San Diego Mission Bay has cool breezes, tranquil waters and soft sand beaches that attract recreational enthusiasts to Mission Bay and the Beaches throughout the year.


Mission Beach

3000 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

While some may compare San Diego's Mission Beach to the East Coast's Atlantic City and Coney Island, there is a unique Southern California vibe you can't find anywhere else here. Nestled between Pacific Beach on the north side, and Belmont Park on its southern side, Mission Beach offers a lively and robust variety of activities in the sun, surf and sand. From hot dog stands to fine dining eateries, hot night clubs to street performers, expect to find all kinds of free-spirited beach goers in a fun, carnival-like atmosphere along the sandy shores.

Imperial Beach

10 Evergreen Ave.
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

The site of the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle Building Contest, Imperial Beach draws hundreds of thousands of spectators and competitors from around the world each July. The creations range from fairytale castles to science-fiction landscapes to fantasy mermaids and other inspired forms. The party lasts all weekend, with a street fair on Saturday and main event on Sunday, but its fruits do not. Inevitably, the tide comes in and washes the beach clean again.

Along the residential strip lining the long beaches of Imperial Beach, surfing, body boarding and swimming are good and popular activities throughout the summer. Tijuana Sloughs and Border Park are the large and largely impassible marsh areas south of Imperial Beach Blvd. The estuarine lagoons and river mouths here comprise a National Wildlife Refuge of special interest to bird-watching enthusiasts, and the parks service offers guided nature hikes and visitor information. Aside from their environmental appeal, the beaches here offer little and swimming is not recommended.

Encinitas Beach

An eclectic mix of 60's inspired beach culture combined with boutique shopping, contemporary restaurants, new age meditation gardens and yoga studios, Encinitas, Ca. is a vibrant and authentic beach town where the local surf scene rules, vintage cars take to the streets, and hip locals reside. The beaches in Encinitas are coveted by locals as hidden gems, where the terrain ranges from white sand beaches to rocky bluffs, and legendary surf spots line the coast.

Point Loma Beaches

1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107

There are, in fact, no real beaches on Point Loma and the swimming opportunities are poor and downright dangerous. But it's one of the best places in San Diego to meditate on waves crashing on the cliffs and explore tidepools in the rocky reefs full of marine life. Drive out to Sunset Cliffs for a magnificent sunset, where the sandstone bluffs blaze with color, and the waves sparkle like gold. If you're game for a little adventure, drive out to the old Cabrillo Lighthouse and hike out to the tide pools by the point. If you're looking for great surf, Point Loma offers some great breaks that are frequented by locals.

La Jolla Beaches – La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove and Beyond!

8200 Camino del Oro
La Jolla, CA 92037

Known as “The Jewel” of San Diego, La Jolla features luxury homes, fine dining and upscale shopping that rivals Rodeo Drive. But the real jewels in La Jolla are the beaches and reefs, which are freely available for visitors and locals alike.

San Onofre

3030 Avenida del Presidente
San Clemente, CA 92672

Jealously claimed by Orange County, San Onofre is actually situated south of the county line in San Diego. Bordered to the south and east by the sprawling Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Reserve , San Onofre offers an opportunity to appreciate what Southern California's entire coastline may have looked like 100 years ago. Here you will find barren, windswept bluffs, native vegetation and a tidal wetland frequented by migratory birds and wild deer. In stark contrast to its primitive, natural side, San Onofre is also home to a nuclear-powered generating facility and a state-of-the-art military base. Ironically, it is these same potentially destructive forces that protect this area from development and provide the 20 mile coastal greenbelt that has prevented San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles from merging into one huge megalopolis. San Onofre offers three unique beach areas - Trestles, Old Man's and Trails - and two great ways to enjoy them - by day or overnight camping.

Pacific Beach

4500 Ocean Ave
San Diego, CA 92109

A favorite spot amongst college students and young adults living the California Dream, Pacific Beach is the iconic Southern California beach town. With three miles of boardwalk and a lively atmosphere, P.B. (as the locals call it) is a great place to find fun in the sun, and pleasures after dark. From funky beach bars and taco stands that welcome sandy toes, to sleek modern hotels, sultry night clubs and fine dining establishments, Pacific Beach offers a variety of things to do beyond the miles of sandy beaches.

Ocean Beach

5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107

If you're looking for a laid back beach to hang out like a local, look no further than Ocean Beach. This small beach town is a favorite among locals who spend their days surfing, sun bathing around the pier, hanging out in their vintage VW vans, and strolling through the many surf shops, taco stands and antique malls. Ocean Beach offers the pitch perfect throw-back groovy vibe of vintage SoCal, coupled with friendly locals, great dining, and a vibrant night life scene.

Nestled between the San Diego River and the hills of Point Loma, Ocean Beach is perfect for surfers to enjoy the waves created by jetties. The beach is also friendly for swimmers, sun bathers, even dogs too!

Carlsbad Beaches

3946 County Highway S21
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Carlsbad's beaches remain one of San Diego's best kept secrets, which is just fine with the locals. The north half of the Carlsbad coast is composed of a series of small beaches divided by sea walls. The cliffs here are relatively low and in most places the Coast Highway passes right next to the shore, offering an unobstructed view of the sea and open access to the beach. Well-designed walkways, attractive sea walls and a host of facilities make the beaches in Carlsbad as pleasing to the eye as they are accommodating to visitors.

Torrey Pines State Beach

12600 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

Torrey Pines State Beach runs for three miles between Carmel Valley Road and the Glider Port at Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. The beach here is well covered by sand, with few exposed rocks, readily passable at all but the highest tides. There is also access from above via two challenging hiking trails - one in the State Park and another beginning at the Glider Port.

San Diego Water Sports

San Diego Boats Charters/Tours

San Diego Fun Rentals

More Activites

Recreation centers throughout the City offer a variety of recreational activities.

The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Department operates three municipal golf courses . Torrey Pines, Balboa Park, and Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center.

The City of San Diego is proud to host hundreds of special events each year. See this week's Special Events.

Mission Bay Park , the West Coast's largest aquatic park, covers more than 4,000 acres and offers a wide range of recreational activities.

Mission Trails Regional Park encompasses nearly 5,800 acres of both natural and developed recreational areas for hiking and overnight camping.

Swimmers and sunlovers are drawn to the excellent surf conditions and soft sand San Diego beaches offer.

The City's reservoirs provide a variety of outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, and hiking. El Capitan is the only reservoir that allows the use of personal watercraft , such as jetskis. Lake Hodges offeres a unique setting to enjoy Windsurfing.

Swim, splash and play with the Park & Recreation Aquatics Program .

San Diego's miles and miles of publicly owned open space and preserves provide outdoor recreation and scenic beauty.

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