Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
Yes
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Unlike the majority of San Diego’s beaches, swimming is prohibited in much of Tourmaline Surfing Park. Lifeguards can point you in the direction of a swimming area if that is your preferred beach activity, but the park, which is comprised of a beach and a free parking lot, is primarily popular among surfers and kiteboarders. For those who prefer to watch, there is plenty of space to sunbathe. It is easy to spend an entire day at Tourmaline Surfing Park enjoying the picnic tables, fire pits, public restrooms, and barbecues. You will want to arrive early if you are planning to snag a fire pit. Make sure to keep your fire in control; stacking wood more than a foot higher than the edges of the pit is not allowed. If you want to bring your dog, you may do so in the early morning and in the evening, but not between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (note that these hours may change seasonally).

Geologically speaking, this is a fascinating area. The beach sits at the base of 75-foot cliffs that have been painstakingly carved by the sea. While these may seem tall, San Diego is home to cliffs that loom 350 feet high. The coastline is relatively straight at this point in time, but 50 years ago it was considerably more jagged. Waves alter the cliffs dramatically, and it has taken surprisingly little time for irregular outcroppings to be worn away.  

If you are interested in other geological features of the San Diego coastline, such as tide pools, just start walking to the north. Linda Way Beach Access lacks Tourmaline’s soft sand, but you will be able to spot a bunch of different creatures at low tide. Walking southward, on the other hand, will take you to Pacific Beach’s Crystal Pier, an exceptional place to catch a fish.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Surfing. Dog friendly after 4 p.m. Shower and bathrooms. Lifeguards.

Cons

Dogs prohibited before 4 p.m. Crowds.

Features

Surfing
Tide pools
Wildlife
Bird watching
Tide pools

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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