San Diego Beach Information

San Diego beaches

There is over 70 miles of San Diego beach and shoreline. These range from pristine white-sands to rocky shores. Some beaches (such as La Jolla Cove) offer gentle waves suited for children while others (such as Windansea) offer smashing waters suited for the very brave. Because of different water & shore conditions, some locales are suitable for swimming & snorkeling while others are great for surfing. Choose a beach:

San Diego beaches
Rules and Regulations

The beach is the place to go to kickback and relax. But in order to keep everyone safe, please adhere to these rules and regulations:
  • glass containers are not allowed
  • alcohol of any kind is not allowed
  • smoking is not allowed
  • overnight camping is not allowed*
  • open fires allowed only in City-designated fire pits or in personal barbeques that are elevated off the ground
  • dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9 am to 6 pm. After that, dogs are permitted but must be on a leash. Owners are required to clean up after their dog**
*Beach camping is allowed at South Carlsbad State Beach, San Elijo State Park, Silver Strand State Beach (RV only), and Mission Bay (RV only).
**Dogs are allowed 24 hour a day without a leash at Dog Beach (Ocean Beach) and Fiesta Island (Mission Bay).

San Diego lifeguards


Lifeguards are on duty in some but not all beaches. For those who do not know how to swim, please play near a lifeguard station so that help is near by if/when needed.

Lifeguards post flags along the beach to impart information.
  • A yellow and black checkered flag divides the beach into zones: swimming, surfing, or boating.
  • A red flag signifies "no swimming here".
  • A yellow flag with a black dot means "swimming only" (no surf boards or boats here).
  • A green flag means "all OK".
Each beach uses a slightly different flag system so read the accompanying signs or ask the lifeguard to be sure.

San Diego beaches
On average, lifeguards in San Diego perform over 5000 water rescues per year. These include:
  • rescuing swimmers, divers, surfers;
  • assisting stranded boaters, cliffside hikers/climbers;
  • providing medical aid (jelly fish stings, sun stroke etc);
  • and more!
They don't just look good, they do good. So be respectful: it is a "Misdemeanor" to purposely disobey or provide false information to a lifeguard; it is a "felony battery" to intentionally injure a lifeguard.

San Diego beaches dangers

Beaches go hand in hand with fun-in-the-sun; however a San Diego beach can also be plagued with natural and man-made dangers. Before you pack your beach bag consider these hazards: red tide, rip currents, sting rays, jelly fish, and more. Play safe by reading about how to protect yourself from these dangers.

Choose a San Diego beach: