Coastal San Diego (South California – USA)

Coastal San Diego (South California – USA)

San Diego is an ideal place to visit for anyone who wants to be close to the water. The options include more traditional activities like beach going, hiking and biking, as well as some experiences unique to the area.

San Diego Beaches

There are many miles of nearly pristine coastline to explore. Family beaches, nude beaches and surfing beaches are all there. Sea caves are part of the La Jolla shoreline, and low tide exposes the tidepools at Cardiff State Beach.

Most San Diego beaches have lifeguard coverage, but with budget cuts, there are fewer manned (and womaned) lifeguard towers than in the past. Parking is usually free, although there is a fee to park at some spots, like Torrey Pines State Beach.


A partial list of San Diego County Beaches includes:

La Jolla Shores
La Jolla Cove
Windansea Beach
Pacific Beach
Mission Bay
Ocean Beach

Del Mar Beach
Torrey Pines State Beach
Cardiff State Beach
Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
Carlsbad State Beach
Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach

Water Activities include Surfing, Kayaking and Boat Cruises

Surfers tend to flock to Swami’s in Encinitas, although surfers spend hours in the water up and down the coast. Rent a kayak at La Jolla Shores and explore the sea caves, weather permitting. For those who prefer to let someone else do the driving, boat tours and dinner cruises are available in San Diego Bay. Waterskiing is possible in Mission Bay, as are sailboat rentals. Check out migrating whales during the winter months.

Hiking and Biking Along the San Diego Coast

Hiking is plentiful throughout the County, and some of the highlights close to the water include Torrey Pines State Reserve, with a variety of different trails, some of which lead down to the beach. Some trails at Torrey Pines blossom right after the winter rains and are a treat for any fan of wildflowers. (And who isn’t?) There are plenty of hiking and biking trails in Mission Bay Park.

San Diego Hanggliding

In San Diego, the sky really is the limit. The Torrey Pines Glider Port, which is located down the street from UC San Diego and the Salk Institute, is a launching point for local parasailors and hanggliders. Tandem rides are offered to those not ready to go it alone.

For visitors ready to go even higher, consider a balloon ride. The balloons are launched from various points in north San Diego County, and involve a small basket, a very large and colorful balloon and a pilot. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Access to San Diego is easy whether by air or by car. With an abundance of sunshine and natural beauty, the San Diego area should make it onto any traveler’s short list of an outdoor vacation spot that’s easy to get to and hard to forget.