Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach

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Seaside Beach is a large sandy beach in the southern portion of Cardiff State Beach. The beach borders Solana Beach and has a large paid parking lot for easy access.
Discover iconic surfing breaks at Seaside Reef and Tabletops at family-friendly Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach. Catch waves or swim at this classic beach.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Hang 10 and Hang On at this San Diego Classic Surf Spot
Seaside Beach at Cardiff
Overview
Save on Gear
Things to Do
Popular Activities
Get There & Parking
Featured Activity
Know Before You Go
Stay Nearby
Similar Beaches

Highlights

Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking
Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking

Overview

Lifegaurd Tower and Beach at Seaside Beach at Cardiff State BeachShort Boarder Doing a Bottom Turn on a Wave at Seaside Reef

Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach is a surfing and beach lover's mecca in the northern part of the San Diego area. It is located in Cardiff by the Sea just next to Encinitas and is a classic example of the Southern California beach culture that so many people are looking to experience.

It's a great place to take leashed dogs for a walk, watch surfers of all ages and abilities navigate the conditions, find beach treasures like polished stones or take a relaxing walk with the sound of the waves in the background.

Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach is managed by the California State Parks system. Most people pay for a parking pass at the nearby lot to get to the beach since it's located off of a highway. Seaside Beach is situated at the south end of Cardiff State Beach.

Since it's a state park, the beach is only open from sunrise to sunset and closed at night. This protected beach features a vast, wide length of sand before gently sloping down into the water. The scenery is gorgeous, with bluffs surrounding the beach and slim palm trees dotting the sandy horizon.

Facilities include restrooms and a lifeguard station, which is operated during the busier times of the year. There is also a scenic seawall trail that visitors can walk along throughout the year for a quiet and peaceful experience in front of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.

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La Jolla - Full Day Bike Rental
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Things to Do

Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Swimming
Swimming

Why Seaside Beach Shouldn't Be Missed

Seaside Beach is a great spot for families and anyone else looking for a day of sunny beach fun. There's plenty to see and do here to keep everyone entertained.

Surfing at Seaside Reef & Tabletops

The surfing here is legendary and can sometimes bring in a crowd or even a surfing competition or festival. There are two big spots to surf at Seaside Beach. One break is at the Seaside Reef and the other one is not as popular, called Tabletops Playground.

Seaside Reef break is one of the most famous and is often filled with local surfing legends. Waves can reach up to 10 feet here. Tabletops is right in front of the lifeguard stand and features slightly smaller waves.

Local Tips
Looking to Surf?
"Arrive early to avoid the crowds as Seaside Reef can only realistically hold 20 or so surfers. If it is too crowded try Tabletops just a bit south."

Tide Pools

The reef gets exposed during low tide twice a day and makes for an excellent spot to discover tidepools. Tidepool explorers can see creatures like crabs, sea stars, barnacles and small fish in the shallow water along the rocks.

Great for Families

Families love this beach because of the gradual slope, which makes it perfect for swimming and body surfing. Children can also play and build sandcastles along the shoreline.

Stay Nearby at Cardiff by the Sea Lodge

Located just over one mile away the Cardiff by the Sea Lodge is a great lodge to rest your head at night after a long day’s adventure exploring Seaside Beach and the surrounding area. This boutique hotel has 17 rooms and includes breakfast and wi-fi. There are ocean views from its rooftop garden with areas to relax and watch the ocean.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Lot Parking
Lot Parking

Getting to Seaside Beach

To get here, take the I-5 exit at Lomas Santa Fe Drive near Solana Beach. Then, head west toward the beach and take a right on Highway 101 so you are heading north. Once you start to see the ocean heading out of Solana Beach you are close. Look for a huge parking lot with a lifeguard tower and bathrooms on the left, oceanside of the street. Make a left into this parking lot.

Parking at Seaside

The parking lot for the beach is directly in front of the water, making it easy to make the trek with beach supplies, chairs, coolers and umbrellas from the car. The lot is large but it can get crowded in the summer. Visitors must pay a daily fee or have a California State Parks annual pass to park here.

Featured Activity

Gray Whale during Whale Watching Tour in San Diego
Half Day Whale Watching Tour
Enjoy a 4-hour expert led tour departing from beautiful San Diego Bay on a two-story whale watching yacht. Take in the views, enjoy the marine life & marvel at the majestic gray whales as they migrate along the coast.
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Know Before You Go & Tips

Lifeguards
Lifeguards
No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Camping
No Camping
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Restrooms
Restrooms
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Tips Before Going

Surf at Seaside Beach

Cardiff State Beach's Seaside Beach area is the essence of the Southern California spirit. Participate in a surfing adventure or simply be lazy on the sand in the warm San Diego sun.

Beware of Rip Currents

Small children and inexperienced swimmers may have trouble in rip currents and the undertow. Check swimming conditions with the lifeguard before swimming and know how to swim out of a rip current.

Check the Daily Tides

At high tide, the water can come up pretty high along the sand. Be sure to position belongings far away from the water's edge.

No Waves Try Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

Diving and snorkeling are also possible right off the beach since the reef is close to shore. Bring diving and snorkeling gear and be prepared to swim out a bit for the best views.

Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach
is Known For:
Surfing
Surfing
Know This:
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
Restrooms Available
Restrooms Available
Tide Pools
Tide Pools
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
This Month's Forecast
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
Nov
56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

Cardiff by the Sea Lodge
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Cardiff by the Sea Lodge
from $156 / night
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