The biggest-name public beaches in San Diego are Mission Beach, the peninsula that separates Mission Bay from the ocean, and its northern extension, Pacific Beach – nightlife central for coastal San Diego. Enjoy nursing a beer at one of the many beachfront bars, or rollerblade or bike down Ocean Front Walk, the concrete boardwalk running the length of both beaches. A mile north of Pacific Beach’s Crystal Pier, Tourmaline Surfing Park, La Jolla Boulevard at Tourmaline Street, is reserved exclusively for the sport, as well as windsurfing – but no swimmers are allowed. If you don’t have a board, a good alternative is a few miles north at Windansea Beach, a favourite surfing hot spot that’s also fine for swimming and hiking alongside the oceanside rocks and reefs.

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