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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego County beach’

The Royalty of San Diego’s South Bay: Imperial Beach

Posted by Jody on February 19, 2014

Imperial Beach, California – Heading for the pier.

When I think of Imperial Beach, California, I think of everything surfing: from genuine Southern California surfers riding the waves to the community’s public art, the outdoor “Surfboard Museum” and even the surfboard shaped bus stop benches!  This town always brings to mind classic Beach Boys surfin’ tunes.

Imperial Beach, California

Imperial Beach has so much more to offer than surfing, though.  Here you’ll find 3 ½ miles of clean, white, sandy beach stretching southward to the US-Mexico border. With splendid views of San Diego and Coronado to the north, somehow Imperial Beach never seems crowded. It’s less than 13 miles from Downtown San Diego, so Greg and I are always happy to either make the drive or hop on the bus and head on down to this lovely stretch of beach. If we had to choose, we’d likely tell you that this is our favorite strand of San Diego’s “South Bay.”

According to the their official website, the City of Imperial Beach is “the most southwesterly city in the continental United States.  Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and South San Diego Bay, our town is nestled between miles of uncrowded beaches, big surf and unparalleled open space and wetlands teeming with wildlife. Because this town is one of the last untouched beach towns in Southern California, we are known as Classic Southern California®.”

Imperial Beach, California

Beachcombing is lots of fun here. We always find something interesting on the sands of Imperial Beach.  Once Greg and I came home with a lovely collection of multicolored Donax clam shells, very typical of Southern California beaches. The last time we visited, we found large, heavy clam shells, sand dollars and California mussels.

From what I have been able to search out, these sturdy clams are Common Washington Clams (Saxidomus nuttalli), also known as Butter Clams. Our largest Washington Clam find on Imperial Beach measures 4 ¾” wide,  but we have found these particular seashells up to 5 ¼” wide on other South Bay beaches. Their range is from Humbolt Bay, California to northern Baja California.

Imperial Beach Treasures (California)

This area is well-known for year round coastal birdwatching (a printable map of birdwatching areas is available online).  For the botanist,  there is an interesting variety of coastal vegetation, too. Of course, swimming and sunbathing are also very popular pastimes!  With all that Imperial Beach has to offer, I’d say it’s “One Shell of a Find!”

“Spirit of Imperial Beach” by James A. Wasil, 2008

If you’d like to learn about the interesting history of surfing at Imperial Beach and the big wave break “Tijuana Sloughs” that made this area famous in the surfing world, you’ll want to check out “Riders of The Tijuana Sloughs,” at

Bus Stop Bench in Imperial Beach, California

Surfin’ USA

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U. S. A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like Californi-a
You’d see ’em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin’ U. S. A.

~Brian Wilson/Chuck Berry

We’d love to hear about your favorite Southern California beach!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells, Southern California Beaches, Surfing Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

No Such Thing as Bad Weather

Posted by Jody on December 21, 2013

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;

there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

~John Ruskin

The Crystal Pier Hotel Cottages at Pacific Beach

The Crystal Pier Hotel Cottages at Pacific Beach

Do you see what I see?

Yep, that’s a Christmas tree way out there on the end of Crystal Pier!

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

Greetings from the Rotary Club!

Christmas Greetings from Pacific Beach

… and from the Pacific Beach (aka: P. B.) Town Council

On the Pier at Pacific Beach

Someone else who didn’t seem to mind the rain!

Merry Christmas from Pacific Beach!

Merry Christmas from Pacific Beach!

View from the Pier at  Pacific Beach

Looking Toward Pacific Beach and Mission Beach from Crystal Pier

Ever-funky Pacific Beach, California, was unusually sleepy on the recent stormy afternoon that Greg and I visited. The three mile long (typically lively) boardwalk was as quiet as it could be. The soft sands were completely deserted, and the famous Crystal Pier didn’t entertain even one fisherman. Only a smattering of the customary wet-suited surfers were braving the gray waves.

Dodging bands of frigid rain to reach the end of the pier (heading out and turning back a number of times), we finally decided to just make a run for it. It was well worth it! The Crystal Pier offers fantastic views of the surrounding Southern California beaches and coastline, no matter the weather.

♫ Seems it sometimes rains in Southern California! ♫ San Diego actually has only 42+/- days of rainy weather each year, leaving a whopping 323 days for somewhat less soggy fun at the beach!


Related links:

Pacific Beach

Crystal Pier

Lightning Safety at the Beach

Posted in Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Low Tide Beachside Yuletide!

Posted by Jody on December 17, 2013

Late afternoon shadows on the sandy beach at Coronado's Ferry Landing

~ Late afternoon shadows and the coming of low tide at the sandy beach next to The Coronado Ferry Landing ~

Coronado Ferry Landing and Beach

It’s a very clean little beach…

View of San Diego's skyline from the beach at Coronado's Ferry Landng

…with fabulous views of the the beautiful San Diego skyline!

This way to San Diego via the ferry. ----->

This way to San Diego via the ferry —–>

Here comes our boat!

Here comes our boat!

And who might that be?

And who might that be?

Ho, ho, ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

“Santa!!! Over here!!!”

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Coronado's Ferry Landing Beach

I do believe there were even more excited adults than eager children on deck to welcome Santa Claus to Coronado!

A quiet December evening on the beach at Coronado's Ferry Landing

Once again all is quiet on a gorgeous December evening on the beach at The Coronado Ferry Landing.

~Leaving the beach behind~ We're off to San Diego!

Leaving the beach behind, we’re off to San Diego!

A lovely little sandy beach, a Santa Claus sighting, and a ferry boat ride! How cool is that?


Helpful links: Coronado Visitor Center, San, Surprise! A Quiet Little Beach!

Posted in Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Seasonal Seaside Style with The Sandcastle Man

Posted by Jody on December 10, 2013

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

The Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

Coronado Beach, Southern California

Coronado Beach, Southern California

The Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

At the Beach with the Sandcastle Man

The Sandcastle Man at Play

The Sandcastle Man at Play

Look who's here!

Look who’s here!

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

You can visit with The Sandcastle Man on the beach just outside the Hotel del Coronado!


Check out the live webcam at the Hotel Del to see if you can spot him on the beach today!


Posted in Beachy Keen Art, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

The Ghost of Kate Morgan

Posted by Jody on October 26, 2012

The Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, California

Reports of paranormal activity related to the 1892 death of the beautiful, young Kate Morgan at the beach-side Hotel Del Coronado are well known to the locals and the visitors of this sprawling, Victorian seaside resort. According to “The Del’s” public relations department:

“Hotel guests, employees, and even paranormal researchers have attested to some supernatural occurrences at The Del.  Witnesses report flickering lights, televisions that turn on and off by themselves, dramatic shifts in room temperatures, odd scents, unexplained voices, the sound of strange footsteps, mysterious breezes which cause curtains to billow when windows are closed, and objects which move of their own accord; still others claim to have seen the ghost of Kate Morgan herself.”

Years ago, our family spent Christmas week at The Del. Not one of us encountered Kate Morgan’s spirit or experienced any spooky happenings.  In fact, all five of us even scuttled past Kate’s room (#3327) on several occasions! No luck. Maybe we were just looking too hard.

Wide, sandy beach at The Hotel Del Coronado

The wide beach on which The Hotel Del sits is super clean. It stretches along 1 ½ miles of stunning San Diego County coastline. With its glistening sand, gentle waves and the backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado, it’s the ideal Southern California destination. It is no wonder that, in 2012, the well-respected “Dr. Beach” crowned Coronado Beach “America’s Best Beach” with the release of his 22nd annual Top 10 Beach List.

The Sand Castle Man at work on the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado.

If you’re heading to Coronado, be sure to look for The Sand Castle Man (aka: Billy Pav) who likes to work (play?) on the beach near The Hotel Del.  He’s a friendly, award winning sand sculptor who loves to chat with passers-by about his rather unique craft. I forgot to ask him if he’s met Kate Morgan!

More related links:

Ghostly Goings-On at the Hotel Del Coronado (San

Guest Post: Let’s start the summer at Coronado Beach!

Cruisin’ Coronado (Travel Monkey)


Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Friday Finds, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Weekend’s Rock! ;-)

Posted by Jody on October 14, 2012

Rock and sand beach, La Jolla coastline, Southern California

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

~Thomas Jefferson

Today we get things rolling with a new category: “Weekend’s Rock!” We’re going to have some fun with this one!  Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, photos and quotes.  We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Southern California Beaches, Today's Special, Weekend's Rock | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Posted by Jody on September 23, 2012

“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. 
Because solitude is an achievement.” 
~Alice Koller, Author

Solitary Surfer


This surfer, alone in his thoughts, was photographed at Imperial Beach on San Diego’s South Bay.

Imperial Beach is one of our favorite strands. With the surfer theme evident throughout the community, it’s always easy to catch the laid-back surfing spirit, if not a wave! For its litter-free beach, great beachcombing, Southern California surfing vibe, and wonderful community pier, Greg and I each give Imperial Beach “two thumbs up!”

Related post: The Royalty of San Diego’s South Bay: Imperial Beach, California

Posted in Surfing Beach, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

Posted by Jody on September 12, 2012

This week I thought I’d get my feet wet and join in the fun of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.  The theme for the week is “Near and Far.”  This splashy shot was taken at La Jolla Cove in the San Diego, California community of La Jolla.

La Jolla Cove is always picture perfect. It’s well known to kayakers, swimmers, scuba divers and snorkelers. The calm water is ecologically protected, providing a very popular underwater viewing area for colorful garibaldi, yellowtail, rays and even leopard sharks. Sea lions love this beautiful cove and the surrounding bluffs. It’s no wonder tourists flock here (along with pelicans, cormorants and many other varieties of shorebirds). We are no different!

Have a great day at the beach!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Southern California Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Curious about cormorants? So is Rover!

Posted by Greg on July 11, 2012

Today’s feathered feature is the Brandt’s cormorant Jody and I met on our last trip to sunny Southern California.

The Brandt’s cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) is a sea bird common to the Pacific Coast of North America, from California to Washington. The full range, however, is from southern Alaska to Baja Mexico, wherever the food is most plentiful. This sea bird depends heavily on the California Current, which moves south along the Pacific Coast of North America, causing  upwellings of nutrients that attract the bird’s food. Its diet consists mainly of fish, along with shrimp and crabs. The Brandt’s cormorant is a great diver that descends from the water’s surface and uses its powerful webbed feet to swim masterfully. This cormorant commonly dives to depths of 40 feet, chasing prey that they grab with their hooked bill and then swallow whole.

We came across this juvenile Brandt’s cormorant on La Jolla’s beautiful coast.

Juvenile Brandt’s Cormorant enjoying the view in La Jolla, California

Brandt’s cormorants have distinctive white cheeks, making them easy to identify. According to the Channel Islands National Park, California, “Brandt’s cormorants weigh about 4.6 pounds and measure 34 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 4 feet. Sexes look similar; with short black legs, a long black body and neck, and a dark bill with a hooked tip. Breeding adults have brilliant turquoise eyes and a bright blue gular pouch-distinctive among this species of cormorant-which fades quickly after the nesting season. Their breeding plumage also includes white plumes on either side of the head, neck, and back. Like other cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants often spread their wings out to dry after a dive, as their feathers are not completely waterproof and become soaked. This helps reduce buoyancy and allows the cormorant to forage deep under water.

Juvenile Brandt’s cormorants (like the one we met) are brownish black with a lighter tan underside that forms a V-shape where the neck meets the chest.

What’s up?

The picture below shows the result of a pet owner disregarding  San Diego County beach dog laws and commonly accepted beach pet etiquette. Although the bird seemingly remained calm, cool and collected, this unexpected encounter gave Jody and me a good scare! Luckily, Rover was just curious. He didn’t get any closer to the young cormorant before his errant owner realized where he was and called him off.

Uh oh! Fido isn’t on a leash!

The inquisitive pooch was not only off-leash but was also on the beach within restricted hours. San Diego County has a very specific set of hours in which dogs are allowed on beaches, and at all times they must be kept on a leash.

Of course, our pal Rover didn’t know any better, but his human might want to consider planning a visit to one of the four special “Dog  Beaches” on the San Diego Coast. They include Dog Beach-Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island-Mission Bay, North Beach Dog Run-Coronado, and Del Mar Dog Beach-Del Mar. Each of these beaches has their own rules. Stop by the county’s Dog Beaches site for details.

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”  ~Corey Ford, American humorist

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Picture Perfect La Jolla Cove and Beach, Southern California

Posted by Jody on July 9, 2012

La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacular, photogenic locations on the San Diego Coast!  Good shots of the cove can come from any angle. If you like taking pictures, I suggest that you pick a spot, enjoy the view of the coastline and wildlife, take some breathtaking photos and then move along and do it again (and again).

These pictures trace a walk Greg and I took from the bluffs, down to the beach, and then over to the tide pools.

La Jolla Cove, Southern California

From almost any vantage point, we had the perfect opportunity to see the amazing diversity of coastal wildlife that La Jolla Cove is famous for.

California Brown Pelicans, Cormorant and California Sea Lions

After enjoying the vistas from the Coast Walk Trail and paved walkways, we headed down to La Jolla Cove’s sandy beach and explored the boulder-filled tide pools nearby.

La Jolla Cove, A View from the Beach

Although a low tide is better for tide pooling, even at higher tides it’s well worth taking the time to check out the rocky puddles. There is usually a fantastic assortment of coastal critters in the high tide zone, too!

At the far end of the beach – pass through to the explore tide pools at La Jolla Cove.

 Keep your camera ready! This next shot was totally unexpected.

California Sea Lion at La Jolla Cove

Back to tide pooling…Watch your step! These rocks are slick.

Beautiful solitary anemones are plentiful in the La Jolla Cove tide pools.

If you look closely, you’ll find that these are (mostly) hermit crabs.

Rush hour in the tide pool!

Rough Limpets and barnacles in the tide pools at La Jolla Cove.

To fully experience the calm waters and undersea world of the “look but don’t touch” San Diego-Jolla Underwater Park, many visitors scuba dive or snorkel to discover a wonderful variety of colorful, semi-tropical fishes and other marine life. Kayaking and swimming are also very popular activities here.

If you plan to spend the day at La Jolla Cove, you won’t run out of things to do. Enjoy the wildlife;  swim, splash and play on the sandy beach; bring a picnic or buy a box lunch and relax at the nearby grassy Scripps Park; and stroll the cove’s coastline to your heart’s content. Whatever you choose to do with your day at La Jolla Cove, you simply can’t go wrong!

The beach at La Jolla Cove has nearby restrooms, showers and picnic areas.  Lifeguards are stationed at the cove year-round. Paid parking is available in the area, although it’s really a breeze to use San Diego’s award winning public transit system (MTS) to get to the beaches.

Sign posted at La Jolla Cove (Photo: Jody Diehl)

If you do plan to tour the La Jolla Cove tide pools, be sure to wear good beach trekkers, or at least something more protective, and slip-proof, than dime store flip flops! You might also enjoy this previous post on tide pooling and tide pool etiquette:  Tide Pool Etiquette 101.

Have fun at the beach, and don’t forget your camera!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Monday Miscellaneous, Sea Lions and Seals, Southern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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