Fodor's Expert Review Ocean Beach
This mile-long beach south of Mission Bay's channel is the place to get a slice of vintage SoCal beach culture. It's likely you'll see VW vans in the parking lot near the Ocean Beach Pier. The wide beach is popular with volleyball players, sunbathers, and surfers. The municipal pier at the southern end extends a ½ mile out to sea where you can fish without a valid California fishing license. There's a café about halfway out, and taco shops, bars, and restaurants can be found on the streets near the beach. Swimmers should beware of strong rip currents around the main lifeguard tower, where lifeguards are on duty year-round. One of Ocean Beach's most popular features is the Dog Beach at the northern end, where canines can run freely and splash in the waves 24 hours a day. For shade, picnic areas with barbecues, and a paved path, check out Robb Field, across from Dog Beach. Amenities: lifeguards, parking (no fee), showers, toilets. Best for: surfing, swimming, walking.