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The Ocean Beach beaches offer a slight variety of styles depending on what you are looking for. The beach scene includes a secluded beach, a surfing-only beach, a swimming-only beach and a dog beach.

During peak times, the OB beaches are not nearly as crowded as the more accessible and more commercialized beaches of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. These facts make the Ocean Beach beaches a favorite for locals.

During normal hours, lifeguards are present on the public beaches here and a lifeguard station is located on the beach side of Abbott Street where it connects with Santa Monica Avenue. At the lifeguard station is one of the free public parking lots, a men's and women's public bathroom and outdoor showers.

Another free public beach parking lot is located next to the Newport Avenue beach where Newport Avenue intersects with Abbott Street and this parking lot is home to a small San Diego Police station. The largest free beach parking lot is located at the end of Voltaire Street and it has a building which contains public bathrooms and showers. This parking lot is popular for those interested in the large swimming, surfing and volleyball playing beaches which are the Voltaire Street beach and Long Branch Avenue beach. The Voltaire Street parking lot is also popular with those driving their four-legged friends to Dog Beach.

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The secluded beaches which are the Bermuda Avenue beach and the Santa Cruz Avenue beach are great places to sunbathe and relax away from the crowds. There are no lifeguards present on these beaches and with the cliffs and rocks around swimming is not the main reason to come to these more private beaches. Both of these beaches are tremendous places for those looking to relax for a few hours with their towel, sunscreen, a good book and something to snack on.

Alcohol is not permitted on any beach in Ocean Beach as is the case with all beaches in San Diego. Ocean Beach beaches are special because they include the public secluded beaches, surfing-only beaches, swimming-only beaches and the world famous dog beach.

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The efforts of the lifeguards in Ocean Beach is tremendous and they deserve a big thank you from everyone for protecting the visitors to the beaches. Many rescues in Ocean Beach by the lifeguards over the decades have saved countless lives.

The main lifeguard tower is Tower Two on the beach side of Abbott Street between Santa Monica Avenue and Newport Avenue. Smaller, movable lifeguard structures are spread out along the main beach going areas from Newport Avenue to Dog Beach. A statue and plaque dedicated to the lifeguards who lost their lives saving others stands near the lifeguard station in Saratoga Park.

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lifeguard rescue

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Newport Avenue Beach

Newport Avenue sandy beach

The Newport Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is the most photographed and it is also the only surfer-only ocean area around. Hundreds of surfers each day wave ride toward the shore providing and awesome view for those on the sidewalk and for those on the Ocean Beach Pier. Those willing to tempt fate can opt to try the risky maneuver of surfing under the pier from one side to the other. This stunt which combines a great amount of skill and bravado is pleasing to watch and marvel at for spectators. The surfer-only area stretches to the lifeguard station in front of Santa Monica Avenue. North of the lifeguard station on the Santa Monica Avenue beach is a swimming-only area, which includes those boogie boarding.

ocean_beach_newport_avenue_beach Newport Avenue beach

Newport Avenue Beach

Newport Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Most popular for Ocean Beach surfers and people walking by or hanging-out on the sidewalk.
Parking In the parking lot near lifeguard station and on the street
Beach Area Large
Lifeguard Lifeguard tower plus lifeguard station
Surfing Yes, surfing-only area is south of lifeguard station to the OB Pier
Swimming Yes, swimming-only area is north of lifeguard station
Dogs No
Food Nearby Yes, on Abbott Street and all-along Newport Avenue.
Showers Yes
Privacy (Number of Beach goers) No privacy, this is the busiest beach in Ocean Beach
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area Yes

Newport Ave sunset

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Santa Monica Avenue

Santa Monica Avenue is split residential and commercial with apartment complexes and small businesses making their home and benefiting from only being one block north of the super popular Newport Avenue.

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The Santa Monica Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is right on the line between the surfer-only area and the swimming only area of the ocean. Hugely popular with those who enjoy quick parking, bathrooms, showers, lifeguard station and a nearby grassy picnic area. You will find a great mix of different personality types at this beach and you will see people come to this beach for many different reasons. Many body-surfers, boogie boarders, families and sun bathers choose this beach because it is very accessible and it is overall a great place to enjoy the sun.

Santa Monica Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Above Average for Ocean Beach
Parking In the lifeguard station parking lot on Abbott Street or on the streets nearby
Beach Area Large
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing Yes, surfing-only to the south of the lifeguard station. Swimming-only north of the lifeguard station.
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Yes
Showers Yes
Privacy (Number of Beach goers) Very popular beach area so little privacy
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area Yes

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Niagara Avenue

Niagara Avenue Beach is located at the base of the San Diego Fishing Pier and is a popular spot for those looking to check out the tide-pools for an up-close view of ocean life. Niagara is the first street that connects with Catalina Boulevard.

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The Niagara Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is just south of the Newport Avenue beach and is really marked by its landmark, the Ocean Beach Pier. The beach itself is small, but has some very special characteristics. First, being under the Ocean Beach pier is pretty neat.The view between the pier's concrete posts stretching into the ocean and the waves smashing through between them is a unique thing to see. Secondly, the opportunity to see tide pools is best done at this beach. Just south of here begins the Ocean Beach walking cliffs, but the beach area right here has many rocky pools that are filled with sea water. Hundreds of these tide pools allow you a close up view of ocean life that specializes in living in these difficult environments that are subject to changes in water level, temperature, salinity, predators and more. Clams, mussels, sea stars and small marine species populate these tide pools and are hugely fascinating to watch for children and adults. In general not many people hang out on this beach for long, but use its sidewalk for going between Newport Avenue, the Ocean Beach Pier, and as a gateway to the Ocean Beach walking cliffs.

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tidepool-explore

Niagara Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Below Average for Ocean Beach
Parking Newport Avenue parking lot and on the street
Beach Area Very small
Lifeguard No
Surfing Yes
Swimming No
Dogs No
Food Nearby Yes
Showers No
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) Moderate, under the OB Pier so some foot traffic around this area and people hanging out on sidewalk.
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area No

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Bermuda Avenue

Bermuda Avenue is near the southern edge of Ocean Beach made up of residential housing and the street comes to a dead end at one of the most easily accessible (stairs) remote beach areas that is truly a treasure spot on the perfect days.

The Bermuda Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is very secluded, but because of its small size can seem plenty crowded on great beach days. The stretch of sand accessible by parking on the street and walking down a flight of stairs, is a favorite for locals. The cliffs and rocks around make for a very Utopian beach feel.

Bermuda Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Below Average number of visitors for the Bermuda Beach as it is one of Ocean Beach's most secluded. However for those in the know this is one of their favorite beaches as you can get away from the crowds and arguably improved views with surrounding cliffs and large, sometimes walkable massive flat rocks.
Parking On the street
Beach Area Small
Lifeguard No
Surfing Not really, it is permitted, but the rocky conditions make this beach unpopular for surfers.
Swimming Yes, but large rocks above and below water, strong currents and cliffs make for a small swimming area.
Dogs Not permitted during daytime hours, but because of the seclusion of this beach several dogs are often present anyway.
Food Nearby No
Showers No
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) High level of privacy, this beach is very secluded and most people are not aware of this beach. Stairs to get down to beach from street.
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area No

Santa Cruz Avenue

Santa Cruz Avenue is a great location to stop if you are looking for a romantic walk by the water. Park your car and take that special someone down to the beach you will not be disappointed.

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The Santa Cruz Avenue Beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is one of the best beaches for a scenic surroundings. When you can lay on a very small beach, surrounded by cliffs, and enjoy the ocean waves breaking on the rocks, you are certainly going to be enjoying it. A total hot spot for sunbathers who enjoy laying out on the rocks to capture the rays of sunshine.

The Santa Cruz Avenue Beach has a few flights of stairs that wind down the cliff from the street above. The stairs are common place for visitors to the Ocean Beach walking cliffs to enter and exit.

Santa Cruz Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Below average for Ocean Beach because of its small size and secludedness, but popular for locals who want privacy and scenic surroundings.
Parking On the street
Beach Area Small
Lifeguard No
Surfing No
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers No
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) Moderate
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area No

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Voltaire Street

Voltaire Street is one of the premium commercial areas in Ocean Beach which takes you from the Point Loma High School down the hill and ends at the parking lot where most beachgoers congregate. About the dozen blocks of Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach you will find many bars, restaurants, stores and other unique mom and pop style businesses.

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In general this is the beach most people come to when visiting Ocean Beach for the purpose of going to the beach. Not nearly as crowded as some of the busiest beach in Mission Beach or Pacific Beach, this beach has become a popular spot for locals who want to find a parking spot and hit the sand for a couple hours. The grassy area near the street has several picnic tables.

The Voltaire Street beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is one of the busiest beach areas in the entire county. The reason it is so popular is because of many reasons:

  • The large parking lot, showers and bathrooms
  • Huge beach so there is plenty of room
  • Dog Beach is the beach directly north of here 
  • Ocean Beach Bike Path goes right to the Voltaire Street Beach.
  • Lifeguard towers
  • Several volleyball posts

You will also very often find bicycle riders enjoying a quick view of the ocean as they come down the Ocean Beach bike path which comes to an end at the Voltaire Street beach.

Voltaire Street Beach Overall Popularity: Well Above Average for Ocean Beach
Parking Large parking lot and on the street parking usually available
Beach Area Large
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing Yes
Swimming Yes
Dogs No, but next to OB Dog Beach
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers Yes
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) No privacy, this beach is very popular because of the large parking lot and great location.
Volleyball Posts Yes beach-volleyball
Grassy Picnic Area Yes

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Long Branch Avenue

Long Branch Avenue is a residential street that dead ends at the beach right in front of the volleyball nets. If you can find parking here this is a nice street to enter the beach from when you first arrive.

ocean_beach_muir_ave_beachThe Long Branch Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is extremely popular on a daily basis and even more so on the weekends. This is the spot for volleyball with many posts for multiple games to be played at the same time. Bring your own net. The local Ocean Beach Recreation Center runs a beach volleyball league which attracts a lot of players to the volleyball area on weekend game days. Lifeguards and the nearby parking lot, bathrooms and showers make this beach at the end of this street an excellent choice.

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Long Branch Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: This might be the busiest beach in Ocean Beach on a daily basis.
Parking Voltaire Street parking lot and on the street
Beach Area Very large
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing No
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers Yes
Privacy (Number of Beach goers) Low amount of privacy because this is a very popular beach.
Volleyball Posts Yes
Grassy Picnic Area Yes

 

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Cape May Avenue

Cape May Avenue has plenty of housing for locals who like to wake up and surf and then later surf again before they go to sleep. Great location nearby the major business roads but Cape May is one of the quieter streets.

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The Cape May Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is the middle of the long stretch of beach from Dog Beach to around Newport Avenue. As it is a little bit of a distance from the major parking lots around Newport Avenue and Voltaire Street, this beach is often a bit less crowded on peak days. Though the beach itself is one of the widest, this beach is less used than those north and south of it. This is for two reasons, first it is not as accessible without a short, but sandy walk from either one of the major Ocean Beach parking lots or from the street. The other reason is that in the middle of this beach is a jetty which discourages many people who choose to stay further away from the rocks.

Muir Avenue and Cape May Avenue beaches

Cape May Beach Overall Popularity: Below average for Ocean Beach because of the jetty and its a bit of a walk relative to the more parking-lot friendly beaches nearby.
Parking On the street
Beach Area Average
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing No
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers Couple hundred yards away
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) Moderate
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area No

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Brighton Avenue

Brighton Avenue is a great street for entering the beach from if you are able to find parking on busy days. A residential street that comes to an end at the sandy beach.

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The Brighton Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is close at the end of the Voltaire Street parking lot close to the shower and bathroom building. This beach is accessible by a short walk from the parking lot or from the streets that dead-end into this beach. Hugely popular for volleyball enthusiasts as several sets of posts are set-up waiting for a group to bring their own net to get a game going. This is an awesome beach if you are the type of person that likes to come prepared with beach supplies, find a great spot and spend a long time on the beach with their family and friends.

Brighton Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Above average for Ocean Beach and popular for families spending a day at the beach and locals living nearby.
Parking In Voltaire Street parking lot and on the street.
Beach Area Large
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing Yes
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers A couple hundred yards away
Privacy (Number of Beachgoers) Moderate
Volleyball Posts Yes
Grassy Picnic Area Nearby

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Saratoga Avenue

Saratoga Avenue is a family friendly area between the more chaotic areas of Newport Avenue beach and Voltaire Street beach.

Saratoga Avenue Beach

The Saratoga Avenue beach in Ocean Beach, San Diego is part of the stretch of beach that is most popular for boogie boarders, body surfers and people hanging out on the large grassy area adjacent to the beach and the lifeguard station parking lot. The grassy area is known as Saratoga Park. Most notable about this beach is that it seems to be the ideal location for parking, food, showers, lifeguards, Newport Avenue and the ocean.

Saratoga Avenue Beach Overall Popularity: Average for Ocean Beach
Parking On the street
Beach Area Small
Lifeguard Yes
Surfing Yes
Swimming Yes
Dogs No
Food Nearby Several blocks away
Showers No
Privacy (Number of Beach goers) Above average, because of street-only parking beach is often less crowded relative to the more popular beaches directly north and south of here.
Volleyball Posts No
Grassy Picnic Area Yes

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Saratoga Avenue

Ocean Beach Park Playground on Saratoga Avenue and Ebers Street