Our Favorite San Diego-Area Beaches

There are so many options for tide pools in/near San Diego but we decided to check out Cabrillo’s! We also wanted to see the Lighthouse, so it was win-win. As you can see, the entrance fee is $10 to enter and the pass is good for a full week.


Cabrilllo National Park


Path to Cabrillo Tide Pool path to tide pools at cabrillo

It was an overcast, semi foggy morning (as so many San Diego mornings are!) when we visiting in June. The guard at the entrance told us that was the best weather to visit the tide pools. The parking lot at the bottom is pretty small (maybe about 20 spots or less) so we drove to the upper parking lot. As you can see, the upper lots are definitely not stroller or wheelchair friendly, so just keep that in mind. Other than that it was less than a 10 minute walk down to the tides. Be sure to keep a close eye on little ones, though, as there were a couple steep 10-20 foot drop-offs.

cabrillo tide poolscabrillo tide pools

This was actually our family’s first time visiting a tide pool- we don’t exactly have these in the desert of Utah!  We weren’t sure exactly what to expect. But WOW! We found hundreds- thousands?-of tiny crabs ALL OVER! It was so fun to see these little creatures. We must of just sat on one rock for 20 minutes or so before we started to venture elsewhere.  They were fascinating. The water is pretty shallow, although the rocks can be slippery to walk on.

cabrillo tide pools  cabrillo  cabrillo tide pools

cabrillo cabrillo


cabrillo tide pools, san diego

cabrillo tide pools, san diego

Oh it was SO fun!! We can’t wait to visit more tide pools!

Lighthouse & Gift shop

Cabrillo Lighthouse   Cabrillo Lighthouse

A short drive up from the tide pools is the Cabrillo Lighthouse and Giftshop.

Cabrillo lighthouse stairs Cabrillo lighthouse

The kids really thought the spiral-and steep- staircase was cool!

Cabrillo Cabrillo lookout from museum

San Diego San Diego


And the views were gorgeous too!

Coronado Island

We spent an evening on Coronado and LOVED it! How can you not?! The first thing we did was rent a Surrey from Bikes and Beyond. There is a nice trail that goes along the ocean, past the shops and restaurants and even past a little park. We biked along that until we hit a major road, then turned around again. It took about an hour and was SO fun. The only funny thing (depending on who you ask- haha) was that on our way back I (Emily) commented how easy the Surrey was to pedal. Then I noticed poor Jeff was just sweating and huffing along. We looked down and noticed that my pedals weren’t connected at all. Jeff was hauling all five of us around by himself. Hahaha. Poor Jeff.

Surrey rental on Coronado Surrey fun on coronado Surrey rental on Coronado View of San Diego from Coronado

Hotel del Coronado Coronado at Sunset

We loved eating dinner at Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q and getting ice cream from  Moo Time Creamery at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Visit this link for more info. on our favorite family friendly eats in SD.  The beaches and powdery sand- heavenly! So fun to play in. Next time we’d love to stay on the Island. Where do you  like to stay when you visit Coronado?

Moonlight beach

San Diego Beaches

In our opinion, there’s no place more beautiful then San Diego, California. The weather, the palm trees and nature, and, of course, the beaches!

Here are a few of our favorite San Diego Beaches:

Coronado Beach

A short 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego, this beach is one of our very favorites.  Park along  Ocean Blvd, bring the sand toys and towels and enjoy an afternoon at this gorgeous beach with soft sand that stretches on and on. After, take a short walk to the Hotel del Coronado and get an ice cream cone from Moo Time Creamery.

Coronado Beach

San Diego Skyline Viewpoint

Located along the northeast shore of Coronado, the Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand Bikeway) is a little bit of a beach, fun shops, restaurants, and definitely an impressive view of the San Diego Skyline! We chose to explore it on a Surrey and had a wonderful time eating dinner at a local BBQ place after.

San Diego Skyline viewpoint

Cabrillo Tide Pools

We loved exploring the tide pools at Cabrillo one foggy morning. There was an abundance of crabs, anemones and other sea life. Plan to take your shoes off and get your feet wet! Our children, ages 5, 7 and 10 had a great time!

cabrillo tide pools, san diego

Read more about our time at Cabrillo and Coronado here.

Moonlight Beach

We asked the staff at our hotel what the best beach would be to take our kids and they said Moonlight. And they were right!! We LOVED this beach! With white sand, dolphins swimming in the distance, a playground, beachside grill and free parking, this beach has it all!! We were sad when it was time to go.

Moonlight Beach

Image Credit San Diego Reader

Children’s Pool in La Jolla

Also known as Seal Beach, this beach is protected by a sea wall built in the 1930s. The area was supposed to be a safe place for children to swim, however, over time the area has filled with more sand than anticipated.  The harbor seals gravitate toward the calm water and have completely taken over the area.

You can walk down on the sand to see the seals sunbathing up close, but a rope barrier prevents you from getting too close (for your safety, and the seals. It does stink and the water would be… ahem, hazardous to swim in). If tides and surf permit, it’s also possible to walk out on the sea wall (seen below).  Our youngest was 5 when we went and did great-but be sure to hold young children tightly & supervise at all times when on the sea wall.

What are your favorite San Diego Beaches???  Comment below and let us know!