San Diego’s popular and crowded Mission Beach lies on a thin strip of land between the ocean and Mission Bay, at the southern end of a beach known as The Strand. The Strand is almost three miles long, with a paved promenade running behind it for its entire length. Just east of south-central Mission Beach is Belmont Park, an amusement center built in 1925, offering rides, games, restaurants, and shops. The quieter south end of Mission Beach, by Mission Bay Channel’s north jetty, has a grassy area and volleyball nets, but the parking and restrooms are only semi-accessible. To the north of Mission Beach is Pacific Beach, popular with college students; its 872-foot Crystal Pier offers fishing and rental cottages.
Trailhead: Northern end: At intersection of Law Street and Ocean Boulevard. Southern end: At park by Mission Bay Channel's north jetty.
From the southernmost end of Mission Boulevard to just north of Pacific Beach, a paved promenade separated by a low wall parallels the beach for nearly three miles. It’s a booming activity zone of bicycling, rollerblading, running, skateboarding, and people pushing strollers. The divided lanes help to control the traffic flow, which can be heavy, and the speed limit is eight miles per hour. Lining the promenade is everything from expensive modern beach homes to funky rental beach cottages to full-service lodging facilities. Heading further north toward Pacific Beach, the path narrows slightly. Here you'll find restaurants and novelty shops; however, many have a step up.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Manual and motorized beach wheelchairs are available for free for one hour. Pick up at lifeguard station at foot of Ventura Street, just off parking lot. Reserve at (619) 525-8247 or (619) 980-1876. Hours: Nov.-April: Fri.-Sun., 11:30 am-3:30 pm; May-Oct: Mon. and Wed.-Fri., 11:30 am-4:30 pm, Sat.-Sun., 11:30 am-5:30 pm.
At San Fernando Place, Belmont Park, and foot of Pacific Beach Drive. Lot at southernmost end of Mission Boulevard has several blue spaces that are frequently covered by sand. On busy summer days lots fill very quickly.
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