At 1,942 feet long the Oceanside Pier is one of the cities most recognizable landmarks. Access to the underside of the pier is completely tide dependent but sessions can be held on the North or South side of the pier at any time. Sunset sessions are best for this location but it can get quite crowded on weekends. Paid Parking is available directly across from the pier. Free parking can be found just 2 blocks south.
Sunset Cliffs Nature Park consists of 68 acres of protected coastline. Its sheer cliffs, panoramic views, and hidden sea caves make for an epic session location. Beach access is available when tidal conditions are optimal but this location is best experienced from the cliff tops. Free street parking is available but sometimes hard to come by. Prepare to park 3-4 blocks form the session location.
Windnsea is my number one requested beach location in San Diego. This beach features sandstone points at both low and high tide and some beautiful tide pools at low tide. During the summer months the beach can be quite wide but the winter storms tend to reduce the sand volume considerably. Sessions can be scheduled here any time of year but for a more intimate, less crowded, experience week day sunsets are best.
Borrego Springs is a just a short 2 hour road trip east of San Diego Making it the closest desert landscape to the city. This quaint town in the Colorado Desert is home to several large tourist attractions. In the Spring tourists flock to Anza Borrego State Park, the largest state park in California, for the "annual" wildflower bloom. This event does occur annually but the abundance of flowers depends greatly on the seasons rainfall. This area is also registered as an international dark sky sanctuary which makes it perfect for star gazing. But the highlight of this desert location would have to be the 130+ large metal sculptures scattered throughout the desert.
Glamis / Imperial Sand Dunes
Location: Imperial County, California
These sand dunes are located on the South East border where California, Mexico, and Arizona Meet. Just a short 3 hour road trip from San Diego transports you to one of the most spectacular desert landscapes The United States has to offer. A $35 per car permit is required October 1- April 15. This permit is good for up to 7 days . Due to extreme heat the duns are best enjoyed Fall - Spring but unfortunately that is also the busiest time of year for the location. To avoid large crowds of ATV riders sessions at this location are best at sunrise during the summer months or week days in Fall - Spring months.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located 2.5 hours North East of San Diego right where the high Mojave Desert joins the low Colorado Desert. This location features rugged mountains, desert plains and of course thousands of Iconic Joshua Trees. The National Parks System does require a $120 permit to have a session inside of the park. Sessions here are best done in the cooler months to avoid the dangerous desert heat.
Location: Agua Dulce Springs, California
If you consider yourself a Trekkie (Star Trek Fan ) or Cinephile you probably recognize these stunning sandstone formations. Featured in over 200 productions and nearly 25 million years old, Vasquez Rocks could arguably be one of the oldest "film sets" in Hollywood history . This rugged desert location is only 30 minutes north of Los Angeles making it the perfect spot for LA locals who want some serious desert vibes without a seriously long road trip.
Location: San Diego, California
If you search for "Things to do in San Diego" Balboa Park is sure to be at the top of any list. Home to 17 museums, countless garden, and stunning European architecture, makes this location an ideal spot for couples or families looking for variety of backdrops for their session. The park can get crowded during the day so sunrise or after dark sessions are recommended.
Leo Carillo Ranch
Location: Carlsbad, California
This 1939 ranch was built buy Hollywood actor and Preservationist Leo Carillo. The property features several historical buildings, a reflecting pool, and a well manicured courtyard garden. And as an added bonus the ranch is also home to quite a few wild peacocks. This location is only open 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM. so session availability may be limited.
Location : Julian, California
Lake Cuyamaca is just a short 1 hour drive from San Diego, California. If you have ever been apple picking in Julian, California chances are you have probably seen this picturesque lake surrounded by a lush pine and oak forest. And of course looming in the distance is Stonewall Peak. It is not the highest peak in the region but its impressive volcanic cone like shape makes for an amazing backdrop.
There is no "wrong" time of year to visit Julian or Cuyamaca Rancho State Park but one of its more stunning seasons is Fall. Many San Diego locals flock to Julian every Fall to pick apples, enjoy the Fall colors, and of course, pig out on some of the best apple pie SoCal has to offer. This location does have a $10 parking fee.