Top 10 San Diego Photography Spots

Top 10 San Diego Photography Spots

San Diego is known for its scenic views, making it a perfect city for taking stunning photography. If you’re hoping to capture stunning shots, you’re in luck!

I’ve compiled a list of 11 of the best photography spots in San Diego.

Sunset Cliffs National Park

There’s a reason behind the name of this national park. Sunset Cliffs National Park is a 68-acre long park that is on the peninsula of Point Loma, making it a great spot for hiking, watching the sunset over the ocean, and capturing noteworthy photographs. You might even catch a photo of a California gray whale if you’re lucky. The park also has hidden sea caves beneath its beautiful sandstone bluffs, though you might want to enter with caution!

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is another scenic location for photographers. With 17 different museums to choose from, the San Diego Zoo, fields of flowers, and gorgeous trees, this 1200-acre park offers a plethora of sights to be captured by your camera. Balboa Park is prized as a land of native plants, with over 350 species native to the San Diego area. 

Most notable is the Spanish colonial architecture that gives the buildings in Balboa park a unique style that is definitely picture-worthy.

Old Town San Diego

Old Town, San Diego is an interesting neighborhood where you can find some of the best Mexican food in the city. Food is not all that this small town has to offer, however! 

Riddled with historical buildings, including schools, homes, museums, and graveyards, Old School offers photographers innumerable opportunities for capturing a piece of this unforgettable land of history and style. 

The town was the first settlement by Spaniards on the West Coast, and consists of over 12 acres of rich culture and events. 

Potato Chip Rock

Potato Chip Rock is not for the faint of heart. This tourist attraction is a narrow piece of rock that sticks out of the Mt. Woodson summit. It’s easy to see how this location got its name, though it also looks a bit like Pride Rock in the Lion King. 

As such, numerous adventurists take on the challenge of hiking to this scenic spot to take pictures. Keep in mind, the hike itself takes a good 4 hours in total to climb, and you’ll need to navigate through a maze of boulders, making it challenging to access for the first time.  

Though it looks like a frightful fall, the rock itself is only about a story high, making it look far scarier in photos than in actuality. But that’s the fun in taking photos at this optical illusion of a destination!

Carlsbad Ranch

Okay, while Carlsbad Ranch isn’t technically part of San Diego, it’s only a thirty-minute drive away, making it well worth the trip. This tourist hotspot sports a stunning 50 acres of beautiful fields, with flowers of yellow, pink, white, red, orange, and more. When in season, Carlsbad Ranch is the perfect place to take picturesque shots.

Artelexia

Artelexia is a secret gem of a spot for photography in San Diego. This Mexican store has a stunning, exterior mural, with a positive affirmation that says “you are radiant.” It’s probably no surprise that this is an Instagram photographer’s dream. 

Though the outside of Artelexia is most memorable, you don’t want to miss out on the inside of the craft store, where you can find some great souveneurs in addition to more picture-worthy interior designs.

Annie's Canyon Trail

Another hiking opportunity lies in the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. In this reserve, you can find a trail known as Annie’s Canyon Trail. The trek to the top of the vista point is well worth the quarter mile hike, as once you’ve reached the top, you can see a stunning panoramic view of the entire reserve, as well as the Pacific Ocean. 

Not to mention, there’s a stunning pass of sandstone walls that you must access to get to the top that looks mysterious and intriguing in photos.

Seaport Village

If you’re hoping to take photographs of a stunning waterfront, then look no further than Seaport Village. This dining complex boasts over 70 shops, many of which include picture-worthy, local art galleries and restaurants. 

Right next to the village, you can find Embarcadero Marina Park, which has a quaint array of boutiques and restaurants of its own. 

Scripps Pier at La Jolla Beach

For the perfect, Southern California beach picture, nothing comes close to competing with Scripps Pier. This wooden pier is home to an oceanography research site. You’ll likely capture some great shots of the sea life at the pier.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

While the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a bit of a drive outside San Diego, this 1.5-hour commute East of the city is well worth your while. As the largest state park California has to offer, even the National Geographic speaks highly of this captivating preserve. 

From dry, steep canyons, to the forlorn, Western tumbleweeds blowing across expansive land, to the palm oases and bold, spring wildflowers, your camera will be constantly out as you seek to capture some of the most profound shots that can be found in the wild, wild West. 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Last, but not least, is Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This reserve is protected land tucked within an urban setting, and it has a number of hidden treasures within its forests. This includes one of the rarest pine trees in the US and one of the only remaining salt marshes, which is home to beautiful waterfowl.

Bring your camping gear and get ready to capture views ranging from the Pacific to fields of wildflowers, marshes, and stunning cliffs.

Richard Tiland

Richard Tiland

Bio: I’m Richard Tiland, president of New Evolution and dk3studios. I’ve always had a passion for video. Even as a kid folks were always asking me to take the camera out of their face. Over the last 15 years, as I watched video grow I grew with it. I learned not only the skills required for making a high quality video, but the marketing techniques needed to bring in the best results.