beaches & Shoreline parks

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With 17 miles of coastline and 4,600 acres around Mission Bay Park, San Diego offers a wide variety of beaches and amenities. San Diego Lifeguards patrol the beaches from nine permanent lifeguard stations (Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Mission Beach, North Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach, Children's Pool, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores, Black's Beach) and dozens of seasonal stations during the summer.

Black's Beach

Black's Beach, formally known as Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach, is jointly owned by the City of San Diego and the State of California.

Black's Beach is a 2-mile long, sandy strip situated at the base of majestic 300 foot cliffs. The glider port atop the cliffs overlooks the beach where hang gliders, paragliders and remote controlled gliders can often be seen soaring.

Black's Beach is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

Important Safety information

Access to Black's Beach is very difficult due to the high cliffs and unimproved and unmaintained trails. The safest access is from adjacent beaches to the north and south, but this access may be obstructed by high tides or surf. The cliffs of Black's Beach are unstable and slides can occur without warning, so it is best to stay well away from them.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is a sandy beach approximately 1 mile long located in the community of La Jolla. In summer, waves at this beach are usually the most gentle of all San Diego beaches.

La Jolla Shores is adjacent to the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. Fishing and removal of objects from this area is prohibited and possession of game is unlawful.

Many novice scuba classes are held at La Jolla Shores.

La Jolla Shores is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is a very small beach, tucked between sandstone cliffs.

Because of its extraordinary beauty, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California.

With small surf in the summer months, the north facing La Jolla Cove is ideal for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Water visibility at the Cove can sometimes exceed 30 feet.

La Jolla Cove lies within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which helps to ensure that marine life remains plentiful. Fishing and removal of objects from this area is prohibited, and possession of game is unlawful.

La Jolla Cove is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

Children's Pool

The Children's Pool is a small beach partially protected by a seawall. The original intention was to create a fully protected swimming area, but in recent years sand has filled in much of the area inside the wall.

This is a popular beach for scuba divers because of the reefs just offshore. These same reefs can create very strong currents and other hazards, particularly in high surf conditions.

This has also become a popular viewing area for harbor seals.  Seals and occasionally seal lions haul out on the beach to rest year-round.  The Children's Pool Beach is closed to public access during harbor seal pupping season, Dec. 15 through May 15, yearly.

This is a very picturesque beach with a panoramic view. Several small beaches are nearby including Wipeout Beach to the south and Shell Beach to the north.

Children's Pool is one of nine beaches that has a permanent lifeguard station patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

Windansea Beach

The rocky shore of Windansea Beach is perhaps best known for its beautiful scenery and surf breaks created by underwater reefs.

Much of Windansea experiences moderate to severe shore break, a condition on steep beaches which results in hard breaking surf right at the shoreline. This makes it a popular location for surfing, however, swimmers should enter and exit the water carefully to prevent potentially serious injury.

Sandstone rocks act as partitions along the beach offering a secluded atmosphere for sunbathing.

Pacific Beach

Located just south of Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach extends south before becoming Mission Beach. One of the busiest beach areas in San Diego, Pacific Beach draws large crowds of locals and tourists in the summer.

Pacific Beach is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

Mission Bay Beaches

Mission Bay Park is the largest aquatic park of its kind in the country. It consists of over 4,600 acres in roughly equal parts land and water. Mission Bay boasts 27 miles of shoreline, 19 of which are sandy beaches with eight locations designated as official swimming areas.

Mission Bay was originally named False Bay by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who came upon it in 1542. In those days, it was a vast tidal marsh that could confuse mariners into believing it was the larger bay just to the south, San Diego Bay. In 1944, civic leaders began a series of steps to dredge the marsh and create an aquatic recreation facility.

Today, you will find that Mission Bay is used by motor and sail boaters, rowers, waterskiers, picnickers, joggers and swimmers.

It is also home to many species of birds, fish, and other animals and has a nature reserve at its northern end near Crown Point.

Mission Beach

Spanning just over a mile in length, Mission Beach is at the center of the Golden Strand, between South Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

One of the most popular beach areas in the City of San Diego, Mission Beach draws large crowds in the summer to its oceanfront and adjacent Belmont Park.

Mission Beach is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.


Ocean Beach

Spanning just over a mile in length, Mission Beach is at the center of the Golden Strand, between South Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

Ocean Beach is located in the San Diego community of Ocean Beach. This is a wide beach, approximately 1 mile long and broken up by several rock jetties.

A volleyball area can be found near the north end of the beach.

Dog Beach, San Diego's only 24-hour beach for dogs, is a sandy area at the north end of the beach. This is a dog-run area where dogs are always permitted without a leash. Dog owners are responsible for control and clean-up of their dogs. Standard dog laws apply on other portions of Ocean Beach and are strictly enforced.

The Ocean Beach Municipal Pier is at the south end of the beach and is available to the public for walking and fishing. Fishing from the pier does not require a fishing license, but catch regulations (including minimum size, bag limits and seasons) are enforced. There is also a restaurant and bait shop on the pier.

Ocean Beach is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.

Mission Beach is one of nine beaches that has permanent lifeguard stations patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.


Calumet

Calumet Park is a small park in a residential neighborhood of Bird Rock. It over looks a popular surfing site called Rock Pile.

To get to the park, head north from Pacific Beach or south from La Jolla to La Jolla Boulevard, then turn west onto Midway Street. Go down two blocks to Calumet Avenue, and turn left. The park is about two houses down on the right-hand side.

Note: This site is used mainly for weddings and can be permitted for up to 80 people. Only one permit per day is issued for this site. Permits issued for wedding ceremonies are allotted up to four hours, including the set up and breakdown.

Maximum Capacity

80 people

Available Hours

Noon to 8 p.m.

Food/Beverages

Receptions are not allowed at this site, no food is allowed. No glass containers.

Restrooms

There are no restrooms at this site.

Fee

Contact the Permit Center at (619) 235-1169 for fee information.

Cuvier

Cuvier Park, also called The Wedding Bowl, is a small park located at Coast Boulevard and Cuvier Street in La Jolla. It is located directly across the street from the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. The park site is about five steps below street level so it is hard to see from the street. It is the most popular spot for weddings along the La Jolla coastline.

Take state Route 52 west to La Jolla Parkway, and continue as the street becomes Torrey Pines Road. Turn right on to Prospect Street and then right on to Cuvier Street. Street parking only.

Note: Site is permitted for weddings but not for receptions. Only one permit per day is issued for this site. Permits issued for wedding ceremonies are allotted up to four hours, including the set up and breakdown.

Maximum Capacity

40 people

Available Hours

8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Food/Beverages

Receptions are not permitted at this site. No glass containers.

Restrooms

There are no restrooms at this site.

Fee

Contact the Permit Center at (619) 235-1169 for fee information.

Ellen Browning Scripps

Most photographed spot in San Diego, according to AAA Magazine; this is a very popular spot for weddings. Permits are issued year round, with a maximum number of 80, from September through May; and 50, during the summer months of June through August.

Take state Route 52 west to La Jolla Parkway and continue as the street becomes Torrey Pines Road. Turn right on to Prospect Street and then right on to Coast Boulevard. The park is located at the bottom of the hill. Street parking only.

Note: Not all weekend days will be available for permits due to many different venues that happen at this park during the summer months. Only one permit per day is issued for this site. Permits issued for wedding ceremonies are allotted up to four hours, including the set up and breakdown.

Maximum Capacity

80 from September through May, and 50 from June through August.

Available Hours

4 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Food/Beverages

Food is allowed onsite, but no glass containers.

Restrooms

There is a restroom located nearby.

Fee

Contact the Permit Center at (619) 235-1169 for fee information.

Kellogg Park

Kellogg Park is the large grassy park located at La Jolla Shores beach, this area provides ample space for children to run and play. There is an excellent playground near the boardwalk about 75 yards south of the Lifeguard Station. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. La Jolla Shores has the only beachfront boat launch within the City limits and is a popular area for surf camps, divers and kayakers.

Take state Route 52 West to La Jolla Parkway and continue to the stoplight at the bottom of the hill. Turn right onto La Jolla Shores Road, then left onto Avenida de la Playa, and then right onto Camino del Oro. The parking lot is on the left-hand side. This parking lot fills up quickly during summer weekends.

Note: No alcohol or inflatable jumps are allowed.

Maximum Capacity

80 people

Available Hours

4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parking lot gates close at 10 p.m.

Food/Beverages

Food is allowed, but no glass containers or alcohol.

Restrooms

There are several restrooms with showers at this site.

Fee

Contact the Permit Center at (619) 235-1169 for fee information.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Dedicated in 1983, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a 68-acre resource-based park stretching along the Pacific Ocean bordering the western edge of Point Loma.

  • The 18-acre linear section of the park lies to the west of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard between Adair and Ladera streets.
  • The 50-acre hillside section, a designated multiple species conservation area, links to the 640-acre Point Loma Ecological Reserve beginning at the Navy property to the south.

The park's topography includes intricately carved coastal bluffs, arches and sea caves. It affords inspiring panoramic ocean views. From the cliffs, California gray whales often can be seen migrating annually from the Bering Sea to Baja California and back.

Sunset Cliffs Park at Ladera Street

The Ladera Street area is used for sunset viewing and weddings may also be permittedfor a maximum of 50 people. Parking is available on the street or at a number of small lots at the park site. There are no restrooms available.

Take Interstate 8 west to the end. Then follow Sunset Cliffs Boulevard through Ocean Beach to the cliffs and Ladera Street.

Sunset Cliffs at Luscomb Point

The Luscomb Point area is named for Happy Luscomb, a local surfing personality. It is a favorite spot for sunset viewing and weddings, which can be permittedfor up to 50 people. Parking is available on the street or at a number of small lots at the park site. There are no restrooms available.

Take Interstate 8 west to the end. Then follow Sunset Cliffs Boulevard through Ocean Beach to the cliffs to where the street ends at Hill Street.


Sunset Cliffs at Osprey

The Osprey Street area is used for sunset viewing and weddings, which can be permitted for up to 50 people. There is a small parking lot at the park site, but parking is also available on the street. There are no restrooms available.

Take Interstate 8 west to the end. Then follow Sunset Cliffs Boulevard through Ocean Beach to the cliffs to where the street ends just north of Osprey Street.


Barrett Reservoir

Barrett Dam was completed by the City of San Diego in 1922, creating Barrett Reservoir. Located at the confluence of Cottonwood and Pine Valley creeks, Barrett Reservoir is in a remote area approximately 35 miles east of San Diego. Located behind locked gates in a remote area of San Diego County and closed for many years, access has been offered on a limited basis by reservation only since 1994. Barrett Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 34,805.5 acre feet.

El Capitan Reservoir

The El Capitan Reservoir was created in 1935 with the completion of the El Capitan Dam. That same year the reservoir was connected to the City's water system via the El Capitan Pipeline. Located approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, on the San Diego River, El Capitan had the largest capacity in the City reservoir system until the San Vicente Dam Raise Project was completed in 2015. When full, the reservoir has 1,562 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 197 feet, and 22 miles of shoreline. El Capitan Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 112,806.9-acre feet.

Hodges Reservoir

Hodges Reservoir was created with the building of Hodges Dam on San Dieguito Creek in 1918. The City of San Diego purchased the dam and reservoir in 1925. Operated and maintained by the City of San Diego's Public Utilities Department, the reservoir currently serves the San Dieguito Water District and Santa Fe Irrigation District as well as the City. When full, the reservoir has 1,234 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 115 feet and 27 shoreline miles. Hodges Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 30,251 acre-feet. Water levels are monitored weekly.

Miramar Reservoir

Miramar Reservoir is owned, operated and maintained by the City of San Diego. Located in the Scripps Ranch community, the dam and reservoir were completed in 1960 as part of the second San Diego Aqueduct project. Water flowing south to the reservoir originates from both the Colorado River Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct. The reservoir is adjacent to the City's Miramar Water Treatment Plant, which serves the northern part of the City. When full, the reservoir has 162 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 114 feet and four shoreline miles. Miramar Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 6,682.4-acre feet. Water levels are monitored weekly.

Murray Reservoir

The City of San Diego took over operation of the Murray Reservoir in 1950 from the Helix Irrigation District. The City purchased the reservoir from Helix 10 years later. Murray Reservoir is located within the boundary of the City's Mission Trails Regional Park. When full, the reservoir has 171.1 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 95 feet and 3.2 shoreline miles. Murray Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 4,684.2-acre feet.

Lower Otay Reservoir

In 1897, the first Lower Otay Dam was completed by the Southern California Mountain Water Company. The Lower Otay Reservoir was connected to the City of San Diego's water system in 1906 via the Bonita Pipeline. Following heavy rains, the dam burst in 1916 and the Otay Valley was flooded. The dam was rebuilt in 1918 and renamed Savage Dam. When full, Lower Otay Reservoir has 1,100 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 137.5 feet, and 25 shoreline miles. Lower Otay Reservoir has a water storage capacity of to 47,066.9 acre feet. Water levels are monitored weekly. The reservoir is the home of the United States Olympic Training center for rowing sports.

Upper Otay Reservoir

The smallest of the City of San Diego's impounding reservoirs, Upper Otay Reservoir was established in 1959 as a hatchery for the propagation and introduction of Florida-strain largemouth bass. Remarkably, 21 of the 25 largest bass in history were the progeny of the fingerlings used in that experiment. The reservoir has been open to the public since 1996. When full, Upper Otay Reservoir has 20 surface acres.

San Vicente Reservoir

San Vicente Dam was originally constucted in the 1940s, and the dam was raised in 2016. San Vicente is a deep, steep-sided impounding reservoir on San Vicente Creek, approximately 25 miles northeast of San Diego. It currently has a depth of 306 feet when full. It is the largest of the CIty's reservoirs.

Sutherland Reservoir

Construction on Sutherland Dam began in 1927, but it was not completed until 1954. Sutherland Reservoir is located approximately 45 miles northeast of San Diego. When full, the reservoir has 556.8 surface acres, a maximum water depth of 145 feet, and 5.25 shoreline miles. Sutherland Reservoir has a water storage capacity of 29,508 acre feet.

Info

6350 College Grove Drive
San Diego, CA 92115
619-527-7683
6:30 a.m. to sunset
*Times are subject to change
Staff may post the lake closed during inclement, rainy, windy and damp weather for safety. Staff will reopen the lake when the safety concerns are resolved.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year'€˜s Day

History

As a reservoir built in 1901, Chollas Lake helped serve early San Diego's water supply. In 1966 it was turned over to the Parks & Recreation Department, and was designated a youth fishing lake (for children ages 15 and under only) in 1971.

What's Coming

Walking for Fitness

Begins 6:30 a.m. daily. Come enjoy the breeze, the peaceful water, and local wildlife while you exercise.

Fishing Clinic

Saturdays and Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Open to children 25 years of age and under. No experience or equipment necessary. Fishing lessons, bait, and fun provided.

Adult Walking Class

Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 3 p.m. in front of the park office. Intro/Beginner level.

Nature Crafts

Every other Saturday crafts are available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a different craft each time, for all ages.

Chollas Lake is a great place to get some exercise, there is a loop around the lake that is great for walking or running, as well as a basketball court.

Facilities

A 16-acre lake for free youth fishing (age 15 and under ONLY); an 8/10-of-a-mile dirt path around the lake for walking, jogging, and bicycling; picnic tables with barbecue grills; children's play equipment; a small basketball court; hiking trails; and a multi-purpose ball field in North Chollas canyon.