Mission Bay Park Beach Activities


Location: Mission Bay (7 miles / 8 minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Features: Largest Man-Made Aquatic Park in the Country; Nearly 20 Miles of Beaches and Paved Trails

Mission Bay Highlights: Mission Bay is a 4,235 acre (6.6 square mile) aquatic park. It was built from the 1940s – 1960s to attract tourists to San Diego and consists of 27 miles of shoreline and 19 miles of sandy beaches.

Map of Mission Bay from the City of San Diego

Map of Mission Bay from the City of San Diego

Mission Bay Park Map – This color map of Mission Bay Park shown above includes the location of various park facilities. Click on the image for a larger, printable view. You can also find more details for each of the park facilities by visiting the City of San Diego Mission Bay Park Map web page. Here are a few descriptive details to help familiarize yourself with the areas around Mission Bay:

  • The privately run Mission Bay Visitors Information Center is located on the northeast side of Mission Bay Park (the orange colored question mark on the map). It is located immediately off of highway I-5 at Exit 22 for East Mission Bay Drive.
  • SeaWorld adventure park with killer whales, dolphins, and other marine life is located on the south side of Mission Bay and is accessed off of highway I-5 at Exit 21 for SeaWorld Drive.
  • Park areas in Mission Bay

  • The strip of land you see running along the Pacific Ocean on the west side of Mission Bay Park is called Mission Beach. In the middle of Mission Beach at the intersection of West Mission Bay Drive and Mission Boulevard, you will find an amusement park and retail area called Belmont Park. The south side of Mission Beach is a very popular area for beach volleyball. Nets are available and pick-up games are easy to find.
  • The area north of Mission Bay Park is called Pacific Beach. Grand and Garnett Avenues are full of restaurants and bars.
  • Both the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach communities consist of vacation rentals, college students, and the young-at-heart who enjoy the active lifestyle opportunities provided by Mission Bay Park.

visitor-center-viewPaved Trails – The yellow lines on the map signify paved trails used by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and cyclists. There are nearly 20 miles of trails throughout Mission Bay Park and Mission Beach. The boardwalk along Mission Beach on the Pacific Ocean side is the most crowded area. The trails near the Visitors Center on the east side can be crowded but are more manageable. Otherwise, the bay side trails are easy to navigate with few crowds, except on summer holiday weekends.

Only in a couple areas do you see the dedicated pedestrian trails interrupted. In these instances, you will still be able to continue your journey on residential streets, a street sidewalk or a designated bike path along the roadway. The trail system is very flat except when you have to cross the water on the Ingraham Street and West Mission Bay Drive bridges.

Park Details – For more park details visit the City of San Diego’s Mission Bay web page for information on fishing, bird-watching, and the Mission Bay RV Resort.

Mission Bay Beaches – There are 19 miles of white sandy beaches along Mission Bay, not including the areas along the Pacific Ocean in Mission Beach. Looking at the Mission Bay Map shown earlier, the beaches run almost continuously from Crown Point (#3) in the North, all the way around Sail Bay, and down the Mission Beach peninsula to Mission Point (#8). These beaches are much less crowded than the ocean facing beaches. The most quiet spots can be found along the east side of Sail Bay where only street parking is available.

The areas on the map marked by numbers offer designated beach facilities, many of which are used for company picnics or special events. The following is a brief summary of where you can enjoy select activities. The beach references below go from east to west in Mission Bay.

  • All of the areas around Mission Bay offer picnic tables except for Fiesta Island (#5)
  • Lifeguards are generally available daily during the summer and weekends during early fall at De Anza Cove (#4), Playa (#9), Tecolote Shores North (#13), Enchanted Cove on Fiesta Island (#5), Crown Point (#3), Ventura Cove (#15), and Bonita Cove (#2). All of these locations, except for Fiesta Island, offer showers. Generally, you will only see people playing in the water in these beach areas. The rest of the beach areas are used mainly for sunbathing. Keep an eye out for any signs that may restrict swimming, such as around Ski Beach (#10) and Mariner’s Point (#7). Also note that there are underwater drop offs in some locations so be careful where you step.
  • Sand play areas in Mission Bay

  • Dogs are allowed unleashed on Fiesta Island. For all other areas of Mission Bay, dogs must be on leash and are only allowed before 9AM and after 6PM.
  • Designated Boat Launches can be found at De Anza Cove (#4), South Shores Park (#11), Crown Point (#3), and Ski Beach (#10).
  • Tot Lots are available at De Anza Cove (#4), Playa (#9), Crown Point (#3), Bonita Cove (#2), and Mission Point (#8).
  • Playgrounds are available at Tecolote Shores North (#13), Ski Beach (#10), and on Sail Bay at the end of Fanuel Street.
  • Basketball courts are available at Playa (#9) and Crown Point (#3). You will also find a basketball court at the south end of Mission Beach.
  • Volleyball courts are available at De Anza Cove (#4) and at the south end of Mission Beach.
  • Concrete fire pits are available in various locations for visitors to create an evening bonfire.
  • For more details on various beaches visit the City of San Diego’s Mission Bay Beaches web site.

Beach Rentals – You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas as well as bikes, in-line skates, and surf boards from Cheap Rentals.

water-skiMission Bay Water Sports & Boat Rentals – Water sports are a big attraction on Mission Bay. Learn more from TourGuideTim Reveals San Diego on renting boats, kayaks, catamarans, water skiis, wakeboards, and jet-skis or get information on taking tours or getting lessons.

Model Boats and Yacht Racing – If you like electric toys that can fly across water, stop by the Model Yacht Pond (#1) on weekends. Members of the San Diego Argonauts Model Boat Club can be seen on weekends with their remote controlled models of luxury yachts, warships, sailboats, and power speed boats. Visit their web site for more details.

Beach Weather – Visitors can enjoy the beaches in San Diego year-round. However, finding ideal beach weather during the winter and spring is hit or miss. The best beach weather occurs from July to October. Ocean water temperatures are usually around 70 degrees during the summer and 60 degrees during the winter. Learn more about San Diego weather.

Information on Visiting Mission Bay

Directions from Google Maps to 2688 East Mission Bay Drive in San Diego, CA 92109. (This is the address for the Visitors Center just off of highway I-5, on the east side of Mission Bay.)

Directions from Google Maps to 3146 Mission Boulevard in San Diego, CA 92109. (This is the address for Belmont Park, which is across the street from the large parking lots on the west side of Mission Bay.)

Parking – Parking is free throughout Mission Bay. This includes public parking lots and street parking.

Welcome Sign to Mission Bay ParkTraffic – Traffic entering Mission Bay is very busy on summer weekends. There are frequently long delays on holiday weekends. Traffic does back up at the Sea World Drive exit off of highway I-5 and continues to get heavier as you approach Mission Beach on any of the local roadways. On the busiest days, you may want to consider parking along the eastern side of Mission Bay near highway I-5 and then walk or ride bikes along the trails leading to Mission Beach, if that is your final destination.

Other than summer weekends, travelers will only encounter heavy traffic during weekday evening rush hour heading south on highway I-5 to Mission Bay or heading east on highway I-8, leaving Mission Bay. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Transit – Buses serve Mission Bay. (See San Diego Transit Information for bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner.)

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Attractions*, Beaches & Surfing, Bicycling, Fishing, Mission Bay, Parks - Local, State & National, Picnics - Great Places, Walking / Jogging |

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