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San Diego Beaches

San Diego is the type of city high-energy people can't get enough of. There are tons of amazing attractions like the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland and the Safari Park that are great for families with kids. San Diego also has lots of exciting nightlife venues for young adults ready for some fun. And for people who enjoy the finer things in life, San Diego has tons of fine dining restaurants, gorgeous hotels and a wide variety of shopping opportunities.

In all honesty, though, I'm not one of those high-energy people. And yet after I graduated from UCSD I couldn't bring myself to leave this place. So what was it that convinced me to keep living here if it wasn't all of these great things to do? I'll tell you - it was all about the San Diego beaches.

My ideal Saturday in San Diego is spent at the beach with a good book and the expansive ocean stretched out in all directions. Somehow every time I look at the ocean I am reminded that everyday problems are truly unimportant. And yeah, it can be argued that I could find that type of Saturday in any coastal city in the world, but trust me, there is no city with better beach weather than San Diego.

Of course, San Diego beaches are awesome for other reasons, too. Each beach along the coast has a completely different vibe, different type of people and different beautiful views. The beaches here also have a variety of activities they feature just in case for some reason I feel like doing something athletic instead of sunbathing with a book. With so many beaches up and down San Diego county, I'll choose just a few of my favorites (from North to South) to highlight in case you want to visit them someday, too.

  • Black's Beach: This beach might just be my ultimate favorite beach in San Diego, and it definitely is my favorite when I'm looking for a peaceful beach with few people and great views of soaring cliffs. For two years of college I lived on-campus in Eleanor Roosevelt dorms (woot woot!) at the University of California, San Diego and was able to walk to this beach almost daily, and I loved it. Black's Beach is in La Jolla just south of Torrey Pines and north of La Jolla Shores and it is a popular place for UCSD students to hang out. To get to Black's you either have to walk down a long winding road off of La Jolla Farms Rd or a long winding staircase from the Torrey Pines Gliderport. This means you have to exercise in order to enjoy this beach, but it also means that once you get there it'll feel fairly secluded and distant from regular city life. I just make sure not to wander too far north of the Gliderport, because that's where the clothing optional section starts.
  • La Jolla Shores: When I'm in the mood to people-watch in between chapters, La Jolla Shores is the beach of choice. The beach is very accessible with a large free parking lot and lots of street parking in the area as well. One of the coolest things about La Jolla Shores is that the MTS route 30 has a stop at Frescota which is just a few blocks from the beach, making it so that you can get to the beach easily even without a car. Shores is also well known for its plethora of fun ocean activities ranging from kayaking to scuba lessons to boogie boarding, making it a great place to go if you want an active day, or if you are like me and enjoy the bustling sight of lots of people having fun in the sun. There is always a wide range of people here from families with kids to college students and tourists.
  • Mission Beach: Mission Beach is a pretty crowded beach with lots of tourists and families - another people watching destination. It is the home of Belmont Park, one of San Diego's most famous attractions, a small amusement park with rides, fair food, shopping, restaurants and the Giant Dipper. I love Mission Beach for days when a stroll or a longboard ride sounds good because this beach has a cement boardwalk that stretches along the coast all the way up to Pacific Beach. The boardwalk is always full of walkers, runners, bikers, skaters - you name it!
  • Ocean Beach: Just a little ways north of Downtown San Diego, Ocean Beach is well known by locals as one of the most relaxed neighborhoods in the area. OB residents are generally on the more laid-back side of the spectrum and it is easy to understand why they are so easy going when you see the chill vibe of the place they live. The OB pier is a beautiful place to walk and I love to pack a picnic and go out to Sunset Cliffs for a while. Newport Avenue has great restaurants and quirky shops that make for a fun walk around town. Ocean Beach also has a Dog Beach where dogs don't need leashes and can tear up the surf all day long. Needless to say, I don't try to relax with a book in that part of the beach!

While the above are the beaches I frequent the most, there are also great beaches in North County and others south of Ocean Beach that I like to go to as well. Some honorable mentions would be Cardiff State Beach, Del Mar BeachPacific Beach, Coronado Beach and Imperial BeachSan Diego County has a gorgeous coastline and it's hard not to love the beaches you'll find wherever you go.

San Diego is a wonderful place to be and it truly doesn't surprise me that so many people who vacation here end up moving to this fine city to stay. The fun attractions, wonderful different neighborhoods and friendly locals are enough to keep me happy here, but it's the huge diversity of awesome beaches that makes me wonder if I'll ever leave.