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Del Mar, California
San Diego Beach Vacation


Breathtaking canyons interspersed with hillsides of homes, Del Mar is two square miles of coastal land best known for its fairgrounds and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club "where the surf meets the turf." A colorful history filled with excitement, pleasure and even a song was created by Bing Crosby and friends such as Jimmy Durante who turned the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club into one of the most beautiful and prestigious organizations in the United States, if not the entire racing world.

If you are looking for a place to stay while visiting the races, try the L'Auberge Del Mar Resort, the Del Mar hotels at bottom of the page, or stay next door at the Solana Beach  Courtyard by Marriott. You can take the Amtrak train or Coaster to Solana Beach (the closest stop to the track) and from there, board the free, double decker bus that takes you over to the track.  You can miss the bright, red British bus but if you don't see it, just ask one of the nice people around the station.

Two beautiful beaches, the famous Torrey Pines State Reserve, sunny weather, an annual fair and the famous Del Mar Racetrack attract visitors who come to enjoy sports and recreation near the ocean. Located in San Diego County 20 miles north of the City of San Diego, Del Mar is bordered on the south by Torrey Pines  State Reserve, on the north by the San Dieguito River, Del Mar  Racetrack and San Diego County Fairgrounds, and on the west by the  Pacific Ocean. East of Del Mar is the I-5 freeway and a new community, Carmel Valley.

For fans of Carmel-by-the-Sea on the central California coast, this is the warmer, southern version.  Art galleries, fantastic ocean views and winding streets supply a feel of an upscale community with character and charm.  Seagrove Park, James Scripps Bluffs Preserve, Torrey Pines  State Reserve and Beach and nearby Torrey Pines Public Golf Course provide some fantastic outdoor activities and opportunities to enjoy Pacific Ocean views Del Mar is known for. 

Del Mar was named in the late 1800's by Ella Loop. She and husband, Theodore, owned a tent city by the beach which was also called Del Mar, Spanish for "by the sea". Theodore, worked as a contractor and engineer for the California  Southern Railroad which arrived in Del Mar in 1882. 

Theodore Loop next formed a partnership with Jacob Taylor to sell 50 x 140 foot lots. Their marketing created some traffic and interest which helped launch South Coast Land Company's resort with the centerpiece Stratford Inn. Receiving electricity from San Diego Gas and Electric in the late 1920s, residential areas began taking shape and the area experienced its boom.   In 1959 Del Mar residents decided  to incorporate as a city with a five-member City Council rather than become part of the City of San Diego. 

Thing to Do: 

  • Beach access is free to the public with public rest rooms located  behind 17th Street and 25th  Street lifeguard towers.  Not permitted are: glass objects, fires, surf/jet ski launching or vehicles on the beach. For updates, check the city web site at 
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost around $150  800-660-6809 or 800-373-3359  
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve  N. Torrey Pines Road  1700 acre natural habitat to the Torrey pine tree. Parking fee, museum, no camping  
  • Del Mar Fairgrounds  is located 20 miles north of downtown San  Diego, at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.  in the city of Del Mar, California. 24/hr Info Line: (858) 793-5555  Del Mar Thoroughbred Club  online at  Bing Crosby collected the first ticket from the very first customer to enter the grounds on opening day in 1937. Since then it has become one of the worlds most famous race tracks. The grounds that surround the track itself are the home of the Del Mar Fair. The fair is usually the event right before racing season begins. From mid June through mid September there is quite a bit going on at the fair grounds
  • Shop at The Del Mar Plaza located on Camino del Mar provides an uncommon collection of shops, galleries, boutiques and spectacular ocean view dining. Three levels of jewelry, fashion, gifts, home accessories, bookstores, fine dining and  a gourmet market. Open 7 days a week, restaurants have extended hours.