North Beach is a calmer stretch of shoreline that families tend to prefer, thanks to its lifeguard-supervised swimming areas and amenities (including restrooms and showers). It’s a wide, sandy beach that sits below a series of bluffs, sheltering it from high winds and making it a great location to spread out and sunbathe for the day.
Tourmaline is a surfing-only beach, popular with novice surfers who are looking to get some practice in. The gentle, slow-rolling waves are perfect for beginners, longboarders, and even windsurfers and kiteboarders when the wind is high. Though you won’t see any swimmers here, many people like to come and watch the surfers at Tourmaline; especially at sunset as evening falls. There’s a small picnic area and parking lot here, as well.
South Mission Beach is just below Mission Beach, and easily walkable. There are plenty of amenities, including a big grassy park with picnic tables and even a basketball court and volleyball courts. The beach here is wide, sandy, and comfortable; even on the busiest days, you’ll have no problem finding a spot to spread out on! You can feel safe bringing the little ones, too: there is a big lifeguard building here that is manned every day until dusk. The Ocean Front Walk begins at South Mission Beach, so bikers and runners can start their day here and head north all the way up to Pacific Beach.
Mission Beach is a large, sandy beach that sits just south of La Jolla and Pacific Beach. It’s a great spot for families with children because of the nearby Belmont Park, which boasts a wooden roller coaster, swimming pool, surfing wave pools, a putt-putt golf course, and a game arcade. The wide boardwalk that travels along the beach, called the Ocean Front Walk, is great for biking, walking, running, and rollerblading. The Mission Beach area is always bustling with activity (even on weekdays!) and unlike other coastal spots in San Diego, the beach isn’t its only draw! Come here to spend the day walking around and exploring everything the area has to offer.
The small Ferry Landing beach area sits just next to the fishing/ferry pier. Complete with a large, grassy lawn and panoramic views of the San Diego Bay and downtown San Diego, this is a great place to take in views of downtown San Diego while enjoying a picnic on the grass.
Glorietta Bay Beach is part of Glorietta Park, which sits on a protected area of coast just above Silver Strand. This cove-like beach is perfect for families with small children, as the surf never gets too big and the current is always gentle. There are open grass areas and picnic tables all over the park, each with unobstructed views across the water to the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Come for the afternoon and stay for a picnic and the sunset!
As Coronado’s main beach, this is the easiest to get to and definitely the most popular. Central Beach is wide, flat, and lies directly in front of the Hotel Del Coronado and is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports or activities. Complete with fire pits, picnic tables, and even some tide pools during low tide, Coronado Central Beach is the perfect place to start your exploration of the island.
Though it can be a bit confusing to differentiate between the Del Mar beaches, they are easy to find and walk between each one. South Beach is defined as south of Powerhouse Park all the way down to 6th Street at the southern end of Torrey Pines State Beach. This section is less popular for swimming and surfing than the neighboring Northern portion, but the high, jagged cliffs above it make for a beautiful and scenic beach walk.
North of Del Mar City Beach is one of just a few dog beaches in San Diego, and the locals are passionate about keeping it that way. Your pup is allowed on the beach year round, and off-leash for nine months out of the year, but must be leashed from June 16th until Labor Day. While this area is mostly known for being Fido-friendly, the San Dieguito River Mouth provides a natural wading pool that is great for children to play in.
Del Mar City Beach starts at Powerhouse Park or 15th Street and stretches all the way up to the lagoon entrance at the San Dieguito River (where it meets Dog Beach). It’s a hot spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing, and is usually crowded on the weekends. There is almost always a lifeguard on duty, and the park above provides restrooms and picnic tables in addition to a large grassy area and a sandbox play area for children.
For exploring sea caves and tide pools, Wipeout Beach is the place to go. It’s a long, sandy stretch of beach located just south of the Children’s Pool. Low tide is the best place to explore here, as most of the marine life is covered when the tide rises. The round, curved pools of marine life are popular for budding photographers, especially during sunset. Because these La Jolla tide pools are so off the beaten path, they are rarely crowded and make for a fun family adventure. Just remember to wear closed-toed shoes!
As one of of the smallest and more ‘hidden’ beaches in La Jolla, Boomer Beach is tucked away just south of La Jolla Cove. It’s a big favorite for bodysurfers because of its powerful surf and lack of surfers and boogie boarders (both are prohibited). It’s possible to catch some sun while laying out on the sand here, but swimming can be difficult for even those more experienced. This is the perfect spot to have a picnic, enjoy the beach, and watch the bodysurfers from shore.
This La Jolla beach is perfect for checking out tide pools and looking for seashells. Located at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park, this beach is easily accessible via a staircase from the street; though it’s rarely crowded. This unusual beach is made up of only a small area of sandy shore, but it is a great place to wander around and look for shells and during low tide, a small tide pool area and plenty of sea life is visible.
Marine Street Beach is more secluded than other La Jolla beaches, but still easily accessible at the west end of Marine Street and Sea Lane. Sunbathing, scuba diving, and surfing are popular here since it’s less crowded than neighboring Windansea Beach. It’s actually a legendary spot for surfers because of its thunderous surf, and can be very difficult to swim at if you are not as experienced in the water. It is the perfect beach to visit on a sunny summer day, though, as there is plenty of sand to spread out on and get some sunshine.
Torrey Pines State Beach lies at the bottom of the State Reserve and hiking trails, which are incredibly popular and crowded on most weekends. The sandy beach is located just north of downtown La Jolla and south of neighboring Del Mar, making it easily accessible if you’re coming from La Jolla Village. Like many La Jolla beaches, Torrey Pines Beach is very family-friendly and has several amenities. This is a great area to get the best of both worlds: hit the trails first and then head to the beach!
As its name suggests, the Children’s Pool was originally constructed to serve as a protected swimming area for young children. The sea wall that encircles the beach stops rough surf from entering the area, making it easy to wade in and out of the water. In recent years it has been overtaken by the area’s seals and sea lions (much to the chagrin of many locals)! Despite the presence of the sea lions, Children’s Pool is a beautiful spot to take in the scenery.
Though there is a day-use fee attached to this particular beach during peak season, Silver Strand State Beach is a favorite among visiting and local families alike. There is a campground here (for RV use only), and all of the accompanying amenities. If you’re looking for sun and sand, this is the perfect place to spend the day – it feels like its own little island away from the hustle and bustle of Coronado.
Pacific Beach is a rowdy beach town that neighbors La Jolla to the south and is affectionately known by locals as simply PB. With plenty of seaside restaurants, pubs, and more than a hundred different bars to choose from, PB is the place to go if you’re in search of a night out on the town. Visitors can walk along the Pacific Beach Pier during the day (look for the historic Cape Cod cottages for-rent along the pier), and biking or walking the Boardwalk makes for a great evening stroll. Come for the beach, and stay for the nightlife!
La Jolla Shores is a beautiful, sandy beach spread out along the coast just south of downtown La Jolla and La Jolla Cove. There are several family-friendly activities available there at Kellogg Park: a large playground, picnic tables, a grassy area with barbecues, and bonfire pits right on the beach – and don’t forget the water activities! Kayakers, boaters, scuba divers, and surfers are all welcome here. Downtown La Jolla Shores is just a 5-minute walk away, where you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants.
La Jolla Cove is definitely the most well known beach in La Jolla – and arguably the area that our beautiful little coastal town is known for. Its beautiful, crystal-clear water and warm swimming temperatures year-round make it one of the most picturesque options for enjoying a day at the beach. There are a number of activities and things to do at La Jolla Cove, including snorkeling, diving, watching the sea lions, checking out sea caves, and kayaking. Visitors can spend the day down at the beach, or in the grassy shade of Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Welcome to Windansea Beach, where the sand is soft, the water is stunning and the surfers abound. There’s a good reason the locals frequent often and why so many San Diego wedding parties come to have their photographs taken here; its picturesque landscape creates the perfect setting. Dogs are allowed here after 6 pm. During fall and winter time, they can come earlier starting at 4 pm.
Blacks Beach in La Jolla is famous for more than its peaceful vibe, great surf and smooth sand. It was the first nude beach in America, starting in the 1970s, and is still the largest nude beach in the US. However, for those who like to keep things modest, this secluded spot is not 100% bathing suit optional – it’s just one part of it.
The Ocean Beach Dog Beach is great for letting canines run free. Many houses line the coast and nearby residential neighborhoods, making it a popular spot for residents and visitors alike. The wide variety of dogs and people at this San Diego beach make for a lively atmosphere and great people watching.
Fiesta Island Dog Park is the perfect place for bringing beach and water-loving dogs. Play frisbee on the sand. Let them splash through the water. It’s a favorite dog lover spot in San Diego for good reason! Plus, it typically has a good amount of parking.