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San Diego is the perfect seaside city for us water-loving frogs, since there are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit in the city and just a hop away in North County. With near-perfect weather year round, beach days are a must when you are visiting San Diego with froglets. A visit to the beach is also a great way to relax between fun-filled days at SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Zoo. Here are the top family-friendly beaches to spend a frogtastic day in San Diego.
Centrally located in downtown Carlsbad, Tamarack is a great beach for some toadally awesome family fun. It is an ideal location to get your fins wet, whether you prefer hopping around in the surf or riding the waves on a boogie board. This Momma Frog loves that this beach does not get too crowded and has clean amenities, including public restrooms. This beach is also known for its spectacular sunsets, so pack a picnic and stay until dusk when your family will have a front-row seat to one of nature’s best shows. There is a small paid parking lot located on the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and Tamarack Avenue, but street parking is recommended.
La Jolla Shores Beach
For a hopping good time for the entire family, this picturesque beach has a little something for everyone. For pint-sized frogs, there is the Dike Rock Tide Pools that are located north of Scripps Pier. These tide pools are a guaranteed adventure during low tide and are filled with all kinds of magical sea creatures, including starfish, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs and the rare octopus. The beach itself is ideal for older frogs hoping to take advance of the many water sports available, from sea kayaking to snorkeling. There's ample soft sand to sunbathe and play on. Clean public showers and restrooms are on-site. Nearby Kellogg Park is perfect for when you want to take a break from the sand. In the park, there is a playground as well as a large grassy area ideal for picnics. A large free parking lot makes this beach a dream for families.
Moonlight State Beach
This central Encinitas beach is a frogtastic additional activity for your entire family if you are staying in the area for LEGOLAND California or San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Take your pick of activities, from lounging on the spotless sand to a playground for tadpoles to hop around to their hearts’ content. The gradual slope of the beach into the water and the attentive lifeguards make it an excellent family-friendly beach destination. It can get quite crowded during the summer months, so make sure to get there early to snag a prime spot on the beach! There is a paid parking lot with an entrance on C Street, but look for free street parking beforehand.
Silver Strand State Beach
For a quieter beach experience, head to this scenic stretch of sand that is located on a 7-mile isthmus named The Strand in Coronado. Due to its size and location, it feels like it is never too crowded, even during peak season. This state beach offers a seemingly endless list of activities from sea kayaking to prime shell collecting in this more rustic seaside setting. The beach itself is clean and spacious, with lifeguards keeping a watchful eye. There is also tunnel access to the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, where you can grab some snacks from its marketplace to fuel your day. Day use parking lot fees are $10 Monday through Friday and $12 Saturday through Sunday.
For a true city beach, Ocean Beach (or OB as the locals call it) is a solid option for frog families visiting nearby SeaWorld San Diego. The beach and town is laid back and has a strong community feel to the area. With one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast, this is the perfect viewing point to watch the surfers do their thing on the waves below. On the northern side is the OB Dog Park, where any dog-loving frogs can watch some of the city’s hoppiest pups frolic in the surf. If you go Wednesday, stay for the OB Farmers’ Market from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., which has food booths, live music and llama rides. Street parking is available on nearby Newport Avenue and in the residential neighborhood bordering the beach.
Coronado Central Beach
Located next to the historic Hotel del Coronado, this beach literally shimmers from the gold flecks that come from a mineral called mica. The beach itself is considered one of the best in the area with a wide swath of sand for frog families to sunbathe, explore the tide pools, search for sand dollars and boogie board on the baby waves. The hotel at the southern end of the beach allows for access to clean restrooms and dining options. There are also beach chairs and cabana rentals available with food and drink service if you want to treat yourself. Clean public restrooms and showers are located next to the central lifeguard tower. Your best bet for parking is the residential neighborhood next to the beach, unless it is your lucky day and you find a spot right on the beach on Ocean Boulevard.
This city beach is a froglet’s dream. It's home to Belmont Park, an old-fashion beachfront amusement park that features the Giant Dipper, one of the only wooden roller coasters left. Park admission is free — you just need to pay as you go for the rides. Start your day at the amusement park for rides and games (mini golf! zip lining! carnival games!), and when everyone is tuckered out, head to the beach for some relaxation and to stick your fins in the soft sand. There are plenty of food options on the boardwalk, from fast food to sit-down restaurants. Mission Beach is a froggerific way to spend an inexpensive, memorable day for the entire family! Best of all there is free parking at Belmont Park.
Del Mar City Beach North
Located right above La Jolla in North County, this city beach is froggerific for families with its easy access, tame surf, coastal parks for picnics and a playground with a view of the water. The exact perimeters of this beach are the end of 15th street and the beginning of North Beach (Dog Beach). The best swimming is around 15th street and prime sunbathing spots are around 17th Street. This beach is centrally located and is a hop away from Del Mar’s shops and restaurants when you want to take a break from beach life. Parking can be a pain, especially in the busy summer months, but residential parking is your best bet.
What are your favorite family-friendly beaches in San Diego? Have a question about San Diego’s beaches or visiting the city? Hop down to comments and drop us a line!
Related: Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego
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