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Mission Beach San Diego: The Classic California Vacation

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

A sign that says Welcome to Mission Bay Park in San Diego California

Mission beach is what I would call the epicenter for ocean fun. In Mission, you can go from paddleboarding to jet skis and from arcade games to Sea World! They have everything you could want for a classic San Deigo vacation spent by the beach. So if you're looking for a great area to enjoy some water and sunshine, look no further than Mission Beach.


Mission Bay

A harbor full og jet skis in Mission Bay San Diego California

This is the part of town where you get to enjoy all of the water activities. Whether you like paddleboarding, kayaking, jet skis, or whale watching, this is the area to start from.

You can also paddle up right next to the backside of Sea World!

A rental company that I suggest for paddleboards, kayaks, and other various non-motored ocean items is Aqua Adventures. I've rented from them before and it was an easy and fun process. Their prices are reasonable, plus they are located right next to a bar so you can grab a margarita once you make it back to dry land.

A bit further down the road along the same harbor you'll find the more adventurous ocean equipment. While I haven't gone to this place personally, Seaforth Boat Rentals is San Diego's largest boat rental company, renting out anything from jet skis to fishing boats.

Next door to them you'll find San Deigo Whale Watch where you can get whale and dolphin sightings all year round!



Belmont Park/ Boardwalk

Wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park on Mission Beach

Belmont Park is an amusement park that sits right on the beach! With multiple full-sized rides (including a roller coaster), an arcade with tons of new and old arcade games, and a fried anything food stand, you can't have a bad time there. Spend some time checking out the shops, and trying your hand at skeeball I know you'll love it!

After your fun at Belmont Park, I suggest walking down the boardwalk North towards Pacific Beach. Pacific Beach is more of a party area, so if you're looking for giant margaritas and some music to dance to, then that is your area. You can read more about Pacific beach or PB right here.

On the boardwalk, you'll find vendors selling anything you can put the words "San Diego" on like T-shirts, mugs, booty shorts, literally anything. You'll also see beautiful expensive vacation homes, most of them you can actually rent for yourself (the washed-out copper one being my favorite). You'll also get to watch the surfers catch some waves, and people longboarding and rollerblading along like a scene out of a movie.


Related post on Pacific Beach San Diego


Fiesta Island

Sign for Fiesta Island in Mission Bay San Diego

On the other side of the bay, you'll find Fiesta Island. While it's simply an empty island with no restaurants, shops, or plumbing, this is an island for freedom. Where you stay up next to a fire on the beach with your favorite beer. Where your dog can run absolutely free anywhere on the beach or enjoy their massive dog park! It is also a popular spot for biking as multiple triathlons are held here.

As you come out of the Fiesta island area and follow E Mission Bay Dr. North, you'll see Mission Bay Park. A bayside park with picnic tables, a walking path, and large green areas to relax and enjoy a park day by the water. There is also an RV park at the end if you're wanting to stay by the ocean in your camper, it may be pricey, but it's a really nice park and close to everything San Diego has to offer.



White egret in the water at Mission Bay San Diego

Mission Beach is the go-between neighborhood from the party side of Pacific Beach and the chill laid-back side of Ocean Beach. I highly suggest trying out the bay for more of a relaxing ocean time, without all of the crashing waves from the ocean. But I suggest the beachside for the amusement park and surfing. Either way, I think anyone can find something to do in Mission, with so many options you could spend your whole weekend in just this one part of San Diego.

beach view by Pacific Beach San Diego

If you're wanting to learn more about the other neighboring parts of San Diego mentioned you can check out my posts on Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach.

As always, feel free to comment below, DM me on Instagram or Email me with any questions you may have or experiences you would add to the Mission Bay experience!

Until next time,

Happy Trails!

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Hey there! My name is Hannah Smentkowski, I'm the photographer, writer, hiker, camper, and craft beer drinker of this blog!


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