Pacific Beach is a relaxed neighborhood by the beach, popular with sunbathers and surfers. Trendy hotel bars and casual cafes line the boardwalk, while Mission Boulevard and the surrounding streets are dotted with women’s clothing boutiques, yoga studios and casual drinking spots that draw a young, bar-hopping crowd. Inland, the grassy slope of Kate Sessions Park has sweeping views of the city and San Diego Bay.

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San Diego Pacific Beach is also the ideal spot to catch some waves on your surfboard or bodyboard, while children splash around in the water and build sand castles on the beach. San Diego Pacific Beach visitors are encouraged to try other water sports popular at the beach such as kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding. As for some physical activity on dry land, Pacific Beach has the Ocean Front Walk, which is a boardwalk that stretches parallel to the Pacific Ocean. The boardwalk is lined with shops and restaurants, and it is always filled with beach cruisers, joggers and skateboarders zooming along the strip. Garnet Avenue is another attraction in Pacific Beach, which is packed with boutiques providing everything from beach souvenirs to trendy clothing. Also, at Garnet Avenue, on Tuesdays from 2pm until 6:30pm, a farmer’s market sets up, where visitors can taste smoothie samples and browse local photography. The San Diego beach market sells local produce, cuisine and arts and jewelry.

 

Public Restrooms and Showers: Restrooms and showers available to the public are located at the lifeguard station at Grand Avenue and between the boardwalk and Mission Boulevard.

Parking: Parking is limited to street parking with a few paid parking lots. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to guarantee a space.

Alcohol: Alcohol is prohibited on the beach and boardwalk.

Is Pacific Beach pet friendly?

There are no dog friendly beaches in Pacific Beach, CA. Something they should work on.

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Getting there

Parking at the beach requires good planning and a good attitude. Think about what you’re getting yourself into. If it’s a holiday weekend like the Fourth of July, don’t expect to breeze over the Coronado Bridge at noon and find a front row parking spot. If you find yourself stuck in slow-moving traffic or are having no luck finding a parking spot, consider leaving the immediate area and looking a few blocks away. In the long run, you may well get to the beach sooner that way. Other tips include:

Don’t abandon your common sense in a moment of frustration. If you block a driveway, the owner will have you towed; if you plan to hang out all day, don’t park in a two-hour zone. Carry cash and quarters for pay lots and meters, check the signs, lock up your goods and above all, take note of where you left your car.

If you want to avoid the parking hassle entirely, consider riding in by bike, bus or taxi. Rent a Deco Bike from a downtown location and park it at bike rental stations near the shores of Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Bay. The Amtrak Coaster Train also stops near the beach in Solana Beach and Carlsbad.

Restricted Use Many of the most popular and impacted beaches have designated separate areas for swimming and boogie boarding, board surfing, boating, fishing and diving. Though it may seem like an imposition when the lifeguard asks you to paddle your surfboard north of the checkered flag at La Jolla Shores, or keep your wave runner outside the buoys in Mission Bay, understand that it’s the only way to ensure everyone’s continuing freedom to do their thing at the beach. Observe signs, follow directions and everyone will have a safe and satisfying time.

Beach Etiquette

The beach is a place to leave your hang-ups behind, bare some skin and enjoy the simpler pleasures of the sun, sand and surf. But that doesn’t give you license to abandon common courtesy and protocol—especially when the beach gets busy and space gets tight.

First and foremost, don’t do anything to compromise your own safety or that of others. Make the lifeguard’s day easier by staying out of danger and out of trouble.

Respect other people’s privacy and avoid disturbing activities like playing loud music, throwing Frisbees in tight crowds and tracking sand over your neighbor’s towel.

Try to limit your time in the shower and offer to share public facilities like picnic tables and fire pits with others.

Can I wear a thong to Pacific Beach?

California is a very thong-friendly state in 90% of the places. Should have no problems at Pacific Beach.

Surfing

Water areas off the major beaches are divided into swimming and surfing zones to separate these users. A black and yellow checker flag will normally be posted between zones. Check signs or ask a lifeguard for the proper zone for your activity.

Regardless of the area of use, it is unlawful to use any water recreational device (surfboard, boat, etc.) in a manner which endangers others.

Pacific Beach is a solid local surf spot with a variety of breaks and a seriously unique and lively atmosphere—worth a visit for any local or traveling surfer.

PB surfing is great because it isn’t pretentious. PB is a breath of fresh air in a pretty stale culture based on the mantra, “we are cooler than you.” The majority of PB surfers are pretty mellow and know the score, so just paddle out and have a good time.

The wind in PB can be annoying, and it’s either windy or glassy and there is no in-between. Spring / Summer bring early morning south wind so you best bet is Fall/ Winter. Bring a wetsuit as water is in the high 50’s in the winter and high 60’s/low 70’s in the summer. Look for a NW windswell for quality, otherwise PB gets every type of swell.

The Boardwalk

The Mission Beach – Pacific Beach Boardwalk, also known as Oceanfront Boardwalk, is a concrete walkway that spans about 3 1/2 miles, from North Pacific Beach to South Mission Beach. Walking, biking, bicycling, and related activities are permitted on the boardwalk, but speed is regulated and must be kept to eight miles per hour or less. Cycles with more than two wheels are not permitted except for use by the disabled. At all times, people must use caution and courtesy in using the boardwalk.

This boardwalk is a beehive of activity on a hot summer day!

The Pier at Pacific Beach

When it was first built in the late 1920s, the Crystal Pier in San Diego’s Pacific Beach neighborhood offered a classic amusement park setting above the water. Imagine a rainbow of flashing arcade lights and elegantly dressed couples dancing the night away in the Crystal Ballroom.

Today’s pier offers a much more subdued experience—in all the best ways. The amusement park and ballroom are gone, with only the Crystal Pier Hotel remaining. Guests stay in updated 1930s-era cottages, ranging from studios to two-bedroom suites, each with a seaside sundeck. The historic wooden pier is a serene spot to enjoy sweeping coastal views or watch surfers at play, plus the adjacent beach is an inviting spot to lounge with your toes in the silky sand.

Fishing from Pier

This pier isn’t one of the largest, one of the most modern, or one of the most convenient piers in California, but it is one of the top piers in the state. Why? Because of the number of fish caught and the possibility of good-quality fish. The pier is located on a long, sandy beach and has neither rocks nor reefs to attract fish; it is simply one of the best beaches to fish for sandy-shore species. Although recently restored and lengthened (to 872 feet), most pilings are old, and they’re covered with fish attracting mussels. During the summer months there are also usually heavy growths of kelp around the outer end of the pier.

The number of different types of fish here is not as high as some piers, however, the concentration of some species is very high. Fish found near the tideline include corbina, barred surfperch, spotfin and yellowfin croaker, stingrays, guitarfish and thornback rays. Halfway out you’ll find all of these but also more walleye surfperch, queenfish, white croaker, halibut and smoothhound sharks. The end of the pier will see these plus bonito, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, jacksmelt, bat rays and sometimes small to medium size white sea bass (usually called sea trout). Increasingly (or at least it seems this way to me), in the last few years, more and more bass — kelp bass, barred sand bass, and spotted sand bass — have been caught. Although fish are caught year-round, summer is by far the best time for halibut, spotfin croaker, corbina, mackerel, bonito, and the bigger sharks and rays. Winter often yields fewer but larger halibut; early spring yields the largest barred surfperch.

 

Summertime, unfortunately, is also a prime time to catch illegal (because of the season) spiny lobster. Often more than a dozen of the feisty creatures will be caught in a day’s time but remember to throw them back — failure to do so could result in a very stiff fine.

Live bait is unavailable at this pier, a pier which is one of the top piers for halibut and guitarfish in the state. Go to a tackle shop, buy a live bait drop net, and use it. Proper bait will yield fish here! In addition, bring a fishing license to this pier. There is a seemingly never-ending debate between the City of San Diego and the State of California as to whether or not this pier qualifies as a public pier.

Pacific Beach in San Diego, California is a very nice beach. So, if you haven’t been, you should definitely check it out!

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