Where to live near the beach in San Diego area

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where to live near the beach in san diego

We are here to help you find the best places to live near San Diego beaches.  

Below you will find a brief overview of some of San Diego’s attractive beach communities from currently affordable beach towns like Imperial Beach and Oceanside, mid-range affordable beach cities like Carlsbad and Encinitas to high-end San Diego beach communities like Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado.

All the San Diego beach communities below have an ideal weather, lots of things to do (swim, golf, play tennis, or just enjoy the outdoors), with great access to many public and private amenities, entertainment, and a major international airport.

Proximity to healthcare services is important when choosing where to retire in San Diego, and you will find that many of these San Diego beach cities are close to major hospitals.

Senior centers are also present in many of the San Diego coastal communities which help you keep an active lifestyle and stay connected. As you learn more about San Diego, you will find that San Diego is the ultimate happy location to spend your active and/or retirement years.

Carlsbad California

Nicknamed “the village by the sea,” Carlsbad is a popular seaside tourist city in North County San Diego. The city is 87 miles south of Los Angeles and 35 miles north of downtown San Diego.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated population of Carlsbad, California as of 2020 is 116,285.

As for income information, the median household income in Carlsbad is $113,712, according to Data USA.


Carlsbad’s Mediterranean climate averages 263 sunny days per year with mild winters and sees only occasional rain. Just over 39 square miles (101 km2) and located “west of the 5,” (Interstate 5) it’s right on the coast.

A Great Place for Families

According to 2011 census data, 67.5% of the population consists of families of which 30% have children under the age of 18 living with them. There’s a very low incidence of crime here also.

It’s a great place to live for many reasons. You can see evidence of this just from the population growth.

There’s a Lot Happening Here

The largest employers in Carlsbad include ViaSat Inc. (tele-communications company), Life Technologies Corporation, LEGOLAND California, Omni La Costa Resort and Spa and Taylor Made-Adidas Golf Company. Many major corporations are headquartered in Carlsbad as well, including Cobra Golf, Callaway Golf, No Fear apparel and Jenny Craig just to name a few.

Carlsbad still maintains quiet small town atmosphere. It’s charming downtown is filled with sidewalk cafés, boutique shops, and antique stores. Carlsbad Village is a great place to take an evening stroll, hit a few coffee shops, stop for dinner or catch some live music or other regular events.

This is a really relaxed place to live, ideal for experiencing the outdoors with great beaches, plenty of casual and active things to do (including LEGOLAND California resort and the Sea Life Aquarium as well as modern shopping centers).

Golf is another big attraction in Carlsbad with courses like Aviara at Park Hyatt Resort, the Crossings Golf Course, Omni La Costa Golf Course and Rancho Carlsbad Golf Club. In total there are over 20 courses within 10 miles of the center of Carlsbad.

With plenty of parks and public recreational activities along with active libraries and cultural arts programs you won’t have a hard time filling your schedule. Marathons, festivals, street fairs also enhance the attraction of Carlsbad. You’ll also find senior centers with fitness, dance and numerous other active programs for the young at heart.

And with 3 lagoons, a lake, and 7 miles of beaches, you have every chance to swim, surf, fish, dive or picnic, in a truly picturesque setting.

There are four different school districts in Carlsbad that also intertwine with neighboring cities. There are three public high schools, three public schools with independent study programs, 15 public elementary schools, and 7 private schools.

Best Neighborhoods in San Diego County with Award-Winning Schools

The Scripps Coastal Medical Center is located in Carlsbad and the Tri-city Medical Center in neighboring Oceanside is only 4.8 miles and the Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas is only 5.5 miles from the center. There are 18 total hospitals within 30 miles of Carlsbad.

Other Local Guides:

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Coronado CA

Nicked named the “Crowned City” you can see right away that Coronado is an affluent and desirable place to live. Roughly 24,000 people live here and it is the home of the US Navy Air Station, the Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Island Marriott, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, and the one of the best white-sand beaches in the world.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated population of Coronado, California as of 2020 is 24,854.

As for income information, the median household income in Coronado is $105,524, according to Data USA.


The average temperatures range from a high of 72F to a low of 58F in January, and there is roughly 10 inches of rain all year.

Tourism is a huge part of Coronado’s lifeblood. Just an ideal place for outdoor activities, including, swimming, sailing, running, biking, tennis and golf – the scenery can’t be beat.

The Coronado Municipal Golf Course is here and there are a total of 18 public and private courses within 10 miles of Coronado.

The Sharp Coronado Hospital is located here and there are 20 other hospitals within 12 miles of Coronado (Naval Medical Center – 3 miles and USCD Medical Center – 5 miles).

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Del Mar, CA

A very small but affluent beachside just north of La Jolla, affordability is not really a strong point of Del Mar.

According to the US Census Bureau, the estimated population of Del Mar, California as of July 1, 2021 is 4,253. (Source: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/delmarcitycalifornia).

The median household income for Del Mar in 2019 was $138,548 according to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). (Source: https://profile.sandiegobusiness.org/community/del-mar)

Del Mar’s climate is typical of the San Diego area beach cities – Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and mild winters. Temperatures rarely rise over 85°F or fall below 62°F. The average daily temperature in Del Mar is approximately 71°F.

There are 20 total hospitals within 17 miles of Del Mar. The VA San Diego Hospital and the Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas are only 6 miles away, and the Scripps La Jolla Hospital and Scripps Green Hospital are both 8 miles in distance.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is home to many events and exhibitions. The Del Mar Racetrack is here too, and hosts live horse racing during the summer and fall. The Fairgrounds also have satellite wagering at the Surfside Race Place throughout the year. The Del Mar Antique Show runs three times a year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and this is also the home of the San Diego County Fair.

There 26 golf courses within 10 miles of Del Mar. Torrey Pines State Beach is located in Del Mar and the city is well known for its numerous beautiful beaches and great surfing.

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Encinitas, California

Just south of Carlsbad, Encinitas is another beautiful seaside city located along the historic Pacific Coast Highway 101 (the “PCH”). With an amazing Mediterranean climate, it’s very mild here. The average daily temperature is 72°F, while temperatures below 40°F or over 85°F are very rare.

Encinitas is much smaller than Carlsbad, only about half the size – about 20 sq. miles.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated population of Encinitas, California as of 2020 is 63,165.

As for income information, the median household income in Encinitas is $117,123, according to Data USA.


A Relaxed Vibe

With over 6 miles of coastline there is a very beachy feel here. The beach lifestyle heavily contributes to the local culture and is a major source of enjoyment and recreation.

Surfing is one of the most popular activities and is part of the city’s heritage. Encinitas is considered to have world-class surfing conditions so you’ll find many local surfers and year-round surf contests.

The diverse landscape ranges from beaches and cliffs, to flat coastline areas to rolling hills and steep bluffs. Several lagoons and coastal wetlands are home to a wide variety of wild life (including over 300 species of birds). The San Diego Botanical Gardens is another beautiful attraction, famous for it’s Amazon Rainforest and bamboo displays. The Self Realization Center’s beautiful gardens and viewpoint over looking the Pacific Ocean, typify the peaceful feel of Encinitas.

The flower growing industry is quite significant in Encinitas and has gained a reputation as a flower growing capital, in particular for poinsettias.

The beautiful downtown area is right on the coast and features shops, cafes and restaurants – all in a very historical setting. The city also hosts many year-round events like barbeques, street fairs, seasonal festivals.

Public Services and Amenities

Encinitas Ranch Golf Course is a very popular municipal course open to all ages and levels, with great practice facilities and panoramic ocean views. And there are over 25 courses within just 10 miles of Encinitas center.

Seniors will find a very lively senior’s program filled with various services and activities. The 39,000 sq. foot Encinitas Senior Center is a hub for all kinds of social and recreational events, like arts and crafts, computer instruction, dance, fitness classes, games, music appreciation, outreach services, special interest programs, transportation, and special events.

Encinitas is part of four different school districts across the local region, with 4 high schools, 5 middle Schools (including three private) and 15 elementary schools five of which are private. Also the Watts Atelier of the Arts School is located here.

There are three colleges located in Encinitas as well:

  • California Institute for Human Science
  • Mira Costa College (San Elijo Campus)


The Scripps Memorial Hospital is a general medical and surgical center located in Encinitas. The Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, CA is only 10.6 miles away and the Palomar Medical Center in Escondido is only 10.7 miles away. In total there are 25 hospitals within 25 miles of the center of Encinitas.

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Imperial Beach, CA

Imperial Beach hails itself as “Classic Southern California”; a beach-oriented community with a safe, small town, family atmosphere, rich in natural and cultural resources” (Source: www.imperialbeachca.gov).

This is the southernmost beach city in Southern California. It’s in the South Bay area of San Diego County, 14 miles south of Downtown San Diego and 5 miles to the northwest of Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego Bay and City of Coronado are to the north of Imperial Beach.

It has a total area of 4.5 square miles.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated population of Imperial Beach, California as of 2020 is 27,790.

As for income information, the median household income in Imperial Beach is $67,813, according to Data USA.


Again, we have another community with nearly perfect weather. Because of the Mediterranean climate with summer temperatures in the upper 70s and winter temperatures in the 60s, many homes here are built without air conditioning. Imperial Beach is usually 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler than inland areas in the summer, and 10 degrees warmer in the winter.

The city has undergone a huge renewal and redevelopment program over the past 10 years. It remains a mostly residential city, with a high military population and is home to US Navy facilities.

Beach volleyball, surfing and body boarding are popular and especially concentrated around the famous Imperial Beach Pier (a local landmark). The surfing is highly rated as well. Fishing, hiking and biking, walking tours of public art and nature walks are popular. Bird watching at the world-renowned Tijuana Estuary and simply relaxing and enjoying beautiful sunsets all are also attractions to Imperial Beach.

Also, 6 golf courses (public and private) are within 10 miles of Imperial Beach.

The Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center is general medical and surgical center only 4 miles away. Paradise Valley Hospital and Sharp Coronado Hospital are less than 8 miles away. Imperial Beach has 21 hospitals within 25 miles.

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