Imperial Beach is a great spot for a vacation or just a weekend trip depending on your location. The neighborhood is a mere 20 minutes from Downtown San Diego and many popular attractions in the area. If you’re flying in from far out of town, it’s about a 25-minute drive south of the San Diego International Airport.
Butting up to the US and Mexico border, the Imperial Beach beaches are as far south as you can get and still be in the United States. Great for a day trip into Tijuana and still close enough to the many attractions in Balboa Park like the world-famous San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Natural History Museum, these beaches are a great choice for tourists and locals alike.
It’s no secret that Imperial Beach is a big part of San Diego Surf Culture. Perhaps the most apparent example of this is the Imperial Beach Outdoor Surf Museum, which showcases the development of different surfboard designs from as early as 1930 all the way up to 1985. The museum’s integration into Palm Avenue is a clear reminder of just how much surfing is baked into the culture of Southern California, no matter what neighborhood you’re in.
If you want to save on renting a surfboard or checking out popular San Diego tourist attractions, be sure to grab a Go San Diego Pass before your trip! You even score an extra discount by buying your pass through our link.
There are plenty of great hotels in Imperial Beach if you want to stay close to the surf. The Sand Castle Inn is family-friendly and pet-friendly, and it comes with WiFi access in both the lobby and rooms. If you’re looking for the best family-friendly hotels and best pet-friendly hotels in San Diego, make sure to check out our dedicated articles covering both topics!
Another Imperial Beach favorite is the Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection, a waterfront hotel with WiFi, a fitness center, a pool, and beach access.