Crystal Pier separates Pacific Beach and North Pacific Beach, two of the most iconic beaches in San Diego, where locals and tourists go to experience California Dreamin’. These beaches are the top choices for young adults looking to get wet and wily during the day, visiting their favorite beachfront taco stands and working on their tans. At night, PB is where new friends are made at a funky beach bar, and new loves discovered at one of the sultry night clubs. North Pacific Beach and Pacific Beach are the perfect blend of casual and upscale, here you can find casual diners or upscale restaurants. Bikinis, board shorts, and flip-flops are the main attire when hanging out on these three miles of oceanfront paradise.
Those who want to get out and surf the waves head to Tourmaline Surfing Park, which is a surfing only beach that starts right where the headlands of La Jolla end. This beach is located in the North Pacific Beach area, and is perfect for novice surfers and beginners who are just starting out on a longboard. On windy days you may even catch a few windsurfers and kite boarders cruising by and showing off. Tourmaline has a small parking lot, bathrooms with outdoor showers to rinse off, and a little picnic area.
While these two beaches are favorites among young adults, families also enjoy the North PB shoreline. Hidden below a bluff between Tourmaline and the Crystal Pier is the main area of North Pacific Beach known to locals as the calm before the storm of Pacific Beach. This is the quieter area of the beach that is perfect for families; its swimming areas are lifeguard supervised, and it has bathrooms at the ends of both Diamond and Law Streets. This is the shoreline where sunbathers, sand castle makers, and swimmers can enjoy a day at the beach in relative calm.
Pacific Beach runs from Crystal Pier to Pacific Beach Drive. This area of the shoreline is often crowded and steeped in a festive party atmosphere. Although the shoreline is divided between swimmers and surfers, many surfers would say the waves are mediocre at best. There are several places that offer bike, skateboard, and rollerblade rentals along the Pacific Beach section of the boardwalk that connects with Mission Beach. You’ll also find a multitude of surf shops offering surfboard and boogie board rentals and lessons. There are several beachfront bars in PB so music, laughter, and shenanigans are common along the boardwalk. When visiting Pacific Beach, expect to find loads of people both on and off the sand, especially during the sunny summer afternoons.
Near To Beach
Pacific Beach and North Pacific Beach stretch from Pacific Beach Drive to a couple blocks past Tourmaline Street. Garnet Avenue is the main drag leading to Pacific Beach where you’ll find a multitude of restaurants, great boutiques for beach shopping, and a buzzing nightlife. Mission Boulevard runs parallel to the coastline and has many places to eat, bars to enjoy a cocktail, and stores catering to beach activities. In North Pacific Beach, Tower 23 or Pacific Terrace Hotel are two good oceanfront places to stay in the neighborhood. The French Gourmet, a bistro on Turquoise Street, or Bare Back Grill, a kiwi-themed restaurant on Emerald Street are great restaurants. Café 976 at the corner of Cass and Felspar Streets is the best place for breakfast.
For a breakfast of champions in Pacific Beach, follow the crowd to Kono’s Café at the end of Garnet Avenue next to Crystal Pier. Sit out under the stars and listen to the rhythmic sounds of the waves while enjoying a cocktail or late dinner on the rooftop of Pacific Beach Ale House. Check out Taco Tuesday’s at World Famous and watch the sunset over tantalizing fish tacos and cold beers. Get your fill of sports at Fat Fish Cantina or Miller’s Field. For overnight accommodations in PB, book your stay at the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa. There are no shortages of things to do when visiting these two beaches or the neighborhood they call home.
Pacific Beach Essentials
One of the most important things people need to know when visiting NPB and PB is that finding parking can be tricky. There is only one small parking lot along this shoreline and it is at the end of Tourmaline Street and the surfers’ beach. Street parking is really the only other options for these two beaches, however there are a few paid parking lots scattered throughout the neighborhood.
You can find bathroom facilities at Crystal Pier, at the end of Garnet Avenue, and at the lifeguard station at the end of Grand Avenue, this is also where the main lifeguard station is located. The lifeguard stands are staffed year round in both North Pacific Beach and Pacific Beach so you can enjoy your water activities safely. It is important to note that alcohol is banned at both beaches, fines are stiff, and alcohol is confiscated or poured on the beach. Why bother with the hassle when the boardwalk is lined with restaurants and bars?
Pacific Beach – It’s a Wrap
Visiting Pacific Beach or North Pacific Beach is a way to have a truly authentic “California Living” experience. This three-mile stretch of shoreline is one of the most visited places in San Diego, so whether you’re a surfer, small family, or young adult looking for a good time, come to PB; you won’t be disappointed. When planning your beach visit here make sure you plan to stay the entire day into the night; you’ll be surprised how quickly you lose track of time. That’s the allure of these two beaches, they have a way of swooping you up and transporting you to another world.