Southern California is a hammocker’s dream. Palm trees for days. Nearly nonstop sunshine. Beaches, boardwalks, and parks. San Diego—aka the birthplace of California—has no shortage of places to hang a hammock, from the epic to the easy-to-get-to. Here’s a list of our top picks for where to hammock in San Diego.
Note: Some places on this list are intended for out-of-towners. These iconic San Diego spots are popular landmarks for a reason, but that depends on how much of the city you want to see and how tolerant you are of crowds. Others places are hidden gems. Low-key spots for a peaceful hammock hang.
Coronado is one of my favorite places anywhere—not just in San Diego. For some reason, driving over the epic Coronado Bridge and arriving on this little slice of SoCal island paradise just gives me all the feels. Seeing how the other half (er 1%) live is a fun little trip down fantasy lane. The historic homes here are stunning, and the views (of the ocean and downtown San Diego) are breathtaking. You can cruise around the island fairly quickly, peeping the Navy Base and nabbing street parking pretty easily. Walk down the pathway along the Pacific Ocean and find some trees to hang your hammock. There are great shops and restaurants. It’s easy to spend half a day here contemplating if San Diego is just the most perfect place in the world.
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The Pier at Scripps Beach
Nothing captures the charm of Southern California and its beach towns, surf culture, and sensational sunsets like its many piers. Scripps Beach has one of San Diego’s most picturesque piers. While it may be frowned upon to hang a hammock here, it’s an epic photo op, that’s for sure. Technically named the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, it juts out into the ocean 1,090 feet (that’s nearly a quarter of a mile). As one of the city’s most Instagrammable spots, it can get crowded, but street parking isn’t impossible, and we think it’s well worth it. With fine sand and colorful seashells, the mile-long beach begs for a stroll. Or, hop in a kayak to see it from the water.
La Jolla Cove
Don’t let the smell of the sea lions deter you from visiting La Jolla Cove. Getting up close and personal with these pups is a seriously cool—and loud—experience. As they frolic in the coves and bark at each other, you’ll be glad you braved the parking and crowds to be here. The cliffs are breathtaking. Follow walkways down the water’s edge to spot fish in the clear water below. After hanging with the sea lions, relax with a picnic, swim if you’re daring, or just hang out and watch the surfers and the sunset.
Ocean Beach Pier
While we’re on the topic of piers, Ocean Beach Municipal Pier is a whopping 1,971 feet long, making it the state’s 7th longest pier and the longest concrete pier on the west coast. Ocean Beach is one of the city’s most popular spots with cafes, bars, shopping, fishing, and active tide pools.
Whether you’re a visitor or a local, Balboa Park is a favorite for all. It’s the Central Park of San Diego, located in the heart of downtown. It is actually the country’s largest urban culture park at 1,200 areas. Home to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park also boasts 17 museums and numerous gardens (botanical, rose, cactus—oh my). There are walking paths, playgrounds, dog parks, art, sculptures, theaters, and more. Needless to say, plenty of peaceful pockets are available with cozy trees tucked away from the masses. Or, pick a more popular spot and sit back for some quality people watching. Pro tip: head to Palm Canyon.
Mission Bay Park
Mission Bay Park is the perfect spot to kill some time and hang out in San Diego’s sunny, beautiful weather right on the water with plenty of action. Mission Bay connects to Pacific Beach and Belmont Park, spanning 17 miles of shoreline, most of which are sandy beaches with swimmable areas to take a dip. Lined with towering palm trees, it’s a great place to hang a hammock, have a picnic, read a book, and just hang out taking in the bay views and watching sail boats cruise around. If you’re feeling lively, hop on the nearly 14 miles of bike paths or hit up the basketball courts or water sport rentals.
Trolley Barn Park
With trees perfectly spaced for hammocks, Trolley Barn Park is a great choice for an afternoon of relaxation. This is a popular place for families with lots of playgrounds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quiet corner for yourself. The park overlooks Mission Valley and offers incredible views, lots of wildlife, and shaded picnic areas. There’s ample parking and live events in the summer. It’s one of San Diego’s most popular and best maintained community parks with tons of green space for playing games, tossing a frisbee, or just lounging.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Okay, technically this isn’t in San Diego. Cuyamaca is about an hour drive east of the city, but if you have time, it’s worth the trek. It’s loaded with trails and one of the most popular nearby camping destinations for San Diegans. Because it’s inland a bit, the trails here offer a bit more elevation gain than anything within the city and along the coast. Loaded with pines and oaks, there’s no shortage of hammock options and shade to relax after a nice hike.