How to find the best San Diego Beach Piers

San Diego beach piers are voted as the top ones to see in all of California.

In order to catch a stunning view of the ocean then you need pier.

And the best part?

These beach piers are located in San Diego County.

With its phenomenal views from atop, there really is no reason to pick a San Diego beach with a pier.

There are four gorgeous beaches in San Diego with beach piers open to the public, and if you’re out looking for a specific beach pier then look no further.

Stick around as I explore what it is you should expect from an amazing beach pier. What each pier has? And where they are located?

Like many o f you, I have also wondered the question: which beaches here in San Diego county have a beach pier view?

What can I expect from visiting a pier?

So I decided to find out by myself. 

Because remember, no beach pier is exactly like the other…

What to expect when visiting San Diego County beaches with piers

San Diego beach piers have a lot more to offer than you believe. Not only do you get a spectacular view of the ocean, but you get the best places to go fishing and dining.

Almost all of the beach piers in San Diego offer free entrance to the public. Unlike some beaches in Florida where you do have to pay a small fee to enter, these beaches are open to the general public.

Fishermen of course, must have a license to fish in certain piers if they wish to do so.

The best time to visit the pier would be in the morning or daytime. Catch the sunset if you can! It is spectacular to see the sunset’s colors. 

It can get cold at night so if you do decide to visit at night then bundle up. It could get quite chilly out there.

Things You Can do on a beach pier

Take amazing photographs of both the sunrise or sunset

Eat a delicious meal by the beach (if there is a restaurant)

Go fishing on the pier

Take an amazing sunset stroll on the pier

Watch fisherman catch fish on the pier

Bring a picnic, so bring your chairs (I see this done a lot)

Watch the surfers surf

The 4 famous beach piers in San Diego that you must visit

1. Ocean Beach Pier:

Photo by Derek Story

One of the most popular and liked beach piers in all of San Diego County.

This pier has become a favorite to many locals and tourists.

It extends approximately 1,971 feet out into the ocean and with its unusual “T- shape” it has been one of the most interesting places to visit. 

It has become very popular for any type of fisherman, since you do not need a fishing license to fish.

There is a restaurant and even a cool bait shop in case you are that fisherman who accidentally forgot to bring something along the way.

If you do find yourself here, then check out the local cafe on the pier itself. You can buy all kinds of goodies. 

Don’t forget to stay for the sunset, since the view is spectacular and you can see Sunset Cliffs on the south.

2. Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach:

Photo by Yuya Hata

You can definitely rent an over-the-ocean cottage right on the pier.

How crazy is that?

Some people enjoy booking a night here just to hear the crashing waves beneath them rock them to sleep.

At night the pier is closed to the general public and only available for those people who have made a reservation.

If you do plan on booking your stay here, it is best to book ahead of time since the place does become busy. 

Especially in the summer, the crowds are a bit more crowded.

Even if you do not plan on staying or booking a reservation, you can still walk the pier and even fish here. 

3. The Oceanside Beach Pier:

A wooden pier of 1,942 square feet long which also extends out into the ocean.

At the end, you can find a full restaurant called Ruby’s Diner (closed permanently, as of 2021), which will give you amazing views of the ocean while you dine.

It is best to make reservations because sometimes wait times could be more than an hour in the summer peak season!

If you are a fisherman then you can definitely benefit from the bait shop on board the pier.

Also, most people like capturing the sunset colors as well since there is a lot for you to see.

Oceanside beach is a lot quieter and it is found next to the Camp Pendleton marine base.

But there is a lot to do near the beach if you plan to.

This beach is found about 35 miles north of San Diego. 

4. Imperial Beach Pier:

This San Diego Beach pier extends about 1,491 feet into water and is more than 20 feet deep.

There is a restaurant on top of the pier. And fisherman can find a fish cleaning station for their catch. 

The neat thing about this pier is that it is home to the outdoor surfboard museum, which is pretty cool to check out. 

There are restrooms here if you need them as well.

And of course, the sunrise and sunset view is amazing. Do not hesitate to wake up early to catch it or stay late. 


Photo by Nick Jio

Why not visit one of the many beaches in San Diego with a pier!

The pros definitely outweigh the cons!

After all, not only will you have scenic beach photography to take home, but you will also be able to enjoy fishing, dining, walking, etc top on the pier.

Depending on the pier you choose, there is a lot you can do.

One of the most popular things you can do is fish upon the pier. But like many beaches, each are known to house a variety of different fish you can catch. 

Regardless if you like fishing or not, you can see all the fishermen relaxing and catching fish.

Also, you can take gorgeous sunrise and sunset photos by the ocean.

We have done this a lot.

The pier makes for the perfect place to capture the colors of the sunset.

The piers in San Diego are free and you can definitely walk it to your heart’s content. 

You may be required to have a fishing license for some of the beach piers.

Like most places, there are some rules you have to remember when accessing the pier. 

No dogs are allowed on most of the piers, there are signs outside noting that.

Though, if you are a pet owner, then there are plenty of other places where you pups will happily frolic through the water.

Unfortunately, there is no rollerblading, roller skating, biking or anything of the above.

No alcohol, glass containers, overhead casting, sitting on the rails, or jumping off the pier is neither allowed.

Photo by Wil Stewart

One tip I do recommend is wearing sandals or shoes. Most of the piers are made of wooden planks and you can easily get a splinter if you walk it barefoot. 

There are four famous piers that are accessible to the public. Of course each one is different and unique in their own way. 

Ocean Beach pier is considered the longest pier with a pretty cool T-shape look.

It has become very popular among fisherman since you do not need a fishing license to fish here. 

There is also a cafe for all your needs and the views at sunset are gorgeous.

Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach has also become very popular.

This pier is not open 24/7 like the rest.

The most interesting thing about this pier is that it houses cottages atop the pier.

You must book in advance if you would like to vacation atop this pier.

The Oceanside Pier is very popular in north county.

Though it is far from San Diego itself, it is a very beautiful beach to visit.

The cool thing about this pier is that it has full service restaurant atop it. 

Imperial Beach Pier. Another pier in San Diego county that allows you to do everything from fishing to strolling to eating.

This beach area is gorgeous as it is beautiful. 

Whatever beach you decide to see, each one of these offers a unique experience from sunbathing at the ocean to catching the surfers swim.

And don’t forget if you are staying for the sunset to capture those amazing pictures with your phone or camera.

Have you been to any of these beaches? and if so…what did you like about them?

Don’t forget that we show you other gorgeous beaches in San Diego, click here to read more about it. 

Looking for ideas what to do on the beach then visit this blog right, here.

San Clemente Pier Pin 2
San Clemente Pier Pin 1

Jess and Jeanette
About Jess and Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who created Unseen Beaches. This beach travel site was inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Helping you discover the best U.S. beach destinations worth visiting, staying, and eating.

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️


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