Here it is guys, my top 10 favorite beaches to have an epic elopement wedding or engagement!! We are lucky to be here in San Diego with coasts that span for miles and sunshine for days, I think I can speak for most people when I say the beach is awesome! Calling all my salty haired babes!! You might be thinking how different can these beaches be from each other, it's just sand + water, right?! The reality is we have everything from epic cliffs, trendy coastlines, urban options and beaches that include architecture or something a bit on the quiet side for those looking to escape the crowds. I promise there is something here for everyone! I have included a description of each beach along with lots of examples. Lifestyle & family sessions all work really well within these locations. If you have questions on permits you can visit this link for more info! Now on to the fun stuff...
La Jolla Wind & Sea: Unique rock formations and waves that break at the shoreline, this a great photo spot for elopements, engagements & families! Bonus: you don't have to get married in the sand to be at the beach here, lots of cool rocks overlooking the ocean and much easier to stand in if you are planning on wearing heels :)
2. La Jolla Glider Port/Blacks Beach: San Diego's very own nude beach is probably not the spot you would think of for a romantic portrait session. Good news! You don't have to see naked people if you don't want to because they are down a bajillion steps (ok ONLY 200 lol). If you want an epic cliffside view with hang gliders floating on by in the background? This IS the spot! If you crave a little adventure then I say bring the hiking boots, be ready to see a few nude bodies and you can have the variety of cliffside and beach side photo's. The best part about this beach, if you go down, is that it's generally pretty quite bc access is not the easiest. Great for shy couples! Getting down is one thing and getting back up is entirely another, plan on scheduling a bit more time if you'd love to join the cliffs and beach together. Bring lot's of water for this one :)
3. Scripps Pier & Seaside Forum: Looooooots of architectural elements here, yes there's the beach, but there's also all this other fun stuff to be photographed around. The pedestrian bridge is also very close and adds even more cool lines and shapes. I didn't include photo's of the rose garden but that is here too! Scripps Seaside Forum is a popular wedding venue in San Diego. You can also bring your furry friend along for the last hour before the sun sets!
4. La Jolla Wedding Bowl: Lots of cool variety with this spot and some nearby wedding venues include Cuvier Club as well as La Jolla Women's club OR you can get a permit for the wedding bowl itself. There's a beautiful church nearby with seashells on it, the beach features a large rock wall. This beach has a lot of elements and it's worth noting getting down to the actual beachside from this area would require lots of walking to get to where the stairs are. There is an ice cream truck permanently parked at the top if you want to stop for a quick treat! This area can get crowded and you will surely get cheered on & congratulated by all the people passing by.
5. Coronado: One of my personal favs because there is a ton of space to stretch out and "get away" from other people. Cool features include the hotel del (famously haunted), the mini sand dunes, and all the awesome rocks + Coronado itself is super cute to walk around/explore and a fantastic place to bike around!
6. Sunset Cliffs: All around epic spot for photos and the name speaks for itself. Depending on where you go there most likely won't be beach access. The place that DOES have beach access to is a well known local gem, and not for the faint at heart bc you have to hike there and then climb a rope (and then climb back up to get out unless.....it's low tide then you can take the stairs and bypass the whole rope thing) Once you are down there you won't find too many people. Did I mention the views?
7. Crystal Pier: Real talk- parking is a MAJOR issue when it comes to PB & mission beach buuuuut they are popular for a reason! Plan on giving yourself an extra 20 minutes to find parking and then walk to where you need to go. The scooter rentals are everywhere so you could easily ditch the walking. Crystal Pier deserves a spot on this list because when the light shines through it's absolutely gorgeous!
8. Imperial Beach & Estuary: I just discovered this recently from a session I had at the end of 2020. It's definitely far away from all the other beaches and because of this, there are very few people. There's an area away from the main part I will take you to so you can be free to be silly without anyone watching, except me and I will be your personal cheerleader! Great spot for a surprise proposal!!
9. Torrey Pines: State beach alert! All state beaches and parks require a permit to shoot there. Is it worth it? Absolutely! This area is well protected and features gorgeous hiking trails, the endangered torrey pines trees, gorgeous cliff sides and of course-the beach!
10. Tidelands Park- technically this is not a beach, however it's worth mentioning because of the water combination with the downtown skyline. If you are a fan of urban scenes then, this one might be for you. When it's low tide you can walk on the sand. It's in Coronado and since we already mentioned how cute the area is, this place is a must-see!