Life’s a beach in San Diego

banner san diego

My favorite thing about San Diego is the water. The beaches, the surfing, the sailing. I know lots of cities revolve around water, but San Diego seems to take things to an awesome extreme, thanks to its lengthy coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

As someone who has been landlocked for most of my life, I love this part of San Diego life. During my most recent visit to “America’s Finest City,” I spent several days just hanging out by the water. Maybe I was a sea gull in a past life.

bird-cliffs

I stayed in the Ocean Beach neighborhood for a few days and fell in love with the chilled-out, almost hippie vibe.
The storefronts captured the laid-back beach lifestyle of the hood, with lots of surfing supply stores and businesses like indie yoga. Sign me up for that.

ocean-beach-indie-yoga

The Westfalia parked on the beach made me nostalgic for my own van. Imagine sleeping inside this as you drift off to sleep to the soothing sound of waves just feet away. That seems like paradise.

westfalia-beach

This was my favorite character at the beach. I want that tweed jacket.

beach-suit-man

These birds almost look photoshopped. They snuck into the picture at the last minute.

beach-people-birds

Time to hit the waves.

surfer-waves

surfer-ocean-beach

This fellow wins the award for coolest board.

surfer-orange-board

Not everyone goes to the beach to swim or surf. How about fishing or volleyball?

ocean-beach-scenes

Some go to skate or to sit and look cool.

beachgoers

Ocean Beach has a massive pier with a cafe more than 1/2 mile out into the ocean.

beach-pier-cafe

ocean-beach-pier

The pier provides some amazing views.

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ocean-beach

Further down the coast is Sunset Cliffs, a steep hillside where you can meet your demise if you’re not careful.

sunset-cliffs-unstable-sign

How amazing is this? Guy works on his laptop on the cliffs. Tell me you’re not jealous.

beach-laptop

These guys aren’t scared off by the cliffs. I saw more surfers here than anywhere else.

surfers-cliffs

More awesome views.

sunset-cliffs-view

I’d be willing to live in one of the beachfront houses. How about you?

beach-house-sunset-cliffs

There’s a running and biking trail here that gets a ton of use. Lots of locals bring their pets too.

beach-family-dog

As its name implies, Sunset Cliffs is the most popular viewing spot to watch the sunset.

cliffs-sunset-san-diego

Pacific Beach was more of the same, folks enjoying the sun and sand. Or the shade, in some cases.

beach-umbrella

Lifeguard golf carts!

lifeguard-vehicle

This sign from my hostel pretty much summed up the San Diego experience for me.

beach lucky enough hostel sign

Are you a beach person?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

20 comments on “Life’s a beach in San Diego

  1. That last sign says it all – I have NEVER had a bad day at the beach. Last time in Galveston we were in a rented house on the beach that was built to withstand hurricanes. It rocked. Sleeping on the top floor was awesome – the entire house would rock in the breeze. Between the sound of the surf and the motion I don’t think I’ve ever slept better. Makes me wonder again and again why I still live in South Dakota – I think I’m as far from a beach as you can get. (well – maybe we have North Dakota beat!)

    • Haha, well there are some lake beaches in Minnesota so maybe you’re not that far away, but the ocean beaches are so much better. What a cool experience in Galveston. But I wonder, if a breeze caused the house to rock, would it really withstand a hurricane?

      • I think the concept is to bend and not break. Actually, that one house did remain standing without much damage after Hurricane Ike (2008 I think?)

        and I’ve been to the MN lakes – they are indeed nice – but not the same….. An ocean beats a lake any day!

  2. San Diego is one of those cities that never registers on my radar. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I lived in California for a while and skim over it as potential vacation spot? Maybe because I’m beet red within minutes of hitting a beach? I’m not sure why, but perhaps I need to rethink this. Your pictures are gorgeous.
    Juliann recently posted..Yee-Haw! The Sheriff Done Arrested My Ma

  3. Is that last picture from the Banana Bungalow? Kat and I stayed there when we vacationed their a few years back. We loved San Diego!

    • It was actually from a Hostelling International facility a little further away from the shore. Next time I might try to stay in a hostel like that right on the beach!

  4. Great collection of beach life photos! I was debating whether to go to the beach area close to my home today, and I guess after this post I will. I’ve had the beach so close to me all my life, that I never realized its uniqueness to other people until I grew up. I do wish I had that guy’s battery, though – my laptop needs electricity…. or a new battery.
    Ayelet – All Colores recently posted..Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado: “Wander Wherever Your Curiosity Takes You”

  5. My sister lives in San Diego, and as such, it’s the destination I’ve visited perhaps more than any other. Yet after all these visits, I still love going for a walk on the beach, along the cliffs, or out on the OB pier. I caught one of my favorite sunsets ever from Ocean Beach just a couple months ago – it’s such a spectacular place and I love the hippy vibe there.
    John recently posted..Long Live Tacheles

  6. Ha! That sign is awesome. It reminds me of something my step-mom used to say when we complained about our chores as kids. “The sooner you get it done, the sooner you get it done.” 🙂 I’ve never seen anybody at Sunset Cliffs with a laptop. Now, that is dedication!
    Christy recently posted..Top Ten Tropical Islands

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