San Diego lifeguards patrol beaches from nine permanent lifeguard stations (Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Mission Beach, North Pacific Beach, Pacific. La Jolla Shores · Ocean Beach · Mission Bay Beaches · Black Beach. San Diego has the privilege of having almost universal access to the coast. With the exception of some ecologically sensitive areas and isolated government facilities, anything below the high tide line is open to the public.
Even in places where private homes and businesses dominate the horizon, you'll find public rights of way and easements that allow access to the beach. The beaches of San Diego are free to enjoy. State beaches such as Silver Strand in Coronado and Carlsbad State Beach charge fees for parking on the lots. However, you may need to park in a paid public parking lot near any beach during peak season, as free lots and street parking fill up.
Currently, beaches in 11 counties are open with some restrictions. There are four counties whose beaches are open. Oceanside parking for beach lovers is a combination of free, paid and metered parking, much of which is for a limited time. At the same time, Pacific Beach has three excellent San Diego beaches (including one that many La Jolla families frequent), two of which are very popular with tourists who keep Pacific Beach hotels and motels full many months of the year.
So grab your beach towels, put on your sunscreen and go exploring some of the best beaches and bays in the world. Most day visitors to Coronado who want to go to the beach usually go to Coronado Central Beach, opposite the Hotel del Coronado. The beach area around the pier, Imperial Beach's most popular stretch of beach, has lifeguards throughout the year, as well as public restrooms and showers. It is also famous for the defunct San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) and for the epic surf waves of Trestles.
On some beaches, lifeguards sit in one place (usually a raised tower) and SUPERVISE the area immediately in front of them. A staggering 2.5 million visitors a year make San Onofre one of California's 5 most-visited state parks. Paralympic Alana Nichols has competed around the world as a multi-sport athlete and gold medalist, but her favorite place to get out on the water is right here in San Diego. Bare feet and broken glass are a recipe for disaster, so it's a good thing that glass is never allowed anywhere at any time on any of San Diego's beaches and boardwalks.
Moonlight Beach, Del Mar City Beach, Coronado Central Beach, Mission Beach and North Pacific Beach are also fantastic San Diego beaches for swimming. If you are staying at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, The Grand Beach Services takes hotel guests to this San Diego beach on 18th Street. Because the San Mateo stream flows into the ocean on one side of the camp, there are wetlands here with rare and endangered species. From Crystal Pier to Pacific Beach Drive, it's Pacific Beach's largest stretch of sandy beach and is among San Diego's most popular beaches.
Carlsbad's five miles of beautiful sandy beaches are often quieter than those in the south because in most parts the cliffs provide some privacy from city life. Coronado Mayor Bailey finds himself like his Amity counterpart Larry Vaughn in Tiburón, ignoring or disputing expert findings, anything to keep those beaches open to keep the money flowing.