Mission Beach, a narrow strip of sandbar between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay Park, has been known for over 100 years as a prime vacation location. With two miles of oceanfront on the west, a rock jetty extending into the ocean on the south, and Pacific Beach to the North, there’s no shortage of activity and sights for visitors and residents alike.
Mission Beach was first developed in the 1920s as a tent-city, spearheaded by local business tycoon John D. Spreckels, and included the construction of Luna Park (later changed to Belmont Park). In the mid 1900s Mission Bay Park was approved and dredging completed by 1961. Shortly after that the Bay became exactly what it was always going to become, a thriving coastal community with a close-knit beach vibe and attractions for everyone who stops by to visit.
What To Do
On the south side of Mission Beach, guests can take a moment to enjoy the waves, rolling up on the rock jetty or into the inlet to Mission Bay Park. More east from the inlet sits a the quiet Mission Point Park, a relaxing grass area perfect for enjoying an afternoon picnic or barbeque. North up Mission Bay Drive or the Boardwalk takes you to Belmont Park–a must see for everyone. The amusement park boasts such attractions as the original Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster, one of the only two remaining antique wooden roller coasters in California, and a variety of other amusement park rides. While you’re there, take a stop by Mission Beach Rentals on the south side of the park to get yourself the number one recommended mode of transportation for the beach, the classic beach cruiser (or rent a surfboard, paddleboard, boogie board, etc!). If you’ve never ridden down the boardwalk on a bike before, it’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss. Other rental shops are further north and include Cheap Rentals, a shop that’s been around for years. This shop rents out bikes, rollerblades,surfboards, boogie boards, wetsuits, just about everything. If it floats or rolls they probably have it.
If you’re hoping to get some boating action in, consider going to Mission Bay sports center. This complex has a variety of boating and water activities for you to enjoy, including water jet packs! You can also rent out sailboats, powerboats, catamarans, and jet skis for your entertainment. Or rent out a paddleboard from any of the rental shops and explore the bay at your own, solo pace.
If you’re looking for food, consider stopping by Draft directly on the boardwalk in Belmont Park. Their food is a fun twist on New Style American meals, serving a plethora of tasty options for everyone. They also have over 60 beers on tap, so you can get your brews and your sunset views at the same time. Further up north sits Rubicon Deli, voted best sandwich shop in San Diego 4 years running by San Diego Magazine. Their sandwiches are delicious, served on whole loaves of freshly baked bread, and sourcing local ingredients. The half size is usually enough for one person, but if you’ve got a big stomach the whole sandwich will probably have no trouble filling you up. There’s also a variety of friendly taco shops scattered all around the beach area, serving the classic california burrito. This masterpiece is a San Diego creation, with carne asada, french fries, lots of queso, salsa fresca, and guacamole all wrapped in a big flour tortilla. Next to In N’ Out burger, this is a staple of the southern California surfer diet.
If drinks is what you’re after, take a bike ride over to Guava Beach Bar and Grill, a fun little location for sports, beer, and some food. That’s just north of Santa Clara Point, and if you bike up even further north, there’s bars galore in Pacific Beach, or PB. This beach community offers shopping, more oceanfront boardwalk, and plenty of restaurants and bars to satisfy your nightlife cravings. Anywhere you go up the boardwalk you can find a great place to watch the beautiful San Diego sunset. Take a bike, take a walk, take a seat and enjoy it!
With so many amazing activities and sights in Mission Beach, it’s hard to fit into any amount of time. You won’t be left bored though, there’s always something to choose from! Whether you’re biking, surfing, boating or swimming, Mission Beach is the prime place to experience the Beach Life of San Diego. Come and visit this friendly community next time you’re in town, you won’t be disappointed.
Let a local guide help you find your way around San Diego. The people over at Surf You To The Moon has a vaviety of tours to choose from.
*Hint: Get around the traffic and Rent a bike from one of the local shops.