them!

Blacks Beach Park

Trying to kick your party up a notch? Well, Blacks Beach gives you the option to go nude if that’s what you’re looking for. You decide what kind of party you want to throw here. Blacks Beach can be difficult to get to since it’s located under the Torrey Bluffs, but it’s worth the visit. Whether you’re going in the buff or not, it’s a beautiful view.

North County Coastal: Del Mar, Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, and Oceanside

Torrey Pines State Beach

TPSB is an excellent spot for fishing, surfing, and swimming. Additionally, it’s an easy place to throw a beach party! The beach is nice and wide, and there are pre-set-up picnic areas as well. 

Powerhouse Park & Del Mar Beach

Powerhouse Park sets above a beautiful and large sandy beach, making it ideal for a large outdoor party. Guests have the option of relaxing in a gorgeous grassy setting or spending time on the beach. If you’re throwing something black-tie, this is worth checking out. You can go low-key if that’s more your party’s vibe as there is a playground and small picnic area.

Fletcher Cove

The beautiful park at Fletcher Cove even has a viewing deck, which makes it a great spot if lots of photos are taken. It also has picnic tables, playgrounds, and a nice grassy park. Oh, and did we mention basketball? Yeah, for a casual beach party, this place checks a lot of boxes. 

Tide Beach Park

The backdrop of this park is stunning cliffs lined with gorgeous homes, but there’s so much more. The beach is full of perfect white sand and is known for its serene and calming atmosphere. Tide Beach could easily host a beautiful wedding ceremony or just a casual hang-out on the beach.

Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area

If you want your beach party to be in a very natural environment where guests can sneak off and explore to find new favorite places, add this to your list of considerations. The beach is small but clean, and there’s a beautiful little tide pool. 

Cardiff State Beach

This beach is protected as it’s part of a state park system. Cardiff could be a fun location for a wedding where your out-of-town guests want to stay in RVs since there’s a campground nearby. It’s beautiful and definitely worth checking out.

San Elijo State Beach

This beach is big! It’s over two miles, kind of big! It’s best known for its campground and picnic availability, so it’s an option for more relaxed get-togethers. But maybe that’s how beach parties should all be!

Swami’s Beach

Free parking! Dog friendly! Beautiful beach! This place is an easy one to host virtually any event at. The sand is nice and soft at Swami’s, and the sunsets are to die for. 

Encinitas Beach County Park

While not everyone loves a pebbly beach, it could be just what you envisioned for your event. Encinitas Beach County is a beautiful park with lots to offer. 

Grandview Surf Beach

This beach lies at the base of cliffs; it offers parking up above the cliffs, making it easy to access as an event locale. The beaches are beautiful white sand beaches and the view, well, it’s grand!

Ponto State Beach Jetty

The Jetties at Ponto State Beach are nice and tight together, making them easy to walk across if your guests are likely explorers. This beach is spacious, and the jetties give it a natural feel you could be looking for.

South Carlsbad State Beach

Not only do they have a cliffside campground where you could quickly turn your party into an all-nighter, but they’ve also got picnic grounds and a gorgeous scenic beach. This beach is known best for swimming, fishing, and diving. Lots of fun to be had at SCSB.

North Ponto Beach

Backed by some pretty sharp bluffs, this beach is sand and pebble, so that it would be great for a fire pit. Walking along the beachside here is beautiful as well. 

Tamarack Surf Beach

This beach is right on the border with a neighborhood, so getting super rowdy is not an option. It’s also a stunning ocean view with a laid-back vibe—an excellent choice for a day party. 

Oceanside City Beach

Oceanside City Beach is almost always crowded, so keep that in mind in your party planning. But, it’s an absolutely gorgeous beach with a great pier. There are almost always food vendors nearby, so you could even forego catering and buy everyone’s lunch!

Oceanside Harbor Beach

This beach is an excellent spot for all age groups, so you’re not limited by that while planning. The waves are almost always mild, and there’s not a ton of seaweed – which can be a real turn-off for some—super long pier, which is enjoyable. The beach is a favorite with locals, and there’s also a lot to do in the surrounding area if partygoers want to keep hanging out after you’ve shut down the main party. 

Invitations

As mentioned earlier, after picking a theme, invitations are one of the first party planning steps you need to conquer. You can send out invites indicating a theme before getting all your other ducks in a row. Some people work better under pressure, so it’s good to do it this way. Ways to come up with a great invitation are using free services online to send email invites – not only is this a more sustainable way of sending invites, but it’s also easier for people to get their RSVPs to you quickly. 

If you’re working towards a more formal event and want to send a nice thick cardstock version of an invite, you can either work with a planner that has connections to get them done for you, or source someone local to design, print, even address the invites for you. It’s generally agreed that your invitations need to include obvious things like date, time, and location, but take it a step further if you have expectations on things like preferred attire, parking instructions, and whether or not you want children included. 

If it’s a children’s party, this could be a fun project for you and your kid to do with one another. Can you think of anything sweeter than getting a homemade invitation by the child for whom the party is for? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Decorations

When it comes to decorating for a beach party, there’s a little more to keep in mind than you may have to for a party you’re throwing indoors. Firstly, you need to keep in mind the wind, and you’ll want decorations that aren’t going to fly away, not very environmentally conscious. Consider using a pop-up tent or renting a giant tent if you’re hosting a wedding or more significant event.

If you have a tent, you can quickly secure any type of decorations you’re using for it. You can also connect your decorations to picnic tables and chairs. If you’re inclined to go the DIY route, filling mason jars with beach pebbles and tying decor to them could look beautiful. Also, be mindful if you’re utilizing candles as part of decorations. They must be in a glass container that cannot be blown over and are heavy enough to stay in place. 

When it comes to what you’re going to decorate with, think – garlands, pom poms, balloons, oversized faux flowers from a craft shop. If it’s within your budget, fresh local flowers are always a show stopper. Just make sure that you or a designated crew of people are in charge of responsibly cleaning up any decor you’ve chosen for the event. Please utilize these items responsibly and one more emphasis on candles or anything else that could be a fire hazard (like sparklers or fireworks). 

What Should You Serve at Your Beach Party?

What you should serve at any party is always dependent on many variables: location, age of attendees, budget, and others. It would be best to remember that most people have specific dietary restrictions due to lifestyle choices or food sensitivities. So you’re going to want at least one vegan and a gluten-free option of every course. 

For hors d’oeuvres at a beach party, keep things simple with things like cut fruit and vegetables, or you can serve them kebob style. Simple bowls of healthy chips and nuts are excellent options, and no one ever goes wrong with a beautiful charcuterie board, do they? 

Your main course is going to be dependent on the same variables. If you’re using a catering service, let their chef absolutely handle this. It can be overwhelming to come up with mains, especially if the party is large. Since you’re going to be oceanside, go with easy eats like bbq (with all the fixings set out for guests to build their sandwiches how they like them), pizza is always a crowd-pleaser. Many of the locations mentioned above come equipped with grills, so if you fancy yourself a “grill master,” you can’t miss burgers, hot dogs, or other sausages and grilled veggie kabobs or fresh grilled corn on the cob. Remember your non-meat-eating friends, though, and have black bean burger options for them too! 

When it comes to dessert, let’s face it, though the weather is idyllic in San Diego, it’s going to be a little warm out, so you want to keep things cool. However, frozen desserts may be out of the question unless you have a way to keep them completely frozen until it’s time to serve. Something like a parfait, a simple apple cake, or even two-bite cupcakes are perfect. There’s also beauty in the simplicity of a tray of cookies. That way, guests don’t feel pressured to partake in dessert, or on the flip side, they can indulge in a ton if they want!

When you’re planning your party, drinks are a fun way to incorporate your theme; some hosts even opt to name drinks specifically for the event. However, you may be bummed to hear this, but alcohol consumption is not permitted on most beaches in San Diego, and you can’t drink at all on the beach at Pacific Beach. While all San Diego beaches worth visiting are so beautiful, it’s easy to get past this, and it does limit you as far as the drink menu is concerned. If you are dead-set on serving alcohol at your event, you can easily apply for permits, though. 

Therefore great alternatives are sparkling waters like Topo Chico, Spindrift, Waterloo, or good old Pelligrino. Making your own cucumber or lemon water is always a refreshing treat if you have the time and inclination. Make sure you’ve got a cooler full of ice and display the drinks artfully while propping your cooler or drink container. 

What Should You Do at Your Beach Party?

What shouldn’t you do at your beach party in San Diego? First of all, you’re in one of the most beautiful places you can be, so celebrate the simplicity of your awe-inspiring surroundings at your event and let them guide your activities planned – if you even want to go that route. If the party is for adults only, you could arrange some games on any part of the spectrum, from corny to risque. You do, at minimum, want some music (as simple as a BlueTooth speaker and curated playlist or hire a quartet if it suits you). If you and your guests are a little athletically inclined, badminton or beach volleyball are always fun. 

If the party is for children, you do need to have some fun plans up your sleeve. Good things for a beach party for children are the same in many ways as indoor parties. But you could have water balloons or squirt guns, a bubble machine, a sandcastle building contest, and the list is endless. But, no matter the age of the people in attendance, favors are always fun, so don’t forget them.

For adults, souvenirs from the party can be specific to the theme (a bottle of pink nail polish if it’s a baby girl gender reveal party, a bottle of wine for any adult that isn’t dry, even gourmet chocolates, even better if they’re local chocolates). For children, favors are easier. Most children are particular about what the theme of their party is going to be, so just stick with that – if it’s a “character” party, favors are easy. If they want a dinosaur or mermaid party, you may have to do a little bit more in-depth shopping, but you get the idea.

The main thing to remember when planning your perfect beach party is to try not to sweat it. You’re in La Jolla, life is easy, and the weather is undoubtedly breezy. Make sure you develop a theme that makes sense for you and the type of event you’re throwing, and the rest will fall into place. Focus on being a good host, and your friends and loved ones (or coworkers) won’t notice the little details that go wrong – and some will go wrong. But, it will be a smashing success if you follow the outlines mentioned above. Cheers!

About the author: Kara Housdan is a professional stylist and freelance writer who focuses on wellness, motherhood, minimalism, and fashion.

RV Camping in San Diego

RV Camping in San Diego

San Diego is well known for its attractions, its nightlife, its beaches, and its beautiful weather. As one of America’s top vacation cities, San Diego can get quite crowded and even more populated often, especially for tourists. However, if your idea of a great vacation doesn’t include nights in a hotel, you can find plenty of amazing tent or RV camping sites in San Diego. Start your La Jolla camping adventure here!

Best RV Parks & Campgrounds in San Diego

When your vacation plans include the moon and the stars, making s’mores over a campfire, or waking up on the beach, RV camping in San Diego provides all of these with the added options of seeing one of the world’s best zoos, the Birch Aquarium, or even Legoland in the same trip. Whether you want to make all the plans or none, San Diego county RV camping can fulfill your outdoor getaway dreams.

North County

Paradise By The Sea RV Resort

Another of the most beautiful local long-term RV parks, San Diego is home to Paradise By The Sea which boasts the closest spots to the beach in Southern California. All concrete spaces include picnic tables on-site and cable TV for relaxing near your RV, as well as a heated pool and spa, firepits, a grocery store, and recreation areas.

  • Address: 1537 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054
  • Phone: (760) 439-1376

Central San Diego County

Campland on the Bay

A must if you’re looking for extended stay RV parks, San Diego Mission Bay has one of the largest family fun time campsites. Campland on the Bay provides a huge list of amenities, so you’ll find something for everyone in the family to stay entertained by. Unique amenities include a large host of water sports, an ice cream parlor, a skateboard park, and a dog park.

  • Address: 2211 Pacific Beach Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 581-4260

Mission Bay RV Resort

Located along the shores of De Anza Cove in Mission Bay, this spot for RV camping in San Diego offers some of the best views, right on the ocean. Campers at Mission Bay RV Resort have full access to all of the amenities offered at Campland on the Bay, which includes many options for sports and recreation as well as dining and entertainment.

  • Address: 2727 De Anza Road, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (877) 219-6900

Santa Fe Park RV Resort

For serene RV camping, San Diego county may not be the first location that comes to mind, but this RV Resort will have you thinking differently. Uniquely located in a valley on the beach, your views of the ocean are outstanding while your views of the populace of San Diego are conveniently tucked away behind a hill of vegetation. A great choice for long term RV parks, San Diego (and Santa Fe Park RV Resort!) absolutely knows how to cater to longer stays.

  • Address: 5707 Santa Fe Street, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 272-4051

Admiral Baker RV Campground

This RV park is located with a picnic area in the middle of the Admiral Baker Golf Course in Mission Valley. Even if you’re not interested in golfing, the RV park offers a full host of amenities including plenty of activities for kids, a swimming pool, volleyball and basketball courts, laundry, and showers. A huge playground and plenty of open spaces will let your spirit (and your kid’s feet) run free.

  • Address: 2400 Admiral Baker Road #3606, San Diego, CA 92120
  • Phone: (619) 487-0019

East County

San Diego RV Resort

With some of the cheapest RV camping in San Diego county, the Sunland RV Resort San Diego offers high-speed wi-fi, a fitness room, well-kept restrooms, and even a heated pool and spa. Get a full resort vacation without paying hotel prices.

  • Address: 7407 Alvarado Road, La Mesa, CA 91942
  • Phone: (619) 373-0872

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

If you are looking for off road trails, San Diego hosts the gorgeous Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Situated on 190 acres with numerous lakes, this beautiful preserve with a mission offers everything that a resort RV park has to offer while still being secluded and private. The preserve focuses on the importance of water recycling and solar use, with solar panels installed on covered parking spots to provide dual benefits.

  • Address: 9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee, CA 92071
  • Phone: (619) 596-3141

Coronado & South Bay

Fiddler’s Cove Marina & RV Park (Active Duty Military Only)

For RV camping, San Diego County has many choices. Fiddler’s Cove is a full-service marina and RV park located just south of the Naval Amphibious Base. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and even larger boats for a day on the water, or park your RV and take advantage of the grills and firepits, bike paths, a ship’s store, and even the internet. With beautiful views of the San Diego skyline, this RV Park is a great choice for those who want to be a little farther away from the bustle of the city.

  • Address: 3205 Highway 75, Coronado, CA 92155
  • Phone: (619) 522-8680

Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay

This resort is a gorgeous spot on the San Diego Bay and perfect for RV camping sites in San Diego. Enjoy food and drinks at the on-site cafe, get a cabana by the pool, or go enjoy some video game time in the arcade while you are right next door to the ocean.

  • Address: 825 E Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910
  • Phone: (619) 489-3950

San Diego Metro KOA

This beautiful Chula Vista spot is perfect for tent camping, RV camping, or even renting a cabin. KOA is one of San Diego’s most popular camping resorts and offers everything from cable TV to resort-style pools to numerous outdoor activities that can be done individually or as a group. This nationwide camping collaborative also always has attendees on hand in case you need something.

  • Address: 111 N. 2nd Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910
  • Phone: (619) 427-3601

La Pacifica RV Park

This beautiful spot for RV camping in San Diego is a scaled-down, somewhat simpler park that still has great amenities and is just minutes from both a bus stop and a trolley stop that will take you to any of the attractions you wish to visit in San Diego. If you prefer to stay on-site, you’ll still have the comforts of a heated pool and spa, hot showers, cable TV, and a clubhouse.

  • Address: 1010 W San Ysidro Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92173
  • Phone: (619) 428-4411

Chula Vista RV Resort

San Diego county RV camping at Chula Vista RV Resort is a must. Nestled on 17 acres on a corner in the San Diego Bay, offering a few minutes’ walk to the ocean and stunning views of the Pacific sunsets. This park is beautifully laid out and offers a large pool and clubhouse as well as cable TV access and an on-site store. There is even a fitness center and game room if you want a bit of indoors time. Look across the bay for beautiful views of the San Diego skyline and plan your fun activities that are just minutes away.

  • Address: 460 Sandpiper Way, Chula Vista, CA 91910
  • Phone: (888) 303-7063

How much is an RV park in San Diego?

Rates for parking your RV in San Diego RV parks vary greatly. You can find cheap, no-frills RV camping spots for as low as $40-$50 per night, with more specialized, next-to-the-ocean sites for as much as $200 a night. The rate you get is very much going to depend on what you are looking for, and what you are willing to pay for. Check websites for San Diego RV resort reviews for tips on deals or where to find the cheapest spots.

Where can you camp for free in San Diego?

If you are looking for free camping, there are a number of sites that offer free camping within a short distance of San Diego. Many of these sites offer primitive tent camping with beautiful serene natural views of lakes and mountains. And if you’re still asking, “Where can I park my RV for free in San Diego?”, almost all of these primitive camping spots offer RV sites as well, although there will be no facilities available.

How long can you stay at an RV Park in San Diego?

Most San Diego RV spots will allow you to camp for up to 30 days. Many of these spots also offer a discount if you pay a longer rate, such as paying for a week or a month instead of just a day rate.

Are there pet friendly RV Parks in San Diego?

All of the RV parks listed here and most of the RV parks in the San Diego area are pet friendly. Many of these parks also offer pet amenities like watering stations and bark parks for friendly dogs to run off of their leash. Check with the website or information center of the park or resort you are visiting, but rest assured that in most cases your furry friend will be happily welcomed.

Where can I park my RV overnight in San Diego?

All of the RV parks listed offer nightly rates so you can park your RV for one night and not be concerned about paying more than you need. If you live in San Diego and need to park your RV close to your home for a night, the city of San Diego offers a temporary overnight recreational vehicle permit allowing you to park your RV on the road overnight in front of your house as parking permits.

Conclusion

RV camping in San Diego can be custom-tuned to your desires for your vacation. If you want to get away for a day, a week, or a month, there will be the perfect RV park or resort for you. Find an upscale park, a secluded park, or even a park in the middle of your refined La Jolla adventures, and plan your outdoor getaway today.

About the author: When not hiding behind a laptop, Cara Becker can be found asleep or exploring the wide world of interesting things, like how to bake the perfect cheesecake and where to find the best waterfalls. If you’re interested in exploring a food you’ve never tried or learning a word you don’t know, please share your wisdom with her on her LinkedIn profile.

The banner photo in this article is from Instagram user @rentbetty, a local company that provides Airstream rental.

Halloween events in San Diego

12 Halloween Events in San Diego

Everywhere in America loves to celebrate Halloween. From a festival in Oregon celebrating the original Halloween movies to The Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts, there are cities in every state that do it up big time for Halloween. Halloween events in San Diego are no exception no matter what floats your sheet.

Whether you are into haunted houses, zombie crawls or playing a pirate on a boat at sea, you will find something in San Diego to make your Halloween extra spooky. Halloween parties in San Diego can contain some of the most exotic and fun costumes ever. There are even tons of kid friendly Halloween events in San Diego, with plenty of fun for your little trick or treaters.

Hallloween at Sea World in San Diego

San Diego Halloween Events by Neighborhood

If you’re looking for some fun (and spooky!) Halloween events in your own backyard, why not check out these neighborhood San Diego Halloween Events?

La Jolla

The gorgeous La Jolla area is no exception when it comes to fun Halloween events. Another great location for Halloween events for the entire family, La Jolla is also often beautifully decorated and has many smaller local events around fall and the Halloween holiday.

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch in La Jolla is a wonderful day destination for the season. This celebrated local spot is an all-in-one stop for your Halloween needs. Pick your own pumpkins, go for a hayride, and run through the spooky maze. Then you can visit the animals at the farm while making your way to a Halloween shop filled with all of the costumes and decorations you could possibly need.

  • Address: 6710 La Jolla Blvd., San Diego, CA 92037
  • Phone: (844) 452-2567
  • Dates: Oct. 1 – Oct. 31
    Mon – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Fri – Sun 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Haunted Aquarium

In La Jolla, the Haunted Aquarium is a one-of-a-kind experience. A family-oriented fun time, children and adults are encouraged to wear costumes. Activities focus on Halloween-oriented things like spooky types of animals, things that feel slimy or scaly, and what happens at a whale boneyard. There is a haunted kelp maze and plenty of other family-focused activities.

  • Address: 2300 Exhibition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037
  • Phone: (858) 534-3474
  • Dates: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day in Oct 

Carlsbad

Carlsbad is a wonderfully fabulous place to celebrate Halloween events in San Diego CA. With places like the San Diego Zoo and Legoland, you know there are going to be super fun Halloween activities for both kids and adults. 

LEGOLAND Halloween in Miniland

LEGOLAND Halloween in Miniland happens every weekend throughout October with fun activities and decorations as well as treats for the whole family. Costumes are encouraged and may be seen on characters throughout the park.

  • Address: 1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Phone: (877) 376-5346
  • Dates: Oct 2 – 4, 9 – 11, 16 – 18, 23 – 25, 30 – 31

Carlsbad Strawberry Company Pumpkin Patch

The Carlsbad Strawberry Company Pumpkin Patch is another huge attraction in Carlsbad. Get back to some old-fashioned fall fun with hayrides, a corn maze, picking your own pumpkin, and even seeing how far you can shoot an apple out of a cannon. While this is one of the great Halloween events for toddlers in San Diego, even teenagers can have some fun after dark at the haunted corn maze.

  • Address: 1050 Cannon Rd., Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Phone: (760) 603-9608
  • Dates: Sat – Sun – Thru Nov 8

Del Mar

Del Mar is a beautiful, quiet area with many parks, restaurants, and residential homes, and a great place for Halloween events in North County San Diego area. Del Mar may have some of the best Halloween events for kids in San Diego, with family-friendly Halloween movies at the park, tours of haunted locations, and trick or treating galore. Del Mar is also known for its haunted houses.

Scream Zone Del Mar

At Scream Zone Del Mar, this 23-year-old haunt has something to terrify everyone. Scream Zone is the county’s longest-running haunted attraction and brings followers from all around. This trail of terror has been touted as one of San Diego’s goriest and scariest attractions throughout the years. 

  • Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
  • Phone: (858) 755-1161
  • Dates: Check website at thescreamzone.com

Mission Bay

Mission Bay has beautiful views, beautiful resorts, and plenty of fun things to do during the Halloween season. California may not get the foliage changes that the rest of the world experiences, but you will never know the leaves aren’t dropping when you explore these fun fall activities. 

SeaWorld Spooktacular

The SeaWorld Spooktacular at SeaWorld packs a fantastic experience for the whole family. Featuring characters from Sesame Street, this ranks as one of the best Halloween events in San Diego for children of all ages. Everyone can trick or treat during the day, and participate in things like spooky storytime and Halloween dance parties, as well as tons of other fall and Halloween-related fun.

  • Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (619) 222-4732
  • Dates: Sat-Sun Sept 18th – Oct 31st

Harvest Walk at Belmont Park

The historic Belmont Park features the Harvest Walk at Belmont Park, which focuses more on fall and enjoying the season than Halloween-specific enjoyment. However, there is trick or treating for the kids and you can see one of the world’s largest pumpkins. Kids and adults alike may also enjoy the street magic and go-kart track. The Harvest Walk features street vendors, local food, artisans, and a craft beer garden. 

  • Address: 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 488-1549
  • Dates: Sat 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Oct 24 – Nov 14

Mission Valley

Mission Valley is considered the heart of it all in San Diego. With easy, close access to nearly all the popular spots around, Mission Valley makes it easy to get to your favorite fun destinations. However, this area doesn’t lack in fun things to do during the Halloween season, either.

The Disturbance

If you are looking for more adult-oriented fun, The Disturbance in Mission Valley may be your go-to. Three attractions in one location make this a hefty haunted house attraction to visit. Let The Haunted Hotel, Kill-billy Chaos, and the 3-D Freak Fest fulfill all of your haunted house and spooky scary needs. Not recommended for children 10 or younger or anyone who is easily frightened!

  • Address: 1640 Camino Del Rio N., San Diego, CA 92108
  • Phone: (619) 696-SCARE (7227)
  • Dates: Almost every day in Oct 

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach in San Diego is a beautiful spot frequented by sunbathers and surfers alike. Temperatures in the fall do not deter this crowd, and this spot is a great one for the younger, bar-hopping crowd looking for a day of shopping or a night out on the town.

Pacific Beach Halloween Pub Crawl

The Pacific Beach Halloween Pub Crawl can be a super fun activity for those adults who love to dress up and have all the fun. Get an all-access pass to over 10 pubs, including drink vouchers, invitations to Halloween parties, and free welcome shots at select venues.

  • Address: 1165 Garnet Ave., San Diego, 92109
  • Phone: (858) 999-0158
  • Dates: Oct 30 at 9 p.m. – Oct 31 at 5a.m.

Downtown

Downtown San Diego needs no introduction and has all of the Halloween fun you could ever need.

WCKD Village

WCKD Village turns the whole of Gaslamp Quarter into a frightfest for Halloween. Creepy and spooky characters lurk in every corner. There are tons of interactive elements and frightening games. Plus escape rooms, 3 music stages, and a $3k costume contest. This experience is one of the best for Halloween.

  • Address: 7th Ave. (Between Market St and J St.), San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (619) 233-5008
  • Dates: Call for more info

Halloween Trail at Petco Park

For great fall activities in San Diego, the Halloween Trail at Petco Park is a family-friendly event that rolls a pumpkin patch, haunted trail, and Halloween market all in one. Kids will love visiting different booths with different fun themes like Star Wars and dinosaurs, while adults will love the easy, contained family fun with a Halloween market to browse for all of your fall decorating necessities.

  • Address: 100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (619) 795-5555
  • Dates: Oct 23 – Nov 1

Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

One of San Diego’s best-known haunted trails, the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park will certainly have everyone jumping and running and maybe even releasing a scream. Winding throughout Balboa Park, this trail is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for children under 10 years of age. Make sure you take your time!

  • Address: Balboa Dr and Juniper Rd., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (619) 696-SCARE (7227)
  • Dates: Select Dates & Times Sept 24 – Oct 31

HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo

Another well-known event in San Diego is the HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo. If Halloween brings out your hidden love for fluorescent lights and blacklight glow paint, this is the place for you. This is a family-focused event with tons of activities including glow-in-the-dark hula hooping, bubble dance parties, and cupcake walks.

  • Address: 2920 Zoo Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (619) 231-1515
  • Dates: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Oct 9 – 11, 16 – 18, 23 – 25

San Diego Halloween Yacht Party – The Black Pearl

Do you want to spend your Halloween on a haunted boat on the ocean? Look no farther than the San Diego Halloween Yacht Party – The Black Pearl. This 21 and over event features an open bar and complimentary appetizers while you explore the floating haunted mansion, dance to DJs, and party all night long in your favorite pirate (or other) costume.

  • Address: 990 N Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (714) 485-6543
  • Dates: Oct 31, Check-in begins at 10 p.m., Cruise goes to 1:30 a.m.

Coronado

The rich history of this beautiful resort city already includes a hotel built in the 1800s, which entails many spooky stories in and of itself. Coronado has beautiful beach walks and many shops and storefronts that celebrate the fall season in beautiful and fun ways.

Ghost Roasts at Hotel del Coronado

For Halloween in Coronado, the Ghost Roasts at Hotel del Coronado is a fun family event that can be entertaining for the young and not so young alike. While it may not be what you think (there is no telling of jokes at a ghost’s expense!), but rather, you will be making s’mores at a campfire on the beach while hearing stories from the hotel’s historian.

  • Address: 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118
  • Phone: (619) 435-6611
  • Dates: Evenings in Oct, 5:30 p.m – 7p.m.

Conclusion

San Diego has fun for everyone all year round but the fall season and especially Halloween provide some exceptional opportunities for special events and activities throughout the city. For fun fall Halloween events in San Diego this weekend or in the future, there are many great choices. So get that costume decided and plan for any number of these wonderful choices whether for yourself or the whole family.

A lion at the San Diego Zoo

How to Buy Discount San Diego Zoo Tickets

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most visited zoos in the United States, so as far as San Diego attractions go, you know the zoo is going to be at the top of many lists. With over 650 species and subspecies and over 100 years of experience and growth, a visit to the San Diego Zoo is not a one-time thing. You and members of your family will want to go again and again. 

You also may go because you enjoy supporting the zoo and what it stands for, including the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. If you have a San Diego Go Pass, tickets to the zoo remain at a consistent, steady price for you. But without a Go Pass, finding a San Diego Zoo tickets discount can be a huge relief on your pocketbook.

San Diego Zoo Tickets Discount

Zoo tickets may seem expensive, but when it comes to San Diego Zoo prices, it is important to keep in mind the spaciousness of the park as well as the many attractions and exhibits that are offered. However, it is also worth exploring San Diego Zoo coupons and discounts that are available in various places to try to get those costs down, especially if you are visiting the zoo with a large party.

How Much Are San Diego Zoo Tickets?

San Diego Zoo tickets may present some sticker shock when you first see the prices, but it is important to remember that San Diego Zoo prices include access to all of the zoo itself and many of the special attractions located at the zoo. Single day ticket prices at the time of this writing are $62 for adults and $52 for children aged 3 to 11. Children under the age of 2 are free. 

Two visit passes are $104 for adults and $94 for children. The 3 for 1 pass, which includes the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld, are $165 for adults and $155 for children. Of course, the San Diego Zoo membership is available, as well as the San Diego Go Pass.

San Diego Zoo Discount Tickets Options

Here are many possibilities for finding San Diego Zoo tickets discounts and San Diego Zoo coupons.

San Diego Zoo Discounts

There are quite a few options for discounts on zoo tickets. A San Diego Zoo membership discount happens very quickly and repeatedly if you visit the zoo more than a few times a year, or have a large family that enjoys zoo visits. Other discounts are available through organizations like AAA.

LaJolla.com Discount Rate

We here at LaJolla.com, offer the ability to purchase discount San Diego Zoo Tickets directly on this site at the LaJolla.com discounted rate. Purchase your tickets worry-free knowing that you got the best price possible.

Authorized Ticket Sellers

With an AAA membership discount, you can get discount tickets at select AAA branches. And for another great place with San Diego zoo discounts, Costco is the way to go. You can get group tickets for the zoo and many other attractions at a discount. Other than the zoo itself, these are the only authorized ticket sellers in the San Diego area.

Public Service & Associations

Many members of public services and certain associations can get discounts to the zoo with valid identification. A San Diego Zoo military discount is valid for all members of the military, and active members of the military may get free single-day passes. Members of the travel industry also receive a discount by showing valid identification.

Residents

Both San Diego residents and Southern California residents can get San Diego Zoo discount tickets by proving residence in specific zip codes. These types of annual passes can either be a weekday pass with unlimited visits, or a Premium annual pass which includes unlimited visits whenever you like, as well as many other bonuses such as San Diego Zoo coupons for family members.

Education Industry

The education industry is very important and the zoo recognizes this in the form of a San Diego Zoo teacher discount and a San Diego Zoo student discount. With a valid teacher or student ID, any person gets 15% off the regular admission cost to the zoo. Explore the whole San Diego Zoo safari park map with San Diego Zoo Safari Park discounts at 15% off!

Online Sources

Online has many options for searching for ticket discounts. Go to your favorite browser and do a search for San Diego Zoo discount code, or San Diego Zoo promo code. You could also search “Groupon San Diego zoo” to check for great coupons that may be available online. Your go-to browser extension for promo codes and coupons may also help you find a deal.

San Diego Zoo Ticket Bundles and Vacation Packages

There are many ticket bundles available on the San Diego Zoo website itself. However, you could also search online for ticket bundles and vacation packages. Many travel agencies, online travel sites, and even local hotels offer vacation packages that include admission to the San Diego Zoo and surrounding attractions.

San Diego Zoo Tickets at the Door

You may be asking the age-old question of “Can I buy San Diego Zoo tickets at the gate?” While this is an option, it is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets ahead of time. This allows you to plan your visit from start to finish, prevents the possibility of waiting in a long entrance line, and gets you started on your park adventure right away.

Is It Better to Buy San Diego Zoo Tickets Online or at the Gate?

Buying zoo tickets online is almost always going to be your best option. There may be San Diego zoo discounts online that you will not be aware of if you purchase at the gate. Plus, buying your tickets online will allow you to get into the park and started on your adventure much faster than waiting in line at the gate to purchase.

What Do San Diego Zoo Tickets Include?

Tickets to the San Diego Zoo aren’t just tickets to go view a variety of interesting and exotic animals – they include so much more. Even standard tickets include guided bus tours, the aerial tram, and any regularly scheduled shows. 

There are often special events at the zoo that may be included with a standard day pass, such as Jungle Bells and HalGLOWeen. Upgraded tickets are available for things like up-close experiences with the animals and your own personal tour guide.

Other Ways to Save on San Diego Zoo Tickets

There are other ways to get San Diego Zoo discounts. San Diego Zoo Free Days last all of October and allow children aged 3 to 11 to visit the zoo free with a paying adult. San Diego Zoo members may get guest passes to bring one person to the zoo with them for a free day. 

There is also the San Diego Zoo Shoppers’ Pass. Designed for people who want to visit the gift shop, these passes give a glimpse of the zoo and all it has to offer for a low hourly price.

What to Know Before You Arrive

It is possible to easily plan your whole visit to the San Diego Zoo online, even to the point of purchasing tickets and parking passes as needed. Parking at San Diego Zoo can get a little crazy at times, and planning ahead may even make it easier to get back to your car at the end of a fun-filled day. 

Is San Diego Zoo Worth It?

Ask anyone who has been, and you will get a resounding yes to this question. Whether you are attracted to the variety of animals, the huge, well-made exhibits, the fun events, and attractions, or the conservation and history of the zoo, there is something for everyone there and something to make even the full ticket price worth it. A day spent at the San Diego Zoo will be a day to remember in the minds of the whole family.

Conclusion

With a variety of different places to find a San Diego Zoo tickets discount, there is no excuse not to visit this fabulous attraction when you are in the San Diego area. Come see what millions around the world call the best zoo in the world, and stay for a day (or three) among the huge variety of flora and fauna that calls our Earth home.

Bird's Surf Shed, one of San Diego's best surf shops

Surf Shops in San Diego

Looking for surf gear? These are the best surf shops in San Diego for those looking for some wave riding action.

Whether you are a tourist, local, or new transplant, chances are that at some point you will find yourself asking “Where can I buy a surfboard in San Diego?” It might be the great surf breaks, the warm water, or the draw of the city itself, but whatever it is, San Diego has become one of the West Coast’s preeminent surf meccas. San Diego surfboard companies have sprung up everywhere and the number of surfboard shops in San Diego has exploded as well.

The Best Surf Shops in San Diego

It is this very popularity that makes it all but impossible to navigate the hundreds of surf shops in San Diego, so if you are wondering “where can I find some surf shops near me?” you are not alone. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of the best surf shops in San Diego. Below you can search for shops that meet your needs and are in your neighborhood.

Mitch’s

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mitch’s Surf Shop has just about anything you could possibly need to have a great time on the beach. Their expertise extends well beyond just surfboards in San Diego. The La Jolla surf shop even has paddle boarding and spearfishing gear. Both locations offer rentals too, so if you just want to try something out or if you are just in town for a few days, they have you covered. Finally, Mitch’s has a great selection of blanks and resin shaping supplies for all you San Diego surfboard shapers out there.

  • La Jolla: 631 Pearl St., La Jolla, CA 92037.
  • Phone: (858) 459-5933
  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closes at 5 p.m. on Sundays

  • Solana Beach: 363 North Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075.
  • Phone: (858) 481-1354
  • Hours: Solana Beach 10:15 a.m. – 5:45 p.m., closed on Sundays

Bird’s Surf Shed

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Bird’s likes to say that it is “way more than a surf shop. It’s a San Diego surf destination.” And, in this case, that is not just hyperbole. Bird’s has been around for decades and is a cornerstone of San Diego surf culture. They even have surf film premiers and hands-on board shaping clinics from the best in the business. The store is covered with surfboards – from floor to ceiling… literally! They have boards all the way up the walls and all over the ceiling.

  • Bay Park: 1091 W. Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110.
  • Phone: (619) 276-2473
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., closes at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays

PB Surf Shop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Pacific Beach Surf Shop is not quite like the other surf shops in San Diego. Yes, they have boards, wetsuits, and everything you would find at any other shop out there, but they also run one of the most affordable surf schools in the San Diego area. The shop (and school) are well-established, to say the least: they have been open since 1962 and show no sign of closing any time soon.

  • Pacific Beach: 4208 Oliver Ct. San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 373-1138
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. all week long

Clairemont Surf Shop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Clairemont Surf Shop is definitely not a newcomer to the San Diego surfing scene. This family-owned and operated shop has been helping people enjoy San Diego’s breaks since 1976. If you need something, they will probably have it. No matter what their shelves look like when you visit, the one thing that they are 100% certain to have is expertise.

  • Clairemont: 6393 Balboa Ave. San Diego, CA 92111
  • Phone: (858) 292-1153
  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Weekends: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Mission Surf

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Here is a surf shop that really thinks outside of the box. Other surf shops can offer you what you need to surf, but Mission Surf can also help you be where you need to surf. The shop rents two Airbnb apartments out directly over the store. You can roll out of bed, get everything you need for the day downstairs, and be out the door and on the beach faster than you could say “surf store San Diego.” From there you can choose to surf right on Mission Beach or head up a few minutes north to Tourmaline Beach. You really can’t go wrong.

  • Mission Beach: 4320 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 292-1153
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long

Solana Surfboards

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This surf shop is a bit of an outlier insofar as it is an online surf shop. All the same, Solana is local and makes extremely high-quality custom hand-built surfboards. If you want the best and are willing to pay for what you get, this might be the place for you.

  • Torrey Hills: 11211 Sorrento Valley Rd Ste. H San Diego, CA
  • Phone: (858) 876-2120
  • Hours: Online sales only, so no hours listed

South Coast Surf Shop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This shop has a strong local history and dates back to 1974. Its local charm and its business success have led to it opening four sister stores scattered across San Diego. They have a great online store and are very well-stocked.

  • Ocean Beach: 5023 Newport Avenue Ocean Beach, CA 92107 
  • Phone: (619) 223-7017
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long

  • Pacific Beach: 740 Felspar St., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 483-7660
  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. all week long

Sun Diego Boardshop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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These guys have way more than just surfboards; actually, if you can think of anything that ends in the word “board,” they probably have it: surfboards, skateboards, paddleboards, and even snowboards! They have three locations, so be sure to pick the one closest to you.

  • Belmont Park | Mission Beach: 3126 Mission Blvd. Suite A, San Diego, 92109
  • Phone: (858) 866-0108
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. all week long

  • Fashion Valley: 7007 Friars Rd #844 San Diego, CA 92108
  • Phone: (619) 268-2295
  • Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sun: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

  • Westfield UTC 4465 La Jolla Village Drive Suite #H-14, San Diego, 92122
  • Phone: (858) 646-0632
  • Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sun: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Rip Curl Surf Center

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Rip Curl is one of the most recognizable names in surfing and has tons of stores and outlets around San Diego, but the best is the surf center in Pacific Beach. If it has anything to do with surfing, chances are that Rip Curl will have it. They also have an extensive line of clothing for all ages and genders.

  • Pacific Beach: 4287 Mission Blvd. #A CA Pacific Beach, 92109
  • Phone: (858) 273-8070
  • Everyday Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. all week long

Surf Diva Surf School

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This school is run by the experienced surfers (and twin sisters) Izzy and Coco Tihanyi. They have won a bevy of awards for their work, and have done a great deal to introduce women and girls to surfing over the years. Regardless of your gender, however, if you are looking for surf lessons in La Jolla, this is your place. The school doubles as a surf boutique that is filled with surf-related knick-knacks, and you are sure to find something that strikes your fancy inside. If you are interested in La Jolla surfing, this is the spot for you.

  • La Jolla: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, San Diego, CA 92037
  • Phone: (858) 454-8273
  • Hours: Mon-Thu: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Fri-Sun: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Cheap Rentals

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you are looking to rent any kind of surf-related gear, this is the place to go if you want to save a few bucks. Don’t let the name fool you though; even though it says “cheap,” the store gives off a classy and fun vibe and the things they rent out are all in good shape.

  • Mission Beach: 3689 Mission Blvd., San Diego, California 92109
  • Phone: (858) 488-9070
  • Hours: Mon-Sun: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Surf Ride

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The two locations for this shop are both in the Solana Beach/Oceanside area, so if you live a bit north of downtown San Diego, this could be the place for you. In addition to stocking all of the latest accessories, boards, and brands, they also run a popular surf camp.

  • Oceanside: 1909 South Coast Highway Oceanside, CA 92054
  • Phone: (760) 433-4020
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long

  • Solana Beach: 325 North Highway 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075
  • Phone (858) 755-0858
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long

Emerald City

 

 
 
 
 
 
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They call themselves the premier surf shop of Coronado for a very good reason: they are. Named after Coronado’s evergreen barrels, the shop opened in 1988 and has been going strong ever since. They have everything you could ever want to buy, as well as a large selection of rentals if you are just in town for a few days. If you are looking to buy, however, they have a price matching guarantee that can save you the trouble of having to shop at all the surf shops in San Diego to find a great deal.

  • Coronado Island: 1118 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
  • Phone: (619) 435-6677
  • Hours: Mon–Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sun: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Atacama Surf Shop

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The shop chose the name Atacama after the driest place on the planet earth: the Atacama Desert. The people who have lived in and around the desert have had to use ingenuity and creativity to eke out an existence in that hostile terrain, and the store holds these same values. They pride themselves on constantly innovating. Their central location allows them to partner with all kinds of local San Diego businesses, and the result is that they always have something new and exciting going on.

  • Harborview: 2165 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: (619) 795-6178
  • Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Weekends: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

One of the great perks of living in San Diego is access to some of the best surfing beaches you can find. Luckily, surf shops in San Diego can be found in nearly every neighborhood and can cater to all levels of surfer. If you are just starting out, then you might want to gravitate towards one of the shops that offer lessons and rentals. If you are an experienced surfer, then head on over to an old-school surf shop where you can hang out and learn about new breaks from other surfers. Whatever your skill or interest level, if it has to do with surfing the surf shops in San Diego have got you covered.

About the banner photo: This IG photo of Bird’s Surf Shed is courtesy of @lightspeed_outdoors

Leopard Shark 101

If you’ve been to La Jolla Cove in southern California during the summer, you’ve probably heard about the leopard sharks! Swimming and snorkeling with these incredible creatures is a popular summertime activity with both locals and tourists alike. And while the word ‘shark’ may sound a little scary, leopard sharks are actually completely harmless to humans and offer a fun way to explore the underwater world off the shores of La Jolla. Here’s everything you need to know about leopard sharks!

Markings and Features

Leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) are a member of the Houndshark family and have quite distinctive features; including large dark spots and saddle type markings. The sharks have a broad, short snout, triangular pectoral fins, a short dorsal fin, and a notched, asymmetrical tailfin. On top they are usually a silver or bronzed-gray, fading to white underneath, with distinct dark spots and blotches on its back, sides, and pectoral fins.

They can live up to 30 years, and take more than a decade to reach maturity. They generally only grow to about four or five feet (in rare occasions they can reach up to seven feet) and the heaviest ever recorded weighed in at a whopping forty pounds.

 

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Habitat

The leopard shark is found in continental waters, both nearshore and offshore, and their preference is for waters that are cool to warm in temperate or sandy/muddy bays or estuaries. They love sand flats, mud flats, and rocky bottom areas near reef sites and kelp beds – which explains their love of La Jolla!

The sharks are usually found near the bottom of shallow water, and they are exceptionally strong swimmers. Oftentimes, they are joined in a school of others that include the Smooth-Hound, gray Smooth-Hound, or the Piked Dogfish.

They’ve been found all across the Eastern North Pacific, from Oregon to the Gulf of California and Mexico.

Interaction with Humans

Leopard sharks are harmless to humans. Only one attack has ever been recorded, and it happened in 1955 in Trinidad Bay, California. Fortunately, the diver was not seriously injured.

The leopard shark has recently become a protected species in California and Oregon waters so that they are not overfished. Sports anglers, spearfishers, and small-scale commercial line fisheries are typically the ones who go after the shark.

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Mating Season

Female leopard sharks travel to La Jolla each summer to mate with males and spawn their young, which is why there is such a large influx of them at the beginning of summer (around June).

The female leopard becomes mature at ten to fifteen years of age and males at seven to thirteen years. During the annual breeding season, schools of these sharks move from deeper water into nearshore shallower water. Fertilization is internal. The type of reproduction is called aplacental viviparity or ovoviviparity. The fertilized eggs hatch inside the female’s body and pups are born live. After a ten to twelve-month gestation, seven to thirty-six pups about 17.8 cm (7 in) in total length are born. They are independent at birth, but usually stay in shallow bays and estuaries before venturing out into deeper ocean waters

Female leopard sharks have been observed giving birth in a variety of habitats along the California coastline from eel grass to sandbars and the open ocean.

Behavior

Leopard sharks congregate by size and sex in large nomadic schools. The schools appear and disappear within a few hours. Schools follow the tide as they feed, moving closer to shore as the tide comes in and then swimming away before it recedes. In addition to feeding, the movement may be influenced by temperature, salinity and amount of dissolved oxygen. Large schools have even been observed in the surf zone. They are also known to form schools with California round rays and with sevengill sharks, and smoothhound sharks. The latter are close relatives.

The leopard shark diet consists mostly of smaller shellfish; including clams, crabs, shrimp, squid, and fish eggs.

Conservation Efforts

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife closely manages the leopard shark fishery within state waters. Use of gill nets in waters typically inhabited by these sharks is prohibited. The recreational fishery for leopard sharks is open year-round and coast-wide to diverse and shore-based anglers. The fishery is open to boat-based anglers year-round in designated areas only. Outside these areas, it is open seasonally between January and June.

In federal waters, leopard sharks are one of three shark species under the management authority of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service through the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (Groundfish FMP).

Currently listed internationally as Least Concern, overfishing, loss of shallow water nurseries, and pollution of these areas from runoff are threats to these sharks. They have been found to contain high levels of mercury attributed to either water quality or ingestion of food items containing mercury.

Snorkeling with the Leopard Sharks

The end of August and September are usually the best times to see La Jolla Leopard Sharks, as this is towards the end of the mating season and there are higher numbers of sharks. The ideal time to go is during the day, when there are calm waters and when it’s sunny (as they will be easier to spot).

La Jolla Shores, where the water is warmer and shallower, is usually where snorkelers and swimmers venture out to see and swim with the leopard sharks. It’s easier for them to search for food in the sand and kelp forests, which are protected by the La Jolla Underwater Park Preserve. Their diet consists mostly of smaller shellfish; including clams, crabs, shrimp, squid, and fish eggs.

During peak season, you can simply swim out into the water at La Jolla Shores and see the leopard sharks – they will often be that close to shore. Wade out up to your knees or hips, and you’ll see them swimming around your feet (which is quite an experience!). There’s no reason to be scared of these little guys, as they are completely harmless to humans and won’t bite or bother you.

There are a few different ways to really see the La Jolla Leopard Sharks. You can:

  • Swim out by yourself at La Jolla Shores and simply watch them through the water, which is usually pretty clear.
  • Snorkel the La Jolla shores to get a better look at the sharks through a snorkel mask; either with your own gear or a snorkel rental. If you don’t have your own gear, many companies will rent you gear for the entire day at one price: Everyday California and La Jolla Kayak are just a couple.
  • Take a guided snorkeling tour from any number of companies located in La Jolla Shores:
  • Take the guided snorkeling tours offered by the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in southern California. The tours are typically held from July through September, and these are a great option if you want to learn more about the sharks, as there is a trained naturalist guiding each tour. Intermediate swimming ability is required and previous snorkeling experience is recommended (ages 10+).

A Few Fun Facts About Leopard Sharks

  • Sometimes the leopard shark is referred to as a cat shark.
  • They can form large schools that contain other types of sharks.
  • Leopard sharks have a tooth pattern that is called “pavement-toothed.”
  • They often rest on the ocean floor and pump water over their gills.
  • The genus Triakis is derived from the Greek word “triakis” meaning three-pointed, referring to its three-pointed teeth. This shark species name semifasciata refers to its “half-banded” markings.
  • In the San Francisco Bay, leopard sharks and piked dogfish have been observed engaging in a unique feeding strategy: the two sharks species will swim at the surface, with mouths open, in a counter-clockwise direction. At the same time, densely packed schools of anchovies are gathered at the surface and will swim in a clockwise direction. While the sharks don’t exhibit any specific hunting behavior or directed movements toward the oncoming anchovies, the sharks’ posture and movement does result in ingestion of incidental prey (i.e. anchovies) which inadvertently swim into the open maw of the prowling sharks.

To learn more about activities and fun things to do at La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove, visit our guides section!

6 Things You Didn’t Know About La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail

La Jolla California is full of hidden gems and beautiful coastal views, but there are few as gorgeous as the historic La Jolla Coast Walk Trail. First conceived in the early 1900s, the hiking trail has undergone several changes through the decades; today, it’s one of the most popular hiking trails in all of La Jolla California.

From the hike, you can spot several nearby attractions; including La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores beach, and on a super clear day, even downtown San Diego. Here are a few fun facts we unearthed about this gorgeous spot in Southern California!

1. The trail was given historic designation in 1990.

Although the footpath was built to its current configuration in 1932, it wasn’t formally recognized as a historic site deserving of preservation until just a couple of decades ago. Today, its conservation is overseen by the City of San Diego. In fact, this year they are to begin construction on a restoration project for the bridge towards the end of the hike. The bridge over the canyon was wiped out last year after a storm and has been deemed unsafe for pedestrian use; the reconstruction will hopefully be finished by the end of 2018.

2. It’s believed to have been used as a hunting trail by Native Americans.

Though little else is known, archaeologists have found artifacts and evidence of late prehistoric Indian villages that dates back 9,500 years beneath the stratified soil in La Jolla – meaning they are among some of the oldest remains ever found in Southern California. Much of their activity along the trail and nearby La Jolla canyon was food-driven: early inhabitants could walk down to the tide pools or beach below and pick up dinner, or pick up rabbits at the top of the cliffs and within the canyon.

3. The area just above the bridge, along the cliffs, was once known as “Dead Man’s Leap.”

In the 1890s, sightseers would take balloon rides and watch the antics of a local showman and daredevil named “Professor” Horace Poole. Rumor has it that he leaped from a springboard in the surf, 100 feet below. It was a favorite spot of many thrill-seekers for a long time, in fact, though the diving practice eventually gave way to lowering people by rope over the edge of Devil’s Slide (the long canyon that descended to the shore) and allowing them to dangle and peer into the dark caves along the coast, which were otherwise difficult to enter.

[Devil’s Slide, 1906, original staircase. Via UC San Diego Digital Collections

4. In 1899, the railroad built a steep wooden stairway from the top of Devil’s Slide (above the trail) to the shoreline.

The railroad was looking to improve access to the caves and abalone beds below, especially as La Jolla was quickly becoming a hugely popular tourist destination (and also perhaps to put a stop to the jumping daredevils!). The rocky cliffs, parks, beautiful coastline, hiking trails, and sea caves were growing local attractions, and people were traveling by rail from San Diego and beyond. So, they commissioned all unemployed locals to build the bridge as a sort of public works project.

One theory behind the reason for the name “Devil’s Slide” is all of the rock slides that occurred before the land was inhabited, a problem that made its descent all the more dangerous.

5. The white bridge that’s there today wasn’t constructed until 1991.

The wooden white bridge was constructed to cross the gulch and make a safer pathway for the hiking trail soon after it became a historical destination. Sadly, much of the hiking trail has fallen into disrepair, and reconstruction is in the works as commissioned by the City of San Diego.

6. The Coast Walk Trail is actually part of the California Coastal Trail.

The CCT is a soon-to-be completed 1,200-mile long hiking trail that follows the California coast from Mexico all the way to Oregon. Other La Jolla trails that are part of the CCT include the Coastal Meander Trail (near La Jolla Cove); though parts of it are still incomplete, it’s possible to traverse the entire length of the CCT today.

The La Jolla Coast Walk Trail is just about 0.6 miles and begins at either the Cave Store (from where you can walk down into Sunny Jim Cave) or at the small cul-de-sac along Prospect St., where you’ll find a parking lot with about ten spots. Assuming you can snag a spot, begin the hike by walking downhill toward a view point, where you’ll pick up the designated Historic Coast Walk Trail. Follow the hiking trails along the bluffs; you’ll soon spot that white footbridge we mentioned.

Remember to keep an eye out for sea lions lounging on the rocks below, nearby La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores, downtown La Jolla Village, and groups of kayak tours out on the water! Those looking to explore on wheels can adventure along one of La Jolla’s several bike paths.

San Diego Outdoor Activities

San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!

 

9 Reasons to Try La Jolla Surf Lessons with Surf Diva

There’s nothing like the rush you get from gliding through the ocean on a surfboard–from the moment you see the crest of a good wave coming at you to the breathless excitement in your chest as you feel the swell underneath you. Unfortunately, too many people never get to experience this despite all the resources for finding fantastic La Jolla surf lessons from one of San Diego’s best surf shops.

Many native La Jollans don’t learn to surf even though they’re just minutes from the ocean. Whether they’re afraid of embarrassing themselves or concerned about their athletic ability, they see surfing as inaccessible and difficult. In reality, it’s a lot easier than you think. (And so is getting surfer hair.)

If you’re ready to finally get out there, La Jolla is the optimal place. You don’t have to do it alone, either: there a plenty of places to learn from, such as Surf Diva Surf School.

Here’s why you should get started with lessons and start enjoying the ‘stoke’ as soon as possible.

1. You’re so close to the beach

Getting to the beach is incredibly easy if you live in San Diego (or even if you’re just visiting). La Jolla has a ton of beaches that are well-known for surfingspecifically.

2. La Jolla beaches are great for beginners

Not only is there fantastic beach access, but there are also areas that are great for beginning surfers. La Jolla Shores is popular among those new to the sport. The waves are often smaller and calmer, which is perfect for someone who’s had never been out before.

3. It’s easy to get a great lesson

There are a ton of experienced surf instructors who can give you a comprehensive lesson. The friendly and experienced staff at Surf Diva will help you learn to read the ocean, paddle out, and even ride a few waves—all in an hour.

4. It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

What’s great about starting off with a lesson is that a board is already provided, and wetsuits can be rented for just $5. If you’re still concerned about pricing, you can always sign up for a group surfing lesson instead. Surf Diva offers a two-day surf camp on the weekends.

5. You’re not too old

If you’re an adult, you might think that it’s too late for you. Actually, a lot of people learn when they’re older, and it’s totally possible for you, too. The surfing community is diverse and full of people of all ages.

6. No, everyone is not going to laugh at you

It can be intimidating to go into the water as a total beginner when there are more experienced surfers ripping. Honestly, though, you’ll be enjoying yourself so much that you won’t even notice. The instructors at Surf Diva provide a fun, supportive environment–after all, their company motto is “The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun.”

7. It’s a Great Form of Exercise

Surfing is not a passive sport. While you’re paddling or popping up on your board, you probably won’t even realize what a workout you’re getting. The fresh air and sunshine make it an alternative that you’ll choose over the gym any day.

8. You ARE Athletic Enough

That being said, you don’t have to be highly athletic to surf. Many beginners stand up in their first lesson. Anyone of any size and strength can do it–you’ll spot little kids as young as five on boards.

9. There are different ways to enjoy the waves

Paddleboarding is another very popular sport in La Jolla, and easy to learn. Surf Diva, along with its sister school Menehune, offers both private and group stand-up paddle surfing (SUP) lessons.

Share with us your first surfing experience in the comments below!