Things to Do in Mission Beach, San Diego

Mission Beach is a magical labyrinth with lots of things to do and attractions to see on your beach vacation. Discover one delightful treat, and you’ll be recommended two more by a local. And after experiencing everything from the beach to the bay, the kid-friendly rollercoasters to the bustling, not-so-kid-friendly nightlife, you’ll look at a map and say, “That’s where we are!?”

The thin geographical strip of land runs contrary to the bustling wonderland that is Mission Beach. But perhaps its size is exactly why it’s a paradox. It’s a town crafted over the years, built on a sand bar, where shops and restaurants competed for the hearts of wandering beach-goers. Those that survived became part of the town’s history; those that sank made room for the hip shops existing today.

Whether you’re a traveler on a pit stop during your San Diego tour or an SD local who hasn’t yet been able to explore the abundant wonders of this tiny coastal town, this guide is for you. Let this be a map through the labyrinth-like sights and attractions of a soul-rich community. A shortcut with all the wonderfully delightful things to do in Mission Beach San Diego…

The Wonderfully Delightful Things To Do in Mission Beach

Dear Reader: For we have not made a formal introduction, there’s no telling where your interests and passions lie. Thus, allow this piece to paint broad strokes and to add the finest of details when possible. Or, to put it aptly, you’ll find in this guide:

  • Things to do
  • Things to eat
  • Things to experience

In that order. So, skip around this guide much like the way one would skip around town pre-interwebs to find the hidden gems. With the many activities in Mission Beach, anyone of any flavor could find their ideal day.

Things To Do

You’re guaranteed a packed agenda when you visit. And be sure to pack the sunscreen, because here are the best sun-filled activities to do on your vacation in Mission Beach.

Learning to Surf

Photo Credit – Nomad Surfers

There’s nothing quite like grabbing a squishy ten-foot board and paddling out into the ocean to have your first surfing excursion. Being pulled and pushed by the waves, riding a force that is beyond our comprehension, surfing is about as magical a sport as one could hope for. With beginner-friendly waves, plenty of rent-a-board surf shops, and instructors to boot, you and the whole family will soon be able to paddle out while throwing up shakas and hanging ten.

More Ocean Activities

Photo Credit – H2O Boat Rentals

Of course, surfing isn’t the only ocean sport you can participate in. Mission Beach offers other fun water sports and activities:

  • Boat rentals to get close and personal with the water. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale or dolphins
  • Fishing off the Mission Bay Jetty for some tasty halibut
  • Jet-ski rentals to transform the ocean into a gigantic watery speedway
  • Kayaking, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, whatever your flotation device of choice-ing, you can find it here

Golfing for Adults and Kids

A day spent swinging metal poles at plastic balls is a day well-spent. And in Mission Beach, this can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike.

  • Mission Bay Golf Course – A full 18-hole golf course with beautiful views of the bay is what you get at the Mission Bay Golf Course. Perfect for couples, groups, or a solo golfing excursion.
  • Tiki Town Adventure Golf – Nestled into Belmont Park is a tiki-themed 18-hole miniature golf course. Ideal for families with little kids or a cute date.

Walk the Boardwalk

Photo Credit – Travel + Leisure

Every beach town deserves a walkable boardwalk, and Mission Beach does not disappoint. The boardwalk extends to infinity, or so it seems, as it continues north into Pacific Beach and beyond. Enjoy the cool evening breeze and the panoramic sunset views on the San Diego coastline, whilst perusing all that Mission Beach has to offer.

Things To Eat

With a growling stomach and tired legs that could use a rest, you’re only minutes from chowing down on some scrumptious eats. Here are three places you shouldn’t miss when in Mission beach:

For Brunch, Choose The Mission

Whenever there’s a long line outside of a restaurant it always makes you wonder, is it really that good? In the case of The Mission, the answer to your question is French Toast Yeah! The Mission began as a coffee shop and slowly morphed into the premier breakfast joint. Good thing too, otherwise their name would seem a little misleading.

  • Local Fave: Mission French Toast – Freshly baked cinnamon bread with berry puree to top it off… Yeah, we know.

Dinner Date by the Sea

Photo Credit – Cannonball

Being so close to the water, you’d hope that fresh fish would be on the menu. Well, rest assured, that’s exactly what you get when you dine at Cannonball. Enjoy fresh sushi, nigiri, and other seafood delights while overlooking the San Diego coastline from their rooftop dining area.

  • Local Fave: Firecracker – Rolls with everything you could ever want: salmon, crab, and shrimp tempura, mixed with avocado, mango habanero, and eel sauce. Help, I’m drooling.

Dessert Anyone?

To top off your meal and satisfy your sweet tooth, why not try a pineapple extravaganza that you can only get in select locations like Disneyland and Mission Beach. Dole Whip offers a few different slushies and juices on the menu, but as anybody will tell you, there’s really only one option:

  •  Local Fave: Pineapple Whip – For only 3 bucks, you get this frozen citrusy wonderland all to yourself. No sharing necessary.

Things to Experience

Belmont Park

Photo Credit – Belmont Park

What stands out front and center in Mission Beach are the turbulent tracks that rise and fall like the waves just beyond this iconic park. A fanciful way of saying, you can twirl upside down on rollercoasters and release all the sibling animosity with bumper cars all while being a stone’s throw from the beach. For a partial list of activities to experience at Belmont Park, there’s:

  • Rollercoasters
  • Zipline
  • Rock walls
  • 7D Theater
  • Arcade
  • Escape Room
  • Bumper cars
  • Laser Tag
  • Carousel
  • More
  • Seriously, so much more

Sea World

Photo Credit – SeaWorld

From Belmont Park, just take a quick car ride down Mission Bay Drive to find yourself amongst the cute sea lions and other sea-friendly creatures, as well as the fun water rides of SeaWorld San Diego. Yes, home of the iconic Shamu show, SeaWorld has rollercoasters, animal shows, and plenty of educational and exciting experiences for the whole family.

While the Shamu show is no longer a part of SeaWorld San Diego, you can still see these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

The List That Could Go On Forever

Although this list is coming to a close, the endless stream of things to do and explore near Mission Beach San Diego could go on forever. With two other beach towns, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach, sandwiching above and below, AND with all the Mission Bay San Diego things to do, Mission Beach truly is an iconic vacation spot. Twists and turns will lead you down interesting alleyways, where incredible street art and hole-in-the-wall restaurants will leave you breathless. As far as labyrinths go, this is one Theseus wouldn’t mind getting lost in.

Sources:

Mission Beach Centennial. History. https://www.missionbeachcentennial.org/history.html

Ancient History Encyclopedia. Labyrinth. https://www.ancient.eu/Labyrinth/