Top 20 San Diego attractions

Sunset Cliffs

free admission

The Sunset Cliffs Natural Area in San Diego is free to visit, with a stunning 1.4 mile clifftop path.

Sunset Cliffs is the perfect place to watch a sunset while gazing out at the ocean, or watch gray whales in their annual migration from December to early April.

This 68-acre park is located on the western shore of Point Loma, just south of Ocean Beach in San Diego, and has beautiful sandstone formations.

The unique rock formations include caves, arches, rock beds and dramatic 400-foot sea cliffs.  The cliffs are pounded by wave action, and subject to constant erosion.  

Sunset Cliffs has 120,000 year old sandstone on the top layer, known as the Bay Point Formation. The 75-million year old darker shale and sandstone mix in the deeper layers, is known as the Point Loma Formation, and contains dinosaur fossils from the Cretaceous Period.

10 Things to Know about Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

  1. Sunset Cliffs is free to visit.

  2. There are parking lots off Ladera Street and Lomaland Drive. You can also park along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, but it can get incredibly busy.

  3. The clifftop trail is 1.4 miles long along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard (bordered by Adair Street on the north, and Ladera Street on the south).

  4. The trail at Sunset Cliffs is sandy and uneven, with some sections hugging the boulevard.

  5. The clifftop trail at Sunset Cliffs is not recommended for children, due to the lack of guard rails and sheer drop-offs.

  6. Three key highlights along the trail are; Sunset Cliffs Cave (near Monaco Street), spectacular Luscomb's Point, Sunset Cliffs Beach (near Guizot Street), and Garbage Beach (near Ladera Avenue).

  7. There's only one set of stairs down to a rocky beach, on the corner of Ladera Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Unfortunately there are no stairs down to the sandy Sunset Cliffs Beach and Garbage Beach.

  8. You can't swim or cliff dive at Sunset Cliffs.

  9. The closest restaurants and cafes are along bustling Newport Avenue, at nearby Ocean Beach.

  10. The best attractions within a short driving distance of Sunset Cliffs are Ocean Beach and the Cabrillo National Monument.  Liberty Station is a great place to stop for a meal or coffee, and also includes a market.

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