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Are you planning to say “I Do” on the beautiful Southern California Coast? San Diego is an incredible place for a destination wedding, especially for those who want to get married right on the sand in the sunshine or in a breathtaking venue.

Image source: True Photography

But planning any wedding can quickly get overwhelming, especially when you’re uncertain of local laws and regulations. We’ve broken down some of the information you’ll need to help you make the right decision for your special day. Locations can be reserved one year in advance on the first working Monday of the month for that month next year, so you can start planning your special day as early as you’d like.

See related: California Beach Wedding Guide

If you want to get married at one of San Diego’s beaches, shoreline parks or any of the locations on Mission Bay, you will need a permit. Simply contact the city permit center, which is located in the Balboa Park Administration Building at 2125 Park Blvd. They are open Monday – Friday, from 8 AM – 4 PM. Recorded information is also available at (619) 235-1169.

 Image source: True Photography

Wondering about your reception? If you or your group plan to stick by the peach post-vows and you want to have alcoholic beverages at times or places where it would otherwise be banned, you must obtain a Modified Special Event Permit from the Citywide Office of Special Events. This can also be taken care of at the Balboa Park Administration Building.

Once you have obtained your permits, you can get back to the fun part: The planning.

San Diego and La Jolla Beach Wedding Locations

Here are a few of our favorite places for a beach wedding in the San Diego and La Jolla areas:

Mission Beach

The beaches in this area are continuous, but Mission Beach is typically considered to be the beach south of Pacific Beach Drive. There’s a lot of daily activity here, but if you don’t mind the sound of people having fun in the background, it’s a beautiful place for a wedding.

Getting married here requires a permit (mentioned above). And while that’s the only legal requirement, you’ll also be in charge of handling everything yourself, from seating for guests to setting up your ceremony site. For a more private venue, consider a location on the bay side. There are several private resorts and clubs, including a couple mentioned below.

Mission Beach Women’s Club

Image source: Andrew Abouna

The Mission Beach Women’s Club is a private facility that has a great beach venue available for rent. The facility is located on the bay side of Mission Beach and can be used for both the ceremony and the reception.

ZLAC Rowing Club

Sometimes it’s better to book a venue where you can have it all – a beach wedding and a beautiful reception. America’s oldest women’s rowing club is located on Mission Bay, and the clubhouse is an ideal setting for a reception. You can get married on the beach here, but you’ll have to make the arrangements for beach use through the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a hillside park that sits between Point Loma Nazarene University and the ocean. While it is a popular beach for both locals and tourists, the cliffs give it a more secluded look and feel.

If you get married on the beach here, make sure to do your research and plan your ceremony during low tide. Otherwise, this beach is practically non-existent! For this reason, we recommend packing up after the ceremony and having your reception elsewhere. Another alternative is to have the ceremony on the bluff itself (see photo below).

 Image source: Eder Photo

Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores Beach

Not only is La Jolla Shores Beach long, wide and overall massive, but it sits directly in front of the beautiful Kellogg Park. The park has two grassy areas perfect for setting up a ceremony site, or you can choose to get married right on the sand.

This is a very popular beach, so your best bet for a quiet wedding is to have it start early in the day or in the evening (sunset ceremony, anyone?). You may also consider having your ceremony or reception at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, which has a wonderful venue for weddings.

 Image source: La Jolla Shores Hotel

Calumet Park, La Jolla

Calumet Park is a small neighborhood park in south La Jolla with a beautiful beach below it. While the beach itself is rocky, you can enjoy a stunning wedding ceremony overlooking the ocean if you get married at the park. If you do decide to get married right on the beach, make sure you do so at low tide.

 Image source: David Champagne Photography

Cuvier Park at Wipeout Beach, La Jolla

Wipeout Beach is a nice sandy beach that stretches along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla. The park that overlooks it, Cuvier Park, happens to have a gorgeous onsite wedding venue called the Wedding Bowl. If you decide to wed here, plan ahead… way head. It’s such a sought after wedding site that the city permit department is known to hold a lottery when people apply for the same date.

The Wedding Bowl is used for ceremonies only, not receptions. It can seat 40 people comfortably.

 Image source: The Wedding Bowl

Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla

Image source: Yelp

Ellen Browning Scripps Park is a popular waterfront park in La Jolla, and in fact, it’s one of the most photographed places in the area. Needless to say, it’s also a very popular place to get married. But with proper planning, you should have no trouble getting your permit and setting up your ceremony site.

Please note that the maximum capacity for weddings here is 50 people from June-August and 80 people from September-May.

Santa Clara Point, Mission Bay Park

There are many popular places to say “I Do” at Mission Bay Park, but Santa Clara Point on the Mission Bay side of Mission Beach Peninsula is definitely one of the best. Home to several great facilities for both land and water activities, there’s a beautiful grass park here perfect for a small ceremony. There are several beautiful resorts in the area that will be happy to host your reception.

Coronado Beach Wedding Sites

Getting married in the Coronado area? You’ll have a couple of beautiful venues to choose from, including one of San Diego’s most famous spots. To start, you’ll need a wedding permit from the City of Coronado.

Hotel del Coronado 

Image source: Lavish Wed / Hotel del Coronado Facebook

The historic and visually stunning Hotel del Coronado offers amazing wedding packages, with settings onsite as well as right on the beach. The hotel itself dates back to 1888, and it has been featured in numerous movies. Call (619)-522-8070 to find out more about getting married here.

Centennial Park

Located on San Diego Bay, Centennial Park is a grassy park with a small sandy beach on either side of it. This is an amazing wedding location since there’s plenty of parking nearby at the Ferry Landing Marketplace. If you have your ceremony here, you can get married with the beautiful city skyline in the background.

Image source: True Photography


Imperial Beach Wedding Venues

Imperial Beach is the most southwesterly city in the continental United States. It also happens to have several great options for beach weddings.

Imperial Beach City Beach

This is the main beach in Imperial Beach, and it’s definitely popular with the locals. Located between Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard, it’s a long, narrow stretch of sand with lifeguard stations and play areas. The best place to wed here is at the Portwood Plaza Pier, which serves as a serves as a gateway to the beach and has a large entertainment stage you can use for your ceremony site.

Image source: Eder Photo

South Imperial Beach

South Imperial Beach is slightly more secluded than the main city beach, so you’ll probably have a quieter wedding here. The best ceremony site would be at Descanso Avenue and Encanto Avenue. You’ll also have your choice of professional venues in the area, such as the Pier South Resort.


Del Mar Wedding Sites

Del Mar is a tiny beach community in San Diego County that happens to be an absolutely magical place to get married.

Powerhouse Community Center

Image source: Culinary Concepts

The Powerhouse Community Center sits directly in front of the beach, and it’s the perfect place to have your wedding and reception all in one spot. They reserve the space up to two years in advance, so with proper planning, you can even have your date of choice. The staff here will handle just about everything for you, or you can opt to bring in your own catering and decor. Best of all, you’ll get plenty of beautiful photos on the beach.

Seagrove Park

Image source: ABM Wedding Photography

Seagrove Park offers a lush, green lawn to get married on with stunning ocean views in the background. It’s located directly above the beach and just a block from the downtown area, so you can have as simple or as lavish of a wedding day as you desire. Click here for more information on reserving it.


Encinitas Wedding Sites

Encinitas is about 25 miles north of San Diego. It has been called one of the best surf towns in America, so if you enjoy a nice vintage beach culture, you’ll love having your wedding here.

Moonlight Beach Overlook, Moonlight State Beach

Moonlight State Beach is operated by the city of Encinitas. The beach itself is beautiful, but the best spot for a wedding is at the Moonlight Beach Overlook. This semi-private park has a spectacular ocean view, and the cement overlook makes the perfect setting.

Image source: Nathan Petty Photographer


Carlsbad Wedding Sites

This seaside resort city is just north of Encinitas. All you need to get married on a beach here is a reservation and a permit, which you can get through the San Diego Coast District Office of State Parks Department. Call the special events coordinator at (619) 688-3385.

Carlsbad City Beach

Carlsbad City Beach is actually state property within Carlsbad State Park. It’s a beautiful place, but if you decide to get married here, it’s best to have a short ceremony on the sand and then head somewhere else for the reception – there are no restroom facilities at any part of the beach. There are also a number or hotels and resorts that provide excellent wedding venues, including the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort, Cape Rey, and the Levyland Estate which has easy access to the beach.

Image source: Abouna Photo

South Ponto Beach

Image source: Yelp

South Ponto Beach is a day-use area at the south end of South Carlsbad State Beach. The best place for a wedding here is definitely Pelican Point, a beautiful bluff top oasis that overlooks the ocean. The spectacular setting is one your guests will never forget.

ZLAC Rowing Club

Sometimes it’s better to book a venue where you can have it all – a beach wedding and a beautiful reception. America’s oldest women’s rowing club is located on Mission Bay, and the clubhouse is an ideal setting for a reception. You can get married on the beach here, but you’ll have to make the arrangements for beach use through the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.

For more locations, check out our San Diego County Beach Resorts page. For more information on beach weddings in general, see our California beach wedding guide.