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Mission Beach, San Diego

Coordinates: 32°46′35″N 117°15′9″W / 32.77639°N 117.25250°W / 32.77639; -117.25250
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Mission Beach, San Diego
Mission Beach
Mission Beach in October 2005
Mission Beach in October 2005
Mission Beach, San Diego is located in San Diego
Mission Beach, San Diego
Mission Beach, San Diego
Location within Central San Diego
Coordinates: 32°46′35″N 117°15′09″W / 32.776389°N 117.2525°W / 32.776389; -117.2525
Country United States of America
State California
County San Diego
City San Diego

Mission Beach is a community built on a sandbar between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay. It is part of the city of San Diego, California.

Mission Beach spans nearly two miles of ocean front. It is bounded by the San Diego River estuary on the south, Mission Bay Park on the east, and the community of Pacific Beach on the north. A boardwalk runs along the beaches on both the ocean and bay sides of the community. The main artery through Mission Beach is Mission Boulevard. The community is divided into South Mission and North Mission. At the south end of the beach a jetty, with grass, parking and a walk, extends into the ocean.


Mission Beach sunset

Many residential structures in Mission Beach were built in the 1930s and '40s as summer cottages and some date as early as the 1920s. The rare airplane bungalow on Manhattan Court[1] was built in 1924. Because of problems to work out with developing on sand, Mission Beach developed later than the neighboring communities of Ocean Beach to the south and Pacific Beach to the north. As a result of a new official subdivision in 1914, encouraged by land sales in those next-door communities and a new wooden bridge linking Mission Beach with Ocean Beach, John D. Spreckels offered small lots for sale.[2] As a result, Mission Beach is the most densely developed residential community in San Diego with a land use designation across the majority of its land area of 36 dwelling units per acre. It also has the smallest lots in the city, ranging from 1,250 square feet (116 m2) to 2,400 square feet (220 m2). Few have been consolidated to form larger lots. Many of the structures within the community have been redeveloped into two-story homes.[3] The wooden bridge to Ocean Beach was closed to traffic in 1950 and demolished in 1951.[4]


Attractions near Mission Beach include SeaWorld in Mission Bay Park and the historic amusement park Belmont Park in South Mission Beach. Belmont Park was originally built as the Mission Beach Amusement Center[5] by John D. Spreckels in 1925 to stimulate real estate sales and to promote his electric railway. Belmont Park now features the original wooden Giant Dipper Roller Coaster as well as newer rides such as the FlowRider at Wave House,[6] Vertical Plunge, Krazy Kars, Tilt-a-Whirl, Liberty Carousel, Crazy Submarine, The Beach Blaster, and The Chaos.

Designed by architect Frank Walter Stevenson, The Mission Beach Plunge in Belmont Park, a 60-foot (18 m)-by-175-foot (53 m) saltwater swimming pool, opened in May 1925 as the Natatorium. The Plunge building enclosing the pool was styled after the Spanish Renaissance architecture of San Diego's Balboa Park structures. The changing rooms appear in the Tom Cruise film Top Gun.[7] Celebrities who once swam at the Plunge include Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller. The roof of the building rolled open to make it both an indoor and outdoor pool.[8] The Mission Beach Plunge (now using fresh water) and the Giant Dipper are the only remaining attractions left from Spreckels' original park; the other structures were razed in the late 1980s. The Plunge was saved from demolition after the Save Mission Beach Plunge Committee of residents put a measure to save the pool on the ballot, which was approved unanimously in 1987 by San Diego voters.[9] The Plunge closed in 2014 because of disrepair. Plans to rebuild the Plunge were approved in January 2016.[10] The pool reopened in July 2019.[11]


Also nearby, immediately east of SeaWorld, is an unlined landfill. From 1957 to 1962 large amounts of industrial waste, including millions of gallons of chromic, hydrofluoric, nitric, sulfuric, and hydrochloric acids, dichromate, cyanide, and carbon tetrachloride, were deposited into this landfill. No remediation efforts have occurred.[12]


Mission Beach rollercoaster
Beach volleyball at Mission Beach

Mission Beach offers opportunities to participate in sunbathing, horseshoes, surfing, bicycling, skateboarding, Frisbee tossing, and other outdoor activities. A local skating club, "Skate This!," performs for free on weekends, executing trick skating and dancing on both rollerblades and traditional skates. It is a well known, popular location for engaging in sports, including beach volleyball[13] and basketball, with courts available for both.

There is a public recreation center on Santa Clara Place on the bay side of Mission Beach. At the south end of Belmont Park is the Wave House Athletic Club, a full-service beachside fitness center, complete with cardio equipment, weights, fitness classes, aquatic classes in the Plunge, and beach Bootcamps.

Mission Beach regulations

Mission Beach includes Mariner's Point, the original site of the over-the-line softball-on-the-beach tournament.

Thong bikinis are technically illegal on Mission Beach, but lifeguards and local police do not typically enforce the ban on such swimwear. The consumption of alcoholic beverages on the beach is illegal as of April 2008. Nudity is not allowed.

Many beachgoers are local college and university students, but both tourists and permanent residents of the beach and other areas are also frequent visitors to the beach. Weekly and monthly rentals are available during the summer months.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

To the North:
Pacific Beach, San Diego
California beaches To the South
Ocean Beach, San Diego


  1. ^ "Maggie Irwin Becker Beach Cottage (1924 Airplane Bungalow Beach Cottage)". Historic Designations. Ronald V. May and Dale Ballou May, Legacy 106, Inc. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  2. ^ Garske, Monica (March 22, 2014). "Mission Beach Kicks Off Centennial Celebration". NBC 7 San Diego. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "San Diego Community Profile: Mission Beach". The City of San Diego. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  4. ^ Held, Ruth Varney (September 1, 1975). Beach Town: Early Days in Ocean Beach (to 1930). Ruth Varney Held. p. 59. ASIN B0006CME60.
  5. ^ Held 1975, p. 54.
  6. ^ "Belmont Park | Official Site". Belmont Park.
  7. ^ "Top Gun". IMDb.
  8. ^ "History of The Mission Beach Plunge". Wavehouseathleticclub.com. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  9. ^ Frammolino, Ralph (June 23, 1988). "City Accused of Favoring Former Rival Developer : Grand Jury Boss Denies Role in Plunge Report". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Weisberg, Lori (January 14, 2016). "Restoration of Belmont Park Plunge is OK'd". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  11. ^ "Mission Beach Plunge Reopens in Belmont Park | City of San Diego Official Website". www.sandiego.gov. May 17, 2024.
  12. ^ DeWyze, Jeannette (20 July 2000). "Something Stinks in Mission Bay". Sandiegoreader.com.
  13. ^ "South Mission Beach Sports Park". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  14. ^ "Copley beach house sells for $3.85M". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 6 May 2013.
  15. ^ Gross, Greg (2008-05-19). "Popular politician Mike Gotch dies at 60, from cancer". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  16. ^ "San Diego Community News Group - Pacific Beach woman 66 to compete in Ms Senior California pageant". sdnews.com.
  17. ^ Dixon, Chris (15 November 2014). "Dorian Paskowitz Dies at 93: Doctor and Surfer Lived an Endless Summer". The New York Times.

External links[edit]

To the north:
Pacific Beach
California beaches To the south:
Ocean Beach

32°46′35″N 117°15′9″W / 32.77639°N 117.25250°W / 32.77639; -117.25250