San Diego is a stunning place to take photos, whether you live here or you’re just visiting! I want to share with you some of my favorite San Diego Photo Locations!

We’ve got more to offer than just the beach…Let’s explore San Diego together!

Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach is an incredibly iconic spot in San Diego, and it’s a great place for engagement photos!

It’s where the Hotel Del Coronado sits on Coronado Island. It’s an expansive beach with sand dunes, a walking path with benches, and tons of space to lounge, play sand sports, swim, and yes….take some beautiful engagement photos.

There’s tons to do on Coronado Island too! You can explore the Hotel Del, eat at some delicious restaurants, take in an incredible view of Downtown San Diego, and walk along the beach!

You can check out my blog post Our Favorite San Diego Restaurants to see what restaurants we love on Coronado and throughout San Diego!

What to expect:

Dogs are not allowed on Coronado Beach!

You can take your pup to dog beach on the North end of the island to play! But unfortunately Coronado Beach isn’t the best bet for photos with your fur babies.

Parking at Coronado Beach:

You can park on the street right along the beach if you can find a space, but I usually have the best luck in the neighborhoods across the street. It all depends on when you’re visiting! Depending on the season, plan on arriving early to find parking without rushing!

Couple kissing at sunset on Coronado Beach with Point Loma in the background

Otay Lakes

Otay Lakes is a little bit more of a secluded, rural location in Eastlake, Chula Vista. If you’re looking for a slower paced, country-chic spot outside of San Diego, this is where it’s at! It’s one of my favorite spots, and where I’ve done my own photos!

You’ll find mountainous, lakeside scenery at Otay Lakes. Perfect if you’re looking for something outdoors-y that isn’t the beach!

What to expect:

The summer time will bring more of a warm, golden tone as the grass dries up around the lake. Spring will have more greens! There is a paved path, nothing too treacherous, but we do go off the paved road for some more natural scenery.

Close-toed shoes are recommended during the summer time as there can be snakes and spiders. However, we aren’t necessarily going to be tromping around in the brush without caution, so it’s not impossible to wear sandals or open-toed shoes.


Parking has never been an issue for me at this location! We just park alongside the road and walk to the spots we shoot in!

Mission Trails

Mission trails is another great spot if you’re looking for rural scenery in San Diego! Below are a few shots near the Visitors Center as well as another location that offers more fields!

The ceremony location is near the visitors center, but there are tons of trails right next to it where we can go back towards the mountains. This would give you less of a concrete location and more of a rural feel. The photos below are just to showcase the background!

Below are photos from another location at Mission Trails, giving more of a field option while still keeping a little bit of the mountainous backdrop!

What to expect:

Mission Trails is pretty strict about staying on the trails and their leave no trace policies! Don’t worry though, the trails are still gorgeous and won’t take away from your photos. It’s also dog-friendly, so your pups are welcome too!


The Visitors Center has a big parking lot we can park in, but the other parts of the trails also has parking along the street!

Balboa Park

If you’re looking for something other than the beach, Balboa Park is a great photo location in the heart of San Diego that gives a nice change in scenery!

Balboa Park offers incredible architecture and garden views for your photoshoot. It’s great option if you live here and have had photos done at the beach, or I guess if you hate the beach…

What to expect:

Balboa park is one of San Diego’s tourist attractions, so you can definitely plan on it being busy (especially during the weekends).

There are TONS of spots in the park though, so it’s more than possible to get lots of photos in different areas. However, if you think you’ll feel extremely uncomfortable around other people this may not be the best place for you.

I will say though, I do my absolute best to make sure you are focused on each other vs. anyone else around you, so hopefully you’ll feel like you’re the only 2 people in the world.


Balboa park has parking lots, but I would definitely suggest getting there early especially if it’s during the weekend. It can get super busy and parking can be difficult to find. Be prepared for a little bit of a walk from the parking lot too. Linked here is a google map pin to the parking lot at Balboa Park.

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset cliffs is another epic spot for engagement photos! I’d say it’s one of the most popular San Diego Engagement Photo locations. A lot of people choose to propose here or have their small weddings!

You can check out this Sunset Cliffs Engagement Session on my blog!

What to expect:

Sunset cliffs is a pretty big tourist attraction, so you can expect there to be a good amount of people sight seeing. Lots of residents in the area also love to stroll along the cliffs for walks, and you’ll likely see some dogs!


There is one main parking lot at Sunset Cliffs that you can park in if you get there early enough or have good luck! I’ve linked a google map pin here for you. Otherwise, there is typically plenty of street parking!

Sunset Cliffs Engagement Photos
San Diego Engagement Photo locations

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Torrey Pines Gliderport is located in La Jolla, CA. It is near UC San Diego, and has an amazing view of the shoreline and La Jolla cliffs.

I’ve shot here at both sunrise and sunset, and honestly both times are incredible. The sunrise session allowed us to avoid large crowds, but you definitely need to be prepared for an early wake up call to get the best lighting.

What to expect:

There are a few super important things to note about this location….

The first one being that it involves a pretty decent hike to get from the cliffs to the beach. The way down isn’t bad, but coming back up can be intense for some people. It’s a combination of stairs and dirt path, and while it’s not extremely treacherous, it can certainly take the wind out of you. I’ve sped through it and I’ve also done it in chunks, taking breaks part of the way through. You can definitely take it at your own pace!

The second important thing to note is that the beach we’ll shoot on is Blacks Beach. It is a nude beach here in San Diego. I typically shoot towards the water, so we don’t get any nudists in your photos, but I like to warn people about it in case you’re super uncomfortable with this!


The gliderport has a huge parking lot that you can park in to get to the cliffs. It may look full when you first pull in, but there’s usually always spots closer to the cliffside!

Engaged couple walking along La Jolla cliffside

Windansea Beach

Windansea beach is also in La Jolla, CA. It’s another touristy spot, but the beach is pretty wide, so you don’t have to worry too much about crowds. It’s a great beach if you’re looking for sandy shoreline AND a little bit of cliffside scenery!

The Surf Shack hut is also a moment in and of itself!

What to expect:

Windansea Beach is another popular tourist spot in San Diego. It’s not as touristy as La Jolla Cove in my opinion, but it definitely still gets busy!

Depending on which part of Windansea Beach you’re going to, make sure to check high tide or low tide so you have enough shoreline to work with.


This beach has some parking spots near the surf shack, but not a ton. I would recommend parking along the streets in the neighborhoods above the beach. Forewarning though they are steep hills, and you’ll likely have to parallel park!

Just married couple cheering at Windansea Beach in La Jolla

Still looking for the perfect photo locations in San Diego? Let me know what you’re looking for, and I’ll help you find the perfect spot! Reach out here!

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  2. […] my camera 🙂 If you want to check out other engagement session resources, check out my blog post San Diego Engagement Photo Locations. Happy […]

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