While social distancing guidelines may make it seem like our beach days are officially canceled for the season, don’t put the SPF away just yet. We’ve found five of the best beaches in San Diego to beat the crowds and enjoy the sun and sand at a distance from others. From top surf spots to peaceful escapes, these are some of San Diego’s less crowded beaches to enjoy this summer. Don’t forget your mask!
Black’s is known for being the OG of social distancing, as the county’s only clothing-optional beach. There are a few different ways down—paved paths, dirt trails, sheer bluffs—all of which are fairly steep and will require shoes with some traction to help you out. Whichever route you take, you’ll be rewarded at the bottom with plenty of space to stretch out and eliminate those tan lines.
The strand boasts the same shimmering views and silvery sand as neighboring Coronado, but with nearly an extra mile of space to distance yourself from others. If you’re on the hunt for warmer and calmer water, you’ll find it on the bay side, which you can access via pedestrian tunnels from the parking lots.
Situated south of Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad, South Ponto offers a quieter atmosphere than its northern counterpart, and a wider section of sand to enjoy. With bluffs to the left and boulders to the right, this section of the beach feels much more secluded than others, especially on weekdays.
Another hub for local surfers, Swami’s serves up strong waves and a picturesque piece of shoreline below the bluffs of the Self-Realization Center in Encinitas. If it’s people watching you’re after, you can make use of the park atop the stairs. Otherwise, a walk down the stairs and north a little way will lead you to Boneyards Beach for extra privacy.
Windansea’s powerful waves make it a popular spot for surfers and less popular for families with little ones in tow, meaning you’ll have no problem staking out some towel territory on the shore. Be sure to check tide levels before you go and plan to explore the nearby tide pools. Friendly Tip: There are no public restrooms in the area, so plan accordingly!