The Best Swimming in San Diego

Looking for the best swimming in San Diego? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around San Diego. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top swimming spots in and near San Diego

  • San Diego, California

    Bonfire at Fiesta Island

    4.7
    This island offers scenic views of of mission bay and if you're lucky, you can catch fireworks from Sea World. The bonfire rings are stationed around the island, so make sure you get there early to stake yours out, especially if you're headed there on the weekend. Dogs are allowed off leash at th...
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  • San Diego, California

    Surf Scripps Pier

    5.0
    Park on La Jolla Shores Drive and make the short walk down the boat ramp north of the pier. This spot often has some of the clearest waters in San Diego, making it a picturesque place to surf. During low tide, check out the tide pools just north of the surf spot to find some awesome sea life.
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  • San Diego, California

    Explore La Jolla Cove

    4.8
    La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in San Diego, located on the coast just south of Torrey Pines Natural Reserve. La Jolla Cove is also one of the best spots in San Diego for snorkeling and scuba diving. This calm cove is ecologically protected with many animals making their ho...
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  • San Diego, California

    Swim in La Jolla Cove

    4.9
    La Jolla Cove is an iconic destination in San Diego for visitors and locals alike. Anyone visiting San Diego knows La Jolla Cove is famous for sea lions, beautiful sunsets, sea caves, kayaking, diving, etc etc. The entire area is a great place to eat, drink, relax and spend a day enjoying the Cal...
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  • San Diego, California

    Explore Sunset Cliffs Open Ceiling Cave

    0.5 mi
    Starting from you parking spot on the street you will see it right away. Then look to the right in the small bay--to the right of it you'll see a small place to climb down. There is no rope so be careful when scaling it. Walk south until you hit the reef wall and walk along it until you get aroun...
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  • San Diego, California

    Hike the Beach Trail at Torrey Pines State Reserve

    5.0
    2 mi / 364 ft gain
    I'm stoked for those of you to find this adventure! Torrey Pines is home to a species of tree that is one of the most rare native pines in the United States. Below I have directions on how to get to the trail head as well as the parking lot to park for the hike. There is a charge to get into the...
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  • San Diego, California

    Hiking Along Penasquitos Creek

    3.3
    3 mi
    Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail is a great easy hiking trail with views unlike any other in San Diego. The trail is well known for biking, horse back riding, walking, jogging and walking your dog. To get to the trail, take the 5 freeway and exit onto the 56 East freeway. From the 56 East freeway, t...
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  • Coronado, California

    Catch a Sunset at Coronado Beach

    4.5
    Photograph the iconic and historic Hotel Del and Coronado Beach on Coronado Island. The Del is a beautiful Victorian resort, which is the second largest wooden structure in the United States. The Del offers amazing photo opportunities during sunset and during sunrise when it is beautifully backli...
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  • Encinitas, California

    Oceanview Camping at San Elijo

    4.5
    This campground is located right next to the beach as well as next to the San Elijo Lagoon. Head to the beach during the day for a swim. This is also a great place to catch a sunset. If you want to stretch your legs and get moving a bit, you can hike around the San Elijo Lagoon to the east of the...
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  • Imperial Beach, California

    Catch a Sunset at the Imperial Beach Pier

    5.0
    From San Diego, head South on Hwy 5 for 12 miles. Take a right on exit 5A for Palm Ave/CA-75. Take CA-75 west for 1.6 miles. Stay on Palm Ave as it splits from CA-75. Take Palm Ave for 1 mile until it reaches the coast. Turn left on Seacoast Dr and take it for 1 mile until you reach the Imperial ...
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  • Carlsbad, California

    South Carlsbad Campground

    5.0
    South Carlsbad Campground is a picturesque experience. Imagine gorgeous sea cliffs overlooking a lovely beach, with ample activities to pursue (or just lay in the sun and enjoy some quiet time). The most popular campsites, 1-70 and 156-222, are perched on the edge of a bluff and feature the best ...
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  • Oceanside, California

    Beach Day at Buccaneer Beach

    If you're looking for a beach to bring your family, Buccaneer Beach is the place to go. It has a little bit of everything plus a huge parking lot, so it's really never full (unless you go midday on the 4th of July or something). There is a grassy area next to the parking lot with benches to have ...
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  • Ramona, California

    Hike to Cedar Creek Falls

    4.8
    4.2 mi
    The trail starts out at a hill in a residential area and ends in an unexpected spot where there is a beautiful waterfall complete with swimming hole. Surrounded by 75-foot high cliffs, a magnificent waterfall splashes into a pool known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Hikers have been known to dive fro...
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  • Descanso, California

    Hiking to the 3-Sisters Falls

    4.9
    Although this hike is not very long (in terms of distance) it will be a workout nonetheless...as possibly one of the harder hikes in all of San Diego. Start out earlier in the day for a less strenuous trip and be prepared to drink a LOT of water. The path is fairly well marked and at certain poin...
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  • San Clemente, California

    Beach Day at San Onofre

    5.0
    This spot is no secret but it’s by far one of the best beaches California has to offer and has been regarded since the 1950s as a friendly surfing sanctuary. The beach is divided into three surf spots (named from North to South), known as “The Point,” “Old Man’s,” and “Dogpatch.” To access the be...
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  • Warner Springs, California

    Camp at Oak Grove Campground

    / 2772 ft gain
    Apart from being visually appealing, the campground features open, yet secluded sites that are perfect for stargazing and shooting-star spotting. Each campsite has a picnic table and a grill. There are vault toilets and flush toilets. There is also potable water. If you are interested in seeing b...
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