A gigantic aquatic playground, Mission Bay is ideal for just about every kind of watersport, from sailing and SUPing to jet skiing and kayaking. It also has 27 miles of park- and beach- lined shores which are perfect for sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, and picnicking. Cyclists and runners will fall in love with the paved, 12-mile long path that winds around the bay and along the beachfront boardwalk. With resorts, theme parks, restaurants, and 19 miles of beaches, everyone will find a few reasons to love Mission Bay. Here are just a handful of them.
The legendary marine park, home to orcas, walruses, dolphins, otters, sharks, seals, sea turtles and many more sea creatures, doubles as an amusement park with ocean-themed roller coasters, rides, and attractions. SeaWorld's newest roller coaster, the 150-foot-tall Electric Eel is the tallest and fastest in San Diego, reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour. In May 2019, the park will add Tidal Twister, a figure-eight track with a “zero-gravity roll.”
Opened in 1925, Belmont Park retains its early 20th Century theme park flavor but with many welcome modern additions. The historical wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster, bumper cars, and carousel lend a timeless feel, while rides and attractions like the Beach Blaster, laser tag, and escape room dole out more thrills. There are three oceanfront restaurants and dozens of craft beers on offer, but not to worry, classic theme park bites like hamburgers, hot dogs, waffle cones, and ice cream are on hand, too.
Mission Bay Golf Course
Tee off on the 18-hole, par 58 public golf course fronting the bay. In addition to walking the 2,700-yard course, golfers can work on their game at a driving range, putting greens, sand traps, and chipping greens for practice. The course also gives foot golf and disc golf their due with courses for those alternative sports. When day turns to night, stay for the night lighting to be switched on—the only golf course in San Diego to offer night lighting.
Play Beach Volleyball
Beaches and Bays
The southern end of Crown Point Park serves up a perfect place for beach volleyball. Bump, set, and spike with a view of the downtown San Diego skyline, passing sailboats, and wildlife in the nearby bird-watching area. Stay awhile and take advantage of the rinse-off shower, fire rings, picnic tables, and barbecue grills on this pleasant stretch of the bay.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
Sailing, wakeboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, SUPing—you name it, they offer it in the form of classes, rentals, and packages for groups and parties. For example, sailing instructors teach everything from introductory classes for landlubbers to advanced classes in various boat styles, coastal navigation and more. Keep it as simple as you’d like, or challenge your skills on the water. Whatever you’re looking for, your outing starts here.
Relax and Recharge at Bayfront Resorts
Hotels and Resorts
Tropical landscaping sets the mood at The Dana on Mission Bay, a resort with two heated swimming pools, and a private marina situated a seashell’s throw from SeaWorld. Bahia Resort Hotel lies a short walk from Belmont Park, but also boasts a secluded beach, lush landscaping, tennis courts, and shuffleboard. The resort’s Mississippi-style sternwheeler boat motors to sister resort Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa, a Polynesian-themed oasis where sunset luaus and spa services can take you to a far off place. Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa likewise has a full-service spa, a fitness center, pool lined with cabanas, and waterfront rooms. Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa And Marina’s eco-friendly spa adds to its full-service marina, and a pool area complete with waterslides, hot tub, and private cabanas. Paradise Point is set away on a secluded peninsula, and once there, it truly is an island getaway. It features bungalow-style rooms, tropical gardens, hidden lagoons, and even secret restaurants (look for the cave!).
Mission Bay Beaches
Beaches and Bays
In all, Mission Bay is lined with 19 miles of sandy beaches, each with their own amenities, views, and vibes. The waters are calm and free of currents but beware of steep drop-offs in some places. When dogs are part of the family, head to Fiesta Island (the only part of the bay where dogs are allowed) to let them sniff and play off-leash. Tecolote Shores supplies fire rings for cozy evenings beside flickering flames. Bonita Cove is equipped with a playground, lifeguard, picnic tables, grills, comfort station and rinse-off shower.
In this region, there are several neighborhoods, each with their own unique beach. Ocean Beach is a step back in time. Enjoy the blissfully relaxing stretches of white sand beach, dotted with volleyball courts, and outdoor activities. There’s also a dedicated dog beach too! Pacific Beach draws the 20-something crowd for its mix of eclectic bars and restaurants, boutique shopping along Grand Avenue, the picturesque Crystal Pier, and plenty of beach for tanning and games.
Local’s Tip: Kono’s Café is a landmark in the center of all the action – get there early as the lines get long in anticipation of great coffee and atmosphere.
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