5 of the best places in San Diego for gorgeous (and free!) views

5 of the best places in San Diego for gorgeous (and free!) views


Looking for amazing coastline views? Add San Diego to your travel bucket list.

The Southern California city offers incredible beach views in multiple areas, so if you’re looking for some natural beauty that will take your breath away, these spots are for you.

And the best part? They’re all free.

No entrance or admission fees for these gorgeous views. You may need to pay a dollar or two for street parking for some of these locations, though, depending on where you park.

Other than that, sit back and enjoy the view at these five places in and around San Diego:

La Jolla Cove

View of La Jolla beach. (Photo: Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY)

This picturesque cove and beach is surrounded by cliffs that are the perfect background for countless Instagram photo opportunities. Walk along the sidewalk for a high-up perspective of the scenic view below or walk along the beach. There’s also a railed walkway that takes you out into the middle of the water, another great photo opp – just be careful not to drop your phone or get wet from crashing waves!

La Jolla Beach. (Photo: Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY)

If you get there early enough, you can often see some marine life, including seals, sea lions and different ocean birds basking on the beach and rocks.

Located in the La Jolla neighborhood of the city, it’s also a great spot for shopping and dining. 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Reserve (Photo: Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY)

Driving less than 30 minutes north from La Jolla Cove brings you to the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, a coastal state park that boasts almost 2,000 acres and beautiful beach views. 

The park has a bit of something for everyone: a beach, cliffs you can walk along that overlook the beach (just be careful of areas with signs that warn of unstable cliffs) and multiple trails for hiking and catching more great views of the water.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset (Photo: Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY)

If you’re traveling with a partner, the romantic Sunset Cliffs are a must-see for one of your nights in the city. These cliffs overlook the Pacific Ocean and offer an incredible view of the setting sun. Be sure to get there in time to snag a spot at the popular destination and in time for the sunset, of course. And the horizon isn’t the only impressive view – the natural cliffs also provide a beautifully colored sun-soaked scene. 

Mount Soledad

Mount Soledad. (Photo: Sara Moniuszko, USA TODAY)

Mount Soledad is a landmark offering an even higher view of La Jolla and surrounding San Diego.

The mountaintop is also home to the Mount Soledad Cross, a nearly 30-foot concrete cross that stands in the center of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Walk up the memorial’s stairs to read the stories of American veterans and get a closer look at the cross, or walk around the perimeter of the spot to take in the incredible view.

There are are also several benches facing outward, so you can relax while looking out at the water and city below. 

Mt. Helix Park

View from Mt. Helix. (Photo: Courtesy of Callie Riley)

Mt. Helix Park is another hilltop spot that offers high-up views of San Diego, even though it’s located outside the city itself in La Mesa, California. 

The park also features a memorial cross you can take photos with, as well as picnic tables for lunches and the Yawkey Trail for walking along. The park’s amphitheater is also home to events and other activities. 

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