San Diego’s public beaches carry an allure that attracts visitors from Orange County, Los Angeles and beyond. An assortment of sensational San Diego beach options awaits a wave of visitors enjoying summer trips to the sands, sunshine and sounds of San Diego’s finest. With a plethora of extraordinary free public beaches that will make your getaway go absolutely swimmingly, San Diego offers a beautiful array. Here are five of the best public beaches for visitors to enjoy in San Diego.

La Jolla Shores
8200 Camino del Oro
San Diego, CA 92037
(619) 235-1169

The word “beautiful” is almost synonymous with the sunny shores of upscale La Jolla. A mile of gorgeous sands located adjacent to the La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, the crescent shores of La Jolla bring scores of visitors enjoying the view and amenities. There is a boat launch for scuba diving and kayaking, and scuba classes are typically available. Swimmers and surfers enjoy the pleasant waves, and there’s plenty of fun on the playground, at the volleyball courts, in the picnic area and at the summer fire pits. Also, there is free parking for visitors traveling to these sensational shores.

Mission Beach
3141 Ocean Front Walk
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 221-8899

If you’re on a mission for a beach full of golden action, you’ve come to the right place. Large roller coasters, rollerblading, bicycling on the boardwalk, volleyball and more all add to the swirl of excitement at this magnificently loved central Golden Strand location. There are a variety of dining choices, street performers and nightlife options providing a fun-filled atmosphere. Now the real mission is finding parking, and the best option is often one of the nearby public lots. Once you get here, whether you watch the waves or the hub of human activity, you’ll be glad you found a spot for dynamic opportunities and spectator fun in a location which embodies so much of San Diego’s sense of energetic attraction.

Ocean Beach
1950 Abbott St.
San Diego, CA 92107
(619) 221-8899

Ocean Beach brings many great qualities to the beach experience, especially for animal lovers. At the north end of Ocean Beach, there is a special dog beach area, which is the only full-time beach area in San Diego where dogs are allowed to be off the leash. On the southern end, the public enjoys walking, swimming, restaurants and more. Also on the southern end is the Ocean Beach Pier, which is the longest concrete West Coast pier at almost 2,000 feet long. A popular spot to skateboard, watch surfers and fish, the pier also is known for the tide pools underneath where you can get a distinctive view of sea life.

Related: The Best Pet-Friendly Getaways Near OC

Windansea Beach
6800 Neptune Place
San Diego, CA 92039
(619) 235-1169

The scenery at Windansea Beach is nothing short of spectacular. Famously known as a top surfer spot, Windansea Beach is where sensational breaks bring advanced surfers the joy of being in the moment. Sunbathing in the comfort of a relatively secluded environment is made possible by the formation of partitions that the sandstone rocks create. With all this perfection in action and vision, it should be noted that caution is advised for swimmers and surfers seeking to enjoy an experience on this rocky shore that is well worth the trip to such a fantastic destination.

Pacific Beach
4500 Ocean Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 221-8899

South of Crystal Pier, the energetic party atmosphere of Pacific Beach gives it an iconic Southern California feel. On its crowded boardwalk, mellow San Diego visitors enjoy three miles of fun. Shopping, nightlife, dining, rollerblading and bicycling are among the many favorite activities. With its enticing magnetic pull, the Pacific Ocean draws in vast amounts of visitors from OC, LA and around the world, all coming to join an ocean’s worth of beach loving lifestyles and activity.

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Will Engel is a musician and music journalist with eight years of experience. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Will is a singer, keyboardist/pianist, and songwriter who released a well-received album and frequently performs around Southern California. He lives in the Los Angeles area. His work can be found at