Think surfers and sailors in this town have it made? The waves can go flat for weeks at a stretch, and there’s only so much wind and daylight to go around. Tennis players, on the other hand, most certainly do. They can don their pleated skirts and headbands and revel in nearly 365 days—and on lighted courts, nights!—of ground strokes, volleys, serves, and smashes every year.
In the City of San Diego alone, there are 159 courts, more than 140 of which are outfitted with lights for nighttime play. You can find an exhaustive list of courts that includes high schools, parks, and even backboards and practice walls in your neighborhood here. But we’ve rounded up premier places to play. Committing to a club membership is a big deal, but many of these courts are accessible to the public for the amenable price of free.
Vavi runs adult leagues for beginners as well as coed mixed doubles at various skill levels starting at all times of the year. Eight-week playing schedules include post-game happy hours at local establishments.
Courts: Vavi leagues play at Barnes Tennis Center and Surf and Turf Tennis Club
Prices: Prices vary from about $119 to $185, depending on league
Other amenities: Make new friends, beat them at tennis
Morley Field / Balboa Tennis Club
The Morley Field courts, in volleying distance of the San Diego Zoo, are the site of many tennis tournaments throughout the year hosted by Balboa Tennis Club, which offers a full complement of lessons and leagues. Reservations can be made a week in advance.
Address: 2221 Morley Field Drive
Courts: 25 hard courts, all lit, some with bleachers
Prices: $325 yearly adult membership; $10 adult day pass
Other amenities: One stadium court with 1,500 seats, and a clubhouse with lounge, and locker rooms. Membership lets you reserve courts a week in advance and grants access to clubhouse with locker rooms, showers, and the option to play on the club’s team
La Jolla Tennis Club
Address: 7632 Draper Ave.
Courts: Nine courts
Prices: $185 annual fee for adults
Other amenities: Assorted lessons, clinics, and leagues
Point Loma and Ocean Beach
Barnes Tennis Center
Adult programs are available but it’s mostly all about the kids at this wonderland of youth after-school tennis programs, teams and tournaments.
Address: 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd.
Courts: 25 hard courts, two clay courts, all lighted
Prices: $6-$8 per adult for court rentals
Robb Athletic Field
Nonmembers pay just a $4 fee for these riverfront public courts.
Address: 2525 Bacon St.
Courts: 12 lighted courts
Prices: $130 annual membership
Other amenities: Lessons, clinics, and tournaments, weekly and monthly tennis get-togethers
Point Loma/Cabrillo Tennis Club
This club plays on four courts at Point Loma Community Park and two courts at Cabrillo Recreation Center.
Address: 1049 Catalina Blvd. and 3051 Canon St.
Prices: Individual membership $60; $5 day pass or $25 for a key to the courts at Cabrillo Recreation Center
Pacific Beach Tennis Club
This 200-member club boasts various leagues and mixers near De Anza Cove.
Address: 2639 Grand Ave.
Courts: Eight courts
Prices: $10 adult day pass; $245 membership; kids 18 and under are free
Other amenities: Clubhouse, pro shop, and ball machine ($10 per hour)
Pacific Beach Recreation Center
A pair of lighted courts just waiting for a heated pick-up match.
Address: 4641 Gresham St.
Courts: Two lighted courts
Other amenities: Youth and adult lessons available
Lake Murray Tennis Club
Ten courts in a sublime suburban setting.
Address: 7003 Murray Park Dr.
Courts: 10 courts
Prices: $300 adult memberships; $110 kids memberships; $10 day pass
Other amenities: Clubhouse, pro lessons, leagues, tournaments, social gatherings
Rancho Penasquitos Tennis Center
Get in line, Rafael Nadal! There’s currently an eight-10-month waiting list for memberships but the private nonprofit club generally keeps one court open for public nonmember use with a $5 day pass.
Address: 12350 Black Mountain Road
Courts: 12 courts
Prices: $299 adult memberships; $425 family membership; $105 junior memberships
Other amenities: Senior discounts available
University City Racquet Club
These courts are located at the Standley Recreation Center.
Address: 3585 Governor Drive
Courts: Six courts, lighted in weekdays only
Prices: $8 day pass; $250 adult membership; $50 junior membership
Other amenities: Youth and adult classes available
San Diego Mesa College
Address: 7278 Mesa College Circle
Other amenities: All the tennis, none of the student loans
Coronado Tennis Center
Tennis is a popular pastime on this island hamlet.
Address: 1501 Glorietta Blvd.
Courts: Eight courts, three are lighted
Prices: Free for residents; $5 for nonresidents; reservations made five days or fewer before game day are $5 and $15, for residents and nonresidents respectively)
Other amenities: Clubhouse equipped with a kitchen and free Wifi
Coronado Cays Park
This park is located adjacent to Silver Strand State Beach.
Address: 99 Grand Caribe Isle
Courts: Five courts, all lighted
San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club
This 10-acre facility also boasts a pool, racquetball, basketball, volleyball, and table tennis.
Address: 4848 Tecolote Rd.
Courts: 22; 16 are lighted
Prices: Contact the club for details
Other amenities: One stadium court, backboards, and pro shop. Lessons available through Angel Lopez Tennis Academy
Carmel Valley Tennis
Located at the Carmel Valley Recreation Center.
Address: 3777 Townsgate Dr.
Courts: Four courts, all lighted
Prices: $50 annual adult memberships; $25 annual junior memberships; $5 per person/per hour day rate for nonmembers
Other amenities: Lessons, camps, and clinics with a heavy emphasis on juniors
Surf and Turf Recreation Center
Where the surf meets the serve.
Address: 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Courts: Eight courts, all lighted
Prices: $735 adult membership; $495 junior membership
Other amenities: Lessons, camps, and "cardio tennis" workouts