To get to most beaches, you usually have to find a parking spot, grab your gear, and start walking toward the sound of the waves, but at Garbage Beach, it’s a bit of a different story. Garbage Beach, located in Point Loma’s beautiful Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, is only accessible if you’re willing to be a bit adventurous.
The shores of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park are overlooked by a series of, well, cliffs, of course, but also by some very steep hills. Garbage Beach’s access point is of the latter, and you’re going to have to grab a fixed rope to guide you down the steepest part.
Don’t worry, it’s really no big deal, but it’s certainly a bit more perilous than your average walk from the parking lot to the sand.
Activities at Garbage Beach
Swimming, sunbathing, surfing, beachcombing, tide-pooling, whale watching, biking, and hiking.
Keep an eye out for fossils, as the area is known to contain them.
There are no lifeguards, so swim at your own risk.
Dogs allowed on the beach before and after peak hours, as long as they remained leashed. During the busy season, from April – October, dogs are permitted before 9 AM and after 6 PM, while from November – March, visitors can bring them after 4 PM.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is, as the name describes, natural, so you won’t find many modern conveniences nearby. Be sure to plan accordingly.
There are free public parking lots as well as street parking available nearby.
There are plenty of hiking trails and beautiful views throughout Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
New Break Beach is another beach within Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. This beach is also difficult to reach, but it’s a popular spot for surfing.
Luscomb’s Point in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is the best spot for an incredible view of the sunset.
Don’t worry, Garbage Beach did not earn its name because of rampant pollution. The name’s origin is actually not easy to pinpoint, however. Some say it’s named for the strong-smelling kelp that washes up on the nearby rocks, and others claim the name comes from the fact that people used to throw their garbage over the bluffs onto the shores of the beach long ago.
Location: Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ladera Street, Point Loma, San Diego, CA 92107
Pets: Yes, on-leash | Before 9 AM and after 6 PM (April – October) | Before 9 AM and after 4 PM (November – March)