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Mission Beach
a walking tour by Carol Mendel

The Mission Beach neighborhood of San Diego is a narrow strip of land between Mission Bay Park and the Pacific Ocean, just south of the neighborhood called Pacific Beach. The neighborhood is bounded on the south by Belmont Park, an amusement park with a roller coaster and a swimming pool.
Walking along Ocean Front Walk
Walking along Ocean Front Walk

Down the middle of the strip runs Mission Boulevard, a commercial area. On either side are residential areas that serve both vacationing and local beach-lovers.

This self-guided walking tour follows Bayside Walk, a paved walkway along the west shoreline of Mission Bay. It returns by way of a paved walkway beside the wide sand beach along the Pacific Ocean.

Distance: Two and half miles. Time: One and a half to two hours.

MAP of the walking tour

Terms of Use

Begin your walking tour at the corner of Pacific Beach Drive and Dawes Street. Walk a half block south on Dawes to Mission Bay. The gray wood building on your left is the ZLAC Rowing Club. The unusual name comes from the initials of the four women who founded the club in 1892: Zulette, Lena, Agnes, and Caroline.

Turn right, and walk across the footbridge. As you walk, you first pass homes, then the Catamaran Hotel. Past the Catamaran, you again come to bayside homes. On your left are the beach and bay.

The old and the new, along Bayside Walk
The old and the new, along Bayside Walk
On your right the shore is lined with homes and condominiums, with most being used as vacation rentals. There were once many wood cottages facing the bay, but now almost all of those older homes have been replaced with newer construction.

This section of the bay accommodates both sailboats and waterskiers, so you will probably see a number of boats in the water, as well as some boats pulled up along the beach.

Seagirt Court, off Bayside Walk
Seagirt Court, off Bayside Walk
One of the charms of walking in this area is to see the homes of some of the two dozen or so "courts" that connect Bayside Walk to Mission Boulevard. Small wood cottages are still common here. Take a few minutes at least to peek down, and preferably stroll a few yards down, several of these courts.

Part way along, Bayside Walk crosses Santa Clara Place, which leads to Santa Clara Point. In case you'd like to go out on the bay, the Mission Bay Aquatic Center there rents out kayaks, paddleboards, and sailboats.

Continuing on Bayside Walk, the next small street you cross, El Carmel Place, leads out to the Mission Bay Yacht Club.

Boats in Mission Bay
Boats in Mission Bay
As you near the end of Bayside Walk, turn right a few yards before the fork in the sidewalk, onto Island Court, the last walkway connecting Bayside Walk with Mission Boulevard. (Although there should be a sign for Island Court, it is sometimes not in place.)

Follow Island Court to Mission Boulevard. Walk left, up to West Mission Bay Drive, in order to cross busy Mission Boulevard at a pedestrian crosswalk. Across the street you will see the roller coaster of the Belmont Park amusement center. Walk out to the wide sand beach bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Skaters on Ocean Front Walk
Skaters on Ocean Front Walk
To the south you can see the 2000-foot Ocean Beach Fishing Pier. To the north you can see the shoreline of La Jolla. Walk toward La Jolla, either along the beach or along the concrete walkway, Ocean Front Walk. Apartments and condominiums face the ocean. Again, you'll notice that most are vacation rentals.

This route is popular with bicyclists, joggers, and skaters as well as pedestrians, so keep to the right and give the others enough room.

Turn right on Zanzibar Court. (The court names are approximately alphabetical, so you will find Zanzibar immediately after York.) The walkway brings you out to Mission Boulevard, just across from the Catamaran Hotel. Turn left, and soon you will be at the intersection of Mission Boulevard and Pacific Beach Drive. Cross Mission Boulevard, and walk a few blocks down Pacific Beach Drive, back to your starting point.

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Copyright © by Carol Mendel

Enjoy this walking tour?

Check out the others in this series

Balboa Park

Cabrillo National Monument

Downtown San Diego

The Embarcadero

La Jolla

La Playa

Mission Bay Park

Mission Beach

Old Town

Shelter Island

Sunset Cliffs

Enjoy full-color
illustrated maps?

Check out the ones below.

Some can be purchased as laminated maps, some as folded maps, some as wooden trays, and some as all three.

San Diego

Los Angeles

Palm Springs

Santa Barbara

San Francisco Bay Area

Las Vegas

Salt Lake City


Washington DC

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