Gorgeous Del Mar Beach…those cute little houses on the right are $30-million dollar homes

San Diego is essentially a collection of “beach towns” and it’s one of the things we love about the place. Take a 30-mile drive along the coast and you’ll find a medley of little downtowns each with its’ own unique vibe and its’ own community. So you can go hang in free-lovin’ Ocean Beach, party with the college kids in Pacific Beach, or shop in style in up-market La Jolla. All the beaches are public so there’s access everywhere, and in low tide you’ll often have miles of open sand at your disposal.

But being us we like to be where the doggies go, so we stick to paw-friendly spots, and Del Mar is one of the ones we love. This little beach community is somewhere between laid-back and way up-scale. There’s a relaxed beach and excellent surf-break on the south end, backed by massive, $30-million+ dollar homes and beach restaurants along the side. Nothing is cheap on the beach so we don’t generally dine there but for a special occasion sunset appetizer and drink we like Jake’s Del Mar. The whole area is kinda like a southern Malibu, but with a much more private and quiet feel.

The massive Del Mar Fairgrounds as viewed from the beach road

The northern end of the beach is where the doggies go and has ~1 mile off-leash access from Labor Day thro’ June 14th which spans both sides of the estuary. There’s paid parking at the “official” entrance to dog beach, but for those in the know you can drive across the bridge and park for free just south of there (local tip of the week, folks!). We go there to get wet, sandy and beautilisciously beachy. And after you’ve romped with pooch in the water you can hike into town for a meal (Pacific Breeze Cafe is a cute little spot with a dog-friendly patio) or  take a trip to Dexter’s Deli for some special doggie snacks.

And then there are the Del Mar Fairgrounds. These massive grounds dominate the landscape just inside the estuary, and there is always something going on there. The biggest yearly event is the San Diego County Fair in June, but there are tons of in-between events ranging from music concerts to dog shows (the yearly Ugly Dog Contest is probably one of the most fun), wine and beer festivals and more. There’s even RV parking for $30/night…it’s pretty much a big parking lot, but it does get you close to the action.

In our case we just go to get wet and wonderful, which is BY FAR the most interesting and fun thing to do. And with doggie along for the ride, life really doesn’t get much better than that…don’t you agree?

All ours….ALL OURS!!!

Hanging at Del Mar Dog Beach

Beach, ocean and a big stick…what else could you want in life?

Flowers a-bloom on the beach road

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12 Responses to Wet & Wonderful – Del Mar Beach

  1. Bob says:

    Two things: That’s a whole heap of links you put in there girl! And, have you done a count of just how many pictures you have of Polly? She must be in just about every post going back to the beginning.
    I’m sure the cats feel slighted. Although, knowing cats, they probably don’t really care, as long as you feed them and clean the kitty litter. Petting is optional. Sometimes completely unnecessary.
    Oh, and I’m not sure if it’s do-able with Word Press, but the links don’t open “in a new window”. This can be a bit tricky. Sometimes I forget about that, (as possibly do others) and then it’s a drag having to try and get back to the site. Just sayin’.
    Fine work though, and I am in awe of your efforts.

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL…it IS a bit crazy how many shots I have of Polly. I have to admit the girl is just so darn photogenic. The cats tend to be off on their own, but I should get a few more shots of the girls in there.
      Don’t know how to get links to open “in a new window”, but I’ll look into it and see if it’s an easy fix.
      Nina

  2. Haven’t explored much of Del Mar except years ago at the racetrack. We have no excuse since we are so close and now you have given us yet more tips on where to go for a good time. Love your post, your beautiliscious descriptions and photos. Thanks Nina!

  3. Last winter, when we drove to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time… we magically ended up at Del Mar — and we had our dogs along with us! What a great surprise for us to find a dog-friendly beach on our first try!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House… BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

  4. Peggy says:

    Your reports on San Diego and area, especially the beach towns are taking me back! I graduated in 1965 from San Dieguito High School in Encinitas, right next to Del Mar and lived in Pacific Beach the first couple of years we were married. Here’s a little trivia for you — Desi Arnaz lived in Del Mar for several years. My mother was the assistant manager of a big box store (way pre-Wally world!) and Desi used to shop in there quite often. As a teenager the beach to hang out at was “Moonlight Beach” in Encinitas. Peggy

    • libertatemamo says:

      FABULOUS history. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m a huge Desi and Lucille fan, so it’s really fun to hear that story.
      Nina

  5. Mary says:

    Hmmmm. When I click on a link they DO open in a new window. To get back to your blog I just click on the back arrow. Easy. Works for me. I love seeing Polly looking so content and eager to go. That area looks fantastic and you are all having fun! Your time must be running out by now. Where to next?

  6. Samantha says:

    As a cat lover, I would have to say it would be lovely to see more moggie photos. But then, I suppose it would get boring after a while, to see yet another photo of a cat, sleeping at each of the different locations. hahhahaha
    Those San Diego beachfront properties – are they expensive? What’s the water like? Swimmable? Cold? Looks lovely…

    • libertatemamo says:

      Most of the waterfront properties are super-expensive (the ones in Del Mar are $30-million range!), but you can get reasonable deals in other beach towns a few blocks back from the beach. Each “town” is very different when it comes to pricing. As for water-temps, they’re a bit chilly now (most folks go in with a wet suit), but totally swimmable in summer.
      Nina

  7. Ingrid says:

    Love your blog and referred it to numerous folks. Appreciate that you have not monetize it. Just like Mary, I have never had a problem with any of your links. I use the back arrow.
    Can we expect a WINE review? Oh, what fun you could have ;-)
    FYI: if you’re in CO this summer, highly recommend “Black Canyon of the Gunnison”. Thanks for all your ideas and recommendations.

  8. […] met in the middle of our two locations and went for a 6-mile hike in our old “hood” by Del Mar. It’s a local hike that winds through canyons and across secret paths, through a scenic […]

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