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One-Day Coastal Road Trip

Cruising San Diego’s Fun-Filled Coastline

From off-the-beaten-path Sunset Cliffs to family friendly Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego’s coastline offers endless opportunities for fun throughout the year. Driving through diverse and colorful beach communities, you can experience a jam packed day filled with great local food, popular activities and spectacular sites to discover.

1. Ocean Beach

Start your morning at the southernmost tip of scenic Sunset Cliffs and drive north into funky 1960's-style Ocean Beach (also known as O.B.) for some delicious Cuban coffee and pastries at Azucar on Newport Avenue. Stroll down Newport to the O.B. Pier and watch as surfers ride the waves. Afterwards, head over to nearby Dog Beach where tail wagging water enthusiasts enjoy the surf 24/7. (Note: The Ocean Beach Pier will be closed until at least Spring 2024 for repairs and maintenance.)

2. Mission Beach

Stop at Belmont Park and rent a beach cruiser at the iconic Hamels Surf Shop, a fixture in the local beach community since 1967. Bike along the 3-mile Mission Beach-Pacific Beach boardwalk, a popular seaside mecca for the younger set. Need more exercise? Cruise over to the 12 miles of bike paths at neighboring Mission Bay.

3. Pacific Beach

Grab lunch at Kono’s Cafe, known for its all-day breakfasts and burgers, or Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, known for tasty fish tacos, both located in Pacific Beach (P.B.). If you need to enhance your beach style, check out the plethora of surf shops, trendy boutiques, vintage clothing stores, thrift shops and tattoo parlors along P.B.’s Garnet Avenue.

4. La Jolla

As you drive toward luxurious La Jolla, pick up some afternoon joe at Bird Rock Roasters in quaint Bird Rock before checking out the beautiful scenery and hard-breaking waves at Windansea Beach, a local surfing hot spot. Take a selfie at the legendary Polynesian-style surf hut, built in 1947 by pioneering Windansea surfers and registered as a San Diego Historic Site.

5. La Jolla Cove

Stop at picture-perfect La Jolla Cove to watch playful seals and sea lions frolic in the water and sunbathe along the coastline. Visit the historic Cave Store, established in 1902, and its century-old bootlegger’s tunnel that leads guests through the cove’s sandstone cliffs into the legendary Sunny Jim’s sea cave. A self-guided tour of the tunnel and sea cave is available.

6. La Jolla Shores

Put on a bathing suit, wax a surfboard and hang 10 on La Jolla Shores with Surf Diva, the world’s first all-girl surf school, now providing coed lessons for surfers of all ages and abilities. Refuel at the award-winning Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores, serving truly epic Mexican food with the freshest ingredients along with mouthwatering margaritas and specialty cocktails.

7. Torrey Pines

End your day’s journey at the Torrey Pines glider port, located north of La Jolla, to watch colorful paragliders float above the Pacific against the backdrop of a spectacular San Diego sunset. As you gaze over the dramatic 300-foot cliffs towering above Torrey Pines State Beach below, dream about your next San Diego adventure.

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Explore San Diego's epic roadways along with the best places for visitors to stop along the way and live out their SoCal road trip dreams.

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