A true gem on the Southern California coast, Del Mar is among the most scenic and pristine of California’s seaside towns. Del Mar offers pristine beaches, world class hiking, shopping, and award-winning dining. Fall in love with Del Mar’s gorgeous natural features, quiet charm, and sophisticated yet unpretentious elegance.
Del Mar is a special area in many ways.
Amidst the hectic suburban sprawl of Southern California, Del Mar is an oasis. Calm, serene, and surrounded by natural reserves, this area is one of the only places where the rarest pine tree in the United States, the Torrey Pine tree, grows. As a result, much of the area in and around Del Mar has been preserved and is heavily wooded and forested. The abundance of pine trees in Southern California, a mediterranean climate of deserts, palm trees, and scant rainfall, is most certainly a rarity. The Del Mar area somewhat resembles the town of Pebble Beach, in Northern California, because of the similarity and abundance of the pines, and proximity to the ocean.
The levels of biodiversity in Del Mar are the richest in San Diego county. There are many quaint trails beckoning one to explore. The opportunities to get outside for a walk and breathe in fresh air are many. You can walk in any direction and behold spectacular views all around you.
The reason that this rare pine tree is able to survive in a desert ecoclimate is because the Del Mar area has the most mild and temperate sub-climate in San Diego county. Even on the hottest summer days, Del Mar is the coolest place to be. Also, the early mornings are often cloudy or provide limited sunlight.
Another distinguishing feature that makes Del Mar unique is the Del Mar fairgrounds and racetrack in the north end of the area, bordering on Solana Beach. The racetrack has been a big draw for over 70 years. During the late 1930’s and 1940’s Del Mar and its racetrack became a summer playground attracting many well-known Hollywood celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Desi Arnaz, Pat O’Brien, Gary Cooper, Betty Grable, Oliver Hardy, and many others. Today, the Del Mar races continue to be a big draw for well-known celebrities, San Diegans, and horse-racing fans. The “Opening Day at Del Mar” is one of the county’s biggest events, drawing close to 50,000 attendees each year, and where women young and old alike compete in a popular “hat contest.”
Every summer, between May – August, both the San Diego county fair and the Del Mar races occur. As a result, the population of the town swells during these summer months. In September, the pace of the town changes noticeably.
Del Mar’s Neighborhoods
Del Mar is divided into several neighborhoods, each with their own unique defining features and characteristics. The area along and west of the Highway 101 (along the beach) is known as “Olde Del Mar” and is home to the Del Mar village. Olde Del Mar is divided into two parts: the area south of 15th street is home to central and southern Olde Del Mar. This neighborhood is characterized by its location atop the bluffs and sea cliffs of the town. This area is home to the Del Mar city council, Del Mar Shores school, Torrey Pines beach, Torrey Pines state reserve, and many apartments and condos. Southern Old Del Mar, due to its location on the Del Mar bluffs, hosts many spectacular views of the ocean. The area of Southern Old Del Mar along the railroad tracks provides paths for walking along the beach, and the enormous Los Peñasquitos Lagoon forms the natural southern border of Del Mar and the city of San Diego.
From 15th street onwards, the rest of Del Mar is relatively flat and the homes are more or less at sea level. Most homes are but a few steps away from the beach. This neighborhood of northern Olde Del Mar hosts the Del Mar beach colony, the old train station, Powerhouse park, the Del Mar lighthouse, Seagrove park, the Del Mar plaza, and the Del Mar fairgrounds. Del Mar’s “North Beach,” also known as “Dog Beach” is a popular hangout for dogs and their owners, and is home to the annual “Surf Dog Surf-a-thon” each September. North Beach is also a popular location for volleyball players, and hosts a Bocce Ball tournament each July.
Several well-known public figures live, have lived, or own properties in Del Mar. The famous self-improvement guru Tony Robbins resided in the reknowned “Del Mar Castle” during his first marriage. Former San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner, former kicker John Carney, current NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer have all bought properties in Del Mar.
Del Mar is often referred to as “Historic Old Del Mar” due to its iconic status as an American (and Californian) cultural destination. Del Mar is the very first town mentioned in the Beach Boy’s classic 1963 single “Surfin USA” (“You’d catch ‘em surfin at Del Mar…”). The surfing in this area is excellent and consistent from fall to spring, and the pristine beaches are among San Diego’s best.
Del Mar is a town of gentle subtleties. There are many hidden rewards to be discovered by those of a patient and receptive mind. Just when you think you’ve seen everything here, something will surprise you. Old Del Mar is the smallest town within the county, and provides a welcoming and quiet-pace for San Diegans, and always a welcome homecoming to those fortunate enough to live here. The area is also an important refuge for wildlife, especially birds who come here for shelter and food during their seasonal migrations.
Architectural Styles of Del Mar
For such a small community, Del Mar boasts a staggering amount of architectural diversity. The buildings that comprise much of the town’s center are designed in the architectural style of Stratford-Upon-Avon in England. This is because Del Mar was originally constructed as a seaside resort town, and from 1910 to 1967 the “Stratford Inn” (later the Hotel Del Mar) made up the heart of the town. Meanwhile, across the road from the Stratford-style buildings one encounters the Del Mar Plaza, reminiscent of old village style architecture complete with cobblestone walls, multiple ocean-view terraces, wide stucco arches, and brick fountains. Across from the plaza lies L’Auberge, a French-style boutique luxury resort. Further afield, one may encounter Spanish white-walled adobe homes in the old colonial fashion next to more rustic and contemporary American style houses.
What makes Del Mar most special is its timelessness. Residents of Del Mar, from this century to the last, have stood fast in preserving the character of their pristine oceanfront home for all time. The town’s population has remained relatively static over the last several decades, unlike the growth of the surrounding San Diego area, and households are a limited inventory.
Interested in the Del Mar real estate market? Toni Cieri is the number one realtor in homes sold in Del Mar for over 20 years. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.