San Diego and swimming in the ocean go hand in hand. So if you’re heading to the beach with your entire sandy squad, you’ll want to know where the lifeguards are located. We’ve got you covered with our list of the most family-friendly beaches that have lifeguards on duty (sometimes year-round!), to help you watch your little ones. Scroll down to find out where to go catch some waves!

photo: Beth Shea

Del Mar Beach

Park near 17th St. in Del Mar, then head straight out to the beach where you'll find the main lifeguard station. Del Mar is a beautiful, sandy beach where even dolphins surf the waves. You'll also find bathrooms and showers to rinse off the sand before going home. And if the little ones get hungry, head to the snack shack (by the Poseidon restaurant) that serves beach-goers with burgers, ice cream and other beach favorites. It gets busy in the summer, so come early.

Lifeguard Watch: Year-round lifeguards at the 17th St. Station are on duty from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Additionally, in the summer months, they extend their hours from dawn to dusk and set-up more stations up and down the beach.

17th St. and the Beach
Del Mar, Ca
Online: delmarlifeguard.com

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Moonlight State Beach

Families love this beach for the rolling waves, sunset bluff views and year-round lifeguard station. Even more, you'll find a playground for half-pints and a snack bar that serves burgers. It gets busy in the summer, so arrive early to nab a parking spot. Also, there are public bathrooms and outdoor showers to wash off the sand.

Lifeguard Watch: Year-round lifeguards are on duty generally from sun-up to sundown. In the summer months, they extend their hours and their manpower to accommodate the crowds from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. from around Memorial Day to Labor Day. (Note: times can change).

400 B St.
Encinitas, Ca
(West of I-5 on Encinitas Blvd.)
Online: parks.ca.gov

Coronado Central Beach

If the local beaches seem a little crowded, the short drive over Coronado Bridge to Central Beach is a great spot to go. You'll find wide beaches with gorgeous glistening sand. (The mica in the sand gives it a gold, glittery effect). There are also fire pits, showers and bathrooms to use. When done at the beach, head to main street Coronado to grab a bite to eat.

Read our guide to exploring Coronado here.

Lifeguard Watch: The main lifeguard station is on the Central Beach along Ocean Blvd. To the South is the Hotel Del Coronado and to the North is Dog Beach and the naval station. The lifeguard tower is open year-round from 9 a.m. to sunset with expanded hours and locations in the summer.

920 Ocean Blvd.
Coronado, Ca
Online: coronado.ca.us/beach_lifeguards

La Jolla Shores

This gem of a beach is a 'shore' thing with the crew in tow. The gentle waves and year-round lifeguard station make watching little ones easier on the mind. There's also a grassy area for a picnic and a playground. Even more, there are bathrooms, showers and a free parking lot. When you get hungry, go to the Cheese Shop for sandwiches and ice cream just a few blocks away.

Read our guide to having a great date night in La Jolla here.

Lifeguard Watch: Year-round lifeguards usually patrol the beach from 9 a.m. to dusk from the large lifeguard station near the parking lot. In the summer months, they extend their hours to accommodate the crowds.

8200 Camino Del Oro
La Jolla, Ca
Online: sandiego.gov/lifeguards-shores

North Pacific Beach

Families prefer North Pacific Beach with its lifeguard swimming areas and a more mellow crowd. There are bathroom and shower facilities at the main lifeguard station at the end of Grand Ave. Plus, since this area is more residential, it's a good idea to pack a lunch. Or after the beach, head into the main part of Pacific Beach for a bite to eat.

Lifeguard Watch: The main lifeguard station is off Grand Ave. with lifeguard-supervised swimming areas also at the end of Law and Diamond St. Normal patrol hours are from 9 a.m. to dusk with more expanded hours and locations in the summer.

Grand Ave. and the Beach
Online: sandiego.gov/lifeguards-pb

photo: Nikki Walsh

Fletcher Cove Solana Beach

Fletcher Cove is a beach and a park. Firstly, you'll find a small free parking lot and surrounding street parking. The park has a nice playground, picnic tables and grassy area and the main Solana Beach Lifeguard Station. There are also showers and restrooms. The lifeguards let you know where good spots to swim are and patrol the beach very well.

Lifeguard Watch: Lifeguards are on duty year-round from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the winter months. There's a permanent building that looks down on the beach.

111 S. Sierra Ave.
Solana Beach, Ca
Online: solana-beach.ca.us

Carlsbad State Beach

Frazee Beach is within walking distance from Pine Ave. and near the Village. You can grab a sandwich at Board n' Brew before hitting the surf with the crew. Even more, there's a small paved road for walking down to the sand as well as showers and restrooms. When you're finished playing at the beach, walk into the Village for cool drinks and ice cream.

Read our guide to exploring Carlsbad Village here.

Lifeguard Watch: During the summer months lifeguards staff the stations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (sometimes later when crowded) along the beach. In the winter there is only a mobile unit that patrols the beach.

3261 Carlsbad Blvd. near Pine Ave.
Carlsbad, Ca
Online: parks.ca.gov

Do you know of a family beach with lifeguards? Tell us where below!

-Nikki Walsh

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