View of palm trees on a beach and a clear blue sky

11 Best Beaches in San Juan (By a Local)

If you’re planning to stay in the capital city, then you’re probably wondering about the best beaches in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I live close to San Juan and I’ve personally been to all of these beaches. No matter what you’re looking for in a San Juan beach, I can promise you they will be the best part of your vacation! Lucky for you, you can find some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico without the need to travel far from San Juan. 

Here are 11 beautiful San Juan beaches to spend your day beach bumming in San Juan.

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11 Best Beaches In/Near San Juan

Escambron Beach

Escambron Beach in San Juan is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and even has facilities

Aerial view of Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: El San Geronimo Hotel

Escambron Beach is at the entrance of San Juan. This beach has two sides, one perfect for swimming and another side for snorkeling and scuba diving, where you might even see sea turtles.

The beach is one of the local’s favorites for its nice tide and dozens of palm trees to get shade. Escambron Beach also sports facilities like bathrooms and showers.

👉 Looking for more things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in and around San Juan!

Condado Beach

Condado Beach in San Juan is perfect if you’re staying in the Condado hotel district

View of the Condado Beach and the buildings along it

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Also in San Juan, Condado Beach sports a prime location all along the Condado hotel district, which is one of the best areas to stay in San Juan.

Condado Beach’s prime location means visitors have endless options for food. You can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and equipment for watersports. This popular San Juan beach is great to spend the day beach bumming, but it lacks public shower facilities, bathrooms, and lifeguards.

👉 Local Tip: The current in Condado Beach is strong, especially during the winter season. Visitors should check the local weather or use this website to know beforehand the conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. If the conditions aren’t favorable, then visit Playita del Condado instead, for a safer beach day.

La Playita del Condado

Though it doesn’t have any facilities, La Playita del Condado is a great beach in San Juan for kids if the tide is too strong elsewhere

View of a man enjoying in La Playita del Condado

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Located right at the end of Puente Dos Hermanos and next to Condado Plaza Hilton, this natural pool is a great way to spend the day with your kids if Condado Beach tides are too strong.

You can rent umbrellas and chairs and relax while your kids enjoy a peaceful swim. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, and the closest parking lot is a few minutes away.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: If you’re planning a day trip to one of Puerto Rico beaches, then don’t forget to pack your sunblock. Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen provides an SPF 50 protection and it’s water-resistant, exactly what you need during your beach day. See my Puerto Rico packing checklist for more items to bring.

Ocean Park Beach

A less-crowded San Juan beach alternative to Condado that has fine sand

Aerial view of Ocean Park Beach and the people doing kite boarding

📍 Google Maps | Parking: across the street around Barbosa park, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Numero Uno Beach House

Ocean Park Beach is an urban Miami Beach waterfront style close to Condado Beach, but less crowded. It sports a wide space to sunbathe and really fine sand you can easily walk on. 

If you are planning to drive a rental car, Ocean Park Beach is also very easy to access, as you just have to park across the street for free. There are a few showers facilities along the beach and you can also find chair rental spots. Since this San Juan beach is windy, you will see people windsurfing.

📚 Bookmark for later: Top Places to Go in Puerto Rico

Playa Peña

Playa Pena has some of the most scenic beach views in San Juan

View of the Puerto Rico Capitol and the rocky coastline in San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets of San Juan and close to the capitol, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel

If you’re looking to get your feet in the water and scenic views, head over to Playa Peña. This beach, also known as Puerta de Tierra Beach, is the closest beach to any hotel in Old San Juan, and you can reach it through the stairs in front of the Capitol. But, the beach does have really strong rip currents, so you should stick to the shore. 

Condado Lagoon

Home to manatees, the Condado Lagoon is perfect for kayaking or paddleboarding

People kayaking in the Condado Lagoon

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: O:Live Boutique Hotel, A Small Luxury Hotel of the World 

Condado Lagoon is the body of water you will see to your right side when entering Condado and it’s the best place to go if you want to practice kayaking or paddleboard, for its calm waters.

While not many people swim in the lagoon, some visitors dip their feet in on the side of the lagoon that connects with Miramar. If you choose to visit the lagoon, you might get to see manatees.

Alambique Beach

A beach resort area in Carolina with plenty of places to eat

View of the quiet and empty Alambique Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde

Alambique Beach actually forms part of Isla Verde Beach. El Alambique Beach is the first beach from the west and is a beach resort area, so visitors have many options to eat close by. Just make sure to use sunblock or rent an umbrella, as the sun is strong and there aren’t many places that provide shade.

👉 Did you know? Isla Verde is a great area to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a central location while staying close to the beach and the airport. Check out my list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Puerto Rico to learn more about other places.

Pine Grove Beach

One of the best beaches in Carolina for surfing

View of the waves coming along the shoreline of Pine Grove Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets, no yellow line, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Pine Grove is the second beach that forms part of Isla Verde Beach. Pine Grove has stronger waves and so you will see people surfing. You can also take surfing classes on this beach or rent a jet ski. This area is right in front of multiple apartment buildings and beach resorts. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, but you can rent chairs and umbrellas. 

Carolina Beach

A local favorite in Carolina, Carolina Beach is family-friendly and has plenty of facilities

View of people walking by the beach of Carolina Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Carolina Public Beach, or Balneario de Carolina, is the last part of Isla Verde Beach before reaching Piñones and is the preferred one by locals. It has showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and even a small water park where kids can play.

The tide is usually calmer than in Pine Grove or Alambique Beach and the parking lot is wide. You can rent chairs, umbrellas and water sports equipment. This also made my list of the best things to do in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Pocita de Piñones

A small natural pool in Loiza that is close to beachfront restaurants

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Just 30 minutes away from San Juan and a few minutes from Carolina Beach you’ll find La Pocita de Piñones. This small natural pool formed by a natural reef is one of the local’s favorites for its safety and its prime location close to Piñones beachfront restaurants.

You will find chair and umbrella rentals on the beach but there aren’t showers or bathrooms.

👉 Local Tip: Piñones is a great day trip from San Juan. Besides the beach, you can also visit the Piñones kiosks to enjoy Puerto Rico’s cuisine and ride a bike on Piñones beachfront boardwalk. Check out my full guide to the best day trips from San Juan if you want to explore other parts of the island.

Isla de Cabras

Located in a Toa Baja islet, Cabras beach has two distinct sides for swimming

View of people recreating a historical event in Isla de Cabras
Historical recreation in Fort in Isla de Cabras

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $4 

Twenty five minutes driving from San Juan, you’ll find Isla de Cabras beach. Located in an islet, Isla de Cabras has two sides for swimming. The left side is open to the sea, and even if it’s usually tranquil, the tide can get high when the weather isn’t good.

The right side is home to a natural beach pool ideal for a family day. The park is also home to a small historical fort that protected the bay.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Isla de Cabra’ Beach is a little bit rocky and might be uncomfortable for some people, which is why you should use water shoes. If you don’t have any yet, check out VIFUUR water shoes, so you can enjoy the day and avoid any injuries.

FAQs About the Best Beaches of San Juan

Does San Juan have good beaches?

San Juan sports great beaches for visitors to refresh themselves like Condado Beach, Escambron Beach, and Isla Verde Beach, but visitors should be aware of rip currents and avoid getting into the water if waves are too strong.

What beach is closest to Old San Juan?

The closest beaches to Old San Juan are Playa Peña and Escambron Beach, which visitors can reach within walking distance. Other beaches like Playita del Condado, Condado Beach and Isla Verde are reachable with a short car ride.

Are San Juan beaches public?

All beaches in San Juan and Puerto Rico are public by constitutional law, except for Caribe Hilton’s beach. The fee charged at the gate of some beaches is usually for parking or maintenance.

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Whether you’re looking for a beach with scenic views, or a beach to enjoy with your family, you can find it in one of San Juan’s popular beaches! Make sure to check out the rest of Puerto Rico beaches, so you find out what the hype is all about.

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One Comment

  1. I love your posts. They are informative and practical with a variety of interests and needs in mind. Thank you for your work!

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