North Ponto Beach

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Located just north of the campground at lifeguard tower 28 where the Carlsbad Blvd. overlooks the beach.
Surfers delight in North Ponto Beach, which offers a streamlined surfing experience in quality conditions.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
A Surfer's Paradise from Beginner to Pro
North Ponto Beach
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

Rocky Beach at North Ponto BeachSurfers in the Lineup at North Ponto Beach

There are so many amazing beaches in the Carlsbad area that it can be hard to find the right one for you. If you're in search of a no-frills surfing destination that's challenging for advanced riders while also being amenable to new surfers, North Ponto Beach is the place for you.

A lot of pros congregate here when it comes to surfing, so the area can be intimidating to newcomers. However, locals describe this beach as being among the best surf spots in the county when seeking summer swells, so it's definitely worth the challenge to those who are up for it.

Despite its popularity with local surfers, North Ponto Beach is also ideal for other types of tourists. This guide explains a few of the highlights offered by this beach destination, as well as practical information on how to access the beach and where to park.

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Local Tips
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Things to Do

Camping
Camping
Fishing
Fishing
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming

What Makes This Beach So Appealing?

Surfing at North Ponto Beach

Why do so many locals and visitors swear by North Ponto Beach? Well, for one reason it's suited to surfers of all skill levels. Other beaches in the area may prove too challenging for inexperienced surfers, but this locale is a great spot for those new to the pursuit.

This beach is so beloved as a surf spot due to its highly favorable conditions. Look for quality waves with regular breaks and an average length of short waves (meaning no greater than 150 feet). On a good day, wavelength expands to normal, which ranges between 150 to 500 feet.

Expect a wind direction of east, northeast, with a swell direction of southwest, south. Waves tend to be fast and powerful when coming in, with a possible swell size of 3 to 5 ft. The waves break at the jetty, with a sandy bottom under the water.

Local Tips
Did you know?
North Ponto Beach is a rocky beach not making it nice to sunbathe on. Make sure to bring your booties if you are going to surf, swim or paddle board here.

Because this spot has so much to offer surfers and it's easy access, it's usually quite crowded. Expect a good-sized crowd during weekdays as well as weekends, and try to arrive early to get in a good surf session.

Other Activities to Do

While North Ponto Beach is most often populated by surfers, there are still other ways to enjoy this scenic destination. During low tide, it's possible to travel below the overhanging bluffs, on top of which sits the beach's campground. You can also take advantage of swimming or scuba diving in the temperate waters, sunbathing on the sandy beach, or even fishing from numerous locations.

Stay Nearby at Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa

The 4 star Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa is located just across the street from North Ponto Beach at Carlsbad State Beach. This hotel & spa is a great place to relax after exploring the nearby beaches and other attractions that Carlsbad & San Diego have to offer.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Lot Parking
Lot Parking

Getting to North Ponto Beach

Travel by vehicle is recommended when headed out to North Ponto Beach for the day, as the beach can be difficult to reach by foot. The beach is located off the Poinsettia exit, West to 101, when taking the I-5 from south of Carlsbad. Once you've taken the exit, travel south past the South Carlsbad Campground until you reach the beach entrance.

Parking at North Ponto Beach

You're free to park along the road next to the beach when spaces are available, but there is also a parking lot available for visitors. This parking lot is located at the north end of the campground, along the southbound lanes of Carlsbad Blvd.

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Know Before You Go & Tips

Lifeguards
Lifeguards
No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Dogs
No Dogs
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Restrooms
Restrooms
Shade
Shade
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Things to Know Before Your Trip

Narrow Beach

North Ponto Beach is a lot more narrow than South Ponto Beach, which is known for being one of the widest local beaches in the area. Because of its size and its popularity among local surfers, the beach can fill up quite quickly, but it's generally less crowded than South Ponto Beach during peak hours.

Facilities & Lifeguards

There are plenty of restrooms situated around the beach for your convenience. Lifeguards are also present, but swimmers and surfers are still advised to take caution when entering the water. For example, checking the weather report for the day you plan on visiting will ensure the conditions are favorable.

In terms of water quality, the area is frequently tested and determined to be excellent. If you want to rinse off after swimming or surfing, look for a shower located at the top of the path leading towards the campground.

No Dogs

Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed on the beach, even if they are leashed.

North Ponto Beach
is Known For:
Surfing
Surfing
Know This:
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Restrooms Available
Restrooms Available
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
This Month's Forecast
63℉ / 73℉
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
67℉ / 77℉
Sunny in July
Aug
69℉ / 79℉
Sunny in August
Sep
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September

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