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Your Complete Guide to Mission Beach

Mission Beach in San Diego is more than just a beach. Though it does boast nearly two miles of sandy coastline, city residents and visitors alike flock to it more for its oceanfront boardwalk than anything else. In addition to the shops and restaurants you would expect to see in any beach town, the Mission Beach boardwalk is home to none other than Belmont Park, an amusement park that features miles of entertainment. If you plan to visit Mission Beach, bring your bathing suit and towel, but plan to do more than sunbathe and splash around in the waves.

What To Love about Mission Beach

The question is, what is there not to love about Mission Beach? During the day, the beach offers no shortage of activities for people of all ages. Rent a boogie board or surfboard from a local rental shop and spend the day catching waves. Bike along the boardwalk, challenge your kids to a game of beach volleyball or rent a charter to go out sportfishing or whale watching. You can also rent scuba gear and get up close and personal with the ocean floor.

At night, the boardwalk turns into an adult playground. Restaurants become bars and bars become nightclubs. A short walk from the lively Pacific Beach, the young and young at heart prefer to start their nights in Mission Beach and make their way to the neighboring thoroughfare.

What To Know Before Visiting

Whether you plan to spend a couple of hours at Mission Beach or the entire day, there are a few things you should know to make the most of your visit. Below are a few pointers:

  •     Unless you want to spend 30 minutes searching for parking, try to visit the beach by bus or bike. Though there are nearby public lots and street parking, you may have to fight several beachgoers for the few spots that are available. If you are set on driving, arrive early in the morning to get a parking spot. 
  •     If you want a quiet beach day, head to South Mission Beach, which is much slower-paced than the bustling boardwalk.
  •     The beach itself has plenty of restroom outposts and lifeguard towers.
  •     The jetty at the end of South Mission Beach Park boasts great fishing for anyone interested.

If you plan to stay through the evening, bring a sweater, as the temperatures drop once the sun goes down.

Finding a Place To Stay

The lodging options in Mission Beach are close to several of San Diego’s best attractions (including Sea World) but are a fraction of the price of and much more charming than those in ritzier areas. Some places to stay are as follows:

  •     Blue Sea Beach Hotel
  •     Mike’s Place at the Beach
  •     Rosewitha’s Beach Hideaway
  •     Sandy Suite
  •     C-Ranch South

If you’re planning your visit during peak beach season, book in advance to snag a spot at one of these charming establishments.

Enjoying the Mission Beach Boardwalk

Ideally, you will set aside a whole day to explore and play at Belmont Park. The park and boardwalk boast plenty of shopping for the whole family. Over a dozen eateries offer everything from coffee and quick bites to wholesome and hearty meals. Rides, games and other attractions promise to keep you and your little ones entertained all day. Take advantage of park passes, ticket bundles and group discounts to save big.

Best Places To Dine & Relax

Whether you want to eat, relax or both, Mission Beach has no shortage of places in which you can refuel and let down your hair. Sandbar is a local’s favorite, famous for their street tacos and margaritas. For a quick bite, head over to El Jefe for some grab-and-go tacos, or get a classic corndog from the infamous Hot Dog on a Stick. Beach Treats, Sweet Shoppe and Dole Whip serve up cool and tasty treats, while Draft Coffee makes some of the best brew around. If you want to watch the sunset with your toes in the sand, head over to Beach House. Later in the evening, don’t forget to check out the local dive bars, the Beach Comber and the Pennant. We’ll let you in on a little secret: the Pennant has delicious late night gyros! 

Mission Beach is a fun beachside community that offers a little bit of something for everyone. When you do visit, make time for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is whale watching. You won’t regret it.