With a roller coaster, artifcial wave park, and hotdog stands, this 2-mile long beach has a carnival vibe and is the closest thing you'll find to Coney Island on the West Coast. It's lively year-round but draws a huge crowd on hot summer days. A wide boardwalk paralleling the beach is popular with walkers, joggers, roller skaters, rollerbladers, and bicyclists. To escape the crowds a bit, head to South Mission Beach. It attracts surfers, swimmers, and scantily-clad volleyball players, who often play competitive pick-up games on the courts near the N. Jetty. The water near the Belmont Park roller coaster can be a bit rough but makes for good boogie boarding and body surfing. For parking, you can try for a spot on the street, but your best bets are the two big lots at Belmont Park. Amenities: lifeguards, parking (no fee), showers, toilets. Best for: swimming, surfing, walking.