Torrey Pines State Beach, San diego county, California

Best places to see in San Diego County

Stretching from Orange County to the Mexican border, the coastline of San Diego County has 70 miles (112 km) of lovely sandy beaches, cliffs, coves, and seaside resorts. The beach culture is sophisticated, and the sports activity is frenzied. Peace can be found at Batiquitos Lagoon, Torrey Pines State Preserve, and the Chula Vista Nature Center, which are all sanctuaries for coastal wildlife. At Carlsbad, Legoland California is a 128-acre family theme park for youngsters aged 2-12, with a castle, miniature brick cities, and driving school.

San Onofre State Beach

Although close to the coastal San Onofre nuclear power plant and the vast Camp Pendleton military base, this beach is worth visiting to see serious California surfers in action.

Swami's

This surfing beach is named after the founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple, which overlooks the shore.

Cardiff State Beach

On the south side of Encinitas, Cardiff offers swimming, surfing, and fine white sand, as well as oceanfront dining on Restaurant Row at its north end.

Torrey Pines State Beach

This beach is popular for picnics and swimming. Just to the south is the Torrey Pines State Preserve, where several cliff-top hiking trails among the pine trees offer views over the ocean.

Mission Beach

This is the liveliest beach in San Diego with plenty of opportunity for people-watching, plus the fairground attractions of Belmont Park.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach's T-shaped pier, popular with pelicans, has good views of the coastline.

Silver Strand Beach

This long, thin beach is sandwiched between areas of land reserved for naval training. It takes its name from the silvery shells in its sand.

Batiquitos Lagoon lies between South Carlsbad and Leucadia State Beaches. A project is under way to clean up the lagoon and create a wildlife preserve with a nature trail and visitors' center. The lagoon has a large bird population and a rich variety of saltwater plants.

The Del Mar Race track was made famous in the 1930s by the singer Bing Crosby and other Hollywood stars. Its annual meetings remain a high point of the social calendar. San Diego's County Fair takes place at the adjacent fairground every June, and the racing season runs from late July to mid-September.

Torrey Pines State Preserve and Santa Rosa Island are the only two places inthe world where the Torrey Pine,or Pinus torreyana, survives. Aremnant of pre-Ice Age forests,this tree is well adapted to thisarea's dry, sandy environment.

Oceanside

Dating from 1910, the 910-ft (275-m) long pier on this sandy beach was originally almost twice as long but was damaged in a storm. The beach is ideal for surfing, and the town has an interesting surfing museum.

Del Mar

This resort supplements beach activities with horseracing, ballooning, and fairs, along with shopping and dining at Del Mar Plaza.

La Jolla

La Jolla Shores has excellent sand and activities but can be crowded in the summer. A triangle of offshore water by La Jolla Cove has been designated as an underwater ecological preserve, open for snorkeling and scuba-diving. The town of La Jollahas many upscale shops and restaurants.

Pacific Beach

This busy beach is graced by the 400-ft (120-m) long wooden Crystal Pier. It is a good place from which to fish or watch surfers in action.

Coronado Beach

Crowned by the Hotel del Coronadoand offering wide sands and views across the bay, this is one of San Diego's most romantic beaches.