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Welcome to the

South Bay

Gateway to Mexico and the Baja California Region

Surfing, biking and birding in the South Bay

Located south of downtown San Diego and just north of the Mexico border lies the area known as San Diego's South Bay, the gateway to Baja California. This area is home to a number of exciting attractions and also offers great surfing, sport fishing, beach volleyball and horseback riding along the coast and well as some of the best Mexican food this side of the border.  

Connecting the South Bay to Coronado, you'll find a portion of the Bayshore Bikeway, one of the most beautiful bike paths in California.  This 10-mile portion features a flat, palm tree lined path with stunning views of the San Diego Bay and Silver Strand State Beach, a great spot for families to camp, swim, surf, kayak and fish.  It also borders the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, a 3,940-acre wetland sanctuary for endangered and migrating birds, often seen from the bike path.

On the south end is Imperial Beach and the Tijuana Estuary, the largest salt water marsh in Southern California and another great spot to see migratory birds and local wildlife.  Adjacent to the Estuary is the Living Coast Discovery Center, a family friendly aquarium and nature center.  Other attractions in the area include Aquatica SeaWorld's Waterpark, the US Olympic Training Center, with free tours of the center available on Saturdays at 11:00 AM, the Sleep Train Amphitheater where big name bands perform under the stars, the Las Americas Premium Outlets, as well as golf and a scenic harbor and waterfront park. 

The National City neighborhood of the South Bay has a strong military presence; its three-mile port area along the San Diego Bay is part of Naval Base San Diego, the largest U.S. Naval base on the west coast.

> Check out The Big Bay for information on South Bay's waterfronts
> Click here for a brochure on 10 Points of Interest in South Bay
> Click here to visit San Diego's South Bay


Find a place to stay

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

Getting to the South Bay

South Bay sits in a unique location bordering Mexico and just minutes from downtown San Diego. By car, you'll be here in no time as both major interstate freeways (I-5 and I-805) end at the US Border. For those who are energy-conscious, take the Blue Trolley line into the main artery of South Bay. Catch the trolley from Old Town Station and enjoy the scenery as you end at the San Ysidro Transit Center near the border with Mexico. From Coronado, drive the picturesque Silver Strand south through Imperial Beach to arrive at South Bay. 

Discover South Bay

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San Diego 24-mile Bike Route

The Bayshore Bikeway, one of the most beautiful bike paths in America, runs through San Diego's South Bay. 


Living Coast Discovery Center

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a nonprofit zoo and aquarium uniquely set on San Diego Bay. Visitors enjoy up-close animal encounters with endangered green sea turtles, shorebirds, hawks, owls, sharks, stingrays, jellies and more. Uniquely located on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, The Living Coast is home to more than 350 animal and plant species native to the San Diego Bay habitat.


Discover Art in the South Bay

Experience dramatic sculptures, beautiful art, murals and more that capture the passion of the local artistic residents and the spirit of neighborhoods like Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, San Ysidro, and Port of San Diego Bayfront. San Diego's South Bay has some notable compelling art worth seeing.


Wetlands & Wildlife

These four preserves protect more than 50,000 acres of habitat in its natural state. Visiting these truly beautiful spots in San Diego helps preserve the precious resources and natural environments of these unique locations, and it a wonderful way to spend a day.


Aquatica SeaWorld's Waterpark San Diego

Aquatica San Diego features guest experiences from serene to extreme, with water play as endless as the sea itself, and is home to a variety of exotic animals, providing an educational component to a waterpark visit that is both unexpected and enriching.


Museum Month: Half-Off Admission

Feb 1 - Feb 28, 2017

Presented by Macy's, San Diego Museum Month invites everyone to enjoy half-off entry fees at 40+ museums throughout the county for the all of February.


Chauffeured Distillery Tour

Oct 20, 2016 - ongoing

Taste San Diego's sensational spirits, crafted from grain to glass.Taste locally made whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, brandy; lunch; pint of beer, behind-the-scenes guided tours. Pick up & drop off included in Chauffeured Distillery Tour.


Circus Vargas Presents Steam Cirque

Feb 16 - Feb 27, 2017

Circus Vargas embarks on a brand new epic adventure under the big top! Goggles, gears, and gadgets set the stage for 2017's retro-futuristic production, Steam Cirque!

Join us on a journey of fantastic proportions where children of all ages will marvel at the wacky and wonderful cast of characters that come alive in this exciting steampunk, science- fiction fantasy inspired circus odyssey!

Arrive 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration, where kids can create their own magic under the big top, learning circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more!

Meet and mingle with the entire cast after each performance. Capture the fun by posing for pics or selfies with your favorite cast members, all part of an unforgettable Circus Vargas experience!


Deals just for you


Save Up to 55% On San Diego Attractions!

Go San Diego Card by Smart Destinations
Valid: Oct 31, 2016 - ongoing

Money: Savings off combined admission prices Time: Skip the line at select attractions Flexibility: Create your own itinerary from over 40 attraction choices Freedom: Do as much as you want each...

Related Articles and Features

History & Heritage

South Bay's Historic Heritage

Landmarks, Arts and Culture and More

Spend a day exploring the many landmarks that make up San Diego South Bay's historic heritage.


8 Historic Places to Visit in San Ysidro

Gateway to the Americas

San Ysidro has come to be known as "The Gateway to the Americas" because of its location at the southernmost portion of California. Together with Tijuana, Mexico, it is considered the busiest border crossing city in the world.

What to Do

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.

Arts & Culture

San Diego's Drive-in Movie Theaters

A Little Bit of Americana in San Diego

With state-of-the-art projectors and San Diego’s average 70 degree weather, drive-in theatres offer the perfect setting for a night at the movies.


Explore theNeighborhood

Where to Stay

Areas of Interest

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Visitor planning guide

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