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Guide to San Diego's Best Beaches

Posted by Jessica Windell on

We feel pretty lucky to call San Diego home. After all, with the nickname “America’s Finest City” there’s not too much convincing we have to do to stake our claim.

So, what makes it so fine? Perhaps it’s the beautiful people, world-famous attractions, year-round idyllic climate, or that it’s home to the freshest nutrition bars ever created. Well, of course it’s all of the above! But, San Diego wouldn’t be nearly as noteworthy if it weren’t for the 70 miles of pristine beaches that line the county and attract locals and tourists throughout the year every.

Whether you’re an avid beach-goer or you have plans to hit the San Diego sand this summer, we’re kicking off the warm(er)-weather season with the Guide to San Diego’s Best Beaches. Here’s our list to get you geared up for summer:

The Family Friendly: Moonlight Beach

Situated at the end of Encinitas Blvd. in North County, Moonlight Beach‘s large, sandy area, recreational playground, and awesome snack bar makes it one of the best family beach spots in the county. Offering well-kept bathrooms, showers, fire pits, and beach volleyball courts, the kids can have a heyday in the sand or sea with plenty of activities to keep them entertained. With Whole Foods Encinitas right up the street, you’ll find friends and families brunching and barbecuing on the weekends. Is there anything better than that?

Moonlight Beach
Image via: San Diego Coast Life

The Vacationer’s Delight: Mission Beach

If you’re looking for a boardwalk to skate/bike/run/walk or simply people-watch, Mission Beach is your spot. With a giant rollercoaster, a wave simulator for surfing and vacation rentals lining the sand for more than two miles, locals and tourists alike flock to this stretch of beach for a true San Diego experience. Jam-packed with activities, this area has something for everyone. Hop across Mission Blvd. to Catamaran Hotel for boat and paddle board rentals, or a game of beach volleyball, before enjoying a cold iced tea on the bay-view terrace.

Runner on the sidewalk at Mission Beach
Image via: Mission Beach Online

The Best View: Coronado Beach

The iconic Coronado Beach is most well-known as the backdrop for Marilyn Monroe’s starring role in “Some Like it Hot” in 1958. Coronado’s shoreline is constantly rated as one of the most romantic beaches in the U.S., with the Hotel Del Coronado setting a picture-perfect backdrop for photos and memories. The wide-spanning, flat beach has calm waves that are ideal for learning to surf. While you’re in the area, don’t miss a perfect photo opportunity in front of the San Diego skyline — day and night — just a straight shot up Orange Ave. with unique shops and restaurants along the way.

Coronado beach and hotel
Image via: Hotel Del Coronado

The Surf Spot: Tourmaline Surfing Park

Keep up on the morning surf report and you may be in for one of the best surfs in all of San Diego, on days that Tourmaline is firing. Unlike some other local surf spots, the beach is staffed by lifeguards year-round with separate areas designated for swimmers and surfers. Find it at the base of Tourmaline St. in a quiet neighborhood north of Pacific Beach, south of La Jolla. The coastal cliffs on the beach, ranging up to 75 feet in height, create a natural separation of the two neighborhoods.

Tourmaline Surf Park
Image via: Yelp

The Hidden Gem: Marine St. Beach

Serene and stunning, Marine St. Beach is easy to access with ample parking and cliff-side walking trails — better yet, ride a beach cruiser over from Pacific Beach Bikes. With beautiful houses that call this beach their backyard, the coast is quiet and perfect for a morning walk or mid-day dip. Another local favorite, Windansea Beach, is just up the way and worth a venture.

Marine Street Beach
Image via: California Beaches