BeachNuts Beach Guide for:
Sunset Cliffs Park
Located at the south end of the town of Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs with its rugged coastline, panoramic views and pounding surf, is popular with surfers, ocean gazers and people who enjoy just walking along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
You won't find a long stretch of sandy beach here, but you will find a profound sense of peace on any of the small, secluded beaches tucked into the cliffs. However, the reefs and the currents make swimming less than ideal, and camping is forbidden.
Part of the appeal of these beaches lies in the fact that they are very difficult to get to. In fact gaining access requires an adventurous spirit and much determination. The beaches at Sunset Cliffs Park are usually accessible only at low tide, so it pays to check the tide tables if you don't want to get stranded, as the paths to the beach are treacherous due to erosion on the cliffs. Hiking and climbing up the cliffs are therefore not recommended. In fact, people have died making their way up and down these cliffs.
There are three beaches here:
Garbage Beach, No Surf Beach and New Break Beach.
Garbage Beach at Ladera Street:
Despite its unfortunate name, which comes from the fact that the canyon above Garbage Beach was once used as the local landfill, the area is one of San Diego's more pristine spots. Man-made access to Garbage Beach is a steep, precarious set of stairs built into the cliff at the foot of Ladera Street, however these are currently closed down. At the bottom of the stairs, visitors must traverse a 100-yard rocky area strewn with large, round boulders before they reach the beach. At high tide these rocks are under water.
No Surf Beach is located between Hill and Froud Streets along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
New Break Beach lies south of Point Loma Nazarene College. If you find your way to either of these beaches, I guarantee that you will feel the peace and serenity of a wilderness area, even though you are in the middle of one of America's largest cities.
If you choose to visit any of Sunset Cliffs beaches, please be aware that you do so at your own risk. Be careful not to overestimate your abilities and pay attention to the signs.
However there are rewards for making it down the steep cliffs including secluded pocket beaches of white sand, sea caves and small coves. The combination of natural beauty and danger at Sunset Cliffs is part of the area's appeal.
Nevertheless, the faint-hearted can still enjoy incredible ocean and sunset views from Sunset Cliffs Boulevard at little or no risk to life and limb.
At the north end there are four small lots on the west side of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard between Adair Street and Froud Street. There is also ample street parking along both sides of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard for most of its distance.
South of Ladera Street (at the end of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard) there is a large public lot accessed three blocks east on Ladera Street at Cornish Drive. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle in this lot. It is a notorious site for break-ins.
There is also a public lot on the Point Loma Nazarene College campus. The campus entrance is on Lomaland Drive. Ask for directions to the public lot at the campus entrance booth. These public lots are closed from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Food/dining: Sea Trader Liquor and Deli is the only place to buy prepared food in the Sunset Cliffs area. The deli has excellent sandwiches.
Lifeguards: There are no lifeguards here.
Rest rooms: The only rest rooms are portable.
One public shower can be found at the corner of Ladera Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.
Accessible 24 hours a day. No camping.
Small beach tucked into the cliffs
Difficult beach access and can be dangerous
Enjoy the rugged coastline and the incredible views
Strong currents make swimming less than ideal