Ocean Beach, San Diego
Ocean Beach Activities and Travel Tips
Ocean Beach (“OB” to locals) has been — and pretty much still is — a hippie, liberal, middle-class beach community that loves dogs and isn't terribly fond of big business or "The Establishment."
What this eclectic beach community does offer is a long fishing pier, a beautiful shoreline, tons of fun beach activities, and a dog beach for canine companions to roam freely without fear of the long arm of the law.
Swim, surf, play some volleyball, or picnic; Ocean Beach is casual and hip, and it has some interesting characters, tattoo parlors, surf shops, assorted eateries and restaurants along Newport Avenue. Like the locals and visitors, we enjoy Ocean Beach's casual, laid-back beach culture and atmosphere. More than any other beach community in San Diego County, Ocean Beach allows you to be you — whatever that may be!
Check out the tide pools south of the pier. At the south end of the tide pools, you'll find the beginning of a concrete walkway that runs south along the oceanfront. The walkway is perfect for a romantic stroll or a casual walk. Locals practice an art known as “rock balancing” along the walk.
Ocean Beach Visitor Tips
On peak days when other beaches become crowded and parking is scarce, Ocean Beach is still quite accessible, especially if you arrive early and don't mind parking several blocks from the beach.
Check out “The Black,” a hippie-era, tie-dye, smoke shop on Newport Avenue that has an eclectic mix of clothing, gifts, and posters that carry-on the spirit of the 60s.
Newport Avenue is Ocean Beach's shopping and dining district, with many unique shops, eateries and clubs. We especially enjoy Newport Pizza and Ale House that features San Diego craft beer and great pizza. And don't forget the farmer's market Wednesday evenings.
The boardwalk north of Newport Avenue is a great place to take in the local flavor.
Ocean Beach Bike Rides
If you enjoy cycling, Ocean Beach offers several excellent rides for beginning and advanced riders.
San Diego River channel. Beginners can start at the parking lot located at the south end of Ocean Beach near Dog Beach. A paved bike path runs east from the parking lot along the San Diego River channel. It goes several miles and provides a nice easy ride for beginners or families with small children.
Pt. Loma / Cabrillo National Monument. Intermediate and advanced riders looking for a longer ride can start anywhere near Sunset Cliffs or Ocean Beach. From your starting point, ride to Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and ride south until you see either Point Loma Avenue or Novara Street. Turn left and ride up the steep hill on either street (Novara turns into Santa Barbara at the top of the hill). You'll soon intersect Catalina Boulevard, where you'll turn right. Catalina heads south up the hill toward Cabrillo National Monument. You'll soon enter the gate ( pay) and continue to the top of the hill to the monument. This is a great place to take a break and enjoy the monument's spectacular views, historical buildings, and exhibits. For a little extra ride and hill-work, take the road that heads down to the tide pools, which are great for exploring sea life. End your ride by retracing your route back to Ocean Beach.
The beach attracts a good mix of families, visitors, locals, and fishing folks. It has lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and disabled access. It also has separate swim and surf zones. Ocean Beach has public parking lots at the end of Voltaire Street, Santa Monica Avenue, and Newport Avenue. Street parking is scarce on summer weekends.
Ocean Beach San Diego Directions
Take I-8 west until it ends and turns into Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and then continue west. A right turn on Narragansett will take you directly to the pier.