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San Diego Beaches

San Diego Beaches Overview

San Diego

San Diego beaches include the popular choices like Moonlight Beach, La Jolla Shores and Pacifica to the more obscure Grandview, Del Mar Shores and Windansea. Find fun San Diego beaches with all the amenities like restrooms, showers, cafés and camping or the more obscure, difficult to find beaches where no one else will be. Whether you're looking for the best San Diego beach, dog beach, surf spot or nude beach, you'll find it here. We've listed all San Diego beaches from San Onofre to the Mexico border.

NOTE: Visit the Heal the Bay website for details on water cleanliness... especially in urban regions.

TIDE CHARTS for exploring beaches with tide pools

San Onofre

San Onofre is located off Interstate 5 in San Clemente. You can't miss it because it surrounds the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Exit Basilone Road and head west veering south on Old Hwy 101. This is mainly a surfers beach with breaks like Old Man's, Churches and Trails. The northern portion from Churches to Old Mans has a rock bottom and are day use areas. The southern portion features high bluffs with RV and tent camping and dirt trails that lead down to large sandy beaches. These San Diego beaches are known to surfers as 'Trails' for the 6 trails that connect the bluffs to the beaches.

San Onofre
Interstate 5 & Basilone Road
San Clemente, California 92672
(949) 492-4872

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  • Churches is situated to the north of San Onofre and accessed by walking up the beach. Churches is mainly a short boarders break that delivers consistent rights. Churches turns to rock bottom at water's edge. No facilities.
    Map

  • Old Mans is situated at the southern end of the parking area and is long-boarders break. Old Mans features a large sandy beach with volleyball courts, restrooms and a break with a long ride. Old Mans turns to rock bottom at water's edge. Old Mans is prone filling up quickly when it then becomes a one-car-out, one-car-in entrance policy.
    Map

  • Trails is situated south of the power plant and features a long sandy beach with camping on the bluff. A series of 6 trails descend the bluffs to the ocean. These trails range from graded truck trails to challenging single tracks. Trail 1 and Trail 6 are known for having the best breaks for surfing. There is a clothing optional nude beach south of Trail 6. Restrooms and showers available at the parking lot.
    Map

Oceanside

Oceanside is found off Interstate 5 at Mission Avenue. Oceanside features a huge sandy beach with a pier and restrooms. The Oceanside Pier offers opportunities for dining, surfing and fishing. Within the harbor are fishing charters, restaurants and accommodations. Popular surf breaks include the Oceanside Harbor and Oceanside Pier. Oceanside is the closest city to Camp Pendleton Marine Base so Oceanside is popular with Marines. All Oceanside beaches are accessible from Pacific Street. Oceanside is one of the more popular San Diego beaches because of all the amenities offered at Oceanside Harbor.

Oceanside
Pier View Way & Pacific Street
Oceanside, California 92054

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Carlsbad

Carlsbad State Beach is located off Interstate 5 from Carlsbad Village Drive to Cannon Road. All access is from Carlsbad Boulevard. Parking available along Carlsbad Boulevard or the parking lot at the end of Tamarack Avenue. Carlsbad features a long sandy beach backed by coastal dunes and residential neighborhood. A popular surf beach is situated at the end of Tamarack Avenue. Surf lessons are offered seasonally by So Cal Surf at two Carlsbad locations. Restrooms available.

Carlsbad State Beach
Tamarack Avenue & Carlsbad Boulevard
Carlsbad, California 92008
(760) 438-3143

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South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from Palomar Airport Road. South Carlsbad features a large sandy beach, huge campground, restrooms, showers and general store. The southern portion offers opportunities for camping. Carlsbad is one of the few San Diego beaches that offers camping by the beach.

South Carlsbad State Beach
7201 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 438-3143

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Ponto Beach is found off Interstate 5 from La Costa Avenue. Situated at the southern end of Carlsbad, Ponto features two small sandy beaches split by Batiquitos Lagoon. South Ponto offers volleyball courts and restrooms. Parking available along Carlsbad Boulevard or the parking lot at South Ponto.

Map


Leucadia

Grandview, Leucadia

Grandview Beach is located off Interstate 5 from Leucadia Boulevard. Situated off Neptune Avenue, Grandview features a large sandy beach backed by tall bluffs with residential homes. Grandview is a popular surf beach among San Diego beaches. Kahuna Bob's Surf School provides lessons in Leucadia. Park along Neptune Avenue and descend the staircase to the ocean. No facilities.

Grandview Beach
1700 Neptune Avenue
Leucadia, CA 92024

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Beacon's, Leucadia

Beacon's Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Leucadia Boulevard. Situated off Neptune Avenue, Beacon's features a large sandy beach backed by tall bluffs with residential homes. Grandview is a popular surf beach among San Diego beaches. Kahuna Bob's Surf School provides lessons in Leucadia. Parking lot available at the end of Leucadia Boulevard. Follow dirt trail down the bluff from parking lot to the ocean. No facilities.

Beacon's Beach
948 Neptune Avenue
Leucadia, CA 92024

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Stonesteps Beach is located off Interstate 5 from Leucadia Boulevard. Situated off Neptune Avenue, Stonesteps features a large sandy beach backed by tall bluffs with residential homes. Park in the residential neighborhood. Descend the staircase at the end of El Portal Street to the ocean. No facilities.

Stonesteps Beach
350 South El Portal
Leucadia, CA 92024

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Encinitas

Moonlight Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Encinitas Boulevard. Situated off B Street at the end of Encinitas Boulevard, Moonlight features a large sandy beach with a picnic area, playground, snack bar, volleyball courts, tennis courts, fire rings and restrooms. The south end is a popular surf spot at the end of D Street. Kahuna Bob's Surf School provides lessons in Encinitas. This is a favorite beach for nighttime bonfire parties. Moonlight is one of the more popular San Diego beaches.

Moonlight Beach
400 B Street
Encinitas, CA 92024

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Swami's is located off Interstate 5 from Santa Fe Drive. Swami's is one of Southern California's best surf breaks. The waves at Swami's are always 1 to 2 feet larger than surrounding San Diego beaches. When conditions are right, the waves at Swami's break on an outer reef that produces clean monstrous waves. Kahuna Bob's Surf School provides lessons in Encinitas. Parking lot available off PCH or park along PCH. From parking lot, descend the staircase to the ocean and head north to Swami's.

Swami's
1298 South Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

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Cardiff-by-the-Sea

San Elijo State Beach

San Elijo State Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Birmingham Drive. San Elijo features a large sandy beach, camping, restrooms, showers, snack stand and general store. San Elijo is a popular surf beach with breaks like Swami's and Pipes to the north and Cardiff to the south. Eli Howard's Surf School is situated in the campground. San Elijo is one of the few San Diego beaches that offers camping by the beach.

San Elijo State Beach
2050 S Pacific Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
(760) 753-5091

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Cardiff State Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from either Birmingham Drive or Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Cardiff features a mile of sandy beach backed by San Elijo Lagoon. Two access points at each end offer a parking lot with restrooms. Additional parking is available along Highway 101. Cardiff is a popular surf beach with the Cardiff break at the north end and Seaside Reef at the south end.

Cardiff State Beach
2400 Pacific Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
(760) 753-5091

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Solana Beach

Tide Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Tide offers a narrow sandy beach backed by bluffs filled with residential homes. Access is via staircase at the end of Solana Vista Drive. The north end has tide pools and is a popular surf spot known locally as 'Table Tops'. No facilities other than a public shower at the top of the stairs. Park in the residential neighborhood.

Tide Beach
302 Solana Vista Drive
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Fletcher Cove is located off Interstate 5 from Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Situated off Plaza Street at the end of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Fletcher Cove offers a narrow sandy beach backed by bluffs filled with residential homes. Also known as 'Pillbox' to the locals, Fletcher Cove Park is one of the most popular San Diego beaches and features grassy picnic grounds, basketball courts, a playground and restrooms. Parking lot and street parking available.

Fletcher Cove Beach
111 South Sierra Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Seascape Surf Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from either Lomas Santa Fe Drive or Via De La Valle. Solana offers a narrow sandy beach backed by bluffs filled with residential homes. Access is via staircase from S. Sierra Avenue. Look for the access point to the left of the Solana Beach & Tennis Club. No facilities other than a public shower at the top of the stairs. Public parking structure situated across Sierra Avenue.

Seascape Surf Beach
501 South Sierra Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Del Mar Shores is located off Interstate 5 from Via De La Valle. Del Mar Shores offers a narrow sandy beach backed by bluffs filled with residential homes. Access is via staircase from Del Mar Shores. Look for the access point on the right side of Del Mar Shores cul-de-sac. No facilities. Two public parking lots available off Sierra Avenue.

Del Mar Shores Beach
180 Del Mar Shores Terrace
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Del Mar

North Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Via De La Valle. Situated off Camino Del Mar directly in front of the Del Mar Racetrack, it features a large sandy beach backed by coastal bluffs at the mouth of the San Dieguito River. Also known locally as 'Dog Beach' because dogs are allowed on the sand. Volleyball courts available. No facilities. Park along Camino Del Mar. North Beach is one of the few San Diego beaches that allows dogs.

Map


Del Mar Beach is situated off Interstate 5 between Via De La Valle and Del Mar Heights Road. Most Del Mar beaches are accessible from Coast Boulevard. Access points include 12th and 19th through 29th Streets. Powerhouse Park and Seagrove Park are two of the most popular San Diego beaches. They feature grassy picnic areas, a playground, bluff-top trails and access to a large sandy beach. Parking lot available across Coast Boulevard. Powerhouse and Seagrove include a popular surf break known as '15th Street'.

Map


La Jolla

Torrey Pines State Park is found off Highway 101 between La Jolla and Del Mar. This reserve offers short hiking trails and a bike trial on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. The rarest pine tree is protected and abundant here. A state beach is situated at the northern entrance to Torrey Pines and offers a long sandy beach backed by coastal bluffs at the southern end. Amenities include a large parking lot with restrooms or parking along Torrey Pines Road. Access via several short staircases over the bluff.

Torrey Pines State Park
Torrey Pines Road
San Diego, California 92037
(858) 755-2063

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Black's Beach is located off Interstate 5 from Genesee Avenue. Head west on Genesee Avenue, make left on Torrey Pines Road and right on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. Watch for the 'Gliderport' signs. This is a popular launch site for gliders and parasailers. Park in the large dirt lot to the north and follow the trail down the bluffs to the ocean. Black's features a huge sandy beach backed by tall coastal bluffs. To the north is Torrey Pines State Park and south is Scripts Institute. The northern portion of Black's is predominantly a clothing optional nude beach. The southern portion is a popular surf beach that can break pretty big when conditions are right. No facilities.

NOTE: Black's is one of the largest clothing optional nude beaches in the state.

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Scripps Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Village Drive. Head west on La Jolla Village Drive, left on La Jolla Shores Drive and right on Naga Way. This is the Scripps Institute of Oceanography run by the University of San Diego. The area is saturated with UC buildings and research pier (no public admittance). Parking is available in parking lots and streets all around the Scripps Pier. Scripps features a grassy picnic area, seaside café and large sandy beach that blends with La Jolla Shores to the south. Restrooms available.

Map


La Jolla Shores is located off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, right on La Jolla Shores Drive and left on Calle Frescota. La Jolla Shores features a one mile long sandy beach, large grassy picnic grounds, playground, volleyball court and restrooms. Kayak rentals are available for exploring La Jolla Cove and nearby sea caves. La Jolla Shores is one of the most popular of San Diego beaches for scuba diving. It also has relatively calm surf making it a great family-friendly beach. Parking lot is directly off the sand at the end of Calle Frescota.

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La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is situated off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, right on Prospect and veer right to La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Cove features a small sandy beach, sea cave, grassy picnic grounds and restrooms. La Jolla Cove is renowned for its clear waters where scuba divers and snorkelers recreate. Access via staircase from the bluff at Scripps Park. La Jolla Cove is one of the most beautiful San Diego beaches.

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Shell Beach

Shell Beach is located off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, right on Prospect and veer right to La Jolla Cove. Situated at the south end of Scripps Park, it features a small sand cove on the unprotected west side of La Jolla Cove. Access via staircase from Scripps Park. Restrooms available at Scripps Park. Parking available along Coast Boulevard.

Map


Children's Pool is found off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, right on Prospect and veer right to La Jolla Cove. Children's Pool features a tiny sandy beach protected by a crescent-shaped break wall. The calm waters of this protected cove make it ideal for young children, but sea lions also prefer this beach. Visitors line the break wall to watch waves breaking. Restrooms available. Parking available along Coast Boulevard.

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Wipeout Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, right on Prospect and veer right to La Jolla Cove. Wipeout is a tiny sandy beach backed by bluffs just south of Children's Pool. The rocky reef just a short distance out is popular with scuba divers. Access via small staircase. Restrooms available. Parking available along Coast Boulevard.

Map


Horseshoe Beach is located off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, left on Girard Avenue, right on Pearl Street and left on La Jolla Boulevard. Horseshoe is accessible from either Marine Street or Sea Lane. Horseshoe features a long sandy beach backed by residential homes and resorts. Accessible via small staircases. No facilities.

Map


Windansea Beach is found off Interstate 5 from La Jolla Parkway. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, left on Girard Avenue, right on Pearl Street, left on La Jolla Boulevard and right on Bonair Street. Windansea is accessible from several staircases situated along Neptune Place. Windansea features a thin sandy beach backed by rocky coastal bluff. The point at the end of Bonair Street is a popular surf beach. Parking areas available off Neptune Place. No facilities.

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Bird Rock is located off Interstate 5 from Balboa/Garnet Avenue. Head west on Garnet Avenue, right on Mission Boulevard, left on La Jolla Boulevard and left on Bird Rock Avenue. Ocean access at the end of Bird Rock Avenue. Staircase descends to boulders that must be navigated to enter the water. Bird Rock is a popular surf spot with no sandy beach. Paddle to the south of Bird Rock where an underwater reef produces a good break. Park in residential neighborhood. No facilities.

Map


Pacific Beach (PB)

PB Point is situated off Interstate 5 from Balboa/Garnet Avenue. Head west on Garnet Avenue, right on Mission Boulevard, left on La Jolla Boulevard and left on Sea Ridge Drive. Look for access point off Sea Ridge Drive at Linda Way. Staircase descends to a rocky beach. PB Point is a popular surf break with consistent rights that curve around the point. Park in residential neighborhood. No facilities.

Map


Tourmaline Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Balboa/Garnet Avenue. Head west on Garnet Avenue, right on Mission Boulevard, left on La Jolla Boulevard and left on Tourmaline Street. Tourmaline features a large sandy beach backed by bluffs with residential homes. Tourmaline is a very popular surf beach with breaks like Old Man's and PB Point to the north. Restrooms available at parking lot.

Map


Palisades Beach is situated off Interstate 5 from Balboa/Garnet Avenue. Head west on Garnet Avenue, right on Mission Boulevard, left on La Jolla Boulevard and left on Law Street. Descend the ramps from Law Street to the ocean. Palisades features a large sandy beach backed by bluffs with residential homes. Park throughout residential neighborhood. Restrooms available.

Map


Pacific Beach is located off Interstate 5 from Balboa/Garnet Avenue. PB is a huge sandy beach backed by urban sprawl. It features a pier, grassy parks and a cement boardwalk that connects shops, restaurants, bars and more. The Crystal Pier is the only one in the state that offers bungalows over the sand. The Golden Strand bike path connects Pacific Beach with Mission Beach to the south. Access is possible from any street off of Mission Boulevard between Chalcedony and Pacific Beach Drive. Parking is tough but found throughout the neighborhood. This is one of the most popular San Diego beaches. Pacific Beach blends with Mission Beach to the south. Restrooms available at the Crystal Pier, Diamond Street and Grand Avenue.

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Mission Beach

Mission Beach is situated off Interstate 5 between the Mission Bay Drive and Sea World Drive exits. Mission features a huge sandy beach backed by a residential neighborhood. Mission is a peninsula protecting Mission Bay with Mission Bay Park, Sea World, resorts, harbors and more. At the intersection of Mission Bay Drive and Mission Boulevard is the Belmont Park amusement park. All of Mission Beach can be accessed from any road off of Mission Boulevard. Restrooms are available at Mission Beach Park south of Belmont Park and at North Jetty Park. Mission Beach offers volleyball courts, basketball courts and an oceanfront walk that connects with Pacific Beach to the north. The Golden Strand bike path connects Mission Beach with Pacific Beach to the north. The protected Mission Bay is a mecca for water sports including paddleboarding, sailing, water skiing, swimming and more. Boat rentals and small beaches are available at several locations around the bay. Mission Bay contains several resorts, parks and SeaWorld. This is one of the most popular San Diego beaches.

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Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is located at the end of Interstate 8 from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Ocean features a large sandy beach, several parks, volleyball courts and a long pier. Restrooms and grassy picnic areas are available at 3 different parks along the sand. The pier offers a café and bait shop. Ocean Beach is also known as 'Dog Beach' because dogs are allowed at the north end along the San Diego River channel. This is one of the few San Diego beaches that allows dogs on the sand. The Ocean Beach Bike Path follows the river channel for 3 miles past athletic parks and a skate park. This is one of the most popular San Diego beaches.

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Sunset Cliffs is found near the end of Interstate 8 from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Sunset Cliffs features 2 miles of picturesque sandstone cliffs with caves, arches and shelves backed by a residential neighborhood. A small sandy beach is situated between Guizot and Hill Street and may be off limits due to unstable cliffs. Parking is available along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. At the southern end of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard is Sunset Cliffs Natural Park which features 68 acres of coastal hiking trails and a large sandy beach. Accessible by descending a large staircase. No facilities. Sunset Cliffs is one of the most picturesque San Diego beaches.

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Coronado Island

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach is located on Coronado Island in San Diego Harbor. Coronado features a huge sandy beach backed by a military base, golf course, residential neighborhood and the Hotel Del Coronado. Parking along Ocean Boulevard. Restrooms with showers available.

Coronado Beach
Ocean Boulevard
Coronado, CA 92118

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Ferry Landing Beach is found off 1st Street on Coronado Island. Situated at the Ferry Landing Pier & Marketplace, Ferry Landing features a small sandy beach in the protected waters of San Diego Harbor. Backed by a marketplace with restaurants, bars and shops. The Silver Strand Bike Path follows the shore of the inner bay. Restrooms available.

Ferry Landing
1st Street
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 435-8895

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Glorietta Bay is found off Glorietta Boulevard on Coronado Island. Situated at the base of the Coronado Bridge, Glorietta Bay features a small sandy beach, grassy park, playground and skate park in the protected waters of San Diego Harbor. This location provides a picture perfect spot for shots of the Coronado Bridge. The Silver Strand Bike Path follows the shore of the inner bay. Restrooms available.

Glorietta Bay
1st Sreet
Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 435-8895

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Mexico Border

Silver Strand State Beach is situated south of the upscale city of Coronado on Highway 75. Silver Strand is basically a long sandbar that separates San Diego Harbor from the Pacific Ocean. This is a long, wide beach with volleyball nets, fire rings, camping, public restrooms and showers. Beaches on the harbor and ocean sides are separated by pedestrian tunnels that go underneath the roadway. Activities include surfing, swimming, sunbathing, fishing, water skiing, volleyball, biking, skating, boating and parties. Silver Strand is one of the few San Diego beaches that offers camping by the beach.

Silver Strand
5000 Highway 75
Coronado, California 92118
(619) 435-5184

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Imperial Beach is found off Interstate 5 from Coronado Avenue. Imperial features a large sandy beach with less amenities than other San Diego beaches. The Imperial Beach Pier offers fishing and surfing opportunities and a bait & tackle shop is at the end of the pier.

Imperial Beach
Evergreen Avenue & Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, California 91932

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Tijuana Slough is situated off Interstate 5 from Coronado Avenue. The Tijuana Slough and National Wildlife Refuge feature a large sandy beach and estuary offering excellent opportunities for walking, hiking and bird watching. Happy Trails offers guided horseback riding on the sand. Access from the southern end of Seacoast Drive. No facilities. Of all San Diego beaches, Tijuana Slough is the only that allows horseback riding on the beach.

Map


Border Field State Park is found off Interstate 5 from Dairy Mart Road. Situated at the southwest corner of California, Border Field features a large estuary, huge sandy beach and coastal dunes. Popular activities include bird watching, surfing, horseback riding and picnicking. Restrooms and picnic tables available.

Border Field State Park
1500 Monument Road
San Diego, CA 92154
(619) 575-3613

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