San Diego’s beach scene is very diverse with a little something for everyone. Mission and Pacific Beach are great choices for those looking for a lively & youthful fitness vibe. The Mission/Pacific Beach boardwalk, also known as Oceanfront boardwalk, is a fitness enthusiast’s dream path. Whether walking, jogging, in-line skating, or biking, the 3 mile path (about 6 miles total) offers the most picture perfect setting in San Diego for any outdoor activity. Along the way you will pass many interesting sights and attractions including Mission and Pacific Beach, Belmont Amusement Park, beachfront restaurants, beautiful piers, and more.
Any boardwalk fitness activity offers the perfect opportunity for both locals and tourists to get in some healthy exercise, people watch, lust after the charming beachfront homes, and enjoy the beach and mild climate all at the same time. Take in the action of a volleyball game at Mission Beach, watch the surfers attempt to catch the perfect wave at Pacific Beach, or simply enjoy people watching amongst the diverse characters which populate both areas.
The boardwalk path is flat and paved with the only downside being the narrow nature (it tends to get a bit crowded on weekend nights). Overall, it’s a fun leisurely way to explore some of San Diego’s best beach areas. I recommend biking as it is the best way to see the entire area in the least amount of time without tiring yourself out. If you need a break at any time, there are shops and restaurants to check out as well as smooth sandy beaches to rest at for a bit, take some photos, and/or enjoy a gorgeous sunset.
Attractions along the way
Mission Beach is popular with young beach-goers and athletes of all sorts. It’s not unusual to see many youngsters partying at their vacation rentals. The boardwalk is packed with skaters, runners, walkers, and leisurely cyclists. This is an active beach where you will always find something going on year-round, whether it be a volleyball game, a rowdy packed beach bar, or a fun summer event. There are several stands where you can pick up a bite to eat if you need a snack to fuel you on. In addition, swimming and surfing are popular pastimes to look into during your visit.
Belmont Amusement Park
Belmont Park at Mission Beach is most famous for the Giant Dipper roller-coaster, a popular historic wooden coaster which was built back in 1925. Carnival type rides, laser tag, mini-golf, an adventure course, rock climbing walls, an arcade, and midway games provide more than enough options for hours of beach side entertainment. An unlimited ride wristband is available for just $25 bucks online although you can often find better deals on sites like Groupon. Overall, the must-do here is a ride on the classic coaster which features one of a kind views of the Pacific.
Pacific Beach is another young beach town, popular with surfers, partiers, and fitness enthusiasts. You will find lots of shops and restaurants along the boardwalk, many with great ocean views. Kono’s breakfast, with an attractive surf themed design, is a great place to start your morning.
Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach
This beautiful historic pier, built in 1927, is a great spot for photography. If you are looking for a nice oceanfront rental, you can book a stay in one of the quaint Cape Cod style cottages and enjoy amazing ocean views from your private deck overlooking the beautiful Pacific. Check out the Crystal Pier Hotel website for additional details.
Overall, any visit to San Diego must include a trip to the Mission/Pacific Beach boardwalk. It’s free, it’s exercise, and it’s a great way to enjoy the fresh ocean breeze & San Diego’s never ending summer climate! Get out there and enjoy this gorgeous path!
There are 4 large free public parking lots near the Belmont Amusement Park (3146 Mission Blvd. San Diego, CA 92109). Additional free street parking (watch the signs for time limits) is available a block or so from the beach.
Need a bike, surfboard, or roller skate rental? Check out Cheap Rentals for pricing info. They even include a free surf lesson with any surfboard rental! There are 2 Mission Beach locations (3689 & 3715 Mission Blvd.)
If possible, plan your visit on a weekday for fewer crowds.
Wear layers. The breeze can be cool and the temps can feel much cooler on overcast days, especially during the June Gloom mornings. Check the weather forecast in advance.
Bring with a water bottle so you don’t have to waste money at an overpriced shop.
Wear workout clothes.
Plan any rentals (bikes, skates) etc. in advance to ensure availability.
Bring your beach gear with in your car just in case you feel like relaxing after your walk/bike ride.
Plan your trip in the spring or fall season to avoid the crowds of the hefty summer tourist season.