Framed by windswept coastal trails to the west and rugged mountains to the east, it’s no wonder that San Diego has long been sporting the title of “America’s Finest City.”
Located on the southernmost tip of the Golden State, the city boasts an eclectic medley of indoor and outdoor activities, arts and culture, dining and shopping opportunities. From the trendy coast vibes of Mission Beach to the relaxed, upscale aura of Del Mar, there’s something here for everyone. Check out our roundup of San Diego's top coastal communities and best north county beach home neighborhoods, traveling south to North County San Diego.
A stone’s throw from the mainland, Coronado is situated atop a peninsula in the San Diego Bay just 10 miles from the Mexican border. The island’s iconic sites and best ocean views, easily reached by the arching Coronado Bridge, can be found along Ocean Boulevard. And while this affluent enclave is filled to the brim with unique boutiques and mouthwatering eateries, dominating the landscape is Hotel del Coronado, which provided the backdrop for the Marilyn Monroe film—Some Like it Hot—in 1959.
Downtown San Diego
As the historic heart of Downtown, San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter combines old world charm with urban living to create a vibrant entertainment and dining district. Most of Downtown’s sky rise condominiums and apartments located off Pacific Highway, Front Street, and Harbor Drive offer unbeatable views of Coronado and the San Diego Bay.
North of Downtown, east of Old Town and west of Hillcrest, Mission Hills has some of the most sought after real estate in San Diego. Large, luxurious, often estate-like homes stand out amid a sea of impeccably trimmed lawns that effortlessly glide down West California Street, Bandin Street and several other quaint cul-de-sacs. Not only do many of these properties contain stunning ocean views, but the world-famous San Diego Zoo and enchanting Balboa Park are minutes away.
Take a stroll down Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and you’ll find that Ocean Beach is a town chock full of wondrous contradiction. While the neighborhood is perched on prime oceanfront land, it has still managed to exude a small town atmosphere, making it an ideal place for business professionals and ex-hippies alike. Aside from sunbathing by the pier, you can check out the tide pools, take a brewery tour or even just take in some of the breathtaking views from Sunset Cliffs.
Positioned between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay, Mission Beach is the California equivalent to New York’s Coney Island with boardwalks galore. The Ocean Front Boardwalk is a 4.6-mile round trip pathway that begins at the intersection of Law Street and Mission Boulevard. The neighborhood spans two miles along Mission Boulevard and is mainly residential, with a blend of apartment complexes, condos and single family homes. Its main attractions include Sea World, Mission Bay Golf Course and Belmont Park.
With the iconic Ocean Boulevard stretching more than three miles, Pacific Beach is perhaps best known for its surf culture and its stunning shoreline. You can find the classic beach house you've been dreaming of in Pacific Beach. Within this micro-community lies Crown Point at the northern end of Mission Bay, an area famous for its postcard-perfect panoramic views and fun water sport activities like stand-up paddle boarding.
Named after offshore rock that was described as embodying the shape of a bird, Bird Rock is a tight-knit coastal community. Encompassing Sea Ridge Drive, Dolphin Place, Calumet Avenue, and Chelsea Avenue, this neighborhood is jam packed with hidden ocean lookout spots and dotted with an assortment of quaint mom-and-pop shops. Plus, Bird Rock also has a reputation for being home to some of the most highly acclaimed schools in the area.
La Jolla is comprised of over a dozen unique coastal communities with properties varying widely in architecture and in views. From the nature-filled Torrey Pines Road running through La Jolla Shores to the scenic Camino De La Costa that runs parallel to the coastline in Hermosa, La Jolla definitely lives up to its nickname as “the jewel” of San Diego. The biggest draw for both locals and visitors is the coastline, which varies radically from rocky reefs to emerald coves. La Jolla is home to famous beaches spanning La Jolla Shores, the Cove and Windansea, as well as cultural attractions such as the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the La Jolla Playhouse and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Other neighborhoods with the best ocean views include Coast BLVD, Torrey Pines Road, Neptune Place, Spindrift Place and El Paso Grande.
Beyond the golden sands and dramatic cliffs of Torrey Pines State Beach, this scenic beach town is also “where the surf meets the turf.” Sunbathers and surfers can freely spend the day enjoying all of the amenities at Seagrove Park off Coast Boulevard. Venture a little further north and you’ll reach Ocean Front Avenue, where spectacular ocean views are abundant. While its ocean front parks and wildlife reserves can be visited year-round, Del Mar really comes to life during the summer months, as racing season begins and locals flock to the San Diego County Fair to get their deep-fried fixes.
Just west of Rancho Santa Fe and with more than 13,000 full-time residents, Solana Beach is not the stopover town it once was in the 1920s. Homes spread across Pacific Avenue and South Sierra Avenue overlook the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and with the ever-bustling Cedros Design District, the family-friendly Fletcher Cove and Seaside State Beach, it’s no wonder that its inhabitants are so carefree.
Thanks to an influx of ingenuity, Encinitas has become one of San Diego’s newest hipster havens. Recently dubbed as one the 20 best surf towns in the world by National Geographic, Encinitas wears its beach culture with pride. Amid its many hidden gems, Cardiff by the Sea, Moonlight Beach, Swami's Beach and the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage and Meditation Gardens are by far the most enjoyable for the whole family. Relaxing beach homes can be found along San Elijo Avenue. Travel north of Moonlight Beach and you can find your best North County ocean views along Neptune Avenue, 5th Street, Tattenham and Parliament Road.
With only 103,000 residents, Carlsbad is a perfect blend of boutique luxury living and small town allure. You can find your perfect beach house along Carlsbad Boulevard and Ocean Street to Tierra Del Oro and Shore Drive, virtually every major road in the city delivers unobstructed ocean views that stretch for miles. Nicknamed the “Village by the Sea,” Carlsbad is a recreational paradise, offering everything from kid-friendly attractions like LEGOLAND® California and SEA LIFE Aquarium to uncrowded lagoons and flower fields for nature lovers.
Home to one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast, Oceanside is a far cry from the average cookie-cutter town. Morning, noon or night, there is no better place to go for a stroll in Oceanside than The Strand, the perfect location for your next North County beach home. Set perfectly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego of southern California, the city pushes culinary experiences to new heights with a booming food and craft beer scene reflecting Oceanside’s artistic and entrepreneurial ethos.
As you can see, finding you next North County beach home with the best ocean views in no challenge here in San Diego. Interested in finding your own personal paradise? Contact us today.