Best Place to Catch Ocean Views from the Comfort of Your Car


Torrey Pines Beach View from Parking SpotsWhether you want to read your morning paper and drink your cup of coffee while listening to the waves of the ocean or spend an intimate moment with your loved one while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, the street parking just outside of the Torrey Pines State Reserve is the perfect place. There are several dozen free parking spots that face right out to the ocean.

Torrey Pines - South ViewJust pull up, open your windows and enjoy. During high tide, the waves come right up on the beach, that lies just a few feet below the front of your car. You will be entertained by surfers, pelicans, and the constant crashing of waves. On occasion you will see a school of dolphins and during the winter months you may see a Pacific Blue Whale.

Torrey Pines - North ViewIt is a perfect place to take a quick break during your busy day. If you are coming on your lunch break, you can grab some lunch at several take-out businesses along Carmel Valley Road, including Roberto’s Mexican Food, Sam’s Pizza, and China Cafe. Roberto’s and Sam’s are located at the corner of Via Aprilia and offer an outdoor seating area where you can also enjoy the sounds and views of the ocean.

Torrey Pines Beach is also a wonderful place to take people who have disabilities or find it hard to get around. It is very rare to be able to pull right up and enjoy the Pacific Ocean. Just about everywhere else, you need to get out of your car and walk to a boardwalk, park, or beach to enjoy the ocean.

The directions are provided below. Be aware that parking is only available to those driving south from the intersection of North Torrey Pines Road and Carmel Valley Road. For those heading north, you are blocked by a road median. You will have to go a little ways into Del Mar or out along Carmel Valley Road before you can turn around, since there are several no u-turn signs along the way.

Once you are heading in the right direction to access parking, be patient. There is enough space to pull over out of traffic and wait for a parking spot to open up. Be sure to watch out for the cyclists and joggers who will be passing through that same space. It usually should not take you more than a few moments to get a parking spot except, on major holidays. Parking is allowed from 6AM to 11PM. If you decide to enter the Torrey Pines State Reserve, parking is $8.

Let us know of other great spots in San Diego where we can park and enjoy the ocean from the comfort of our car.

Directions from Google Maps.  Torrey Pines is about a 15 minute drive north of downtown San Diego. You will encounter heavy traffic on the I-5 coming from San Diego during late afternoon hours of July and August.  That is the peak time of summer travel along with the San Diego County Fair at Del Mar and the Del Mar Horse Racing season.  To avoid it, you can get off of the I-5 at several locations, including the La Jolla Village Drive and Genesee Avenue exits and work your way over to North Torrey Pines Road. (The same goes for those coming from the north. You will want to work your way over to Highway 101, which will turn into North Torrey Pines Road.) Traffic will still be heavy but you may find the drive a little more scenic.  Remember, once you reach Torrey Pines, coming from San Diego, you will be on the wrong side of the street to access the parking spots, as noted earlier.

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One Response to “Best Place to Catch Ocean Views from the Comfort of Your Car”

  1. Tamara says:

    I love Torrey Pines! It is my favorite place to hike and capture the views. This is definitely a must see if you are visiting San Diego. You can also just hang out in your car and enjoy the waves and sunset!

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