BEST BEACHES: SAND, SURF, AND HARBOR SEALS
With 33 beaches, San Diego has a stretch of sand for every mood.
SNORKELING Beneath La Jolla Cove (1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla) lies San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park & Ecological Reserve, where crystal-clear waters reveal a wealth of sea life, including bright orange garibaldi, tiger sharks, and spiny lobsters.
SURFING Made famous by Tom Wolfe in The Pumphouse Gang, Windansea Beach (6800 Neptune Place, La Jolla) is the spot for serious surfing. The thatched-roof surfboard hut, built during World War II, is a registered historic site.
MOST DRAMATIC A two-mile strand sheltered by imposing cliffs that hang gliders can't resist, Black's Beach (2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr., La Jolla) is also popular with nude sunbathers.
LONG WALKS At low tide, you can stroll along the whole coastline at Del Mar (Coast Hwy. at 17th Ave.)—from Black's Beach to Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Just don't forget your sunscreen.
BUILDING A SANDCASTLE The broad expanse of soft, white sand at Coronado Beach (Ocean Blvd. at Marina Blvd., Coronado) provides plenty of space and raw material to get creative.
MOST CONTROVERSIAL Harbor seals have colonized Children's Pool (850 Coast Blvd., La Jolla), a former favorite of dog-paddling tots, causing a raging kids-versus-animals debate citywide.
PEOPLE-WATCHING The busy boardwalk between Mission Bay and Pacific Beach (3141 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach) is home to a parade of bikinied babes, tattooed surfers, and skateboarders.