Mission Beach is built on a narrow sandbar within the city of San Diego, California. With the deep blue immensity of the Pacific Ocean on one side and lovely Mission Bay on the other, Mission Beach proves it’s a picturesque destination. Moreover, the city boasts warm Mediterranean climate, a laid-back atmosphere, and incomparable panoramic scenery. On the shoreline, enjoy the wide sand beaches, as well as numerous water sports. On the other hand, on the inland, you can find beautiful parks and plenty of recreational activities. Book a stay at a Mission Beach vacation rental today. Without further ado, here are the most exciting attractions in and around Mission Beach.

1. Mission Beach

A beachside boardwalk extends the entire length of Mission Beach, allowing you to explore the neighborhood on foot, bicycle, rollerblade, or skateboard. One of the most popular stops along the way is Belmont Park, an amusement park that offers the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, laser tag, an arcade, and a number of other attractions. The Wave House has the largest indoor swimming pool in Southern California along with a simulated wave ride. Shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants also line the boardwalk. Just behind Mission Beach, SeaWorld San Diego is a world-famous theme park that features animal habitat exhibits, marine mammal shows, rides, and play areas for children.

2. South Mission Beach

At the far southern end of Mission Beach at the Entrance Channel to Mission Bay is Mission Point Park, a grassy expanse with picnic tables, park benches, and a beach where you can swim and watch the boats come and go. South Mission Beach offers the widest expanse of beach along the San Diego coastline and is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, basketball, and beach volleyball. It’s also quieter and less commercialized than the rest of the Mission Beach boardwalk area.

3. Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach lies adjacent to Mission Beach on the north. The same boardwalk that runs along the length of Mission Beach continues for more than three miles all the way to the high bluffs at the northern end of Pacific Beach. Along the way, it passes famous Crystal Pier, a wooden structure with hotel cottages built onto it that juts far out over the Pacific Ocean. During the day, the pier is a great spot for relaxing and fishing. The waves alongside the pier and on up to North Pacific Beach are popular with surfers. The beach at Pacific Beach is easy to access and has showers and restrooms readily available for its many swimmers, sunbathers, beachcombers, Frisbee-throwers, and builders of sand castles. Garnet Avenue, which stretches from the beach inland, is renowned for its boutiques, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

4. La Jolla

La Jolla is the next San Diego coastal community north of Pacific Beach. Its numerous beaches include Windansea Beach with its world-class surf break, La Jolla Cove with its marine reserve popular with snorkelers and scuba divers, and Children’s Pool Beach with its protective seawall. Downtown La Jolla features high-end restaurants, boutiques, and jewelry stores. La Jolla hosts the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which offers a fascinating look at Pacific Ocean marine life and provides family-friendly interactive exhibits. It is also home to the vast collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Golf enthusiasts can get their game on at the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

5. Clairemont

The neighborhood of Clairemont lies northeast of Mission Beach in the coastal hills. Many of its vacation rentals offer breathtaking views of Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and the mountains to the east. Tecolote Canyon Natural Park runs through Clairemont and offers over six miles of trails for walking and cycling. Its Nature Center has exhibits on local plant and animal life. Along with the Mesa at the northern end of Clairemont, Marian Bear Memorial Park has hiking trails that range from easy to challenging.

6. Ocean Beach

The neighborhood of Ocean Beach is south of Mission Beach across the Entrance Channel to Mission Bay. At the north end of the beach is Ocean Beach Dog Beach, a unique site that allows dogs to run leash-free. The main business street, Newport Avenue, has a laid-back ambiance, eschewing chain stores for individual family-run establishments such as antique shops, bookstores, surf shops, coffee houses, and restaurants. The wide sand beach is popular with volleyball players, and the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier is ideal for strolling and fishing.

7. Mission Valley

Mission Valley lies east of Mission Beach along the San Diego River. It has a reputation as one of San Diego’s premier shopping areas due to the proximity of Hazard Center Mall, Westfield Mission Valley, Fashion Valley Mall, and a number of other shopping venues. Riverwalk Golf Club has three nine-hole courses and a beautiful landscape of rolling fairways, lakes, and stands of oak, eucalyptus, and palm trees. At the western end of Mission Valley is Presidio Park with its beautiful views and abundant hiking trails through woodlands lush with wildflowers.

8. Old Town

Vacation rentals near Old Town provide easy access to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This fascinating complex features restaurants, shops, and numerous reconstructions of historic buildings. The Colorado House hosts the Wells Fargo History Museum with its reconstructed telegraph office and stage stop. Seeley Stables has exhibits of wagons, carriages, horse-drawn buggies, and other artifacts of pioneer days. Other reconstructions include the first San Diego courthouse and jail, the first public schoolhouse, a tobacconist, a hotel, and a newspaper office. If you enjoy a thrill, you can take a late night ghost-hunting tour at Whaley House Museum.

9. Hillcrest

The pleasant neighborhood of Hillcrest lies south of Mission Valley. It’s a great place for strolling and checking out the shops, cafes, and restaurants. Hillcrest adjoins Balboa Park, the site of many of San Diego’s most iconic attractions, including a number of botanical gardens and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Among the numerous museums in the park are the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.