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Imperial Beach

San Diego's South Bay Playground

Surfing, Fishing, Wildlife and More

Located in San Diego's South Bay region, and the southernmost beach town in California, Imperial Beach is just five miles north of the Mexico border, and includes a 4-mile stretch of beach offering a host of activities including great surfing, sport fishing, beach volleyball and horseback riding along the coast. The Imperial Beach pier provides sweeping views of the Los Coronados Islands and is a popular spot for strolling, pier fishing and watching the sunset. Imperial Beach is connected to Coronado by way of the Silver Strand, a narrow, 7 mile long isthmus, popular for camping, bird watching and bicycling.

Imperial Beach is also home to the Tijuana River National Estuary, a place where the fresh water of the Tijuana River mixes with the salt water of the Pacific Ocean creating the largest salt water marsh in Southern California. The estuary is one of the top birding spots in San Diego with many endangered birds and wildlife on display. Close by you’ll also find the Living Coast Discovery Center, a family and budget friendly aquarium experience.

There’s a host of annual events to entertain including free fish derbies, triathlons and the annual Sun & Sea Festival featuring elaborate, awe-inspiring works of (temporary!) sandcastle art. Other art in the area includes the Surfboard Museum, an outdoor public art project exploring the history of surfing in Imperial Beach.

Where to Go

  • The Pier in Imperial Beach, a few blocks south of Evergreen Avenue is a popular spot for beach-goers, with grassy parks, recreational facilities, shopping and eateries in the area.
  • Tijuana River National Estuary for great birdwatching.
  • I.B. Outdoor Surf Museum, a public art project located in and around the pier. Below the 10 surfboard benches, look for the plaques that tell the story of what surfing means to the community.

Parking

  • A mixed bag of street parking in residential neighborhoods and some public lots are also available.

Bathrooms & Showers

  • Amenities are available at the beaches around the pier.

Lifeguards

  • The area around the Pier has year-around lifeguard service.

Directions

  • From the I-5 freeway, exit Palm Avenue west, left on Seacoast Drive. The Imperial Beach Pier is a few blocks south at the foot of Evergreen Avenue.

What to Love

  • Imperial Beach is home to 370 species of birds and considered one of the best birding areas in Southern California.
  • Visit the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center for maps of public trail systems and guided tours of the area.
  • Nearby Chula Vista Nature Center is a low cost aquarium experience for families.
  • The bike path that runs from Imperial Beach to Coronado provides beautiful views of southern San Diego bay, the salt flats and Silver Strand State Beach.

What to Know

  • Steer clear of the beaches close to the border as they can be unsuitable for swimming due to large, hazardous surf, lack of permanent lifeguards and contamination from the Tijuana River.
  • Beaches around the pier are clean and safe for swimming year-round.

Find a place to stay

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

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