11 Must-See Family Beaches in San Diego to Check Out This Summer

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The beauty of San Diego includes the gorgeous sun, waves, and sand in the summer. What better time to share this gorgeous place than with your loved ones? Lucky for you there are plenty of family beaches in San Diego where you can spend your summer. 

Whether you’re bringing grandma, grandpa, your parents, your kids, or even yourself you can rest assured as there are plenty of beaches to choose from. 

Trust me, whichever beach you choose, you’ll love it. <3

Don’t be caught off-guard like many others. Equip yourself with our top favorite 5 essential beach must-haves and avoid common beach pitfalls! 🏖️🌞🌊

1. YETI Wheeled Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks chilled under the sun.

2. Kelty Tent: Seek refuge from the sun with a lightweight, easy-to-set-up beach tent.

3. BeachBub Umbrella: Stay cool and protected with a durable, stylish UPF beach umbrella.

4. Trailhead Chair: Sit back and relax with a comfortable and sturdy beach chair.

5. CGear Sand-Free Mat Sand Blanket: Keep the sand at bay and stay comfortable with a sand-resistant blanket.

All these beaches are similar and yet so different. They all offer something unique you are looking for in a beach.

Whether this is the first time you’re taking a family vacation to California, or been here plenty of times…the experience is always different. You will definitely enjoy the gorgeous family-friendly beaches along the way. 

Read along as we break down the best family beaches to be spending your lazy weekdays and weekend ends.

Family Beaches in San Diego 2

What Makes San Diego Perfect for Families to Enjoy and Why

With unlimited entertainment and a chance to get away from it all, there is plenty to enjoy including the popular and not-so-popular beaches. 

San Diego is also known for its epic views. 

If you’re looking for a beach with more hiking views then do not forget to check out Torrey Pines State Reserve! It has a lot to offer and will even give you and your family a good workout! 

Here are the Top 10 Family Beaches in San Diego that you need to check out.

Mission Beach San Diego

Sunset at Mission Beach

This beach is like a tiny fair. There is endless entertainment here and lots for you to do with your family. One of the most famous areas on this beach is Belmont Park. With a roller coaster and arcade games on the boardwalk, it will be hard to get bored here.

Tip: Get there in the morning to secure a parking spot. There is a parking lot not too far from the Belmont Park area and usually gets packed by noon.  

Mission Bay San Diego Camping

Mission Bay has an area where you can camp with your RV. It is one of the more modern camping trips you need to visit. It’s perfect for families. Keep in mind that you must make reservations ahead of time so prepare for it. In addition, Mission Bay is perfect for all families.

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It’s a combination of a park and a recreational area. So you can do everything from running, barbecuing, and boating in the Bay Area. You definitely have to check it out. You can check out our blog here where we break down why this comes in as one of the top areas to see.

La Jolla Shores San Diego

La Jolla is still one of my favorite places to visit. It has a lot to do. From snorkeling to paddleboarding, you will keep your family entertained for hours. It gets super busy in the summer. Parking may be a little of a headache here so just be sure to arrive early as well. 

Some Scuba divers in La Jolla Cove, California

La Jolla Cove San Diego

If you’ve never been to the children’s pool area, then you may be missing out. It is the place to go! Though you cannot get too close to the seals, it is so much fun to observe and hear them bark. Yes, they do bark haha.

Treat the seals with respect. Give them their space. You will see signs saying let nature as it is. Do not disrupt them. If you see someone disrespecting the seals then be sure to alert a lifeguard. 

Moonlight Beach San Diego

Moonlight is probably the most popular place for families to hang out. Built with a playground specifically for children, it is the place to take your little ones. You can check out the ice cream shop and shop that is here. Read our blog about Moonlight State Beach to learn more!

Cardiff State Beach San Diego

sunset-at-cardiff by the sea
Sunset view at Cardiff-by-the-Sea Beach

This little gem is perfect for the fam! It has become super famous for family camping and BBQs. One of my favorite areas to visit not far off from here is called the meditation garden.

It is free but definitely, a gorgeous quiet garden where you can catch the panoramic ocean views and do some meditation. There is a donation box if you want to try it out. Read our blog to learn more about Cardiff-State Beach.

Coronado Beach San Diego

Perfect for families with a pup. Coronado has been very dog friendly since they have designated a beach just for dogs! Whether you bring your dog or not, this beach has both an area for humans and dogs. Plus don’t get me started on the amazing beach town of Coronado!

One of my favorite places to visit after I’m done basking in the sun. Check out our blog where we wrote why you should bring your pup to Coronado Beach here. 

Woman playing with dog at Coronado Dog Beach in San Diego.

Pacific Beach San Diego

Though this beach may look a little different at night, it’s perfect to visit during the day. It has unlimited fun and entertainment for just about anyone. At night it does become a college party town and things may shift. But definitely check it out during the day. 

Carlsbad State Beach San Diego

The beautiful blue waters of Carlsbad Beach

This beach is perfect for anyone staying in the North County area. There is so much to see and do, if you get hungry and then walk through Carlsbad State Village, you are bound to find a good eatery or ice cream shop to crave that sweet tooth.

You can find everything from boutique shops to ice cream shops and anything in between. This blog right here will show you how to explore Carlsbad State Beach like a local.

Torrey Pines Beach

If you’re an active family and love a hiking challenge then this beach is maybe for you. Once you get to the top the views are breathtaking! The bottom part of this beach has a place for you to relax.

I highly recommend you check out this blog where we break down everything you need to know about Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Cabrillo National Monument

If you are looking for a more hands-on experience then look no further than Cabrillo. Though you may be able to swim or dip your toes in the water, you can learn a great deal of history here.

The views are gorgeous panoramic with the chance of checking out some whale watching in the early spring. Cabrillo has everything from gentle hiking, to gorgeous views, whale watching, and history.

Check out our blog where we write everything you need to see when visiting Cabrillo here.  

Tips to Remember When Visiting These Beaches

As always you have to practice safety at the beach. Whether you have little ones or not it’s always important to keep some simple tips under your wings.  

You can check out our blog about the simple tips for beach safety to remember the next time you visit a beach. You can check it out here. These simple beach safety tips can save your life. 

Packing for a beach trip should not be hard or stressful. Making sure you have the simple basics will make your trip just a little bit smoother. More or less, I always bring my essential packing list stuff and other important things.

Check out our blog on what things may be important for you to pack on your next trip here. These things have always helped make my trip just a little bit easier. 

Torrey Pines Oceanview
Torrey Pines Oceanview

Keep in mind that you can always pack lighter when you travel. If you need to bring more things than usual then that’s ok, just make sure you aren’t bringing the surplus.  

When you have little ones it’s more important to pack the right things for them than not. Read about the top things you need to bring to the beach right here. 

As a general rule of thumb. I love to bring snacks to the beach that will keep me full and sane. In addition, I love going for healthier snacks that I can munch on while I lay on the beach.

I have brought these for my families, friends, and even myself and they just love them. 

You can read this blog about the healthy beach snacks we love bringing right here. Whether it’s fruit or nuts, it is simple and yummy. 


As summer draws closer each day, it’s best to check out the amazing family beaches in San Diego. Whether it’s your first time visiting San Diego or not. There is so much you can do and plan for when you come. 

There are plenty of favorite beaches you can check out this summer that has everything you’re looking for. Filled with fun activities and learning, there really is no reason to go anywhere else. 

Whether you check one of these or all of these just keep in mind to practice some beach safety. Keep these simple beach tips in mind, and you’re off to have a fantastic beach summer trip. 

Taking your family can be so much fun, but also making sure you are organized! Pack the right things and you can totally transform your trip! Check out the essential packing list we use here.

I hope you are excited about this summer! I know I am.

Whichever one you choose may bring you that needed summer joy you desire! Have fun and don’t forget to splatter on that sunscreen. Check out my favorite sunscreens right here. I never leave the house without any of it on. Protect your skin from the harsh UV rays. 

What family beaches in San Diego have you visited this summer?

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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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Don’t be caught off-guard like many others. Equip yourself with our Top Favorite 5 Essential Beach Must-Haves and avoid common beach pitfalls! 🏖️🌞🌊

1. YETI Wheeled Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks chilled under the sun.

2. Kelty Tent: Seek refuge from the sun with a lightweight, easy-to-set-up beach tent.

3. BeachBub Umbrella: Stay cool and protected with a durable, stylish UPF beach umbrella.

4. Trailhead Chair: Sit back and relax with a comfortable and sturdy beach chair.

5. CGear Sand-Free Mat Sand Blanket: Keep the sand at bay and stay comfortable with a sand-resistant blanket.

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