How North County has some of the best beaches in San Diego to Visit


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San Diego beaches in the North County area are often invisible to the local tourist and probably get the least amount of credit. Yes, they are a bit further to drive from downtown San Diego but do not forget that these are also promising beaches. 

North County area has some of the best beaches in San Diego. Well along with its other popular Southern California beaches, north county beaches also have a treat for all.

Whether your a lonesome traveler just exploring the beaches or a family of eight hoping to catch some sun, waves, and sand.

There is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Even if you’re a surfer, there is plenty of water in the north county area waiting to be surfed. Unlike its neighboring beaches, north county usually draws smaller crowds due to the further distance.

So if you are ready for a beach trip, then definitely consider the San Diego beaches of north county. 

These beaches are perfect if your planning a trip to LA soon and want to catch a sweet beach trip along the way.

Or let’s just say you’re planning a beach camping getaway and looking for the quiet perfect camping spot.

Then yes. It’s where you want to go too. 

Stick around as we breakdown the best five San Diego north county beach vacation getaways. 

Why San Diego Beaches in the North County

North County beaches offer promising waters and hip cool beach towns. Sure… crowds may be smaller, but in the summer they can be just as popular.

Most people visiting these beaches are locals because they have beautiful waters on their fingertips. 

Yup, it’s no wonder housing has skyrocketed in this area! Who wouldn’t want to live next to the beach paradise? 

Photo by Vince Fleming

The north county beaches are conveniently located near the I-5 North, which is one of the freeways you must take to catch to go straight up to LA.

Here we breakdown the the best beaches in San Diego found in the North County. 

Top 5 Nicest San Diego Beaches in the North County Area

Oceanside Beach

Yes, Oceanside beach makes the list. Why?

Oceanside beach is a gorgeous beach and has become increasingly more popular with families and surfers. This beach offers more than your typical waters. Along, with its unique Oceanside pier and panoramic view of the water, there is more to enjoy here. 

Photo by Renee Fisher

The pier offers a dynamic old vibe restaurant that serves milkshakes and burgers right on the pier. Near the pier, you can find all kinds of cool vendors and unique things. 

Read our blog of the top 15 top things you can do in Oceanside as a family here.

Find out what other cool things to check out near the pier, in this article we breakdown everything you need to know about Oceanside Beach. 

Let’s not mention the Oceanside Harbor Village. Check out our ultimate guide of the things you can see at Oceanside Harbor Village.

If you want to learn of other awesome piers to check out then read this article here! There are gorgeous walking areas to check out.

Carlsbad Beach in North County

This beach is found directly below Oceanside Beach and it has a lot to offer. 

Carlsbad beach has a cool little grassy area that can get quite busy especially during summer weekends. You can catch people practicing gymnastics, handstands, and calisthenics.

Carlsbad beach has a neat downtown area called Carlsbad Village, where there is a lot to see and enjoy. The best part is that this downtown is within walking distance to North Carlsbad Beach. 

To top it off, there is a famous boardwalk known as the Carlsbad Seawall. Here you can find people running, jogging, walking, etc. 

The Carlsbad Seawall also allows pets. In this article, we breakdown everything you need to enjoy about the Carlsbad boardwalk/seawall. Learn more about what it offers. 

If you want to learn more about what to find in the Carlsbad Village, then be sure to read our article here too. It is here where you can find delicious places to eat and the best part is…

It is all within walking distance! 

Learn how to experience Carlsbad Beach like a local, read this article right here.

San Onofre Beach

This beach is definitely the furthest of them all, yet it is the most tranquil and quiet. Don’t expect large entertainment and large crowds. Instead, you’ll be glad to know there are fewer people and more peace and serenity. 

One of the coolest things about San Onofre Beach is that beach camping is one of the best. 

Learn more about San Onofre Beach Camping here, along with the other best places to camp in or around San Diego. 


This is one of the most popular beaches in probably all of the San Diego beaches. It may be because of its beautiful bluffs or the cleanliness of the water. Whatever the reason may be, Cardiff-by-the-Sea is one of the most gorgeous beaches that you need to visit. 

By: Mikela Garza

You can do anything from swimming, kayaking, drone flying and of course swimming! 

Learn how Cardiff-by-the-Sea has become a gem for many tourist and locals. Read it here.

Del Mar Beach

A heavenly dog beach for many pups and their owners. It is here where you can enjoy the water, sun, and sand along with your pups. Not only can you take your pup to splash around in the water, but you can also enjoy the water yourself. 

If your lucky, you can enjoy the annual surf dog competition held every year. A close friend of mine, also enjoys taking her pup to surf lessons there. It is fun to see the dogs surfing around. 

If you would like to read more of what Del Mar Beach offers, then be sure to check out this blog post where we breakdown everything you need to know about Del Mar Dog Beach right here. 


The San Diego beaches in the North County area never get recognized for their distinct feature. Sure, these beaches may not be within walking distance of downtown San Diego, but there is more offered. 

If you do plan on taking a one day trip to the beach and hope to eventually experience LA or North County then don’t wait to visit these beaches or at least one on the way.  San Diego beaches in North County are more beautiful than they seem. 

Each and every one of these North County beaches offer sand, sun, and water, so you cannot go wrong with whichever you pick.

Though some do offer different experiences. 

For example, if you would like to enjoy the gorgeous pier with panoramic views of the ocean then do not look further than Oceanside Beach. After all, it is the longest pier on the west coast, with gorgeous sunsets!

Who would not want to visit!?

Or let’s say you cannot help but travel with your pup, then definitely Del Mar beach is the way to go. 

Not only can you dog make friends, but so can you!

You’ll be surprised how many pups visit this beach.

If you are traveling up north and want the perfect tranquil camping beach spot then look no further than San Onofre Beach. There really is no other reason to stop there. 

If you pick one of these or decide to visit all five, then you will be in for a treat.  There really is so much to do. 

Remember, visiting beaches is fun when you vacation. But let’s not forget that beaches are becoming more polluted. 

Let’s help bring awareness into our oceans and see how our actions impact local beaches. After all, don’t we all want to keep enjoying these gorgeous places for future generations to come? 

Help support local beaches around you. 

Pick up trash around you. 

Read more here, how beaches are becoming more polluted and what you can do to help prevent this!

Help our beaches live on forever. 

And you can help protect them!

Learn about responsible travel when you visit these beaches. Check out our blog here.


Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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