San Diego’s best ocean swimming
If you have lived in San Diego for any amount of time, you know that our city is a fitness wonderland. There’s no shortage of day hikes, weekend 10Ks, bike trails and beautiful beaches.
One feature many San Diegans don’t take advantage of is the open ocean swims that our coastline offers. Whether you’re training for a triathlon or just want to experience something different in your next workout, you should look into taking the plunge in our local waters. With sea temperatures still hovering in the 70s, there is no better time!
South Sierra Avenue, Solana Beach
For people in North County, Fletcher Cove has a great little beach surrounded by beautiful bluffs.
Triathletes in training and weekend warriors can take the swim through the cove to the outside buoy and end with a run along the beach. The buoy is 250 yards from shore and is great for gauging distance and testing your times for competition.
The park up on the bluff has great amenities including showers and a grassy area, and there is lifeguard supervision.
After your workout, check out nearby Culture Brewing at 111 S. Cedros Ave., Suite 200, Solana Beach, to regain some of your lost calories.
La Jolla Cove
1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla.
The cove is San Diego’s finest stretch of coastline and is perfect for short- or long-distance swimming.
The small sandy beach is surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs and has been one of the most popular swim spots in all of Southern California for decades.
Besides the epic locale, the cove offers calm waters, a grassy area to prepare for your swim (currently under construction) and lifeguard supervision throughout the year.
There are two swim buoys placed at quarter-mile and half-mile distances from the cove. More advanced swimmers will attempt to swim to Scripps Pier and back, a trek that totals 3 miles round trip.
The area is home to a wide variety of sea life, so don’t be surprised if you see sea lions, bat rays and the occasional shark. Don’t worry; no swimmer has ever been attacked while on a swim at the cove.
There are showers and changing rooms available, but parking is slim to none, so plan on walking in if you don’t get there early. A great resource for information about the cove and group swims can be found through the La Jolla Cove Swim Club lajollacoveswimclub.com.
Mission Bay (Ventura Place)
1030-1298 W. Mission Bay Drive, San Diego
For beginning swimmers or those seeking a calmer saltwater experience, Mission Bay offers some great water for your swim conditioning. Ventura Place Cove sits just east of the Bahia Hotel on Mission Bay and offers a nice small area where you can swim in shallow water along a series of buoys.
I know most people don’t think of Mission Bay as a swimming paradise, but this area is constantly flushed by the ocean tides so the risk from pollution is lower than anywhere else in the bay.
If you swim along the buoy line, the distance is 200 yards in each direction. This is a great way to track your distance and time when gearing up for a race, or just for personal records.
After your swim, head over to Saska’s, 3768 Mission Blvd., 858.488.7311, and grab some cocktails and steak to recharge your batteries.
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him your thoughts about the surfing world to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.