Mission Bay Beaches in San Diego: 27 miles of shoreline
Mission Bay San Diego. Close to Sea World, Sea World hotels and, of course, the beach!
South of La Jolla, beaches start at Pacific Beach Park and Mission Beach,with three miles of pathway extending to the mouth of Mission Bay.
It passes neighborhoods harking back to old-style downscale California beach towns.
Crystal Pier is here, and south of the pier, families congregate for the classic, mild-weathered "day-at-the-beach." Surfers leave this stretch and its gentle waves alone.
The Bay itself was a municipal solution to what was once a soggy marshland, now dredged to create a 4,200 acre aquatic playground.
About a mile offshore of the bay's mouth lies Wreck Alley, a scuba diver's delight, home to 600 acres of sunken military ships and planes including a 366-foot Canadian destroyer ship, a WWII-era P-38 bomber, an F14 fighter jet, a Coast Guard cutter, a barge and two submarines.
On the water, a good way to categorize the bay is that the windward half (to the west) is for engine-driven watercraft: jet boats, jet skis, water skiers. The seaward half (to the east) is for kayakers and wind-driven watercraft: sail boats and sailboarders. This is the side with swimming beaches.
Rentals, lessons and tours are all available from Harbor Sailboats, J World Sailing and Mission Bay Sports Center. Visitors can also charter the legendary America's Cup yacht Stars & Stripes from
Next Level Sailing.
OCEAN BEACH, POINT LOMA AND SHELTER ISLAND
South of the mouth of Mission Bay's harbor channel, visit Ocean Beach, its northern tip a Dog Beach (with owners allowed off-leash).
Ocean Beach is also popular with swimmers and a favorite of families, who especially like its pier, where Newport Avenue meets the ocean.
Like on all piers in California, no fishing license is required.
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Following the coast south, the beaches turn into Sunset Cliffs, which live up to their namesake as a popular place to watch the sun melt into the ocean.
From here to the point itself, only scuba divers (great kelp beds) and experienced surfers enter the waters below these crumbling sandstone cliffs, and usually only via Zodiac boats.
Photo opportunity: At the point itself, be sure to visit the historic Point Loma Lighthouse and its views of the ocean, San Diego Bay and North Island Naval Air Station on Coronado.
Also check out the vintage World War II-era naval buildings visible on the way in, behind the fences of Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation.
Inside San Diego Bay, Shelter Island offers a series of hotels along its bay side, and a yacht marina on its Point Loma side, with sailing charters and whale watching tours.