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Jonathan Stull | 11.09.2016

The chaotic fall transition has us all seeing red these days. Amid all of the confusion of autumn, the forests of Southern California blown bare by hot Santa Ana air out of the east, and nothing but long nights and cold temperatures in the foreseeable future—well, cold by California standards—there’s always one place Californians can go to unwind, to relax, to see and be seen. That place is the beach. How could we blame them? Presidents and the hoi polloi alike retire to the beaches of Southern California to let the stress of their lives evaporate into the salt-laden air. They come to dig their feet in warm sands and hear the rhythm of pounding waves. Amid the distant bark of a bloviating bull seal, they come to spread out under the sun and peals of circling gulls. They come for vibrant sunsets and swelling seas. There are countless reasons to come to the beach, and plenty of reasons to stay. Whatever yours are, here are some of San Diego’s best.

  • Coronado Beach: This dog-friendly and expansive beach is very active, particularly at tide pools.
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park: An ecologically diverse 68-acre park with animal life, sea caves, and tide pools.
  • Ocean Beach: A parrot-frequented beach close to downtown with good restaurants nearby.
  • Mission Beach: A boardwalked beach reminiscent of Atlantic City.
  • Tourmaline Surfing Park: No swimmers allowed makes this beach popular with surfers and kite boarders.
  • Nicholson Point Park: Off the beaten path, a rocky shore best for short explorations.
  • Coast Boulevard: Abundant sea life at this beach, including seals, which commandeer the Children’s Pool, a swimming area originally built in 1932 for children.
  • La Jolla Cove: A destination including one of the most photographed beaches in San Diego County.
  • Black’s Beach: You'll have to hike a steep trail to this secluded, surfer-friendly beach.
  • Torrey Pines State Beach: A beach with striped red cliffs and abundant waterfowl.


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