Del Mar Beach

Del Mar BeachMy earliest memories are at the beach on 28th street in the late 50’s (yeah, I ’m giving away my age), running along the shore, and dodging the incoming waves like the sandpipers.

My brother and I would drag our inflatable canvas surf mats with rubberized ends into the waves to ride them. This was before surfboards made their appearance in the numbers we see now, yet it was how we learned to read the waves, know where to take off and get the best rides.

The lifeguards seem to have always been there – the red trucks slowly cruising the shore, the towers at 17th & 25th streets, providing a sense of security and safety to us young waterdogs. I remember being in the Jr. Lifeguards program one summer and learned about rip currents, undertows and basic lifesaving techniques.

This is also where I first tried surfing at 15th St. when I was 12. It is a passion I have to this day. I've surfed, bodysurfed, fished, skin & scuba dived, sailed, and Zodiaked through the surf. My brother and I even waterskied on surfboards behind our Zodiak in the slough west of the highway by the racetrack. I like to think I basically grew up in the waters of Del Mar.

romantic beachThe beach is a romantic place for couples to stroll at sunset or in the morning with their coffee from Starbuck’s or the Poseidon. It is also ideal for vigorous jogging or running, and for many beach sports like volleyball, Frisbee, paddleball, surf-fishing, skim boarding, swimming, body surfing, Boogie boarding, and board surfing.

Many of these activities are limited to certain hours or locations based on the season and crowds, but you can almost always find something fun or relaxing to do here.

Finally, it is an excellent place to drag a chair, bring a good book, plug in your iPod and enjoy the calming effects of the Pacific waves against the white sands of the beach.

Del Mar City Beach

del mar city beachOne of the coolest things about Del Mar is being able to check out the beach at 17th Street from anywhere in the world! This site offers a real-time streaming cam of Del Mar and provides weather and surf information.

Check out the Del Mar Beach Cam

City of Del Mar

To the north of the city, the beach narrows as the bluffs take up much of the area right around the border to Solana Beach. At certain times of the year, the reefs are exposed and there is great tide-pooling.

If you walk south along the beach a few miles, you’ll end up at Torrey Pines State Park

del Mar

The torrey pine tree is unique to this small geographic area as well as San Nicholas Island, one of the Channel Islands over 240 miles to the northwest. As a result, it is the city of Del Mar’s official tree and cannot be removed without a very difficult-to-get permit.

Del Mar Beach: Diving

For divers, the reefs just outside the surf zone are teeming with beautiful local sealife: urchins, local fish, pacific spiny lobster, rock scallops and even abalone can be found if you know where to look.

del mar beach

On a calm day, scuba diving in the kelp forests off the beach are like being in the redwoods up north: a sense of serenity and majestic beauty are to be found underwater.

For even better diving, the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park that starts at the southern border of Del Mar and ends at Pt. La Jolla off the La Jolla Cove.

The warm water and excellent visibility make La Jolla a worldwide destination for divers.

Today, the beach has not really changed much. There are now more lifeguard towers (In addition to 17th & 25th Street, the 19th Street tower was added a few years ago), and they are built to last. The trucks are newer and lifesaving techniques more modern;

Beach access is free to the public with public rest rooms located behind 17th Street and 25th Street lifeguard towers. Not permitted are: glass objects, fires, surf/jet ski launching or vehicles on the beach.

Del Mar: Dog Beach

Del Mar's Dog Beach, also known as North Beach to Del Mar locals, is a recreational paradise for those with four-legs and a tail.

Stick-fetching and frisbee-catching are priority here.

Beach Parking: Park on the street, but remember that Del Mar likes its parking revenues -- and parking ticket revenues especially. Pay your meter diligently, or buy a $4 all-day pass from the little pay-and-display-your-ticket box at the top of Camino del Mar, just before Villa de la Valle.

Pets: Out-of-control doggie behavior is prohibited. Del Mar lifeguards enforce the rules and will write you a ticket.

The crowd: This is a very respectable pet-owning crowd. The beach is low-key with few incidents.

Yes, dogs can run free from the bluffs to the river and it is quite a spectacle! Dogs are allowed on leash south of the river along the city beach only from September 15th through June 15th. The rest of the year they are prohibited on the beach.

Beach Facilities: Most owners use the city-supplied clean-up mitts, but it's still a good idea to watch your step. There are people restrooms, too, in the form of portable toilets. The beach is 2.5 miles of sandy beach, starting from the south at Carmel Valley Road, which is the boundary to San Diego, north to the river mouth of the San Dieguito River, which also happens to be the boundary of Del Mar’s famous Dog Beach.

For more information, Dog Beach

Del Mar Beach: Surfing

Surfing has been my passion for nearly 40 years. Starting in Del Mar, I've surfed all over California and down to the tip of Baja California. I surfed 2 winters on the North Shore of Hawaii, in New Jersey and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

In my early 20's, I drove my Datsun pickup with camper-shell to El Salvador for a 6 month Mexico & Centro surfing adventure. I surfed most of the breaks down the Pacific Coast of Baja and Mainland Mexico & El Salvador.

So far, I've surfed in Hawaii, New Jersey, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Barbados, Costa Rica & Tavarua, Fiji.

For more detailed information on surfing Del Mar, click here.

Fishing Del Mar

Another great activity at the beach is surf fishing. For more information, click here.

Grunion Runs at Del Mar

Here's a great description from the San Diego Union of these elusive fish... and yes, they really DO exist...


Some think the grunion runs are an urban legend, but, elusive and often appearing very late at night, the grunion are real and the runs are a curious stunt of nature to behold — if you can stay up that late.

What are the Grunion?

Grunion are small sardine-shaped silvery fish that ride the waves in Del Mar City Beach, La Jolla Shores, Mission Beach and Silver Strand Beach up onto the sand to procreate, making for a veritable sea of squirming 4-8 inch fish out of water.

Facts about Grunion:

The female grunion buries herself in the sand to lay her eggs and the male wraps himself around her to fertilize them — a female's eggs might be fertilized by up to eight males in one night. Then they wait for a wave to take them back out to sea.

Take a flashlight to the beach a few nights following the highest tide associated with a full or new moon, beginning about 11 p.m. The spawning occurs for about a two-hour interval with the second hour being more, well, productive. Be patient. You may wait, sometimes for hours. Keep watching. And if you're lucky, the grunions will run.

Click here to find good dates to observe them come and go... Del Mar 2017 Grunion Schedule Remember to take five minutes off the state's grunion time charts for San Diego.

Regulations on fishing Grunion:

No-no's and other regulations: If you're 16 or older, you need a valid fishing license (available at bait and tackle or sporting goods stores) to catch the scaly squirmers. It's illegal to use any sort of net or tool to catch grunion. Use your bare hands only, and no digging a hole in the beach to catch them, either. The fishing season is closed in April and May.

For more information on grunion, click here Del Mar Grunion


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