Silver Strand State Beach
Silver Strand State Beach, named for the silvery shells often found there, is midway along the Silver Strand, a seven-mile-long, windswept sand spit that shelters San Diego Bay from the Pacific. It’s just across the bay from downtown San Diego, yet feels remote. People come here to swim, sunbathe, surf, fish, kiteboard, and picnic. The state park’s shoreline...
Silver Strand State Beach, named for the silvery shells often found there, is midway along the Silver Strand, a seven-mile-long, windswept sand spit that shelters San Diego Bay from the Pacific. It’s just across the bay from downtown San Diego, yet feels remote. People come here to swim, sunbathe, surf, fish, kiteboard, and picnic. The state park’s shoreline stretches 2.4 miles along the ocean and half a mile along the bay; the bayside section can be reached via three pedestrian tunnels under Highway 75, which divides the park down the middle. You can borrow one of four beach wheelchairs (two motorized, two manual) to get out onto the sand.
On the ocean side, a small café is between lots 2 and 3; nearby, a concrete platform overlooks the beach, but a 32-inch-high brick wall may obstruct views from a wheelchair. Numerous shaded accessible picnic areas are on both sides of the park. On the bay side, paved roads and sidewalks provide accessible paths of travel throughout, as private vehicles are not allowed and there is little traffic. A short paved trail follows the shore of Crown Cove.
Trailhead: On bay side of park, just north of Crown Cove Aquatic Center; from the ocean side, take pedestrian tunnel 3 (short 10 percent slopes at entrance and exit to tunnel)
Length: Under one mile total
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Level
Expansive views of the San Diego skyline across the bay are a highlight of a broad, paved path that follows the shore of Crown Cove north from the Aquatic Center, passing accessible shaded picnic areas along the way. You may see sailboats skimming along or swimmers taking a dip in the warm, calm waters of the cove. The...
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The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Four beach wheelchairs, two power and two manual, on first-come, first-served basis; ask at lifeguard headquarters (tall tower)
Three large day-use lots along main drive on ocean side (fourth lot is RV camping only). No private vehicles allowed on bay side, but visitors can be dropped off; call for information.
At oceanside parking lots 1 and 3. Several restroom buildings on both ocean and bay sides of the park have separate, single unisex stalls that met our accessibility criteria, but during my September visit some were padlocked and appeared to be out of service. There are also stalls signed as accessible within the main restrooms, but none of these met all of our criteria. You may need to visit more than one of the restroom buildings to find an open accessible stall.
The Aquatic Center provides the best accessible bayside restroom facilities (open 9 am-6 pm); there are several other restrooms with separate fully accessible stalls, but during my September visit some were locked.
Several accessible, shaded picnic sites are scattered throughout the ocean and bay sides of the park.
Other Things of Interest
Accessible dressing rooms and outside rinsing showers are available on both the ocean and bay sides of the park. Those on the bay side are at the Crown Cove Aquatic Center, which provides classes in boating, surfing, and water safety to the general public, as well as year-round programs for area school children. The center’s programs are administered by Southwestern College; call (619) 575-6176 for more information. For eight weeks each summer, nonprofit Camp Able offers an aquatic day camp at Crown Cove for disabled children and adults, with such activities as sailing, swimming, boogie boarding, arts and crafts, and nature hikes; call (858) 627-9498 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nearby Silver Strand Bikewa
y offers eight miles of level trail along the western shore of San Diego Bay.