It's safe to say that Mission Beach is to San Diego's beaches like the color red is to the rainbow: riotous, loud, and clearly enjoying it. Part of the long stretch of sandy beach known as the Strand, with Pacifiic Beach to the north and South Mission to the south, Mission Beach holds particular attraction for sand-and-sun beach enthusiasts.
The heartbeat of Mission Beach is Belmont Park at the foot of Ventura Street, home of the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster and center stage for gatherings of all kinds, or just a place to rent rollerblades for exploring the boardwalk. Near the landmark roller coaster are various shops, restaurants, and beach rental outfits. The north end of Mission Beach is bordered by residential properties, but there are some stores available on Mission Boulevard, a block or so from the beach.
The main artery through Mission Beach is Mission Boulevard, which is divided into South Mission, a peninsula, and North Mission.
Mission Beach spans nearly two miles of ocean, with a boardwalk on both the ocean and bay side, between Mission Bay to the east and Pacifiic Beach to the north. The boardwalk is divided into two lanes, one for foot traffic, and the other for anything with wheels (rollerblades, bikes and skateboards). At the south end of the beach is a jetty that extends into the ocean, with grass, parking and a walk.
- Lifeguard Protection:
- Lifeguards are staffed daily year round at the main lifeguard station at the foot of Ventura Place. In summer, additional lifeguards are staffed along the beach in seasonal lifeguard towers. Lifeguards are generally on duty from 9:00 a.m. to dusk; but check with lifeguards for specific staff hours.
- Rip Currents:
- Most California beaches experience strong rip currents. The safety tips section on the government's website provides an explanation of rip currents and some methods of freeing yourself if caught in a rip current. The best advice is to swim near a lifeguard.
- Regulated Water Activity Zones:
- This beach has separate water areas reserved for swimming and surfing. Check with lifeguards for details.
- Surfing is permitted at this beach in designated areas.
- This beach is not recommended for scuba diving due to lack of undersea life, heavy water activity, and surf.
- Restrooms and Showers:
- Public restrooms and showers are located at the foot of Ventura Street at the lifeguard station and at the south side of Belmont Park, and at the commercial mall adjacent to the Mission Beach lifeguard station.
- Disabled Accessibility:
- The boardwalk is accessible to wheelchairs and provides an excellent viewpoint of the beach. A special beach wheelchair, which requires an attendant, is generally kept at the main lifeguard station and available on a first come, first served basis at no charge.
- Beach Fires:
- Containers for beach fires are generally provided during summer months and available on a first come, first served basis. The burning of rubbish is prohibited. Only wood, charcoal, or paper products may be used as fuel. Fuel for the fire may not exceed a height of more than twelve inches above the upper edge of the fire container. The fire must be extinguished before leaving the beach. Open beach fires outside containers are prohibited at all San Diego beaches.
- Standard San Diego beach regulations apply. Please check the government website for a full regulation list.