Flying Over San Diego Beaches

flying over san diego featured image

Today I would like to do something fun! On October 12, my family and I were coming home from a trip to Idaho. I was fortunate enough to sit in a window seat and photograph my favorite beach in the universe-San Onofre State Beach on the airplane! Seeing that it was only 9 am, the lighting was perfect. As a bonus, the plane flew the entire coast of North County San Diego and did not turn inland until flying over Torrey Pines State Beach. Come and check out what I witnessed!

Flying Over San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre state beach flying over plane

When I noticed that we were getting closer to San Diego, I eagerly awaited for us to arrive above my favorite beach, San Onofre/ Trestles. My love of the untouched and wild beaches of San Onofre State Beach can be seen in the number of times I have written about the area.

I have noted the surf break Churches in the photo above, the midpoint between Trestles and San Onofre State Beach.

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Checking out the La Jolla Harbor Seals

2009 harbor seals la jolla san diego

One of my favorite places to bring family and friends from out of town is La Jolla! Our absolute favorite place to visit in La Jolla is at the Children’s Pool, Point Mencinger, and Casa Beach. We love to see if the La Jolla harbor seals are hauled out on the rocks or the beach.

Did you know that Point Mencinger and the Children’s Pool is a Pacific harbor seal rookery? (A rookery is where the seals mate and raise young.)

Yes, it is!

And just north at Point La Jolla, there is a California sea lion rookery! The coastline of La Jolla is magical.

On August 17, my girls and I went on a little pinniped adventure.

Let’s now take a look at what we saw, and as a bonus for you and as well as for me, I have listed several La Jolla harbor seal facts.

The Pacific Harbor Seals of La Jolla

Point Mencinger la jolla san diego
Point Mencinger is North of Boomer Beach, 2021

First, it blows me away that I never knew that the formal name of this area in La Jolla is Point Mencinger. 

Below is a photo during a King Tide, so the tide was super low.

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Let’s Have a San Diego Beach Bonfire!

fiesta island sunset san diego mission bay

Welcome back to San Diego Beach Secrets! Do you like bonfires? There is something special about sitting around a fire with the ocean waves crashing on the shore, yes? As a rule, it is good to remember that open fires are prohibited on all San Diego County beaches.

You may only have a bonfire within a provided fire rings. In other words, where are all of the fire rings on the beaches of San Diego? Well, not all of the beaches of San Diego have fire rings, so this has motivated me to make a handy list, so next time you (and I) will have a better idea of where to go.

And once there, how many are there to choose from?

So the question is, which beach has the best bonfire potential? Each beach has its own preferred extinguish time, so take note of that.

All fire rings in San Diego County are on a first come- first serve basis.

I have also included a couple of businesses where you can rent a San Diego beach bonfire!

More information is down below.

Ok! Let’s have a San Diego beach bonfire!


Best San Diego Beaches for Bonfires-Where Are All of the Fire Rings?

San Onofre State Beach

old mans beach fire pits san onofre state beach

Oh, how I love, love San Onofre State Beach!

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Checking out the California Sea Lions in La Jolla

CA sealions point la jolla featured image

There is something extraordinary about seeing wild animals in their natural habitats, especially marine mammals. Well, what if I told you that over at La Jolla, two designated pinniped rookeries near each other? Yes! A Pacific harbor seal rookery is located at Casa Beach/ Children’s Pool, and a California sea lion rookery is found at Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach. Have you ever seen California sea lions up close before?

Both rookeries are close and parallel to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Today, I will only concentrate on what we saw at the newly closed public- California sea lion rookery.

sea lions people la jolla san diego
July 6, 2017

Where Are The California Sea Lions in La Jolla?

La Jolla Cove

people sea lion la jolla cove august

La Jolla cove sits adjacent to Point La Jolla, so it is not uncommon to see a couple of California sea lions hanging out on the rocks in the cove.

On this day, it was unusual for this sea lion to swim onto a crowded beach and pose on a rock, but maybe not.

You would think that some sea lions are becoming less afraid of humans, seeing that human smells and sounds constantly surround them.

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Best San Diego Family Beaches

Moonlight 7 1 family beach san diego featured image

Welcome to San Diego Beach Secrets! Today I would like to concentrate on the best San Diego family beaches. San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline has many different types of beaches. The variety is endless, some of which you can only reach four times a year. But what does constitute a great family beach? My first pick would be calm waters, followed by soft sand, maybe a playground? But most definitely a restroom and showers. So, today I will be highlighting where, when, and how each beach is ideal for a spectacular family day at the beach.

Ready?

Let’s go!

—>Beaches of San Diego County<—

Best North County San Diego Beaches for Families

Oh, how I love North County San Diego Beaches! These beaches (sans Oceanside) have huge and gorgeous sandstone bluffs accentuating the already beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Down below, I have three wonderful family beaches to share with you!

Let’s go!

Oceanside Harbor Beach- Family Fun in Oceanside

oceanside pier sand ocean waves

button map buccaneer beach oceanside

Oceanside Harbor beach is excellent for families because there are many amenities. What I think is the main draw is the extensive sandy beach.

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Fiesta Island- A Closer Look

Fiesta Island entrance mission bay san diego

On June 15, 2021, one of my best friends and I took her two dogs to Fiesta Island at Mission Bay Park. Though I have been visiting Fiesta Island for over 30 years, today was the first time I entered the infamous leash-free dog park; this place is magical! Ironically, the next day, the California Coastal Commission formally decided that Fiesta Island Dog Park would stay the same way it had been for years- rustic and undeveloped. I had no idea this was up for a vote.

A bit more commentary on this subject later.

So as I said before, I have been coming here for years, but in 2018, I did a photoshoot of the island. I was surprised at how special it is over here. Would you care to see what I saw?

Let’s also look closely at all the things you can enjoy at Fiesta Island. As a bonus, I will include phone numbers and links to relevant websites about this area!

A Few Mission Bay and Fiesta Island Facts

mission bay map fiesta island san diego

button map fiesta island mission bay san diego

Phone Number– (619) 235-1169

Hours– 4:00 am to 10:00 pm

Click on the map below for a better idea.

—>Fiesta Island Map<—

#– Fiesta Island Dog Park is open 24 hours, seven days a week, but the island is closed to cars after 10:00 pm. You may enter, but you must park off the island and walk.

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Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail-A Closer Look

Robert Frazee Beach Carlsbad San Diego

On the morning of April 29th, I woke up on a mission. A mission to take in some glorious sights and breathe in some crisp and clean ocean air. I wasn’t sure where to start this adventure, so I let my instincts guide me. While driving to the coast, several ideas pop in and out of my head. So today, I decided to take a closer look at the Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail, which is extremely popular in North Carlsbad.

—>Beaches of San Diego County<—

Below is an outline of the Beaches of Carlsbad. On this particular day, I visited all the beaches except South Ponto.

Carlsbad State Beach

  • Robert Frazee State Beach
  • Tamarack State Beach
  • Warm Water Jetty Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach

  • Terramar State Beach
  • North Ponto State Beach
  • South Carlsbad State Beach
  • South Ponto

Exploring the Carlsbad State Beach

Robert Frazee state beach sign

button map Robert Frazee State Beach

Today, I thought I would start over at Robert Frazee Beach, where Carlsbad State Beach’s northern boundary begins. A small parking lot is located off Oak Ave and Ocean St, but I found a parking spot right off Pine Street in the residential area.

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Saltwater Fishing in San Diego

saltwater fishing san diego featured image

San Diego, known as “America’s Finest City,” boasts over 70 miles of coastline to explore! Are you a piscator? Or, in other words, do you like saltwater fishing? Do you prefer to fish from piers or jetties? From shore or out in the ocean? San Diego’s peak fishing season begins in April and until November. Would you like to learn more about saltwater fishing in San Diego?

–>The Beaches of San Diego County<–

What makes San Diego extraordinary is that the coastline is so varied. There are miles of sandstone bluffs in North County San Diego (San Onofre, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar). While down in South County San Diego, sandy beaches rule (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado, Imperial Beach.) San Diego has it all, whether you prefer to fish from the beach, jetty, pier, boat, or by a chartered vessel!

piscator definition mackerel fishing pole

A Piscator Page, You Say?

I thought having a specific page on my website with all of the San Diego saltwater fishing information in one place would be good. A piscator page!

So down below, I have compiled complete lists of all San Diego saltwater fishing piers, saltwater sportfishing (half-day/full-day) party and charter boats, boat launch ramps, lobster fishing spots, the 2022 grunion run schedule, a few fish lists, as well as several prominent shore fishing locations.

As a bonus, I have included all harbor and bay cruises offered out of Oceanside Harbor, Mission Bay, and San Diego Bay for those who have no desire to fish but still yearn to be on the water.

To experience San Diego fully, you must get on the ocean, breathe in all the negative ions, and let the saltwater spray on your face. Believe me; you will thank me later. Also, don’t forget to pack a sweatshirt, as it can get chilly out on the water.

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2021 Grunion Run Schedule

grunion out water sandy beach sea foam

It is that time of year again! The grunion is here! If you recall, in 2020,  Californians could not witness the grunion of March and April, as we were not allowed anywhere near the water. Well, this year is different, and I, for one, am heading down this month to check them out in person. Below, I present the 2021 grunion and the updated 2022 grunion run schedule for Southern California.

Important- New Grunion Fishing Regulation 2022 Update!

The California Department of Fish and Game Commission has officially adopted new grunion fishing regulations!
Starting on June 1, 2022, the grunion closure/observation rule has been extended for one more month. No grunion may be taken from April 1 to June 31. Because of a decrease in numbers, a new bag limit of 30 fish will be enacted when the season opens again on July 1.

What is a Grunion, and How Do They Run?

marcro grunion fish head close up
credit-Nathan Rupert-(Flickr)

The grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) are small silvery fish between 5 to 7 inches long that live about 3 to 4 years. Each year, the grunion comes onto Southern California’s beaches between March and September to spawn during the Full and New Moons.

The female grunion catches a wave, digs a hole, and waits for males to touch her. Once touched, she will release her eggs, and the males cast their milt (sperm) on her body, which then flows down onto the eggs.

The process happens quickly, and up to eight males may fertilize each female. Interestingly, the female grunion may be out of the water for over five minutes! Once the male is done, he will catch a wave back into the ocean.

Each grunion run lasts four consecutive days when the tide is at its highest and longest. The eggs are buried in the sand for two weeks until the next high tide arrives. When the larvae become agitated by the waves, they hatch and are taken back into the ocean by the tide.

#April, May, and June are peak spawning months, so only observation is allowed.

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Five More San Diego Hidden Gems

Ocean sunset san diego hidden gems

San Diego, otherwise known as  “America’s Finest City,” has one of the most beautiful coastlines, if I may dare say, in the world. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, over 35 million people visited San Diego in 2018 and 36.5 million in 2019. I am afraid to see the numbers for 2020, but I digress. One of my favorite things to do on this website is introduce you all to the many, many San Diego hidden gems. I will be the first to admit that I am biased as I have been exploring the San Diego coastline for over thirty-five years. So today, I would like to share with you a few more, in fact, five more San Diego Hidden Gems, so you too can experience San Diego as a native.

When I say San Diego, I refer to the entire 70 miles of the San Diego coast. From San Onofre State Beach down to the US/Mexico border, the coast of San Diego has something for everyone!

Let us now take a look, shall we?

#Click on any photo in the gallery to view a larger image


Old Man’s Beach at San Onofre State Beach

Old Man Secret Spot Hidden gems San Diego

button map Old Mans San Onofre State Beach

I wasn’t sure if I would share this little gem because this has been my little secret for years, but here we go. Old Man’s Beach is one of my favorite places at San Onofre State Beach, and locals refer to this beach as  San O and San Onofre Surfing Beach.

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Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park

Cave window la jolla underwater park

Wow! Do I have some exciting information for you all? Many of you may have somewhat of an idea of my complete, somewhat obsessive love of King Tides. For all others, a King Tide is when you have the highest and lowest tides of the year (click on the link for more in-depth information.) Most attention is given to the high tide, as people enjoy seeing how far the ocean will reach on land.

I love going to the beach during the lowest tides, so I can examine what is usually covered by the ocean and have rare access to beaches that are typically not accessible. And let me tell you, today is one of those days.

Yes! My girls and I explored two caves at the La Jolla Underwater Park!

Now I must say right up front that getting to these caves is no easy feat, and you have to have tremendous balance as there is at least a quarter-mile of rocks to walk over until you reach the semi-sandy beach over at Caves Beach.

Would you like to see what we saw?

Let’s go!

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Where to go? San Diego King Tides- Updated 2024

new break beach low tide king tides 2020

Boy, what a year! Ironically, did you know that the last time my husband and I were at the beach before this nightmare of a year was on a King Tide? We experienced the extreme low tide on January 12 at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which was sublime. If I had known I wouldn’t be back at the coast until May 26, I would have taken more videos! Anyway, I digress. Let’s make the best of what is left of this unprecedented year, shall we? Below are my top recommendations on the best San Diego beaches to visit and experience the highest and lowest tides left of the year, otherwise known as the last King Tides of 2020.

(Updated dates for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 are below! All times refer to San Diego, so add ten more minutes if you are in the Los Angeles area.)

–>Top Ten Best San Diego Tidepools<–

The Last Lowest Tides of the Year!

November 2018 point mencinger la jolla low tide
Point Mencinger, La Jolla

So how low and high are we talking about? There are two high and two low tides per 24 hours on the West Coast of the United States.

What is the tide?

Tides are long-period waves that cross the planet, pulled back and forth from gravitational pulls due to the earth’s interaction with the moon, sun, and other heavenly bodies.

Continue reading “Where to go? San Diego King Tides- Updated 2024”

Checking Out the Cristianitos Fault

Cristianitos Fault san onofre state beach

Hey! Have you ever seen an earthquake fault line? No? Well, today is your lucky day! Referred to as the Cristianitos fault, you can walk right up to it over at San Onofre State Beach.   Now I need to state this fact upfront so there will be no confusion. I am not a geologist; therefore, please be patient with me. If I make an incorrect claim, do not hesitate to correct me in the comments at the end of the post. I love to learn new things and will not be offended at all. Several references have helped me tremendously, but I have left them below. I encourage you to check them out!

Let’s take a trip to San Onofre State Beach (my favorite beach in San Diego) and investigate the Cristianitos fault line. As a bonus, I will highlight other unique geological features here at this fabulous State Beach.

One more thing. Did you know that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is less than 800 yards away from this earthquake fault line?

Wait, what?! A nuclear generating station? Next to a fault line?

SONGS is no longer active and has been decommissioning for several years now. But obviously, the question is, why build a nuclear power plant right next to an earthquake fault line? (Click on the above link for more detailed decommissioning information.)

#Click on any photo for a larger version

The Cristianitos Fault Line-Shake, Rattle, & Roll?

Trail one san onofre state beach
Trail One at San Onofre Bluffs Beach Campground

button map san onofre bluffs campground

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California Spiny Lobster Season is Here- Updated 2024

California spiny lobster featured image

The California spiny lobster season is upon us! Historically, the season opens on Saturday at 6 a.m. before the first Wednesday in October; this year, that falls on September 29 and closes on March 22, 2024. Lobster cards, which cost $11.62 and are due by April 30, 2023… more information is below.) Though I have never fished lobster, I know where they hang out in San Diego.

Down below, I have provided information on the California spiny lobster fishing regulations, a map of where not to look for lobsters (Marine Protected Areas), how to fish for lobsters, as well as a few San Diego recreational lobster boat charters that are available only during this time of year.

Also included is a brief overview of the California spiny lobster life cycle, and a few interesting facts will help you better understand this elusive and revered West Coast invertebrate!

Let’s now take a look!

West Coast vs. East Coast Lobsters

There are 40 different lobsters worldwide, with the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) being one of the biggest. Affectionately referred to as ‘bugs,’ the California spiny lobster ranges from south of Point Conception to Magdalena Bay on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.

California Spiny Lobster Scientific Name Blog Chart
California Spiny Lobster Scientific Classification

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Surfin USA Lyrics-A Closer Look

Surfing USA lyrics Featured Image

The other day I was thinking about the Beach Boys and how they put several San Diego beaches on the map. Did you know that five of the fifteen beaches are found in San Diego? I thought it would be enjoyable to take a closer look at the lyrics of Surfin USA.

First of all, most websites that provide the song lyrics misspell two top-rated surfing beaches, so I am here to be the official spell-checker for you.

  • Trestles-not Trestle
  • San Onofre- not San Ahofree
  • Swami’s- not Swamies

Ok, that was satisfying!

Also, for fun, I will be picking a prime photo for each San Diego location to help you can capture a feel of the beaches the Beach Boys were singing about

Continue reading “Surfin USA Lyrics-A Closer Look”