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Pacific Beach

The town of Pacific Beach, known locally as "PB," is all about shopping, eating, drinking, and beach activities in a casual neighborhood setting. The beach itself lies at the northernmost end of a three-mile stretch known as The Strand. An abundance of nearby surf shops, clothing stores, coffee shops, bars, and tattoo parlors, not to mention over 150 restaurants and cafes, makes this one of San Diego’s most popular beaches, especially with college students. Crystal Pier, a free, accessible public fishing pier lined with guest cottages, visually divides the beach into north and south sections, with the south more populated. North of the pier and Palisades Park--a small grassy park backed by cliffs and inaccessible to wheelchairs--is Tourmaline Surfing Park, a favorite spot for surfers and sailboarders. South of the pier, the cliffs end and the beach becomes more accessible to wheelchair riders, though less so than neighboring Mission Beach. Separate areas for swimming and surfing are indicated. Nearby Belmont Park, a beachfront amusement center built in 1925, offers a break from the beach with rides, games, restaurants, and shops. 

Trail/Pathway Details

Beach Promenade

Trailhead: Northern end: At intersection of Law Street and Ocean Boulevard. Southern end: At the park by Mission Bay Channel's north jetty.

Length: 2-4 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Level

Terrain: Hard


A paved promenade parallels The Strand for nearly three miles. Starting from the northernmost end of Pacific Beach, by Palisades Park at the foot of Law Street, the route slopes gently downhill for a short distance to the lifeguard station, where the promenade is nearly level with the beach and you can access the sand with a beach wheelchair. Pause to admire the dolphin mosaic just outside the lifeguard station. The entrance to Crystal Pier is at the foot of Garnet Avenue. Farther south the crowd thickens and includes bicyclists, rollerbladers, runners, skateboarders, and parents pushing strollers. While the path can be crowded, divided lanes and a speed limit help to control the traffic flow. Along the way are restaurants and novelty shops, but wheelchair riders will find better access to shops a block inland, all along Mission Beach Boulevard. Lining the promenade is everything from expensive modern homes to funky rental cottages to full-service lodging facilities. The promenade continues south along Mission Beach to the mouth of Mission Bay Channel. 

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: No

Manual and motorized beach wheelchairs available at neighboring Mission Beach; to reserve, call (619) 525-8247

Accessible Parking: Yes

At foot of Garnet Avenue and Law Street, and where most streets dead-end at beach promenade

Accessible Restroom: Yes

At foot of Grand Avenue
Mosaic octopus by lifeguard station
Mosaic octopus by lifeguard station (Andrea Dove)

Features icon key

  • bicycling
  • particularly good for families
  • swimming

Additional Information

View Map  
Managing Agency: City of San Diego
Hours: Always open
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Permitted on beach promenade at all times, and on beaches and in adjacent parks 6 pm-9 am
Public Transportation:  San Diego Metro Transit System
Useful Links: San Diego beach regulations 
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, July 9, 2008
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing