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Things to Do in Imperial Beach

Exploring the South Bay’s coastal town

Since the 1930's, visitors have been flocking to Imperial Beach in San Diego's South Bay for the beaches, surfing, outdoor activities and more.

Imperial Beach, the southernmost beach city in California, sits just north of the Tijuana border. With four miles of beach and a great history of watermen, surfers and shapers, there's plenty of surfing, boogie boarding, swimming and fun in the sun going on here. Other standout experiences include visiting The Tijuana River Natural Estuary, which is the largest saltwater marsh in Southern California and a great wildlife refuge, or horseback riding along the beach (it's the only place it’s permitted in San Diego County).

Explore the Beach

Imperial Beach

In the 1930's, this area’s beach and breaks were used as a surfing test ground for mainlanders going to Hawaii. Legendary watermen and iconic board shapers came out of Imperial Beach and their stories unfolds in the artwork around town at the Pier Plaza and Outdoor Surf Museum on Seacoast Drive. The four 16-20 foot tall surfboard-shaped arches in the plaza are believed to be the largest acrylic moldings ever cast.

Silver Strand State Beach

This 2.5-mile stretch of coast trimmed with silver shells (giving it the unique name) is a great spot for surfers and kite-boarders.

YMCA Surf Camp

Learn how to hang ten and charge waves with the team at the YMCA.

Sightseeing

Imperial Beach Pier Plaza

The Pier Plaza includes shops, an outdoor eating and sitting area, a children's playground and the formal entrance to the pier and beach. The story of Imperial Beach’s history of surfing and watermen unfolds here with art and plaques. Stroll along the pier and look for dolphins, and then enjoy fresh seafood and ocean views at the pier’s restaurant Tin Fish.

Outdoor Surfboard Museum

The stretch of road between 3rd Street and Seacoast Drive is home to a unique outdoor museum display. Surfboard silhouettes anchored to the sidewalk trace the history of surfboard shapers and designs throughout the history of surfing. Many of these boards were designed by Imperial Beach natives.

Visit Nature

Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center

At this estuary, nature surrounds you. Enjoy the bird calling, lizards scurrying and native plants growing. Look for the endangered and elusive light-footed clapper rail. Or take a guided tour with one of the knowledgeable rangers on site.

Outdoor Recreation

Horseback Riding along the Beach

Horseback riding along the beach is a fun way to enjoy the scenic coast. Expert guides will lead you on trail rides, beach adventures and sunset trots.  This experience is unique to Imperial Beach.

Bayshore Bikeway

This 26-mile span of bikeway circles the San Diego Bay and the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you are an experienced rider training for a big race or someone just looking for a scenic bike cruise alongside nature, this trail is both beautiful and memorable for any cyclist.

Relax at the Park

Border Field State Park

Have a picnic with family and friends at this park located at the most southwesterly point in continental United States. Enjoy sweeping views of Imperial Beach, the Tijuana Estuary, Pt. Loma, the Coronado Islands, downtown and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Local Dining

Start the day at Katy’s Café, a local’s favorite, for acai bowls, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Later, grab a table on the pretty patio of SEA180 Coastal Tavern at Pier South Resort for sunset cocktails, fresh catch and great views of the pier and Pacific.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

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