4500 Ocean Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
Region: Mission Bay and Beaches
A favorite spot amongst college students and young adults living the California Dream, Pacific Beach is the iconic Southern California beach town. With three miles of boardwalk and a lively atmosphere, P.B. (as the locals call it) is a great place to find fun in the sun, and pleasures after dark. From funky beach bars and taco stands that welcome sandy toes, to sleek modern hotels, sultry night clubs and fine dining establishments, Pacific Beach offers a variety of things to do beyond the miles of sandy beaches.
Where to go:
- Tourmaline Surfing Park where the rugged headlands of La Jolla end abruptly, is a surfing-only beach popular with novice surfers. With slow, slopey waves, beginners, longboarders and (when the wind is up) windsurfers and kiteboarders favor this beach over other spots in the area. There's a medium-capacity parking lot here with bathrooms and a small picnic area.
- North Pacific Beach from Tourmaline to Crystal Pier is the 'calm before the storm' that is P.B. proper. Families tend to prefer this quieter stretch of beach with its lifeguard supervised swimming areas and facilities at the ends of Law and Diamond Streets.
- Pacific Beach from the Crystal Pier to Pacific Beach Drive offers bathrooms and pockets of dedicated parking at Grand Avenue and PB Drive. You can find anything from bicycle rentals to biker bars along the coast here, and more of the same as you head inland up Garnet Avenue for many blocks. Swimming and surfing are segregated throughout P.B., the latter being mediocre here at best. There's always a party on the beach and on the boardwalk, especially on any sunny summer afternoon.
- Parking is a challenge throughout Pacific Beach, but not impossible. Best bets are the lot at Tourmaline Street, and side roads on the north side of the pier. There are also paid lots scattered throughout, which may be a good option if you’re staying for the whole day.
Bathrooms & Showers
- There are plenty of bathroom and shower facilities around the pier at the end of Garnet Avenue, as well as around the lifeguard stand at the end of Grand Avenue
- Lifeguard stands are staffed year-around from North Pacific Beach, down to Mission Beach. The main lifeguard tower is located at the end of Grand Avenue
- From the 5 Freeway take Garnet Avenue west all the way to Mission Blvd.
What to Love
- Breakfast at Kono's Cafe at the end of Garnet Ave. for good food, large portions and local vibe.
- Fishing on Crystal Pier - bring your own tackle, bait and a fishing license and drop a line.
- Watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.
What to Know
- Alcohol it not permitted at any time.
- There are plenty of good dining options on the boardwalk and within walking distance in the community.
- The boardwalk here is very busy on summer weekends - be careful with children riding bikes or skates.
Browse the articles and listings below to learn more about this iconic Southern California beach town and plan your next trip to San Diego!