Ocean Beach, San Diego with Kids

Ocean Beach, San Diego with Kids

Ocean Beach seems to be one of those places in San Diego you need to say you have been to. Here’s our round up of a family trip to quirky, friendly and slightly edgy Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach Sign
Ocean Beach Sign

Staying at Ocean Beach

We stayed in a hotel called Ocean Villa Inn, situated right on Dog Beach at the northern most point of Ocean Beach.

We chose to stay in the Ocean Beach area and particularly in Ocean Villa Inn, as it was the only hotel in our price range that gave us direct access to a beach.

The hotel was very dog friendly and also very accommodating for us with two very small children.

We stayed in a second floor room with a balcony and view over looking Dog Beach.

The beach itself was as well groomed as the dogs that were using it and seemed very popular with people and pooches alike!

View from our Ocean Villa Inn room
View from our Ocean Villa Inn room

The staff were friendly, welcoming and informative and we we’re surprised by the quality of the included breakfast. The breakfast room was a little snug, but we met some wonderful people at breakfast over a shared table.

We stayed here for two days and it served us well as a base to explore the San Diego area.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach itself is not very long, but is quite wide so there is a lot of sand to mess around on and lots of opportunities to find sand dollars!

Walking along Ocean Beach towards the pier
Walking along Ocean Beach towards the pier

At the opposite end of Dog Beach there is a well used fishing pier and there are always lots of surfers out waiting for waves.

The fishing pier is a pleasant walk although you will have to carry a buggy up the stairs to start with, and there is a shop and cafe in the middle to have a little nosey around.

It’s also a great place to spot some pelicans sitting on the roof of the cafe or quietly perched on the pier wall.

Pelicans peering down on us from the roof of the cafe and shop
Pelicans peering down on us from the roof of the cafe and shop

When we visited the pier there were lots of homeless gathered around the entrance. They seemed a little agitated and it made this particular experience a little edgier than was comfortable.

Having two very small children, a push chair and a very foreign accent we felt a bit of a target.

I’m sure everything was fine and we had no cause to worry. However, now more than ever I am so aware of everything going on around me for the sake of keeping my children safe. If I am not comfortable I know that it is not a situation or a place my children need to be.

Other visitors to the pier were also visibly weary of these individuals too, and we walked back along the pier with another lady for the sake of safety in numbers.

The tourist map we were given by the hotel also stated that visitors are advised not to walk the beach or the trails at night.


You will find most of the shopping in Ocean Beach along Newport Avenue, which bends up into town from Abbott street that runs parallel to the beach.

Some of the shops are really quirky, funky and incredibly fun to have a look around. There are a few beachy themed gift and souvenir shops to browse around too, which we always love to do!

There is also a mini market in town so you can stock up on food supplies if you need to.

We found some amazing surf shops and loved walking among the surf boards and surf gear – non of which we knew how to use, but it made us feel a bit more Californian!

Perusing the boards
Perusing the boards

Everyone we spoke to absolutely charming and so eager to share their experiences of Ocean Beach. We were given food and restaurant suggestions, recommendations of equipment hire and generally things to see and do while we were in the area. We felt very welcomed.

Dine out for $10 and sample San Diego’s beloved fish tacos!

Infamous OB

We also caught sight of the infamous Urban Leaf bus. I had heard about it from people who had visited Ocean Beach just a few weeks before us and i didn’t totally believe it was a thing. But, it really is a thing!

However, by night fall we were keen to get back to the hotel and got in the car to go and eat with the kids.

Ocean Beach had its highs and lows, but i am pleased we did it and saw it!

One last trip to the beach before we left
One last trip to the beach before we left


Looking for other things to do in San Deigo? Why not take a drive up to La Jolla Cove to see the seal lions and seals?

La Jolla Cove sea lions

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Sounds like a charming place to visit. I bet the kids adored finding sand dollars!

    1. Somehow it’s so much more exciting than finding shells!

  2. Looks like a lovely place, great photos and you can’t beat a beach themed gift shop! Those are the best to nosey around 🙂

  3. I’ve never been to San Diego but I would honestly love to visit as it looks beautiful especially Ocean Beach! I love the sound of the little cute shops and cafes, it’s somewhere I’ll add to my list for sure.

    Samantha | https://believeinamiracle.co.uk

  4. I love this post. I live Temecula about an hour from ocean beach and I visit often. It’s nice to see a post so close to home. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I loved everything about this post.

    1. Thank you! You are very lucky to live so close by!

  5. Thank you for an informative and easy-to-read post. Of all the times I’ve been to California I’ve never managed to make it as far south as San Diego. Thanks to this article, I’ll be sure to next time!

  6. I’ve heard so many great things about San Diego. Must be great to be able to hit the beach during the winter months. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. What an awesome beach area… we’ve been to SD area twice but never here!

  8. We loved San Diego, but did not go to Ocean Beach. Seems like a great place to spend time with the family.

  9. Looks like a beautiful place to visit! I’ve been all over CA, but I haven’t been to Ocean Beach. Looks great!

  10. What a delightful place to visit and those surf shops!!!!

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