Del Mar is a coastal beach town in North County, San Diego, just north of Torrey Pines and La Jolla Village. Its quaint streets are lined with trendy boutiques, upscale dining, and high-end resorts and spas; all within walking distance of the beach. The world renowned Del Mar Racetrack, easy access to family-friendly beaches, and a small-town feel draw year-round visitors. An added bonus? Most of the best restaurants in Del Mar have ocean views, making for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Commonly referred to by locals as simply “OB,” this funky beach town lies just to the north of Point Loma and south of La Jolla. Once home to its very own beachside amusement park, this small community is now known for being more of a laid back surfer town with a fiercely independent spirit; you won’t find any big-box stores here! Cottages, bungalows, co-ops, and hip boutiques line its main streets, and wide stretches of beach line the coastline (including Dog Beach, which sits at the northern end of the neighborhood). Another local landmark is the Ocean Beach Pier, the longest pier on the West Coast, where you can take a sunset stroll or try your hand at pier fishing.
Bird Rock is a tight-knit coastal community that blends into La Jolla’s southern portion but retains a unique charm all its own. Though mostly residential, it’s very pedestrian-friendly and ultra-walkable. The small shopping district is full of great boutiques, local gyms, terrific seafood and Mexican restaurants, and three of the area’s best parks; most of the shore is rocky, but offshore reefs make it a popular surfing spot. What really stands out about this area, however, is its community feel and small-town beachy vibe. If you’re looking for a unique spot to visit while you’re in La Jolla, head to Bird Rock!
Point Loma is seaside community that sits on a peninsula just south of La Jolla. Known for its seafood dining, historic landmarks, trendy boutiques, and gorgeous homes, it’s one of the more affluent neighborhoods in San Diego. Home to two naval bases, the Cabrillo National Monument, a historic lighthouse, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, and the Rosecrans National Cemetery, there is plenty to explore here for history buffs and nature-lovers alike. And don’t forget the views! On clear days, you’ll be treated with panoramic vistas from Mexico all the way to North County.
Coronado Island lies south of San Diego and about 25 minutes from La Jolla. It’s one of the most family-friendly areas in San Diego and its wide, sandy beaches literally sparkle thanks to the mineral mica in its golden sand. There are multiple beaches here; though there are some parks with a small sandy area in front, there are five main accessible beaches in Coronado. All of them are equipped with convenient amenities, and none are too far from the local shops, restaurants, and other things to do in 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!
Downtown is the hub of San Diego when it comes to nightlife, the arts, and dining. Within a compact 16-block radius, you’ll find the historic Gaslamp Quarter where Victorian-era buildings and ultra-modern skyscrapers intermingle to create a stunning cityscape. There are more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, and shops, in addition to residential lofts and modern live/work spaces. At night, the area comes alive with theater productions, live music, dancing, and craft cocktails (and of course, a San Diego staple – craft beer).