Alcohol Rules on San Diego Beaches

Bad news: It's not allowed

San Diego Beaches: Learn About Alcohol Bans
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If you're planning on a beach day or evening at a San Diego-area beach and want to party it up with alcoholic beverages, get down with the rules before you head out. (You are going to be disappointed since alcohol is banned on all San Diego beaches.) Besides beaches, alcoholic beverages are also banned on bay shores and in coastal parks. If you want to party down with adult beverages, you'll have to find non-coastal locations in the San Diego area.

Alcohol Ban

Though at one point in not too distant past you could drink alcohol on some San Diego beaches, it is no longer legal to consume alcoholic beverages at any San Diego beaches, bay shores, and coastal parks. This ban took effect on Jan. 15, 2008, and was adopted after years of complaints by beach community residents of drunken and disorderly behavior becoming more frequent and violent.

All San Diego beaches and bays in City Council Districts 1 and 2, along the coast from Point Loma to the Del Mar city limits, are covered by the ban. Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and associated piers, boardwalks, and sea walls are affected, as well as the beaches and shoreline of La Jolla.

Alcohol at Coastal Parks

Alcohol is not allowed at coastal parks, including Mission Bay Park (includes Fiesta Island, Robb Field, and Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach), Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, Tourmaline Surfing Park, and all coastal parks south of Tourmaline. One park not too far from the coast that does allow alcohol to be consumed on its premises is Kate Session Memorial Park in Pacific Beach. 

Weddings or Special Events

Organizers with special-event permits issued by San Diego's Office of Special Events are exempt from the booze ban. Examples are Over-the-Line and the Thunderboat races. If you are planning a wedding in a park included in the alcohol ban and wish to serve alcohol, you have to obtain a special-event permit to do so.

Penalties for Consuming Alcohol on the Beach

Penalties are subject to change and may differ depending on the circumstances. As of July 2018, first-time violators who are cited with an infraction can be fined up to $250. Repeat offenders cited for a misdemeanor could face a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail, or both.