Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach Information

Pacific BeachThe beach area south of Crystal Pier is known as Pacific Beach. This beach continues south for over two miles, becoming Mission Beach and then South Mission Beach, eventually ending at the channel entrance to Mission Bay. This long beach, known as The Strand, lies directly adjacent to the residential and commercial areas of the Pacific Beach and Mission Beach communities. It is the most popular beach in the City of San Diego and draws large crowds in summer. North Pacific Beach continues to the north, but is visually separated by Crystal Pier, a publicly accessible fishing pier.

A somewhat narrow cement boardwalk parallels the entire beach. Walking, biking, bicycling, and related activities are permitted on the boardwalk, but speed is regulated and must be kept to eight miles per hour or less. Cycles with more than two wheels are not permitted except for use by the disabled. At all times, people must use caution and courtesy in using the boardwalk.

Various shops, restaurants, and beach rental outfits can be found bordering the north end of Pacific Beach, north of Pacific Beach drive. The southern end is predominately residential, with commercial areas a block or so from the beach on Mission Boulevard.

Lifeguard Protection:

Lifeguards are staffed daily year round at the main lifeguard station at the foot of Grand Avenue. In summer, additional lifeguards are staffed along the beach in seasonal lifeguard towers. Lifeguards are generally on duty from 9:00 a.m. to dusk; but check with lifeguards for specific staff hours.

Rip Currents:

Most California beaches experience strong rip currents. Our safety tips section provides an explanation of rip currents and some methods of freeing yourself if caught in a rip current. The best advice is to swim near a lifeguard.

Water Activity Zones:

This beach has separate water areas reserved for swimming and surfing. Check with lifeguards for details.


Surfing is permitted at this beach in designated areas. Many peaks up and down the beach on a good day, a very fun place to surf.


This beach is not recommended for scuba diving due to lack of undersea life, heavy water activity, and surf.

Restrooms and Showers:

Public restrooms and showers are located at the foot of Grand Avenue at the lifeguard station and in the median of Pacific Beach Drive between the boardwalk and Mission Boulevard. There are no public restrooms between Pacific Beach Drive and Mission Beach.

Disabled Accessibility:

The boardwalk is accessible to wheelchairs and provides an excellent view of the beach.

Beach Fires:

Containers for beach fires are generally provided during summer months and available on a first come, first served basis. The burning of rubbish is prohibited. Only wood, charcoal, or paper products may be used as fuel. Fuel for the fire may not exceed a height of more than twelve inches above the upper edge of the fire container. The fire must be extinguished before leaving the beach. Open beach fires outside containers are prohibited at all San Diego beaches.


Standard San Diego beach regulations apply, with the following modifications:

Alcohol may not be consumed on the boardwalk, on or against the seawall, or in any park adjacent to the beach.


Take Interstate 5 to Grand Avenue. Follow it west to the terminus at the ocean.

Public Transit:

Call San Diego Transit at 233-3004 for buses that serve this beach.


Parking is essentially limited to on-street parking on with a few designated spaces in the median at the foot of Grand Avenue and along adjacent Ocean Boulevard.

Large Groups:

The basic rule of thumb is that any gathering of over 75 people requires a permit from the Park and Recreation Department. A permit is also required for a wedding, water event, athletic event, voice and/or music amplification, or use of special setup equipment (such as an inflatable party jump, dunk tank, canopy, etc.) For permit information call Regional Parks at (619) 235-1169.

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