Pacific Beach

Bring your loved ones on a trip for the laid back feel of Pacific Beach. Make memories at the flat, sandy beaches surfing, kiteboarding, playing volleyball, roasting smores, or having a family picnic. Visit SeaWorld San Diego, stroll the boardwalk, go shopping and walk to lunch at a local café.
Pacific Beach
Overview
Explore & Save
Things to Do
Popular Activities
Who Should Visit
Best Time to Visit
Featured Hotel
Know Before You Go
Stay
Beaches
Similar Neighborhoods

Highlights

Pacific Beach
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Sidewalk Cafés
Tips
Overview
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Play
Tips

Beaches & Surfing Await in Pacific Beach

Backyard Kitchen and Tap in Pacific BeachGreat Boardwalk in North Pacific Beach

When people from out-of-state think of San Diego, they think of beaches and boardwalks, beautiful sunsets, down-to-earth cafes and eateries, taco trucks, bohemian-inspired shops, surfers, skateboarders and flip-flops. Though some might call this description a cliché, when it comes to Pacific Beach it’s not.

Popular Hotels in Pacific Beach
Popular Hotels
Price
Tower 23 Hotel
$289
Check Price
Pacific Terrace Hotel
$349
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Pacific Shores Inn
$134
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Beach Haven
$149
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Located just south of La Jolla and north of Mission Beach, a well-to-do beachfront neighborhood, Pacific Beach in San Diego, entices visitors and residents alike who desire a more casual and free-spirited atmosphere than its northern counterpart. The yin to La Jolla’s yang, this beachside community is inhabited mostly by college students, young professionals and young families. The crowd in PB is “eclectic,” to say the least, which is a large part of the community’s appeal.

Just east of the beach, the streets are lined with casual bars, restaurants and shops. Toward the west, you will find stretches of white sand, three miles of boardwalk and an endless horizon of ocean. Everything in PB is within walking distance, making it a great place to stay for vacationers who want to be close to downtown San Diego but who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of city streets.

Pacific Beach
Why you'll love Pacific Beach
Get a true beach experience! Go surfing, kiteboarding, paddle boarding, fishing, bike riding & walk the boardwalk. Don’t miss an amazing sunset at the pier.

Explore SeaWorld and SAVE

SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Check out SeaWorld San Diego for exciting rides, marine animal interactions and shows! Admission is included as part of the All-Inclusive Go Pass. Save even more when you bundle with other top attractions like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps!
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Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

Combine Go Visit San Diego's exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego pass' already great deals and save big! No code needed - simply follow our link above to purchase your pass and begin savin

Things to Do

Beach Fire Pits
Beach Fire Pits
Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Biking
Biking
Fishing
Fishing
Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego
Skateboarding
Skateboarding
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming
Windsurfing
Windsurfing

What to See & Do in Pacific Beach

When it comes to things to do in Pacific Beach, there is no shortage of activities, both indoors and out. Some of PB’s most popular travel destinations, however — and the main reasons families from across the globe visit the bay — is to hit the beach.

The Beaches of Pacific Beach

PB’s name is deceiving, as there is not one, not two, but three main beaches in this community: North Pacific Beach, Tourmaline Surf Park and, of course, Pacific Beach. The beaches of California are not created equal, so it’s important that you understand the purpose of each.

North Pacific Beach is your typical, family-friendly stretch of sand. It features lifeguard-supervised swimming areas and clean restrooms. This beach is a great place to lay out your blankets, throw up your umbrellas and bust out the sand toys. There are sections of North Pacific Beach that are surf zones and ones that are swim zones.

At Tourmaline Surf Park you’ll find waves that are slow and slopey, perfect for novice and beginner surfers alike. You can find longboarders, windsurfers and kiteboarders here as well.

Finally, the beach of Pacific Beach starts at Crystal Pier and runs south to Pacific Beach Drive, the border of Mission Beach. This section of the beach is great for surfing but there is also a swim zone for the non-surfers. The boardwalk is just next to the beach here with shops, bars, restaurants & hotels with spectacular ocean views.

The neighborhood of Pacific Beach begins toward the east at Garnet Avenue and ends after the three-mile stretch that is Crystal Pier. This is the heart of the community and where you’ll find everything from authentic Mexican food to Sushi to patio bar & grills and nightclubs.

Just north of Crystal Pier, you’ll find walkable cliffs that border the immediate beach. If you have it in you to climb to the top via stairs, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the ocean and breathtaking sunsets.

The Surf

The most popular activity at Pacific Beach is, hands down, surfing. Depending on which spot you hit up, there’s surf for every stage of surfer, from the newbie to the novice. You’ll find a variety of breaks at PB, including Tourmaline, Crystal Pier, PB Drive and Law Street. The breaks vary at each and are suited to various types of boards. If you’re not sure where to go, don’t be afraid to ask a local, as they’re a rare breed of surfer in that they’re unpretentious and willing to share.

Other Outdoor Activities

You don’t have to surf to partake in outdoor activities in Pacific Beach. Do like you did in the 80s and put on a pair of rollerblades to coast along Ocean Front Walk, a 2.3 mile stretch of concrete that the locals endearingly refer to as “the boardwalk.” The boardwalk is not just a bike path but popular with runners, walkers and skateboarders alike.

Try your hand at paddle boarding, or take your fishing pole to the end of Crystal Pier. There you’ll find a bait and tackle shop that also sells snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Though you don’t need a license to fish from the end of the pier, you should be aware of the strict catch laws.

Local Tips
Taco Tuesday
Yes Taco Tuesday is a real thing here. Tuesdays are a great day to explore deals on delicious tacos. There are many restaurants where you will find deals on tacos.

Good Eats

During the day, most of PB’s eating establishments are family-friendly. In fact, the community is well-known for its terrific breakfasts, breakfast burritos, bloody Mary bars and all-you-can-drink mimosa hours.

Like much of California, the food options in PB are diverse. Whether you’re feeling a tapa or seafood paella, want a taste of Hawaii or prefer some Asian fusion, you can find it all along in Pacific Beach

Though many of the restaurants in Pacific Beach are worth trying, there are two notable mentions. The first is Rocky’s Crown Pub, which is home to the best burger in San Diego. The pub has been serving up delicious beef patties and other goods for over 40 years, note that it is in a bar so it is strictly 21 and over.

The second notable mention is Mr. Frostie. Mr. Frostie has been around since 1949, and while the times have changed, peoples’ desire for a creamy soft serve and traditional sundae have not. Neither has Mr. Frosties simple walk-up establishment — at least, not much. It still features the same-old walk-up windows of yore, serves classic shakes and dipped cones and treats customers with the good-ole’-days hospitality.

Boutique Shopping

The shopping in PB San Diego reflects the eclectic personality of the neighborhood itself. Though you’ll find your standard beach shops selling trinkets and souvenirs, you’re more likely to get the real PB experience if you explore the thrift shops, art studios and boutiques.

A handful of chain stores such as Urban Outfitters and Vans made their way into the mix, but the local favorites can be found in the Pangaea Outpost, where 70 different local artists mingle under one roof.

Where to Stay

As Pacific Beach has evolved into a family-friendly travel destination, so too has its choice of hotels. Mission Bay Park and Pacific Beach have a variety of hotels for all preferences and price ranges. Pacific Terrace Hotel, which is situated overlooking the beach, is in the heart of North PB and less than two miles from Mission Bay. It’s within walking distance of the shops, restaurants and pier. Though the accommodations are upscale, the rates are affordable.

Tower 23 is just a few minutes’ walk from the pier and on the boardwalk overlooking the beach and offers a modern beach vibe. Pacific Shores Inn and Beach Haven feature more of a beach cottage vibe, but both are just a few blocks away from the surf, sands and sunsets of the beach, and the shops, restaurants and bars of the main strip.

Who Should Go to Pacific Beach?

Over the years, Pacific Beach has evolved into the family-friendly travel destination by the beach & bay. Though it's surf and bars still attract young, energetic crowds, its assortment of restaurants, cozy hotels such as Pacific Terrace and plethora of activities all bring in couples, families and groups of friends alike.

Families who make the trek to North Pacific Beach may spend their time soaking up the sun on the sandy beaches, trying their hand at surfing and biking or skateboarding along the boardwalk.

Outdoor enthusiasts can always join a game of pickup volleyball, run the pier or brave the surf.

Anyone who falls in between the spectrum, from young professionals to singles to older adults, can take advantage of Mission Bay’s executive golf course, PB’s restaurants, the community’s shops and, of course, the beaches of Pacific Beach.

PB is not far from other San Diego neighborhoods. Public transport can whisk you away to other parts of the city, including Downtown San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, Old Town San Diego and more.

Featured Activity

La Jolla Surfing Lesson
Surf Lessons in La Jolla
Ride the waves in La Jolla, a premiere surfing destination! This 90-minute lesson is fit for both beginners & intermediate surfers, with a choice of private or public lessons. All necessary equipment is included. Surfs up!
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Best Times to Visit Pacific Beach in San Diego

There is really no bad time to visit the San Diego area, as it is characterized by year-round near-perfect weather.

However, as part of the bay, Mission Bay Park, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach do experience extended periods of gray skies, mostly during late spring and early summer. In fact, overcast days occur so often during this time of year that the locals refer to the transition months as “May Gray” and “June Gloom.”

If you want to spend your San Diego trip lounging on sandy beaches and catching the surf, plan your trip for July, August or September.

However, if price is a factor, visiting the beach or the bay during the peak months may be out of the question. San Diego is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Airlines, hotels and travel agencies take advantage of this fact and up their rates considerably in April. The rates typically stay high until after school starts in late August/early September.

Pacific Beach is least crowded during the winter months, when rain (what little of it San Diego gets) is bound to fall. Temperatures from November until about February vary drastically. While the beach cities don’t experience the frigid cold temperatures of their eastern counterparts (think Escondido, Fallbrook, Valley Center, Vista and San Bernardino), temperatures don’t get much higher than the low-70s. At night, temperatures average in the low 50s.

Featured Hotel
Pacific Terrace Hotel
Exterior view, Pacific Terrace Hotel
Beachfront
Beachfront
Families
Families
Surfing
Surfing
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
From the common areas to the lavish rooms, every inch of Pacific Terrace Hotel has a luxurious beach vibe to help you relax and enjoy your visit to Pacific Beach.
Prices Starting at $349
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Know Before You Go & Tips

Amazing Sunsets
Amazing Sunsets
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Cafes
Cafes
Parks
Parks
Pier
Pier
Trolley Stop
Trolley Stop
Walkable
Walkable

What to Take with You to Pacific Beach

How you should pack for your Pacific Beach vacation largely depends on what time of year you plan to visit. If you visit during the peak season, shorts, skirts, dresses, tanks and tees should suffice. However, you should also throw in a pair of jeans or slacks and a light sweater for sunsets, as nights can get cool on the ocean, regardless of what time of year you visit. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes and flip flops — two wardrobe musts for PB natives.

If you visit Pacific Beach between October and March, pack more conservatively. Long sleeves, jeans, tennis shoes and a light coat or sweatshirt can help protect you against the brisk winter ocean air. Though Pacific Beach is a casual destination, don’t forget your evening attire so you can fit in at the area’s upscale restaurants and bars.

Pacific Beach
is Famous For:
Beaches
Beaches
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Nightlife
Nightlife
Surfing
Surfing
Known For:
Bike Riding
Bike Riding
Breweries
Breweries
Parks
Parks
Sidewalk Cafés
Sidewalk Cafés
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

Tower 23 Hotel
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Tower 23 Hotel
from $289 / night
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Pacific Terrace Hotel
Beachfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Pacific Terrace Hotel
from $349 / night
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The Beach Cottages
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
The Beach Cottages
from $120 / night
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Diamond Head Inn
Boutique Hotel
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Diamond Head Inn
from $144 / night
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Pacific Shores Inn
Family Friendly
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Pacific Shores Inn
from $134 / night
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Beach Haven
Family Friendly
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Beach Haven
from $149 / night
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Surfer Beach Hotel
Beachfront
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Surfer Beach Hotel
from $119 / night
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Ocean Park Inn
Beachfront
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Ocean Park Inn
from $209 / night
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La Quinta Inn & Suites Mission Bay
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
La Quinta Inn & Suites Mission Bay
from $125 / night
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Holiday Inn Express San Diego SeaWorld
Family Friendly
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Holiday Inn Express San Diego SeaWorld
from $109 / night
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