Beach Amenities and Regulations
Lifeguards are staffed year-round at the permanent lifeguard stations in San Diego (Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Mission Beach, North Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach, Children's Pool, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores). In summer, additional lifeguards are staffed in seasonal lifeguard towers.
Lifeguards are generally on duty from 9:00 a.m. to dusk. Check with lifeguards for specific staff hours.
It is a misdemeanor to fail to follow the lawful order of a lifeguard or to provide false information to a lifeguard. Any person who intentionally injures a lifeguard in California may be convicted of felony battery.
Never swim alone. Always swim near a lifeguard. Water areas off the major beaches are divided into swimming and surfing zones.
A black and yellow checkered flag will normally be posted between swimming and surfing zones. Check signs or ask a lifeguard for the proper zone for your activity.
Water areas off the major beaches are divided into swimming and surfing zones to separate these users. A black and yellow checker flag will normally be posted between zones. Check signs or ask a lifeguard for the proper zone for your activity.
Regardless of the area of use, it is unlawful to use any water recreational device (surfboard, boat, etc.) in a manner which endangers others.
If you're planning to dive, telephone the lifeguard beach information line (619-221-8824) for surf information before coming to the beach. Always check with lifeguards before diving.
Where fire pits are provided during the summer months, they are available on a first come, first served basis. Open beach fires outside containers are prohibited at all San Diego beaches. Fires are not allowed between midnight and 5 a.m.
The burning of rubbish is prohibited. Only wood, charcoal or paper products may be used as fuel. Fuel for the fire may not exceed a height of more than twelve inches above the upper edge of the fire container.
The fire must be extinguished before leaving the beach. Coals must be removed or deposited in hot coal containers.
Where fishing is permitted from the pier, a fishing license is not required, but catch regulations are enforced.
La Jolla Shores has the only beachfront boat launch within San Diego City limits. This is an unimproved boat launch. Vehicles are allowed to drive on the sand in a very limited area at five miles per hour or less. Four wheel drive is highly recommended.
Small vessels can be launched directly into the surf at the foot of Avenida de la Playa. This is approximately 300 yards south of the lifeguard station.
A limited number of wide-tire beach wheelchairs are available from the lifeguards.
No Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas and adjacent parking lots.
No Glass Containers
Glass containers are NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.
Smoking is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.
Littering is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.
No Disturbing Noise
Disturbing noise is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.
No Overnight Camping
Overnight camping, sleeping, or parking is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.
Dogs are NOT allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from November 1 through March 31.
Dogs are NOT allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from April 1 through October 31.
At all other hours, dogs must be on a leash. Owners are expected to pick up after their dog.
Dogs are allowed at Dog Beach (adjacent to Ocean Beach) and Fiesta Island (in Mission Bay).
These restrictions do not apply to service animals, as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.
Any gathering of more than 50 people requires a permit from the San Diego Park and Recreation Department.
A permit is also required for:
- a wedding;
- water event;
- athletic event;
- voice and/or music amplification; or
- use of special setup equipment (such as an inflatable party jump, dunk tank, canopy, etc.)
For permits or further information contact:
City of San Diego
Park and Recreation Department
Developed Regional Parks Division
2125 Park Blvd.
San Diego CA 92101
Boardwalk Speed Regulations
On the Mission Beach/Pacific Beach boardwalk, the maximum speed limit is 8 mph (13 kph).
For other questions or concerns, call 619-221-8899 or email SDLG@sandiego.gov