Beaches in San Diego

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San Diego is a coastal city with lots of prime beachfront. Depending on what you are looking for, there is a beach in San Diego to suit just about everyone's needs. Just as recent as 2008, San Diego County passed a law prohibiting alcohol on all beaches, so beware.

Mission Beach is the most central beach, and probably the most family oriented. If you are hitting Mission Beach first thing in the morning make sure to stop by Santana's for one of the best breakfast burritos in San Diego! MB is loaded with things to do: good surfing spot, white sand beach for sunbathing, boogie boarding activities, reasonable water sports rentals, surf lessons, big grassy park for a shaded picnic, amusement rides for the kids, budget souvenir shops, and budget eats. Adjacent to Mission Bay, which also has a few beaches, but mostly calmer waters for kayaking, sailing, and jet skiing. With easy access to Highway 8 and Sea World, this is a very busy beach during peak season.

Ocean Beach located off Sunset Cliffs Blvd (follow the Blvd for an amazing sunset from Sunset Cliffs), is a bit more grungy. The locals here refer to OB as "the hippie beach". Not as clean as Mission, but a nice long pier for fishing and views. The OB area caters to the budget traveler with hostels, dive bars, thrift stores, and an off the beaten path feel. Check out South Beach Bar and Grill right next to the beach and pier for renowned fish tacos.  

Pacific Beach is north of Mission Beach located off I-5. Take Garnet all the way to the water. PB is more of your typical college area, party beach. Good surf, nice pier with even more impressive views (bungalows for rent on the pier, although a little pricey), wide stretching white sand beach connected by a boardwalk (bike path/sidewalk/rollerblade path) to Mission Beach. A nice afternoon activity would be to rent a beach cruiser and ride along the boardwalk from PB to MB and back. PB has some good restaurants, especially if you like fresh sushi, Sushi Ota on Mission Bay Dr is hard to beat. 

The Strand is a man made stretch of sand connecting Coronado Island to Imperial Beach.  The beach here is a state beach.  The Strand is very clean, very vast, and very quiet.  You won't find any restaurants, bars, shops, or anything here - It is all beach.  Kite surfing is a very popular water activity on The Strand due to the high winds.  This is the beach you want to come to if you are looking to get away and just enjoy the sand and water. Keep your eyes peeled, you just might spot dolphins or whales on the horizon.  

Imperial Beach is the Southern most beach, a good off the beaten path beach if you are staying South of Downtown.  IB is a locals beach primarily due to it's proximity to everything else in San Diego.  Nice shops, great Mexican food, and a stone's throw from the Border.  If you are visiting in July make sure not to miss the US Sandcastle Competition, it is impressive.

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