Del Mar, California, is known for its beautiful beaches, Torrey pine trees, and breathtaking canyons sprinkled with hillside homes. The two square miles of this seaside town have long been recognized as one of San Diego County’s finest neighborhoods.
Del Mar is an ideal getaway for people wanting a seaside community with charm, excellent shopping, and various top-rated restaurants. This distinctive little community registers high on the charm scale. If you want a quieter experience, plan your visit during the late spring or early fall.
1. Torrey Pines State Reserve
Torrey Pines State Reserve and nearby Torrey Pines Public Golf Course provide some fantastic outdoor activities and opportunities to enjoy the Pacific Ocean views that Del Mar is famous for. The 2,000-acre Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of the few places in the world where the Torrey pine tree, a rare and endangered species, grows.
2. Seagrove Park Del Mar
For visitors with children, there is Sea-grove Park and adjoining Powerhouse Park with an adjacent children’s playground, affectionately referred to as the Tot Lot. Throughout the summer, free concerts in the park as well as wine tasting and culinary festivals.
3. Downtown Del Mar
Across from Sea-grove Park is the historic downtown village that dates back to the 1880s. Nestled amid its 60 shops and 25 restaurants is the landmark Del Mar Library. The building has served as a famous church for both movie stars and residents, a restaurant, and other uses over the decade.
4. City Beach
The northern half of Del Mar City Beach, from 15th Street to the river mouth, called 15th Street Beach, is arguably San Diego’s finest beach. Bluffs line Del Mar City Beach to the south and several trails lead down from the cliffs. A popular trail next to the train track on the bluff is a favorite of walkers and joggers.
5. L’Auberge Del Mar
A fixture of downtown is the L’Auberge Del Mar is a luxury resort and spa. With its distinctive French architecture, this gated property is close enough to the beach to offer rewarding views of the Pacific Ocean and its majestic sunsets. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. Website.
6. North Beach – Dog Beach
One popular beach option is Dog Beach, just north of the village. It’s one of the few beach areas in San Diego County where it’s legal to let your dog run loose on the beach from October through May. During the summer, dogs can still use the beach but must be on a leash.
7. Del Mar Horse Racing Track
The Race Track opened in 1937 and is known for its slogan, “Where The Turf Meets The Surf.” Thousands of racing fans wear their favorite hats on opening day each year and compete in the best hat contest. Summer race season runs mid-July through the start of September each year. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. website.
8. Jake’s at Del Mar
Jake’s is an upscale restaurant with an amazing view of the beach at Del Mar. The food at Jake’s is always good the service is excellent. Seafood is the specialty here; however, they do offer a few items for meat-eaters. A reservation is a must if you want a table overlooking the beach. Jake’s is located at 1660 Coast Blvd. Reservations.
9. San Diego County Fair
For 24 days, the San Diego County Fair rolls into the Fairgrounds, bringing with it all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair that started in 1880. The San Diego County Fair features exciting rides, an assortment of skill games, agricultural events, and livestock exhibitions.
10. Crest Canyon Park
Visitors to Crest Canyon can enjoy two gently sloped trails which diverge in the middle of the canyon and meet again near the trailheads. The canyon is home to several Torrey Pine trees and provides a habitat to complement the wetlands in the San Dieguito Lagoon. Crest Canyon trailhead is located at Durango Drive and Lozana Road in Del Mar, California.
Del Mar is best visited at any time of the year. However, visitors can expect the quaint beachside town of just over 4,000 to grow to 1.2 million from mid-June until early September, due largely to the San Diego County Fair and the horse racing season.
Del Mar is situated 20 miles north of downtown San Diego and 100 miles south of Los Angeles, just off I-5 on scenic Coast Highway 101; this coastal gem is well worth the visit.