Guide to San Diego Beaches—And the Personalities to Match

As you know from “Anchorman,” San Diego is America’s Finest City—among other nicknames. You’ve seen the sprawling beaches filled with beautiful people on the movie screen and it’s time for you to get a piece. Before you jump into a Speedo and hit the waves, take a minute to figure out which beach you want to check out first. Oftentimes, the types of people on the sand tell you everything you need to know about the personality of each neighbourhood. Here are the five people you’re likely to meet at San Diego’s beaches:

Ocean Beach Bob

Bob loves Bob—Bob Marley that is. Bubbly Bob is wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt, is playing Bob Marley on his 1980s boombox, and smells like a Bob Marley concert full of premium reefer. You may find Bob on the OB Pier, the longest concrete pier on the West Coast–though there’s a better chance he’s under the steps selling hemp bracelets (2 for $5!). Sometimes you’ll find a smiling Bob on the grassy knoll playing his bongo drum or learning how to tightrope walk between the palm trees.  Take it from him, life requires a hazy sense of ease in Ocean Beach, the fiercely local, dirty-hippie beach. You’re more likely to find a joint in the sand than a seashell, but if you’re into that kind of thing, you may make some quick friends admiring the shapes of the clouds.

Mission Beach Milo

Milo is from Arizona and is so gleefully happy to be out of the desert. He has sunscreen on thick and a rented bike in tow and is ready to hit the boardwalk. This long stretch of pavement takes him from Belmont Park, the small permanent carnival, to Crystal Pier. He’ll cruise along, admire the view, and hop off now and then to play a round of beach volleyball with his buddies who live here. At first glance, this stretch of sand is quite crowded—especially near the parking lots—but you can still find empty pockets for a game of volleyball, Frisbee, or soccer. Like a good SoCal cocktail, Mission Beach has a nice mix of everything anyone could want.

Pacific Beach Princess

Princess, yes her real name, may be hard to spot. She’s the one with the fake tan, fake blonde hair, and beer-branded bikini. No, not that one. Not that one. That one. She has the hungover smile and is quite distracted Instagraming the afternoon hanging at the beach with her large group of friends. She might not be the best person to approach as she’s rather cliquey, but trust me, she knows where all of the best events are located. Tanning at the beach is only phase one at this party beach. With clubs like Bar West, Typhoon Saloon, and Shore Club within walking distance, Pacific Beach is the most popular beach for young 20-somethings looking for days of sun and nights of shots. Don’t worry though. They allow brunettes on the sand too.

La Jolla Laura

Laura doesn’t exactly go out on the beach. She prefers to admire it from her million-dollar home. She’s well-dressed in breezy white cotton capris, Prada shirt, and pearls to match her strappy sandals. Laura is rather busy though; she’s entertaining a cocktail party later today with the ocean view in the background. What Laura likes to brag about—and she’s right—is that La Jolla’s beach has the best views of the sunset and some of the most surf-friendly waves in the county. This makes it a hot spot for rich locals as well as surfer students who go to the nearby University of California, San Diego. Prepare to Instagram both Lamborghinis and scooters on your way to the waves.

Coronado Conrads

The Conrads are a family of eager travellers who wanted to stay close to their hotel by the airport. As the closest beach to the San Diego International Airport and downtown, they hopped on the ferry to Coronado Island. They’re quite happy meeting other out-of-towner families playing at the kid-friendly beach. Dad Conrad is taking photos of the skylines and Mom Conrad is looking forward to touring the historic Hotel Del Coronado later today. Susie and Johnny are just happy to be playing in the water. Though, if it’s not July or August, they’re a little surprised that the Pacific isn’t quite as warm as it appears in the movies. While there is certainly a strong set of military personnel and retirees on the island, this small beach is mainly filled with visitors who are looking for Hollywood-style views of city.

Whether you’re looking for a party beach, a family beach, or something in between, San Diego has what you’re searching for. Go ahead, buy a cheesy beach towel and take a selfie with Bob, Princess, and the rest of the SD crew. Ron Burgundy would approve.

 Which San Diego beach matches your personality?

Featured Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons/Gary J. WoodVia/https://flic.kr/p/VdJXK

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About Author

Jennifer Cuellar

Jennifer Cuellar is a writer, an avid explorer, and fan of all things Games of Thrones-related. When she’s not sipping tea in a café by the beach, she’s off writing about wondrous cities you simply have to visit. From mountain peaks to downtown streets, there’s a world of adventure waiting to be explored. She spotlights top cities to tour, which attractions you’ve got to see, and off-the-beaten path activities to try during your next vacation. Let’s go travel!

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