If you live in the desert southwest, you would know exactly why we all look to the west every summer. We are always dreaming about the next time we can hit the road... for the San Diego, California - Mission Beach.
My grandparents made the fateful decision to move from Los Angeles, California to the deserts of Arizona sometime around 1930. Of course... their wasn't air conditioning. So the wealthy women packed up their kids and headed to the beach towns in the San Diego area for the summer months.
My grandmother... packed up her son and headed to the mountains to a tent campground. It was cheap and still cool enough to sleep at night. At home on the desert flats... the men still worked during the days and wrapped themselves in wet sheets, in hopes of a breeze at night.
My mother and father met in San Diego... my dad was going to college their... where it was cooler. After graduation, marriage and several babies... he dragged her to the Arizona desert to start a business and raise the family.
I went to college in San Diego as well... I lived their several years after graduation. But, I married an Arizona desert rat, and we moved back to the heated summers to raise our family.
My kids spent their summers in swimming lessons and indoor sports... except for the one week a year (two if we were lucky) that we spent at San Diego Mission Beach.
It's like a magnet... this place of cold (never just cool) ocean waters, warm sand and shady umbrellas. Every day is filled with a cool breeze or overcast haze and every night is just chilly enough to enjoy a beach campfire.
Belmont Park with its all wood... Giant Dipper roller coaster and the indoor pool built in the 1920's is an attraction that really shouldn't be missed. There’s also the Beach Blaster, which is the newest ride at Belmont Park... just think about swinging up to 60 feet in the air to 120 degrees forward and backward.
If you can manage the 2 mile walk from Belmont park... along the boardwalk, you will be at Crystal pier. The pier is a long walk to the fishing shack and it's lined with cottages for rent... right on the pier. So at night you listen to the waves crash... from under the cottage!
Just about the midpoint between Belmont park and Crystal Pier, cut over to Mission Bay drive... and stop in for breakfast at the Mission Cafe. I can't describe it... but you won't find a more "California" experience to tell your mid-west friends about. It is divine... but a little - quirky.
The streets around South Mission Beach are so narrow and the parking is impossible. We find better parking in Belmont Park, Santa Clara Point and South Mission Beach Park.
Check the posted rules about alcohol in the beach area and the boardwalk has it's own set of walking and wheeled vehicle rules. The signs are posted on every street corner... so you have no excuse to ignore the rules.
Gosh... I can't wait... it's almost time for my next San Diego California Mission Beach weekend.