The San Diego coastline is made up of several towns and communities, each with its own character and history. Over the years, most towns have undergone growth and new development, yet, they have retained much of their quaintness and charm. Following are some of the highlights of your beach tour from south to north:
Imperial Beach is the most southwesterly city on the U.S. mainland. South of Imperial Beach are the Tijuana Estuary, Border Field State Park and Mexican border. A seedy beach town in the ’70s, today Imperial Beach attracts many visitors to its beaches, pier, rejuvenated shopping district and natural reserves.
The Silver Strand is a long strip of land between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Bordered by San Diego Bay and the Pacific, it’s known for its long, sandy state beach and campground.
Point Loma is a secluded community on a peninsula with the same name; Sunset Cliffs, Cabrillo National Monument, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and tide pools make it unique.
Ocean Beach is a funky, laid-back beach community that features a pier, a dog beach, the Newport Avenue Shopping District.
Mission Beach is famous for its oceanfront boardwalk, sandy beaches, Belmont Park, the WaveHouse and many restaurants, clubs, hotels and shops.
Pacific Beach is a haven for young people, especially college students. At its center is the Crystal Pier, which was built in the late 1920s and is home to rental cottages suspended over the surf. A 3.5-mile-long concrete boardwalk extends from North Pacific Beach to Mission Beach.
Carlsbad has attracted an international theme park, LEGOLAND California, and has become a major golf center. Carlsbad has miles of beaches, a variety of housing options and shopping, including Plaza Camino Real (a regional mall), North County Plaza, specialty stores, antique stores and an outlet center. Local attractions include the Carlsbad Village Faire, the largest one-day street fair in the nation, held in May and November. Carlsbad is also home to the famous Flower Fields and the Carlsbad Triathlon.
Located 20 miles north of the city of San Diego, Del Mar means “of the sea.” Two miles of beautiful beaches, the famous Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, sunny weather, the annual San Diego County Fair and the famous Del Mar racetrack attract visitors who come to enjoy sports and recreation near the ocean.
La Jolla is upscale, exclusive and home to some of the area’s priciest real estate. Take one look at the pristine coastline, and you’ll instantly understand the allure. La Jolla’s most spectacular spot is the bluff above La Jolla Cove. Stroll along Coast Boulevard for the most scenic views. With its calm, crystal-clear water, the cove is also great for swimming. In the tide pools at its small, sandy beach, you can glimpse marine life such as starfish, sea anemones and sea urchins. Further south along the coast is the Children’s Pool, a popular gathering place for harbor seals. From the cove, you can walk up to the elegant shopping and dining district around Prospect Street and Girard Avenue. The La Jolla Village Information Center is at 1162 Prospect St. and is open daily.
Oceanside sits on 3.5 miles of sandy beaches and is an ideal mix of urban and rural environments blessed with almost perfect year-round weather. Oceanside Harbor and Harbor Beach are the ideal spots for an afternoon stroll, picnic, boating, surfing or fishing. For shopping, Cape Cod Village plays host to many unique shops and restaurants.
The Torrey pine is one of North America’s rarest pines. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve just north of La Jolla features these rare trees, along with high cliffs and deep ravines on headlands overlooking the ocean. Hikers can follow trails through stands of wind-sculpted pines down to the beach. Maps and guided tours are available at the visitor center. Visit www.torreypine.org for more information.