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needsun May 27th, 2006 10:13 PM

When to do the San Diego beaches?
I have a dilemma here that I cannot solve w/t your help. When is the better days to do the beaches/ La Jolla in June? During the week days or weekend? Car rentals rates are twice cheaper for the weekend but my concern is the traffic and parking. How bad the traffic is and how crowded are the beaches over the weekend?

tcapp May 28th, 2006 03:30 AM

San Diego will be very crowded in June because it is a major vacation destination. The weekends may be a little more crowded, but the weekdays will also be full of tourists.

paula1470 May 28th, 2006 08:58 AM

When are you coming in June? The weekdays will always be less crowded than the weekend no matter which beach you go to. Parking in La Jolla can be tough since they don't have the big parking lots that many beaches have.

That said, June is not always the best beach weather. We have a thing here called "June gloom". Cloudy in the mornings and it could hang around all day. High schools and elementary schools in California don't get out until around June 15th so during the week at the beginning of the month, it shouldn't be too crowded. Of course, if it's a beautiful sunny day then the beaches will get crowded. If you are concerned about crowds, I would go on the weekday.

needsun May 28th, 2006 06:18 PM

Thank you for your responses. I am going to travel with my 12 year old daughter and my mom. Mom will spend only 3 days in Disneyland and then is catching a flight in LAX to Seoul. After we see her off my daughter and I will catch an Amtrak to San Diego. We will stay in downtown/ little italy Super 8 for all 6 days. I am very concerned about driving in a new city but posts on fodors convinced me into renting a car since the places we want to see are far from the motel and hard to reach by public transportation. The rentals rates are much better for the weekend. That's why I booked a car for June 17/ 18.

We arrive in Sd on June 14th and will leave town on the 20th. My preliminary schedule for 6 days is:

Wed 14- checking in, wandering around Little Italyand/or Gaslamp.
Thur. 15- Balboa Park/ Zoo
Fri. 16 Sea World
Sat- Sun June 17- 18 rental car, driving to La Jolla, couple beaches ( any beaches that you can recommend?) What roads to take avoiding freeways? How bad is the traffic and parking over the weekend?
My daughter is a water park fan. Is it worth going to Soak City in Chula Vista? How bad is the drive there?
Mon 19th- Coronado, Seaport village

I would also want to see Old town. Looks like there is no time left. Any suggestions on the schedule? What would you do differently?

k2rider May 29th, 2006 01:45 PM

I can help you a little here since I work for the police dept and I'm assigned to the Mission Beach area. However, alot of people don't like hearing the bad stuff...

First off, the beach at Coronado is the best and cleanest beach if you're willing to drive over there. In San Diego, La Jolla Shores is the best family beach (no alcohol allowed) and there is a big parking lot there.

If you want to go to Mission or Pacific Beach, definitely go on a weekday and AVOID MISSION BEACH ON SUNDAYS no matter what. Traffic is horrendous, the lots are full and it's the day when many "less than decent citizens" flood the Mission Beach area. Pacific Beach is better but it has it's own bad pockets and parking is scarce up that way.

Barbara May 29th, 2006 01:58 PM

That's much better, k2.

paula1470 May 29th, 2006 04:43 PM

k2 is right about the various beaches. I think if I was staying downtown San Diego, I would probably go to Coronado to go to the beach at least one day. It's an easy drive and parking shouldn't be too bad.
The other day if you wanted a change you could go to La Jolla Shores. The La Jolla shoreline with it's cliffs, etc is very different than Coronado. While there is a parking lot at La Jolla Shores, I wouldn't call it huge. However, if you go pretty early you should get a parking spot.

J_Correa May 29th, 2006 06:09 PM

Hmmm - I must be one of those "less than decent citizens" ;) I like the Mission beach area a lot. I actually prefer it to La Jolla - La Jolla is beautiful, but I find Mission Beach more appealing.

needsun May 30th, 2006 01:39 AM

Thank you, K2rider. Your info is definitely helpful.To come in contact with those citizens would be the last thing I wanted on vacation. So the beach choices narrowed down to Coronado and La Jolla Shores. You said that I need to go early to get parking. How early is early? What roads to take to La Jolla Shores from downtown avoiding freeways?

k2rider May 30th, 2006 10:20 AM

To get to Coronado, take the 5 freeway south to the Coronado Bridge. Once you get on Coronado, I just follow the signs to the Hotel Del.

To get to La Jolla Shores, take the 5 freeway north to La Jolla Parkway/ Ardath Road. Turn right on La Jolla Shores Drive at the bottom of the hill, go down afew blocks and nearly every left will take you to LJ Shores/Kellogg Park. I guess the lot isn't "huge" per se but decent enough size.

As far as liking Mission Beach over LJ Shores, I'd agree is has more "flavor", along with more shopping and food choices (no real easy opyions at the shores). Belmont Park ay Mission Beach also might be a great diversion for kids MIDWEEK.

needsun May 30th, 2006 03:40 PM

Thank you K2rider. Looks like there is no way around freeways. How bad is the traffic on the freeway 5 on the weekend? And what is the speed limit? There are no freeways in the city I live and I really do not feel confident doing them in a new city.

1JAR May 30th, 2006 08:55 PM

Just an FYI..the news mentioned MEmorial DAy had 225,000 people on the ocean beaches of san diego and another 225,000 at Mission does matter which day of the week and what time.. Monday Tuesday Wednesday and go before 9:00 according to one news cast source...weekends go before 7:00am

k2rider May 30th, 2006 09:19 PM

The speed limit is 65 MPH on the freeways. I think it is 55 going over the Coronado Bridge. Traffic shouldn't be too bad unless you try and go at 11 am and then it's bad on the access roads, not the freeways themselves... as a general rule.

needsun May 31st, 2006 12:26 PM

Thank you K2 and everyone who responded. Your info is great. I f you have more ideas about the beaches, the traffic and SD activities feel free to share. I still have 9 more days before the trip.

travelina May 31st, 2006 12:31 PM

Do people actually swim at these beaches? When we were there we saw signs stating that you swim at your own risk due to contamination..

Barbara May 31st, 2006 01:39 PM

Travelin, you are determined to tell people that our beaches are unfit for swimming because of contaminated water. According to you, every beach in So. California has "permanent signs" warning of contamination. You are very wrong and I suggest you make sure you've got the facts right before you post stuff like this again.

For current beach information in San Diego County look here:

paula1470 May 31st, 2006 05:30 PM

I kind of feel bad for needsun. Seems like a lot of what she is hearing is that San Diego beaches are crowded, contaminated and draw a bad crowd. Although you can definitely find crowds, as a rule the beaches in San Diego are great. 1Jar mentioned all the people on the beach for Memorial Day but please remember that was a holiday. It was also exceptionally warm inland for this time of year so people headed to the beach.

travelina-Yes, once in awhile the beaches can get contiminated but this is the exception not the rule. Don't know when you visited San Diego but the contamination usually occurs because of heavy rain and run-off towards the ocean and is only for a couple of days. I don't think needsun will have to worry about that this time of year.

k2 has given good advice about driving directions. You really can't go to either Coronado or La Jolla without getting on the freeway but in the case of Coronado you are only on the freeway for a very short time before taking the Coronado Bay Bridge. La Jolla is a further drive but the freeways on the weekends shouldn't be too bad. I am not sure what k2 meant about 11am being crowded. During the week, 11am would probably be a good time to go-no rush hour traffic. However on the weekends depending on the weather, I guess it could be a little crowded mid to late morning. There is no way you need to get to the beach at 7am as 1JAR said. I think the only time I ever went to the beach close to that early was on 4th of July and it was so cloudy and overcast at that time of day, we were freezing. As I mentioned before, June is often very gloomy in the mornings and doesn't start to burn off until late morning. This could make beach traffic a little heavier if the sun comes out closer to noon. This week we are having no overcast and very warm weather early in the day. That doesn't happen often in June so by the time you come in 2 weeks it could be back to normal.

I know you will have a great time. Don't worry about driving on the freeways in San Diego, just get good directions and take your time. While you are in Coronado be sure to walk around, have lunch and check out Hotel Del Coronado. In La Jolla, you can drive from La Jolla Shores around to the downtown area (about a 5 minute drive) to eat and look at the shops.

mommybryant Jun 7th, 2006 07:28 PM

I just got back from SD and can tell you about the beaches. Yes, Mem Day they were all packed. We stayed on Pacific Beach, which was my kids favorite of all, and loved it! But there is no parking other than street parking at the North end where we were. We hit the beach almost every morning before 8:30 for a couple of hours before we went to attractions and then usually were back by sunset. No crowds and no trouble at all. Mostly families there. Water was cool, but we just got in and got used to it and enjoyed the waves. No jellyfish, etc. Nice. We spent one afternoon (Friday) at La Jolla Shores and it was not our favorite. By 1:00 parking was full, so go before 10:00. For younger kids, the sand was packed and did not make for good digging. Also was a dark gray color. So they loved PB better for tan colored sand that was plentiful enough to dig in. I think the contamination referral must be for La Jolla Cover (Childrens Pool) where the seals are. There are warning signs there, but no where else. We had a terrific stay and I miss hearing the waves crashing outside my condo unit!!

TravelTess Jun 7th, 2006 08:13 PM

You don't want to go to San Diego in June. June gloom hits and you can expect gray, cold and wet weather. Wait for Aug/Sept/Oct.

mommybryant Jun 7th, 2006 08:47 PM

Do not worry about the weather. Although it can be gloomy, we just got back and every day last week was clear and pretty. Only Thurs had some haze, but that was gone by noon. We too were worried about all we read about gray May, June gloom, etc, but we had to go at that time and it was fine and even warm. Its just not as bad as you hear. So go next week and have a great trip!

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