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Ocean Beach

California

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Bohemian Beach

Though Southern California—and San Diego especially—is known for hip, laid-back beaches and beach-town atmospheres, it doesn’t get any better than Ocean Beach. Crowds of young bohemian beach-lovers congregate here to surf, socialize and savor everything about this far-out place.

Just seven miles northwest of downtown San Diego, Ocean Beach is made up of a one-mile stretch of sand, but it’s not at all monotonous. Each section of the beach offers a distinct experience.

Dogs can run wild and free at Dog Beach, a famed section that was the first official leash-free beach haven in the nation. Those traveling as a family flock to Saratoga Avenue, with its grassy area (great for a picnic!), lifeguard stations, bathrooms and showers. Boogie-boarders and bodysurfers take advantage of the waves at this end of the beach.

Large, stunning cliffs are the main draw at the Santa Cruz Avenue stretch, and if it’s fantastic views you’re after, you’ll find them here.

Noshing and Nightlife

When it’s time to get your grub on, head over to Voltaire Street, which is the starting point for most people venturing to Ocean Beach. Here you’ll find tons of dining and drinking options, as well as plenty of opportunities to shop.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in this area, head over to Newport Avenue, with its own stretch of bars, restaurants and nightlife spots.

Be sure not to miss the Ocean Beach pier. From the pier’s end, you can get a great view of the overall beachfront as well as the ocean and its rolling waves. The pier is home to a popular diner, so grab a seat and watch the spectacular sunset.

Parking

Driving to Ocean Beach? No problem—there are numerous parking lots along the stretch of beach, so finding a spot shouldn’t be an issue. Free parking can be found at the end of Voltaire Street, along with bathrooms and showers, making it a one-stop shop before you head out to the beach.

Ocean Beach at a Glance

City:San Diego

Country or State:California

Length of Beach:1 mile

Access:By car, by taxi

Best time to visit:May and June - fewer crowds

High Season:June to October

Low Season:November to May

Beach Hours:24/7

Facilities:

  • Many bars, resturants and shops on Newport Avenue
  • Lifeguards
  • Public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • White sand
  • Saltwater
  • Popular

Special Events:

  • Ocean Street Beach Fair and Chili Cookoff, Ocean Beach Jazz Festival

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