San Diego Beach Hotels - Top Places to Stay at the Seashore

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What You Need to Know about Beach Hotels in San Diego

Hotel Del Coronado on the Beach in San Diego
Hotel Del Coronado on the Beach in San Diego. Chiara Salvadori/Getty Images

Where the San Diego Beach Hotels Are Located

Don't expect to find beach hotels in the city of San Diego. Much of its shoreline is inside a protected bay and doesn't have a beach. Instead, go to Coronado, La Jolla, and Del Mar.

Some "Beach" Hotels Aren't Really on the Beach

In San Diego, you'll find quite a few hotels that try to pretend they're on the beach when they aren't. They'll use words like "beach" in their names. They might claim to have ocean views.

What they won't say is that the view is only available if you open the bathroom window, stand in the corner on tiptoe and squint. Or that the beach is in fact across a busy street or two from their front door.

How San Diego Beach Hotels Get on This List

To save you time trying to figure out which San Diego hotels are really on the beach, I applied a strict definition to create this list. If there's anything between the hotel and the sand other than a sidewalk, it isn't a beach hotel. It's that simple. Hopefully, that makes it easier for you, too.

They have to be clean and well-liked by their visitors and more. Find out how we choose the recommended San Diego beach hotels

Listed in geographic order from south to north:

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Imperial Beach: Pier South Resort

Located near the Imperial Beach Pier with 78 rooms. Some rooms have only partial views of the ocean. This location is south of San Diego and Coronado and a half hour's drive from downtown San Diego.

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Coronado: Hotel Del Coronado

It's first on the list and is San Diego's best known and most iconic beach hotel, but the Hotel Del Coronado suffers from a reputation that's too big to live up to.

The Hotel Del is a big hotel with a grand, old-fashioned elegance and lots of rooms. It's not poorly rated, but it's also not quite as well regarded as most of the other hotels on this list. 

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Point Loma: Inn at Sunset Cliffs

The Inn at Sunset Cliffs has only 25 rooms. It's not quite on the "beach" but at the edge of oceanfront cliffs. It has a terrace which offers a panoramic ocean view.

Most of the people who stay there love it, and many of them talk about how nice it is to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, but not all rooms have views. Get more details at their website

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Mission Beach: Blue Sea Beach Hotel

Located on the boardwalk in Mission Beach, the Blue Sea Beach is a moderately large property with over 100 rooms and some suites. 

Some rooms of their rooms face the ocean, but others are on the side. Ask when you reserve if this is important to you. Get more details at their website.

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Pacific Beach: Beach Cottages

It's not a hotel, but a collection of one- and two-bedroom cottages, apartments, studios, suites and motel rooms.

It's an especially good place to stay with a family or a larger group, with kitchens and refrigerators (except in the motel rooms), a laundry and lots of sand just​ steps away. Get more details at their website

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Pacific Beach: Crystal Pier Hotel

You sleep right over the ocean at the Crystal Pier, which may technically make it not a "beach" hotel, but it certainly is close to the water, and you can hear the ocean all night long.

It's understandably popular and your best bet to get a room is to reserve as far ahead as you can. Get more details at their website.

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Pacific Beach: Pacific Terrace Hotel

The Pacific Terrace is a beach resort, with a swimming pool. Some of the rooms have private balconies or patios, and many of them have ocean views.

You can walk straight out onto the sand from the hotel, which many guests love. On the downside, they charge a resort fee even if you don't use the amenities it's supposed to cover. Get more details at their website

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La Jolla: Scripps Inn

Many visitors love the Scripps Inn for romantic getaways. Located next to La Jolla Cove, it's a great place for winter whale-watching.

Visitors give it some of the highest marks of any beachfront hotel in the San Diego area. Get more information at their website

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Del Mar: L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa

Located in Del Mar near the beach and racetrack the L'Auberge has a relaxing onsite spa. It's a big hotel with more than 100 rooms. Some of them have ocean views. Get more details at their website