- Type: Beaches, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Mission Bay Park in northwestern San Diego, Mission Beach is one of the most popular shorelines in the city. While it's not as pristine as Coronado Beach, it's just as busy thanks to all the nearby attractions. This 2-mile stretch of sugary-white sand fits the SoCal stereotype to a T: throngs of surfers and bikini-clad sunbathers crowd the shores every summer, while the nearby boardwalk is usually packed with inline skaters and bicyclists. Also, be prepared to share the beach with some of the Pacific's sea-faring critters, including seals. In Belmont Park on the northern edge of the beach, the Giant Dipper rollercoaster is a big hit with kids and adults alike. When lunchtime rolls around, head to one of the many beachside eateries that flank the boardwalk.
Mission Beach is open every day, and there is no entry fee. However, you will have to pay to play in Belmont Park (prices are listed on the park's website). Past visitors lament the lack of sufficient parking, so consider biking or walking to the beach to avoid the headache. You can also find more parking around Belmont Park, Santa Clara Point and South Mission Beach Park. For more information, check out the beach's website.