With over two miles of beautiful coastline, the Del Mar beaches offer plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family (including furry friends). Stretching from La Jolla to the south and Solana Beach to the north, the beaches in Del Mar are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Southern California. If you’re looking to get outside and take advantage of the perfect San Diego weather, enjoy these options along the beaches of Del Mar!
Relax at the River Mouth
One of the most popular spots for surfing and sunbathing is Del Mar City Beach, or the River Mouth, which begins at 15th Street and Powerhouse Park. Loaded with amenities, like grassy lawns for sports, wide beaches, and plenty of space to kick off your flip-flops and enjoy a picnic along the water, Del Mar City Beach is centrally located and great for families.
Surfing the pristine coastal waters along this stretch is perfect for intermediate surfers, but swimming is not recommended in certain sections, as this area has unpredictable currents and shallow sandbars. However, if you stick close to the shore, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of a beautiful day at the beach, especially if you enjoy sunbathing and dipping your toes in the water.
In addition to surfing and swimming along the Del Mar beaches, many people enjoy playing volleyball in the sand, cycling along the coast, building sandcastles with family members and enjoying glorious, sunny days in one of the most relaxing places in the country. Spend the day fishing out on the water, grab a boogie board and hit the waves or enjoy a lazy afternoon by the water with a book — the best thing about the beaches of Del Mar is the diversity of experiences. Everyone can find something enjoyable to do, whether they’ve taken up surf lessons or sunbathing!
Visit coastal parks
Set back from the beach, Seagrove Park offers an intimate location for parties and provides dramatic, secluded views of the ocean. It’s one of the most popular destinations for outdoor private events along the coast and can be rented throughout the year through the city of Del Mar.
Another popular option is Powerhouse Park, which offers bathrooms, large grassy areas, walking paths, lifeguard stations, and picnic tables, but most visit just for the food!
Powerhouse Park, Credit: californiabeaches.com
Get a taste of the local cuisine at Jake’s and Poseidon Restaurant for New American coastal creations, friendly service, and the perfect beachfront ambiance. Jake’s offers a casual dining experience with simple yet fun menu items, and Poseidon is Del Mar’s go-to restaurant for an upscale lunch or dinner.
Both parks provide gorgeous views of the ocean and ample space to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re in need of a break from the beach, explore Seagrove and Powerhouse Park for a leisurely stroll or an incredible meal. During the summer months, Powerhouse Park is packed with concert-goers for their Twilight Summer Concert Series.
Play at Dog Beach
Don’t forget your furry friends! Also known as Dog Beach, the North Beach area features off-leash opportunities for pups to play and enjoy the water. As one of the most dog-friendly beaches in San Diego, North Beach is busy with dozens of dogs and their owners enjoying the sand and surf. It’s the perfect place to meet new friends and play with your pup.
At the end of the day, head across the beach to Scripps Bluffs Preserve with your dog to catch the most amazing sunset views. Located just north of the San Dieguito River, Scripps Bluffs is a popular destination to take in the views of the Pacific. A large wooden staircase leads up to the bluff and offers panoramic views of the Del Mar beaches and lagoons. Parking is free along Camino Road and 29th Street.
Discover The Del Mar Fairgrounds
Home to the annual San Diego County Fair, the Del Mar Fairgrounds is located across the road from River Mouth Beach. The Fairgrounds is open year-round and hosts over 300 events each year. Events include concerts, the famous Del Mar National Horse Show and horse races founded by Bing Crosby, art shows, farmers markets, and a holiday light show. It also offers year-round sports and training facilities. The San Diego County Fair runs during the summer from June-July and features dozens of family-friendly events including carnival rides, plenty of food concessions to satisfy every craving, pony rides, shopping opportunities, and even an “Extreme Dog Show.”
Photo courtesy of the Del Mar Fairgrounds
Hike Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Take in the gorgeous oceanfront views on the trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. With abundant trails lining the coast, the reserve marks the best place for panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The reserve boasts 2,000 acres to explore and features dramatic views of the surrounding cliffs by the ocean. The Beach Trail is a 2.3-mile loop that runs along the coast and offers excellent waterfront views and a fairly steep incline. It’s also one of the best spots to view local wildlife, including abundant yucca plants and wildflowers.
Across the road from the Beach Trail is the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a popular inlet where children enjoy identifying sea creatures in the section where the lagoon meets the Pacific Ocean. The Los Peñasquitos Lagoon is a protected area offering educational opportunities for all ages and aims to preserve wildlife through habitat restoration and enhancement. The area is home to dozens of protected species, like the endangered Ridgway's rail and Bell’s vireo, and the popular California brown pelican.
Shop at Del Mar Plaza
Located a few steps from the beach is Del Mar Plaza, an upscale luxury shopping center that features boutique shops, pet-friendly spaces, gourmet restaurants, and high-end salons. Take a break from the sun and explore the unique shops along the Camino Del Mar, with three shopping levels and gorgeous views of the ocean in the distance. A perfect quick trip away from the beach, the Del Mar Plaza offers a unique shopping experience, outdoor yoga classes, special holiday events, live music, and bilingual storytimes for children at Sandcastle Tales shop.
Photo courtesy of Del Mar Plaza
Explore the natural wonders of the ocean
While some areas along the Del Mar beaches are great for casual swimming, like the section of beach that runs from River Mouth to 15th Street, there are more opportunities for adventurous beachcombers out on the water — and in the air! Soar above Del Mar in a hot air balloon and take in the unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean, immaculate shoreline, and mountains in the distance.
If you happen to visit the beaches during the winter, you may have the rare chance to experience the Great Whale Migration, during which over 20,000 Pacific gray whales make the trip from Alaska to Baja and pass along the Del Mar coast each year. During the summer, blue whales can be seen on their way to feed in the Southern California waters. Keep your eyes peeled for a pod of dolphins, too! They are often spotted along the coast a few times a week throughout the year.
The beaches in Del Mar offer some of the most incredible views and easily earn a spot on the list of the best places to experience Southern California living at its finest. From lounging on a beach chair along the coast to taking in breathtaking views from high in the air, there is something for everyone to experience in Del Mar. It’s the perfect place to spend time outdoors with family and friends and is one of the most endearing and exciting places to live in Southern California.
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*Header Photo courtesy of lajolla.com