whopping 15 million people visit Mission Bay Park in San Diego, California,
annually! Carved from the
marshlands of the San Diego River Estuary in the 1950's, Mission Bay is
one of the nation's largest man-made city parks. It's about nine square
miles of sheltered beaches, grassy parks, bicycle paths, marinas, hotels,
and Sea World. Visitors often don't see much more than Shamu doing belly
flops but the locals know better. Take advantage of the uncrowded beach
paths. Hit the path at Bayside Walk, starting west of the Bahia Hotel,
and head northeast to Crown Point Shores.
includes 4,235 acres with nearly an equal mix of land and water. The park
includes walking and jogging paths, playgrounds, picnic facilities, fire
rings and free opportunities such as professional volleyball and
Over-the-Line sporting events. If it floats, you can rent it at Mission Bay. You can rent boats and take lessons. In the mornings, the ocean breeze is still light or nonexistent. The bay is one of the best
places to try sea kayaking.
areas in Mission Bay Park allow dogs to be on leashes, and Fiesta Island has
a leash-free policy, other locations do not permit pets where posted.
(C) © Debbie Stock
Photo (C) © Debbie Stock
Hit the beach. The most crowded
areas (to see or be seen) include the southern portion of Crystal Pier
or the end of Mission Bay Drive (roller coaster area). For a little more
room, just go south of either region. At the very southern end of the beach
are dozens of volleyball courts and an outdoor basketball court donated
by NBA legend Bill Walton, who grew up playing here. You can rent all kinds
of surfboards, boogie boards, roller blades, and bikes on the boardwalk.
If you enjoy sailing, you
must catch the breeze on the bay. You can rent windsurfers and all types
of boats from small Capris and jet skis to a Catalina at Quivira Basin,
the bay's largest rental operation.