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About Sunset Cliffs Beach (Garbage Beach) in San Diego, California

Sunset Cliffs Beach is at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a steep hillside park between Point Loma Nazarene University and the ocean. There are boot-beaten footpaths all over the uniquely eroding bluffs here to explore.

The beach below the park, which has been nicknamed Garbage Beach, has a steep access route down the sandstone cliff directly below the lower parking lot. This route follows a broken drainage trough and is so steep at the bottom that a fixed rope is used for safety. It’s considered one of the toughest beaches to reach in California. Sunset Cliffs Beach is well-known so locals and tourists alike make this steep trip down and back up every day – some of them try it in flip flops (not advised). Just be very careful. Also, don’t loiter under the cliffs as rocks can come careening down.

If you want to avoid the climb down to the beach and just walk to viewpoints, your options are to 1) head north and then follow a path along the shoulder of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, or 2) head south to overlooks below the university. In that direction you’ll eventually hit a military fence that stops you from going to Point Loma. Wherever you roam, be sure to stay back from the cliff edges as they can break off.

Sunbathing space at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is limited at high tide. In general, this beach is best at low tide when the tide pools are exposed and there’s a lot more dry sand.

With the name Sunset Cliffs Beach, you’d expect this area to be good for watching sunsets, and it is.

Beach address:  705 Cornish Drive, San Diego, CA 92107

Activities: Tidepooling, Surfing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Whale Watching, and Sunbathing.

Amenities: Tide Pools, Trails, Fossils, Viewpoints, and Toilets (at the lower parking lot).

Dogs: Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm from April-Oct (changes to 4pm Nov-March).

Hours: The park and beach is open 24 hours a day, but the parking lot has a curfew and is closed from 2am to 4am year-round.

Parking: There are two free public parking lots for the park. One is off Lomaland Drive across from the college campus (3980 Lomaland Dr) and one is at the corner of Ladera Street and Cornish Drive. You’ll also find street parking at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ladera Street where a stairwell leads to the rocky shore below. From that access it can require wading through water on a rocky shore to reach the sandy beach.

705 Cornish Dr
San Diego, CA 92107
Park Name
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Other Names
Garbage Beach
City Beach
Free parking
Map of Sunset Cliffs Beach (Garbage Beach)
Coronado, US
7:12 pm, June 19, 2024
temperature icon 67°F
L: 61° H: 67°
Feels like 67.5 °F haze
Wind gusts: 4 m/s
UV Index: 0.25
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 5:41 am
Sunset: 7:59 pm
Humidity 76 %
Pressure1010 mb
Wind 4 m/s

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