San Diego’s Best Beach Vacation: Ride Bikes, Roller Blade, Learn to Surf, Ride a Boogie Board

San Diego’s best beaches sit side by side across from Mission Bay. Mission Beach has Belmont Park and Pacific Beach has Crystal Pier. Together, with the bay across the street, they form a vacation wonderland all by themselves.

Belmont Park

Belmont Park is home to The Giant Dipper, a roller coaster that was built in 1925 and completely restored in 1990. It’s the only beachfront amusement park in San Diego. For years the Giant Dipper was an extremely popular attraction, but fell into disrepair in the 1960s and was finally closed in December of 1976. Thanks to “Save the Coaster Committee” the Dipper was designated a National Landmark, prompting the $2,000,000 restoration. The park continues to be a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

Crystal Pier

A walk north along the Oceanfront Boardwalk from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach leads to Crystal Pier, where 29 blue and white cottages sit above the surf with fully-equipped kitchens and private decks with the ultimate ocean view. The pier was built in 1927 and the cottages in the 1930s and have been nicely renovated. Parking is free on the pier for those who have rented a cottage. The public is welcome to walk on the pier during daylight hours, but once the sun sets, the guests in the cottages of the Crystal Pier Hotel get the pier to themselves, where the pounding of the surf below lulls them to sleep.

Fun on the Boardwalk

Cheap Rentals on Mission Blvd. rents bicycles, blades, boards, and FUN! The distance between the Mission Beach lifeguard station and Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach is about 2 ¾ miles, but the full length of the boardwalk from North Pacific Beach to South Mission Beach is 3 ½ miles. That’s just oceanside! Cross Mission Blvd. and explore the boardwalk along Mission Bay, passing lovely bayside homes and go around Sail Bay toward Crown Point. But when it’s time to watch the sunset with a cocktail, head back over to the beach and grab a seat at one of several restaurants located along the boardwalk.

Play in the water

Learn to surf, rent a Boogie Board, or body surf in the blue Pacific. Cheap Rentals supplies a detailed instruction sheet on how to learn to surf, which is included with every surfboard rental. And prices are CHEAP! A soft surfboard rents for as little as $10 for ½ day; a fiberglass or epoxy surfboard $15 for ½ day. And body boards rent for as little as $5 for ½ day. Also available for rent are kayaks, chairs and umbrellas.

See SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld, the home of Shamu, sits right on Mission Bay. A trip to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a day at SeaWorld. Get face to face with a white beluga whale, walk through an underwater tube while sharks circle around, and chill out with hundreds of Antarctic penguins. An early start is required to see it all, but it can be done by observing the show times on the schedule and planning the day accordingly.

San Diego is one of the world’s great treasures, and spending a vacation on San Diego’s best beaches is a great way to enjoy the city.


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