The title of this article – 'A Perfect Day In Mission Beach, San Diego', is what it is because readers can know quickly the location I am writing about. It could however, so easily have been called just 'A Perfect Day', because a day doing anything, or even nothing in Mission Beach, San Diego will forever be my idea of perfection. We've spent a lot of time there, most recently re-locating there for 8 weeks and I'm already having serious bouts of nostalgia. We will be back there soon. For now, if you're ever lucky enough to find yourself close by, try and take in a couple of the activities in this article and experience the best of this beautiful place.
You're never far from the ocean in Mission Beach, and if not the ocean, the bay. This beach town is built on a sandbar with the Pacific Ocean roaring on one side and a gentle bay on the other, a few blocks separating the two.
Coming from an inland city in England, I love to hear the ocean each morning when I am away from home. In Mission Beach, you may be lucky enough to be in earshot of the waves as you lie in bed planning your day.
Get outside, walk or run along the bay for a mile or so and breathe in the sea, listen to the waves and the sea birds, and feel the sea breeze on your face.
Grab a coffee in one of the amazing coffee shops that line the strip from Mission Beach to Pacific Beach (the next town up). One that we can definitely recommend is Mission Beach Coffee Break, located on Mission Boulevard and San Gabriel Place.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
There are so many good breakfast places in Mission Beach, but none with quite as spectacular a view as World Famous, a restaurant halfway between Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, accessible by road or boardwalk. Opt for an excellent Bloody Mary or coffee, if it's still a bit early for vodka. The South Beach Benedict is still the best eggs benedict (actually, maybe the best breakfast?) I've ever eaten; and the World Famous Wipeout, which has a bit of everything – pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes – will set you up for the day.
Wanna see some whales?
Get yourself to San Diego Whale Watch, to take a trip out on to the ocean for a few hours.
They offer morning (10:00-13:00) and afternoon trips (13:30-16:30) every day of the week. Both are 3 hours long, and have a really knowledgeable marine biologist guide on board to talk you through the trip, and alert you to any sightings. Top tip! Book on a Tuesday and your trip will cost about half of the standard price.
That sea air makes you hungry!
You've been miles out to sea, hopefully seen some dolphins, seals and whales, now it's time for lunch! Head to the Sandbar in Mission Beach for tacos. These are the best tacos we've ever eaten in San Diego, and we've eaten a lot of tacos! Go for white fish or shrimp, always Baja style, but both grilled or fried are equally as delicious – maybe get one of each?
The Sandbar has some great happy hour taco and drink specials on throughout the week, especially on a Tuesday, as does Coaster Saloon just a few doors up but specialises in BBQ rather than tacos – just as good!
Time to work off that big lunch.
Mission Beach has miles of cycle paths that will take you around the entire bay area and up to Pacific Beach and beyond. Hire some bikes for a couple of hours and explore! Feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair as you take some easy-ride beach cruisers out. Stop for a coffee or a cocktail if you fancy a rest – the Barefoot Bar and Grill at Paradise Point has a great bar that overlooks leopard sharks swimming in from a bay inlet, if you fancy your beer with a side of shark!
If cycling isn't your thing, hire a kayak or a paddle board and hit the bay for a bit of cardio on the calm water – watch out for a cheeky seal!
Head to the Bahia Hotel, which in itself has a great bar called The Tangiers, and some resident seals called Billie and Gracie.
The Bahia runs an old Mississippi style sternwheeler from its dock to its sister hotel in Pacific Beach several times a night in the summer season. If you time it just right, you'll see a sunset not to be forgotten in hurry.
Once you're off the Bahia boat, you've got a 10-minute walk until you hit Garnet Avenue, the hub of Pacific Beach. Lined with bars and shops, there's not much you could do wrong here if you are looking for a fun night out. Hit Backyard Kitchen, Bubs, The Tavern, PB Alehouse (to name only a few) and later Moonshine Flats, a club with a country vibe, free line dancing lessons and some of the best up-and-coming country artists regularly performing there, as well local regulars. Dance the night away and walk back along the boardwalk to Mission Beach and admire the raw, moonlit ocean – or grab an Uber if you're dancing feet are a bit too tired!
Pairofpassports.com is a travel blog by Hannah and Rob from Peterborough, UK. They're happiest when they are exploring a new place or planning their next trip. One day they want to travel full time, but until then PairofPassports.com is the place where they will record their travel experiences and tips as they explore the world. firstname.lastname@example.org.