About Sunset Cliffs San Diego & How to Get to the Stunning Beach

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Just north of San Diego sits Sunset Cliffs, an amazing nature park to explore! This stretch of Sunset Cliffs beach sits underneath towering cliffs that zig zag its way down the coast of Southern California. Right around the corner from the eclectic Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park will be a breath of fresh air in the popular San Diego area.

California Travel Inspiration

Getting to Sunset Cliffs San Diego

As you wrap around the corner from Ocean Beach, you’ll pass the Inn at Sunset Cliffs Motel and catch your first glimpse of the water. While it can be the perfect cruise in your car, we highly recommend stopping to park the first place you can find and walking the entire stretch of coastline. It is not too far of a walk and has plenty of viewpoints to stop and admire.

Sunset Cliffs San Diego

Sunset Cliffs Arch

The first place that will catch your eye is the popular swimming hole nicknamed “The Arch”. The Arch gets its name from the 20-foot ledge that hangs over the main pool of water. On a hot summer day, it’s common to see people going airborne and taking the plunge into the water below!

Be careful if you decide to do this, as many people have gotten injured (and even died) from jumping in during the wrong tide. We typically jump off the smaller sides of the rock at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and swim under the arch area as a safer alternative. To get there just walk down over the arch to the rocks, and swim underneath to catch a glimpse of the caves!

Sunset Cliffs Arch

Sunset Cliffs San Diego Beach

The next stretch of Sunset Cliffs takes you down the winding road with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. A dirt path cradles the cliffs for most of the way, but watch your step as often there is no railing blocking you from the edge. You’ll pass a massive rock sitting all by itself out in the water which is typically covered in birds.

Then just turn the corner to get to the mesmerizing “No Surf” beach. Tucked under Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, you’ll see beach lovers and partygoers alike enjoying the day in this private oasis. At first glance, you may be wondering, “How the heck do I get down there?” The steep cliffs are tough to navigate, but not impossible.

On the far end, you’ll see a less steep incline where we (and the majority of others) typically hike down. Another passageway exists in the middle, but I wouldn’t recommend this way to the Sunset Cliffs beach! While it may not be the best surfing spot according to the name, it’s always been a fun place for us to swim and spend the day.

Sunset Cliffs Beach

Exploring More of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

New Break Beach is just south of Point Loma, and also has no official route down to the beach like many spots at Sunset Cliffs San Diego. Just past Ladera Street, you’ll find another beach that’s actually nicer than it sounds… Garbage Beach which named for the large amounts of kelp that cover the rocks.

Sunset Cliffs Road

The Best Sunset in San Diego at Sunset Cliffs!

When making a trip to Sunset Cliffs it’s only right that you actually plan your visit for sunset. The massive cliffs stretch along the coast and tower over the beaches, providing the perfect sunset viewpoint. Luscomb’s Point is the most popular place to be, but honestly anywhere will do! 

Best Sunset in San Diego

Wherever you choose to go you’re sure to catch an amazing view at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Comment below with any questions, and tell us where you think the best sunset in San Diego is!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte and Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where to Stay in San Diego California

Ultra Luxury – La Valencia – If you’ve ever visited La Jolla then you’ve probably seen the extraordinary pink luxury hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We honestly can’t think of a better, more luxurious place to stay in San Diego!

Fun Vacation – Hotel Indigo – This funky but comfortable accommodation is a great choice if you’re looking to stay downtown without breaking the bank. Situated right in the happening Gaslamp district, Hotel Indigo features a rooftop bar overlooking Petco Park.

Fun VacationCatamaran Resort Hotel and Spa – This Polynesian-style resort is set on the shores of Mission Bay. Its gorgeous setting makes it easy to hang out all day on property, while also being just a short stroll away from the ocean. 

BeachfrontPacific Terrace Hotel – Oceanview hotel set directly on the Pacific Beach boardwalk. Lovely atmosphere and a great stay for any type of traveler.

Hostel Life – ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel – Located in the heart of the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, this surfer hostel is one of the best options around! It has an amazing view and is right in the middle of all the beach bars and action of San Diego’s most popular beach.

For more places to stay around the San Diego California attractions you can explore the latest prices here!

Pin For Later 

San Diego Sunset Cliffs

USA Travel Planning 

 Flights: We always find great flights using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip! 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for tours all around California. Visit the San Diego Zoo, skip the line at the USS Midway Museum, or go on a Sea Cave Kayak Tour in La Jolla! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

USA Travel

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  1. Candice
    January 12, 2023 / 9:54 pm

    Love the info! I’m heading here in a few weeks, staying at the inn at sunset cliffs, do you think I could walk to the national park from there?? It appears to be a mile or so, but I wasn’t sure if the route is walkable or roadway/private areas!? Thanks!!!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      January 13, 2023 / 12:30 am

      Yes! The Sunset Cliff Coastal Trail basically starts at your hotel! You’ll be able to walk the entire stretch of coastline. Have fun!

  2. ob local
    May 21, 2022 / 11:21 pm

    love that you’re blowing out all the local spots 🙄

    • Brigitte & Jake
      May 22, 2022 / 5:26 am

      This was one of the most popular places to watch the sunset when we lived in San Diego. Saw plenty of locals and tourists every time… I think the secret is out already.

  3. November 17, 2020 / 4:46 am

    I love that you included the sunset on your list! We found that on our most recent trip and really enjoyed walking along it.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      November 17, 2020 / 4:54 pm

      Hi Anna,

      Yes we used to live in this area and this was one of our favorite places to watch the sunset! Hope to go back soon one day ( :

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