San Diego is renowned worldwide for having some of the most beautiful beaches in all of California, perhaps even the most beautiful in the country. This is thanks in part to boasting over 70 miles of coastline, giving you countless choices when it comes to beaches to enjoy.
Some beaches are wild and untamed, while others offer any luxury you could hope for at a beach. Whatever your preference, you’re spoilt for choice. The choice often boils down to what you’d like to get out of your beach visit, with anything from dog walks to partying on offer.
When it comes to temperature, however, San Diego beaches might be warm in summer, but the water is pretty cold most of the time. Some beaches are warmer than others, and so with a bit of knowledge, you should be able to find a beach that is sufficiently warm for your needs.
San Diego is on the Pacific Ocean, which is known for its cold waters. In the winters, water temperatures are around fifty degrees, reaching up to seventy degrees in the summer.
The warmest beaches will be those that are shallow and protected, as this is where the easiest thermal transference occurs.
Understanding what makes certain beaches cooler than others will assist you in understanding which beaches will be the warmest options for you to visit.
Why Is The Pacific Ocean So Cold?
The pacific ocean is cold for several reasons. Firstly, cold water is brought from Alaska via the California Current, moving south down the coast. Secondly, cold water from deeper in the sea moves up to the water surface. This phenomenon is called upwelling.
Upwelling occurs due to wind blowing along the coastal regions, and in combination with the earth’s rotation, currents are created on the surface, which push the water away from the coastal edge and out into the deep sea.
When these waters from the surface move out into the ocean, the void left behind is quickly filled by water deep within the ocean, which is sucked up towards the surface.
How To Find a Warm Beach
Because the water in the Pacific Ocean is cold, and this is the ocean making up the entirety of San Diego’s coastline, you will naturally have cold water at the majority of the beaches in San Diego. While the temperatures can get up to the seventies, it is still not entirely warm.
Wearing a wetsuit is still highly recommended, and the only time you’re likely to be able to swim here without one is in the peak of summer. There are certain instances where the water will be warmer, however. And this is found in specific locations where the conditions are just right.
Areas like coves, which are well-protected and have shallow water, will best serve you if you are looking for somewhere relatively warm in which to swim. If the water is shallow and the area is protected from cold winds, the water ought to be warm enough to swim in.
This is because thermal transference is able to occur with the most ease in shallow water, which is also not significantly cooled down by cold breezes.
Some examples of these warmer, protected beaches include La Jolla Cove, Mission Bay, and some of the protected beaches at Coronado. The warmer sections of the beach at Coronado are those that face the city, as they are better protected from icy winds and better able to enjoy vast amounts of sunlight.
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is an extremely popular beach situated on the northeast of the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. In the popular neighborhood of La Jolla, this beautiful beach is well-protected by a rocky outcrop that serves to prevent waves from coming in from the west.
This rocky point creates a well-protected area that prevents winds from plaguing the beach, and in turn, allows for slightly higher water temperatures than most other San Diego beaches. The water temperatures here can often reach well above the seventies.
An extremely safe swimming beach, La Jolla Cove Beach is not too large, but it’s possible for you to find your own secluded area in which to enjoy some peace and solitude. There is a grassy park above the beach, with two sets of stairs leading downwards onto the beach itself.
At the furthest point south of the cove, a tunnel exists which allows you to explore the rocky walls, eventually leading you to a series of tidal pools. This area is extremely popular with divers, as it is easy to access and allows for very good diving experiences.
Mission Beach is another beach that is well-protected from the extremities of the elements. This is a two-mile-long section of beach that stretches between Belmont Park and Pacific Beach, with an exciting boardwalk that provides many exciting activities for tourists.
Mission Beach is known for its large population of university-goers. This is because there are two universities nearby. Belmont Park, a popular amusement park by the beach, is a major attraction that brings hundreds of families to the area.
The park is also very close to the ocean, requiring only a short walk before you’re able to get your feet wet in the sea.
This is an extremely popular beach, with white sand and a variety of watersports available to enjoy. The famous Hotel Del Coronado serves as the backdrop for this beach, making it an extremely spot at which to take photos.
This beach is situated in an area filled with beautiful, high-end houses, and the crowd here usually consists of families of tourists as well as locals. The facilities at the beach are exceptional, with beautifully clean showers and restrooms.
There are several restaurants nearby, with excellent choices of foods available on Orange Avenue, which is situated only a few blocks up from the beach.
On the northern end of Coronado beach, there is a lesser-known dog beach that will allow you to let your dog run free, no leash required.
While the ocean along the coast of San Diego is not known for its warm waters, it’s certainly possible to find a beach where the water is at a tolerable temperature for swimming, especially during the summer months.