Nothing like seeing a japanese family trotting down the trail, only to find naked gay dudes posing on the beach entrance... ugh... at least they stay on their side of the tracks...
In San Diego, Tourmaline Beach is a perfect fit. Find a hotel anywhere in the San Diego city area that suits your pricing needs (and look out for extra fees such as parking). Your hotel can serve as the base for doing other things (zoo, restaurants...). Many of the towns in North County have mellow beach breaks so between Del Mar, Encinitas, Leucadia you would do fine. Del Mar tends to be the more upscale of those three with the other two more funky/art/coffeeshops. In south Orange County is Old Mans at San Onofre (San Clemente, another nice town). Access during the weekends (Fri late afternoon-Sun) is competitive but during the week should be fine. Another spot with lots of surfing tradition and easy waves. Visit the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center if you are anywhere near San Clemente -- best "surf museum" around.
So we closed in on renting a townhouse in Del Mar area just across from the Torey Pines St Park beach. Looks to be about 1.5 -2 miles inland It looks to be a very nice location and we'll be able to venture from there to all the SD spots and North Couty I would think with relative ease. I think we'll probably go all around the whole area as tourists during our vacation, but I'm hoping to at least get out for some Pacific Ocean surfing 1-2 times for an hour or 2 session while I'm there..even if just riding some whitewater...I don't care. Maybe I can talk the kids into doing a surf school thing with me as one of our "beach days" while there. What are the recommended surf school options you guys would recommend as good value and good instruction (and good location).
Just got back from our trip to San Diego. Awesome! Had a wonderful time. You guys on west coast are so lucky with the awesome waves you get. I took family to Tourmaline Beach/Law st. and we entered the surfing school there. It was great. The instructors got the kids up and riding numerous times in 1 hr. I was the more experienced surfer in the school (1st time I ever felt more experienced) and they let me do my thing while I told the instructors to focus on my kids to make their time enjoyable. I caught more waves (and long rides) in 1 hr. session at Tourmaline, then probably my last 3 sessions combined in Del/Maryland/OBX shores on east coast. And it was a choppy average day at Tourmaline as well. Granted I'm nothing more than a white water champion and have only caught unbroken waves a few times, but it was a great time.
PS: I own an old Tim Bessell funshape board off Craigslist a few years back. Our surf instructor told me Tim is based out of LaJolla so I stopped in to meet my maker/shaper. Very nice guy and was one of the highlights of my trip. Told him how well his old custom funboard he made handles on the east coast (I've seen very few Bessell. Lots of guys more experienced than myself have taken my board for a spin, and seem to ride it really well and say how great it performs and fits for a fun-board in the hollow mid-atlantic waves. Tim appreciated the praise of his board. Anyway, thanks for the tips on surfing at Tourmaline. Great advice.