Mission Bay Park

Bring the family on a retreat to Mission Bay Park! Sail in the bay or visit SeaWorld San Diego. Spend a day on the bay kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding and paddle boarding or an evening strolling the boardwalk for an amazing sunset. Don’t forget the boat launch for fishing and sailing.
Mission Bay Park
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Beaches
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Mission Bay Park
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Enjoy the Boardwalk & Bay Activities

Beach Chairs in Front of the Catamaran ResortBoardwalk at Mission Point Park

If surf, sun and fun sound like your favorite getaway, then Mission Bay Park in San Diego should be at the top of your bucket list for vacation destinations. This gorgeous aquatic playground is the perfect backdrop for exciting watersports, breathtaking vistas and entertaining family activities. Learn how to paddle board, watch a romantic sunset lying on the beach or visit San Diego’s best hot spots.

Mission Bay Park is one of the largest aquatic parks in the world. It stretches out over 4,600 acres of stunning coastline and clear blue water. There are over 27 miles of shoreline with 19 of those miles being sandy beaches, some perfect for water sports and others ideal for relaxation.

Mission Bay’s history is interesting as it is a man-made bay. In fact, it is the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States. In the late 1940’s in order to diversify the economy and to attract more people to the coastal area in San Diego, Mission Bay Park was made. The marshland near the mouth of the San Diego River was dredged and the banks of the San Diego River were diverted into what is now Mission Bay.

The bay has an entrance channel leading inward from the Pacific Ocean. Numerous islands, coves and lagoons provide ideal conditions for beach lovers. The balanced ocean winds on the west side of the bay make for incredible sailing, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

A typical day at Mission Bay Park may include getting up early for a morning jog along the bay or combing for seashells. After a delicious brunch, many visitors swim or sunbathe on the luxurious sands of a favorite lagoon. If you’re feeling energetic, you can zoom around the bay on a jet ski or take out a stand-up paddle board for a nice paddle on the bay.

Things at Mission Bay Park get even more unforgettable as the sun goes down. Watch a fiery San Diego sunset and walk along the sand with a colorful beach wrap blowing in the breeze. Visit a beachfront bar for drinks and live music at one of the many resorts that line Mission Bay like the iconic Barefoot Bar & Grill at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

It’s possible to spend an entire vacation at Mission Bay without missing out on anything California has to offer. This charming park has it all — beautiful views, fun activities, incredible beaches, miles of boardwalk and biking trails, cool nightlife, delicious food and endless things to do as a family. All of this adventure is located less than 8 miles from other key locations in San Diego, such as Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp Quarter or Seaport Village at the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego.

Many travelers stay at one of the waterfront resorts around Mission Bay. These luxury hotels take care of your every wish, from soothing spa treatments to chartered tours of the area’s most stunning sights. These magnificent waterfront resorts offer tropical vibes, fully furnished suites with spectacular balconies, private beaches and chef-curated menus, in addition to countless watersports. A few of the stand out resorts include San Diego Mission Bay Resort, Bahia Resort Hotel, Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa, the Dana on Mission Bay and Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

Mission Bay Park
Why you'll love Mission Bay Park
Visit Mission Bay Park for the boardwalk, bay, beaches and SeaWorld San Diego. Enjoy the Bay by paddle boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, and sailing.

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USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Explore the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum with your All-Inclusive Go Pass! Check out the hangar deck and flight deck, plus over 60 exhibits, displays and interactive experiences. Enjoy an authentic tour narrated by Midway sailors!
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Local Tips
What attractions are included with a Go Pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go San Diego Pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Things to Do

Basketball Courts
Basketball Courts
Beach Fire Pits
Beach Fire Pits
Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Belmont Park
Belmont Park
Biking
Biking
Boat Launch
Boat Launch
Fishing
Fishing
Jetskiing
Jetskiing
Kayaking
Kayaking
Kiteboarding
Kiteboarding
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Sailing
Sailing
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego
Skateboarding
Skateboarding

Things to Do in Mission Bay Park

There are so many awesome things to do and see around Mission Bay, San Diego that it’s impossible to list them all. Here are a few highlights that make for a special trip:

Sunset Dinner Cruises

Couples looking for romance can board the famous Bahia Belle sternwheeler paddleboat to see Mission Bay from a unique perspective. Many of the cruises in the area offer brunch and dinner packages that let you share a luxurious meal with someone special while sailing smoothly around the bay’s most beautiful sights.

Kayaking in the Morning

For travelers that love to explore, renting a kayak is a must. There is so much to see as you glide smoothly through the beautiful waters of the morning. Experience some well-deserved tranquility and discover amazing views in the process.

Local Tips
Did you know?
The first Ironman Triathlon was created by the San Diego Track Club in 1974 in and around Mission Bay Park. The 46 person race consisted of 6 miles of running, 5 miles of cycling and 500 yards of swimming.

Sailing in Sail Bay

One of the best activities for families and friends is to see Mission Bay from the deck of a sailboat or catamaran. Sail Bay is the part of Mission Bay Park that only allows slow water crafts and sailboats, it is the perfect place to sail.

You don’t have to be an expert to have fun sailing, though there are rentals available for pros also. Visit Mission Bay Sportcenter or UCSD & SDSU Aquatic Center on Santa Clara Point for rentals.

Paddle Boarding

Mission Bay is the perfect place to learn how to paddle board. The Sail Bay portion of the bay offers wide open areas of water to practice for the novice or hone your skills before you head out to the ocean waves if you are more advanced.

Romantic Beach Bonfires

As the sun goes down, things get calmer at many of Mission Bay’s beaches. Walk hand in hand along the beach or enjoy a secluded bonfire. Dance barefoot on the warm sand, share a romantic kiss or roast marshmallows on your bonfire.

San Diego Bayfair

This annual festival began as a boat-racing competition that pits all the fastest powerboats against each other and since expanded into a four-day extravaganza for the whole community. While you can still watch everything from Grand Prix to stock outboard to Cracker Box to classic outboards race their way to victory, you can also hang out in the beer garden, dance to live music or shop the hundreds of vendors. Bayfair takes place in September each year.

Over the Line

Over The Line or OTL as known to the locals is another event that began as a sporting competition and turned into a lively (some may daresay wild) annual summer social event that takes place on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. Come to watch an intense match of this unique game, or a few, while socializing and sipping on cocktails. Stick around for the Miss Emerson contest, during which one lucky participant will be crowned as the event’s representative for the coming year. Over The Line takes place annually in July.

Other popular activities include fishing and biking. You may be able to book a charter for deep-sea fishing at a nearby marina. From mid-December to April, there are whale-watching tours that may give you sights of migrating gray whales and baby whales.

The Best Watersports in Mission Bay Park

One of the biggest draws of Mission Bay is the huge variety of watersports you can enjoy. People here know how to have fun in the sun, so there are lots of opportunities to make some waves. Here’s a taste of some of the activities waiting for you:

  • Kiteboarding
  • Paddle boarding
  • Sailing
  • Jet skiing
  • Water skiing
  • Jet-packing
  • Windsurfing

If you love spending time in the water, it’s impossible to get bored here. Even better, the beaches around Mission Bay Park have a laid-back vibe and the people are friendly. You can relax and have fun whether you’re a pro paddle boarder or a first-time boarder learning how to balance on the board.

There are water sport activities for every personality, including people in search of an adrenaline rush. Forget about watching water-powered jetpacks on TV. Experience the thrills of hovering high in the air with this state-of-the-art gear for yourself.

The calm waves of nearby beaches are perfect for relaxation. You can go for a morning swim or float gently in the bay, soaking in the blue skies and warm California sun. Many beaches have smooth sand that sinks gradually into the bay.

Mission Bay Park offers miles of beaches, so there’s a lot of room to explore on your jet ski, kayak or sail. Visit smaller islands and inlets while taking in the area’s pristine views. On the ocean side, you can paddle to places such as Mission Beach or Pacific Beach.

You’re welcome to bring your own gear or you can rent a kiteboard, paddle board, kayak, sailboat or jet ski from one of the nearby resorts. There are a complete range of surf shops nearby, so it’s easy to find surfboards and paddle boards for kids, enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Featured Activity

Interact with Dolphins at SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
The world-famous SeaWorld San Diego is home to animal shows, roller coasters and other rides for the entire family. Enjoy encounters featuring the famed Orcas, dolphins and sea lions, or take a tour through the habitats.
Learn More

Fantastic Outdoor Sports Adventures

The beaches of Mission Bay aren’t just for swimming and sailing. There are plenty of activities for people who prefer to keep their feet on the sand — or fly high above it. They make an exciting addition to any getaway:

  • Biking
  • Jogging
  • Volleyball
  • Kite flying
  • Rollerblading
  • Skateboarding

There are endless trails, paths and boardwalks surrounding the bay, so it’s easy to spend an entire morning or afternoon exploring. Biking along picturesque shores is great exercise and it offers amazing views. There’s nothing like going for a relaxing jog and taking in California’s splashing waves.

For trips with families and friends, make sure to play a game of beach volleyball at least once. The sand is immaculate, so you can dive for the ball and show off your best moves. Expect a lot of fun, laughter and great memories.

If you wish you could live forever in the 1980s, get your retro vibe on with some skateboarding or rollerblading along the area’s smooth boardwalk. Put on a pair of shades and a headband, slip on your short shorts and go to town. Don’t forget to snap some selfies in front of the bay.

Featured Hotel
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Exterior entrance view, Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Bayfront
Bayfront
Families
Families
Sailing
Sailing
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
At Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, you can unwind in an island setting. This resort has all the amenities you would expect as well as beautiful rooms.
Prices Starting at $190
Check Availability

Know Before You Go & Tips

Amazing Sunsets
Amazing Sunsets
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Parks
Parks
Walkable
Walkable

Incredible Family Activities in Mission Bay

The waterfront resorts and exciting beach activities of Mission Bay were literally designed for families. Kids have a blast swimming and making sand castles, while teens and adults can have fun learning how to paddle board, riding jet skis or strapping on a water-propelled jet pack. Here are a few of the most popular places in Mission Bay for families.

Ski Beach Park

The sandy beach, green grass and blue waters of this popular park make for incredible moments as a family. There are a lot of fire pits, walking paths and picnic tables, so you can relax all day long. At night, make a bonfire and roast some marshmallows while singing campfire songs under the stars.

SeaWorld San Diego

This world-famous 200-acre marine theme park needs no introduction. Spending time with dolphins, sea lions, otters, penguins and orcas thrill little kids. Your family can also observe sharks or have fun with the park’s numerous roller coasters and boat rides.

Belmont Park Amusement Park

The whole family can spend an entire day at this gigantic amusement park and still walk away wanting more time. There are roller coasters, rides, beach activities, rocking climbing walls, mini golf, zip lines, arcades and laser tag. When you need to catch a breather, go T-shirt shopping or pick out other great souvenirs. Belmont Park is located on the beach in Mission Beach.

The San Diego Zoo

It’s only eight miles from Mission Bay to the legendary — and very kid-friendly — San Diego Zoo. Getting there by taxi or rideshare usually only takes 15–20 minutes. Imagine the huge smile on your kids’ faces when they get to see leopards, arctic foxes, cheetahs, zebras, elephants, rhinos, koalas, lemurs and hundreds of other exotic animals.

Save on Attractions & Activities

If you are looking to do these activities and save money consider purchasing the Go San Diego Card. This discount card will get you access to over 50 attractions and activities all around San Diego including: The San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, USS Midway, many of balboa parks museums, paddle board rentals, kayak rentals, surfboard rentals and much more. You can get an additional savings if you purchase the Go San Diego Card from our website.

If you’re planning on spending most of your trip at the beach, you’ll be happy to know that most of the beaches around Mission Bay have excellent safety for kids. Lifeguard services are available daily during summertime and on the weekends for spring and fall. There are many basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas and playgrounds as well.

Mission Bay Park
is Famous For:
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Parks
Parks
Sailing
Sailing
Known For:
Beaches
Beaches
Belmont Park
Belmont Park
Bike Riding
Bike Riding
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego
This Month's Forecast
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
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56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

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Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
from $190 / night
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San Diego Mission Bay Resort
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
from $203 / night
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Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
Bayfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina
from $179 / night
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Bahia Resort Hotel
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Bahia Resort Hotel
from $199 / night
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The Dana on Mission Bay
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
The Dana on Mission Bay
from $179 / night
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