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San Diego's Water Wonderland

A water-lover's paradise

If it's the water that you love, nowhere in Southern California gives you more choices to get out on the water and play than Mission Bay and the surrounding beaches. From sailing and fishing to surfing and tide pooling, you'll find it all here.  

San Diego's Aquatic Playground

Mission Bay is a saltwater bay that is part of Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made aquatic park in the country. The park encompasses 4,600 acres that are about half land and half water, with 27 miles of shoreline and 19 miles of sandy beaches, where you’ll find 14 miles of bike paths, children’s playgrounds, grassy park areas, basketball courts and volleyball nets. You can rent bicycles and every type of water sports equipment including speed boats and water skis, sailboats, jet skis, kite boards, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. There are also several areas where you can have a bonfire along the water's edge.  

The area offers a host of accommodations, from small hotels to large luxury resorts. Activities and attractions on the bay include sportfishing, SeaWorld San Diego, the Mission Bay Aquatic Center where you’ll find classes for every type of water sport and the Bahia Belle boat cruise, a turn-of-the-century, Mississippi-style sternwheeler that cruises Mission Bay and offers an early family hour and late-night nightclub entertainment. Mission Bay is a favorite location for destination weddings and family reunions as well as meetings and special events.  

The beaches in this area include Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach. Mission and Pacific Beaches are best known for the boardwalk that runs the entire length of the beach and the party atmosphere. This is a favorite spot for the 20-something crowd on the beach and surrounding neighborhood streets. Bike and surfboard rentals are readily available and the area offers plenty of food and accommodation choices, from luxury to affordable and from romantic to rowdy. Activities and attractions in the area include Belmont Park with the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, laser tag, miniature golf, rock climbing, arcade, bumper cars and more, and the Beach House Grill Club for a true SoCal waterfront dining experience. Crystal Pier, built in the 1930’s, offers Cape Cod-style cottages out over the Pacific and Tourmaline Surf Park Beach is a good place for novice surfers with local surf shops offering gear and lessons.  

Ocean Beach, known as OB locally, is a considered San Diego’s “hippie” beach neighborhood. Streets here are lined with antique stores, funky boutiques, casual restaurants and bars. The wide sandy beach is popular with surfers, rentals are available, and is one of the few beaches in the area to allow dogs. The OB Pier is the longest concrete pier on the west coast and is a favorite for pier fishing. A fishing license is not required here and you’ll find a bait shop on the pier. There are tide pools below the pier that are worth checking out at low tide and fire rings on the beach are available for beach bonfires. (Note: The Ocean Beach Pier will be closed until at least Spring 2024 for repairs and maintenance.)

Just 15 minutes from Downtown and centrally located in San Diego county, Mission Bay and surrounding beaches is a great home base for a visit to San Diego. 

 

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