Parks & Beaches

Powerhouse Park & Beach Area

The Powerhouse Community Center which is owned and operated by the City of Del Mar, sits next to the Del Mar beach area (offering a large grassy area and playground) it also has a community space with restrooms, an outdoor theatre and beach showers where everyone can rinse off the Del Mar sand, wiggle their toes in glee, and soak in Del Mar’s historic glow. It’s a community favorite!

Fletcher Cove – Solana Beach

Fletcher Cove, located at Solana Beach Plaza has a wonderful little cobblestone beach with a park that overlooks the ocean. The picturesque cove has lifeguard service but not much sand and can be inaccessible at high tide. Off the beach, there is volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, showers, picnic tables, and free public parking. This beach is very close to the Amtrak rail station that stops in Solana Beach and also the well known Cedros Design District.

Children’s Pool Beach Area

The Children’s Pool ( 850 Coast Boulevard) is a small beach partially protected by a seawall.  The walking path along the cliffs here has a panoramic view…which even my little ones are mesmerized by…that is, until they spot the seals!  During much of the year, seals and sea lions are present on or near the beach and on a reserve for these marine mammals, called Seal Rock, just offshore.  The name ‘Children’s Pool” is a little misleading, please do not plan to swim anywhere near the seals or sea lions – they now call this beach their home. …this beach area is within a short walk of the commercial area of the community of La Jolla.Grassy park areas can be found a short distance to the north and south. Picnics are popular here…there is no playground…but several parents I know, take turns playing with their children (while another parent shops) along Prospect Street…just a few blocks away!  Prospect St. is San Diego’s answer to “Rodeo Drive” – with luxurious shopping and plenty of dining!  La Jolla has something to offer to every member of your family!

Torrey Pines State Reserve & Beach

The Torrey Pines State Reserve is a wilderness reserve that sits between two beach communities.  The park preserves not only the trees, but also the last salt marshes and waterfowl refuges in Southern California. The reserve features high broken cliffs and deep ravines on headlands overlooking the ocean. Hikers can follow trails through stands of wind-sculpted pines. Picnicking and camping are prohibited in the reserve. The reserve’s rich plant community features wildflowers in the spring and visitors can see the California quail gathered in coveys in the early mornings of fall and winter.  Hike on down the trails and to the Torrey Pines State Beach… it is a great way to spend some family time… the trails are easy to walk and as long as your children are old enough to handle instructions, it should be fine for them to navigate them with you.

South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach is a family favorite! Various Campfire Programs, Junior Ranger Programs, and Nature Walks may be offered; check signs posted on the restrooms and at the entrance station regarding park information during your visit.  The wide open space offered at this beach is perfect for spending a day swimming, surfing and picnicking. The large bluff-top campground is very popular, especially in summer. Stairs lead to the beach.

Moonlight Beach

The beaches in Encinitas are outstanding.  There are many stretches of beach that lie between Cardiff-by-the-Sea and La Costa.  Moonlight Beach offers a great playground now and restrooms. The surfing is unbeatable and many surf contests are held throughout the year in Encinitas.  The surf culture is felt the strongest while driving through this town… board shops abound!  The San Elijo Lagoon Reserve is the largest coastal wetland in San Diego County and is home to nearly 300 different bird species throughout the year…hiking around the trail area is better with older kids.

Old Poway Park

Old Poway Park is such a great family spot! It offers steam train railroad rides every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., children under 12 years are able to ride for only fifty cents…adults are charged a little more.
Also at the park on Saturday’s is a Farmers Market from 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. with produce sold directly to you by the farmer. Rain or shine! Certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner.
A 2 acre park and picnic area is also very near the Hamburger Factory Restaurant.

Oceanside Pier Beach Area

Another beach option, is the area “south” of the Oceanside Pier.  It is Oceanside’s most popular beach.  If you don’t mind crowds, you will be comfortable here. Surfing, body-boarding, and body surfing contests are held at Oceanside Pier throughout the Spring and Summer… the 22nd Annual Long Board Contest & Festival will be taking place at the end of August. There are also various events held in the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. The pier itself is a beautiful walk for families, and at 1.942 feet long, many families throw their fishing lines off the pier and wait for the fish to bite.

Coronado Parks & Beaches

Silver Strand State Beach: Located 4.5 miles south of Coronado along the Silver Strand. An underpass allows access to a bayside beach and picnic area. You do have to pay to park. (619) 435-5184

Glorietta Bay Park: Located south of the Municipal Pool on Strand Way, you’ll find a grassy park playground equipment restrooms and a small sandy beach. Great for the little ones!

Centennial Park: Located at the foot of Orange Ave. on First St. This park features grassy knolls, gazebo seating and amazing views of the bay! Bring a sweater, due to the wind.

Chula Vista Parks

Take the J Street Exit from Interstate 5 to reach the following parks:

Bayside Park: Offers a fishing pier, picnic and game tables, biking and walking paths and open spaces. Located at the foot of Bayside Parkway.

Bayfront park: This park features a public boat launching ramp. It is located at the foot of Marina Way.

Marina View Park: This park offers play equipment, picnic tables, and an open play area. Located on Marina Park Wy at Marina Way.

National City – Pepper Park

Pepper Park in National City is named after Leonard Pepper, a National City Businessman and Civic Leader.  This 5.5 acre park offers a boat launch, picnic benches and restrooms.  Also a fishing pier that is equipped with lights.  From I-5 take the 24th St. exit west to Tidelands Ave, then go south to the boat ramp.

Mission Bay – Beaches

Covering over 4,500 acres, Mission Bay is bordered by East Mission Bay Drive to the east, and SeaWorld Dr. to the south (which intersects I-5), and Mission Blvd. to the west. Restrooms with showers are located at all swimming beaches on Mission Bay, except at Enchanted Cove. The primary beaches are:

Bonita Cove, 1000 W. Mission Bay Dr. at Mariners Way.
Leisure Lagoon, 1900 E. Mission Bay Dr.
DeAnza Cove, 3000 E. Mission Bay Dr.
Sail Bay, 4000 Fanuel St.
Crown Point, 3700 Crown Point Dr.
Ventura Cove, 1000 W. Mission Bay Dr. at Gleason Rd.
Tecolote Shores, 1600 E. Mission Bay Dr.
Enchanted Cove, on Fiesta Island

San Diego Parks

A complete listing of public playgrounds in San Diego County.

  • Reviews include play equipment, sand, parking, restrooms, photos, directions, shade, picnic area, duck ponds, etc.
  • Select a neighborhood from the list on the left, or browse with Google Maps (requires Javascript).

If you’re like me then you’re always looking for a good playground for your family. It’s hard to find new ones. My kids and I discover new playgrounds either by word-of-mouth or simply driving around. And even when we would happen upon a new park, since we were unfamiliar with it, we’d discover that we didn’t have what we needed, e.g., bread for ducks, bikes for a bike path, umbrella for shade, etc. So I provide this free website for families to list their favorite playgrounds and to help each other find new ones!

Child Friendly San Diego Coastal Tide Pools


San Onofre Tide Pools
Hermit crabs, mussel bed, Ochre Starfish


Swami’s Tide Pools
Popular with school age children, 45 million year old fossil shells, sea hares, brittle stars and octopi.


Cardiff State Beach Tide Pools
45 million years old that contain fossil clams firmly embedded within.


Dike Rock
Next to pier.  Volcanic rock formations. Star fish, octopus

Shell Beach
Extensive tide pools.  Sea lions just offshore.


Tourmaline Suring Park Tide Pools
Favorite sport for classes of biology students.  Hermit crabs, sea snails, sea urchins, brittle stars, octopus.


Ocean Beach Tide Pools
Next to pier. Shore crabs, hermit crabs and sea anemones, and lots of small chitons.


Point Loma Tide Pools
Most extensive network of tide pool.  Docents available.  Great Owl Impets, hermit crabs, octopus and much more.

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