Tucked away behind Shelter Island the La Playa bayfront beach is a gem for families and relaxing
By John P. Anderson
An irregular column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.
- Address: La Playa beach (McCall Street at San Antonio Avenue, Point Loma) Google Maps link
- Best For: Watching boats and swimmers, reading in the sun, building sand castles
As a stay-at-home father I’m constantly looking for outdoor activities to do with my kids. We frequent playgrounds, the San Diego Zoo, beaches, and spend a lot of time walking around North Park.
Recently a friend from Point Loma mentioned that the La Playa beach is a great place for playing in the sand. The name was completely foreign to me and the location (all the way south on Rosecrans until you’re about to enter Fort Rosecrans) didn’t sound like a winner but I decided to check it out.
I was very glad I did – the beach is wonderful for toddlers and small children. Behind the south-west end of Shelter Island the water is very calm and the sand is good, if not great. Houses on San Antonio Avenue back up to the beach so there is even some shade from trees which is very rare on San Diego beaches and very convenient with a baby to keep out of direct sun.
There is not a view of Downtown, it’s blocked by Shelter Island, but to the south you can see out into the Pacific Ocean and watch ships large and small coming and going.
There are a wide variety of activities going on in this corner of San Diego Bay. Yachts and sailboats cruise by, paddle boarders are present as well as kayakers, children float on boogie boards, people walk their dogs (or their spouses) – a very active aquatic scene. I recently saw a woman towing her dog on a boogie board back and forth in the water which was really fun to watch.
There are a couple of drawbacks to La Playa – there is little parking (on-street only, no lot) and no restrooms. Parking has been very easy on my visits but the lack of restrooms has been an issue with a toddler in potty-training mode.
Overall La Playa is a great place to visit in the late afternoon when the shade is most plentiful and you can savor the close of another wonderful day in our great city.
It offers a wholly different beach experience from most of the sandy spots in San Diego since it’s so quiet and calm. If you’re looking for a new place to spend a few hours with or without children, I highly recommend it.