Del Mar

Del Mar is home to a pet friendly beach and features a coastline perfect for surfing, dolphin sightings, beach volleyball, smores on a beach fire pit and experiencing amazing sunsets. The walkable neighborhood is also known for horse racing at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, hiking, shopping and sidewalk cafes.
Del Mar
Overview
Save on Tours
Things to Do
Popular Activities
Hit the Beach
History & Sightseeing
Featured Hotel
Know Before You Go
Stay
Beaches
Similar Neighborhoods

Highlights

Del Mar
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Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
Tips
Overview
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Tips

The City of the Sea

Yellow Native Flower in Del Mar11th Street Beach Surf in Del Mar

Del Mar is a seaside city within the North County Coastal San Diego area. Its name, which translates to “of the sea” in Spanish, is especially fitting given the gorgeous beaches and stunning coastal landscapes that make it a spectacular place to visit.

Given how much of Del Mar is made up of beaches, it’s no surprise the area is famous for its surfing. The waves here range from beginner-friendly to large, powerful waves that pose a fun challenge to more experienced surfers. Rent a surfboard or consider taking some surfing lessons to prepare yourself for the swells.

If surfing isn’t your thing, don’t worry; there’s still plenty of fun to be had at Del Mar’s beaches. Enjoy other activities along the shoreline such as collecting seashells, going dolphin spotting, watching a sunset over the ocean, and having a refreshing swim.

If having your four-legged friend in tow is your speed, Del Mar’s pet friendly beach, Del Mar Dog Beach, is a great choice for a laidback afternoon and the perfect way to enjoy your vacation!

Del Mar is also famous for its horse racing. It’s the home of the Del Mar Racetrack, an exceptionally large venue with almost 50,000 seats, and a well-known local Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Concerts and other live events often use the racetrack as an outdoor performance hall as well.

Whether you’re headed to the beach right away or you’re more interested in some of the other attractions around Del Mar, you’ll want to grab a Go San Diego Pass before your trip. This is the best way to save on common expenses like visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo or one of the many museums in Balboa Park. Better yet, enjoy an additional discount when you use our link.

In terms of physical location, Del Mar is just north of La Jolla, another popular vacation destination. It’s about a 25-minute drive north of Downtown San Diego, and a similar distance from the San Diego International Airport. If you’re flying in, you’ll most likely want to stay at a hotel in the area to reduce your travel time.

The L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa is the perfect luxury hotel for your stay, boasting a five-star rating and close access to the beach. It’s ideal for couples and offers amenities including pet-friendly rooms, lounge chairs by the hotel pool, a fitness center, in-room safes and coffee makers, and shuttle services to popular Del Mar attractions. It has everything you need to make your trip as memorable as possible.

Del Mar
Why you'll love Del Mar
From picturesque sandy beaches and nature preserves, to huge horse racing tracks, Del Mar truly embodies the spirit of its location right where land meets sea.

Save using your Go Pass!

San Diego Beach Tour
San Diego Beach Tour
Want to enjoy some of the best beaches in the world? Use your Go Pass and buy a San Diego Beach Tour. The half day tour takes you to La Jolla, seal beach, Torrey Pines and much more. You'll also see plenty of sea life, so bring your camera!
Buy Now
Local Tips
Who can use a Go San Diego Pass?

Adults and children (ages 3 to 12) can use the Go San Diego Pass – All-Inclusive, Explorer or Build Your Own - to visit the area’s top attractions and activities.

Things to Do

Beach Fire Pits
Beach Fire Pits
Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Biking
Biking
Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming
Windsurfing
Windsurfing

Experience Everything Del Mar Has to Offer

Are you deciding if a trip to Del Mar is a good fit for you and your family, or having trouble finalizing your itinerary? Check out some of the biggest draws in the area so you can decide where to go first.

Horse Races

Horse racing is huge in Del Mar. People flock to the Del Mar Racetrack in droves to place their bets in an attempt to win it big, and the races held here can really heat up. Whether you’re interested in betting yourself or you just want to watch, you’re sure to get swept up in all the excitement and energy.

The racetrack also has strong ties to Old Hollywood, as it was founded back in 1937 by singer and actor Bing Crosby. He and Midge Polesie came up with the track’s slogan, “Where the turf meets the surf.” Since then, celebrity performers of all kinds have entertained at the venue.

Local Tips
Don’t Miss out on Opening Day at the Del Mar Racet
If you are in town in early July you need to check out opening day at the Del Mar Horse Racetrack. This elegant event launches the horse racing season at Del Mar. For the ladies make sure to wear a fabulous hat then let your imagination run wild.

The Del Mar Racetrack is closely tied with the Del Mar Racetrack, which is involved in the management and operation of the races.

There’s no need to worry about the kids getting bored either, as there’s plenty for them to do outside of watching the races. Carnival games, rides, and other exciting activities are free for anyone 17 and under.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Are you more interested in sand traps than sandy beaches? If so, the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the perfect option for you. With 36 holes and some truly incredible views thanks to its location on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to golf in San Diego.

Torrey Pines has some significant history as well. The course made headlines in 2008 when it was the site of Tiger Woods’ victory over Rocco Mediate in the U.S. Open playoff, and every year the course hosts the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open.

Free Flight Bird Sanctuary

At the Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary, you’ll find all manner of beautiful, brightly-colored birds from around the globe. The sanctuary has an especially large collection of parrots and macaws as part of their mission to resocialize and assist in rehoming these parrots.

You can be a key part of that process. At Free Flight, hands-on interaction with the birds is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. Speak with a parrot, get one to dance, and even feed them while you visit the sanctuary. Through facilitating these interactions, Free Flight breaks down the barriers between man and beast and educates visitors about the importance of conservation and re-socialization practices.

Mesa Preserve

The Del Mar Mesa Ecological Preserve is a truly impressive 900 acres of canyons and wetlands. You can hike or mountain bike up the trails, and be rewarded for your efforts in the form of breathtaking views. You may even spot rare and endangered local species during your walk, and it’s the perfect place to do some birdwatching.

The Mesa Preserve is named after its characteristic sandstone mesa terraces. The trails in the preserve are dog-friendly and offer plenty of shade. A round-trip hike is about 4 miles and takes between two and three hours. The trails are open year-round.

San Diego County Fair

The San Diego County Fair is an annual event held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the same venue for the Del Mar Horse Racing. Every summer, people flock to the area to enjoy one of the biggest celebrations in the region, with yearly attendance often climbing well over a million visitors.

At the fair, you can find live music, plenty of food trucks and stalls, vendors selling unique local items, thrill rides and carnival games, and much more. The exact lineup of things to do and see changes each year, so be sure to check the official website before your visit if you want to make the most of your trip.

Popular Activities

San Diego Harbor Cruise
San Diego Harbor Cruise
$28 per person
Buy Now
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More
The San Diego Maritime Museum
The San Diego Maritime Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More

Hit the Beach

Take advantage of the sunny San Diego weather by including a beach day in your trip itinerary. The beaches in Del Mar are especially great for swimmers and pet enthusiasts. There's plenty to love for surfers too, as Del Mar embodies the ever-popular San Diego surfing culture that is so prevalent along the shorelines.

The beaches in the area are great for the entire family. Spend a day at the beach, grab one of the picnic tables in the area and enjoy lunch, or just stroll the shoreline for an amazing sunset.

Del Mar City Beach

Del Mar City Beach is the most popular beach in Del Mar with vacationers and locals alike. The waters are calm and perfect for swimming, and the beach is wide and sandy with more than enough space to lounge or sunbathe.

There are fun activities in the area around the beach as well. Walk along the shoreline and head to the bordering nature preserve, where you can hike and birdwatch, or enjoy the games and stores along the beach's boardwalk.

Del Mar South Beach & 15th Street

The beach at Del Mar South is well-known for its more challenging surfing conditions. The exposed reef break creates big waves, which makes it a great option for experienced surfers. If you want to save on beach and surfing gear rentals, don't forget to pick up your Go Pass!

This beach is typically far less crowded than Del Mar City Beach. You can skip out on the crowds and tourist traps and enjoy a more authentic experience.

Del Mar Dog Beach

Del Mar Dog Beach is a pet-friendly stretch of shoreline where you can let your dog roam free. Let them race across the long stretches of sand and splash through the waves that reach up onto the shore. Set up a net and play some beach volleyball with other beachgoers too!

The beach has restrooms available and the waters are patrolled by lifeguards for your convenience and safety. Best of all, hotels in the area like the aforementioned L’Auberge offer accommodations for your dog, so you can stay in the area with your pets.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach is part of the Torrey Pines State Reserve, which sits on the cliffs looming above the beach itself. This provides an excellent backdrop for swimming and sunbathing.

The northern half of the beach has more waves and is better suited to surfing. The southern side is designated as a swimming-only area, so you won’t be disturbed by loose surfboards or currents from boats and jet skis.

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.
Buy Now

Del Mar’s History and Sightseeing Spots

Del Mar originally developed around a set of railroad tracks constructed between San Diego and Los Angeles. The area became popular for its stunning views, to the point that much of its early popularity can be attributed to Theodore Loop, the person who authorized the construction of the tracks, calling the area “the most attractive place on the entire coast.”

One of the most notable landmarks in the area is the Old Del Mar Train Station, which is a holdover from Del Mar’s origins. The station was constructed in 1910 and still stands on Coastal Boulevard. While many trains still pass through the tracks in this area, the Old Del Mar Station is no longer in operation, though it stands as a testament to the early days of San Diego.

A boom of development and growth in the town continued from 1885 to about 1889 thanks to the efforts of Jacob Shell Taylor. He constructed dozens of houses, a school, and the first resort in Del Mar. The hotel unfortunately caught fire in 1889, but much of the town’s modern appeal can still be attributed to the work of its earliest developer.

Featured Hotel
L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
Exterior view, L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
Beaches
Beaches
Couples
Couples
Luxury
Luxury
5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa has a level of luxury that other resorts aspire to. Enjoy the best of everything while you are a guest because you deserve it.
Prices Starting at $288
Check Availability

Know Before You Go & Tips

Amazing Sunsets
Amazing Sunsets
Cafes
Cafes
Parks
Parks
Shopping
Shopping
Walkable
Walkable

Useful Tips for Traversing Del Mar

If you’re not from the area, you might be out of the loop on the best practices for a visit to Del Mar.

Here are some insider tips that are sure to keep your trip stress-free.

Parking

There are plenty of free lots around Del Mar, but they fill up fast around popular attractions. If you’re planning on going to the beach, try to get there before noon so you don’t have to lug your beach chairs and coolers halfway across town.

There’s also free parking at the Del Mar Civic Center, and four spaces have charging stations for electric cars.

Walkability

Del Mar is a highly walkable area with plenty of public transport as well. You should have no problem getting to most of the attractions on foot but rideshare options, such as Uber and Lfyt, are available in the area.

Del Mar
is Famous For:
Beaches
Beaches
Horse Racing
Horse Racing
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
Surfing
Surfing
Known For:
Dolphin Sightings
Dolphin Sightings
Hiking
Hiking
Sunsets
Sunsets
Walkable
Walkable
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

Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Luxury Hotel
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
from $349 / night
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L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
Luxury Hotel
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa
from $288 / night
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Hilton San Diego Del Mar
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Hilton San Diego Del Mar
from $155 / night
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San Diego Marriott Del Mar
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
San Diego Marriott Del Mar
from $179 / night
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Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
from $170 / night
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Best Western Premier Del Mar Inn Hotel
Near Torrey Pines
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Best Western Premier Del Mar Inn Hotel
from $136 / night
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