July 24, 2024


sights and trips

The History of Mission Beach

The History of Mission Beach

Mission Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations in San Diego. For locals and tourists, this area boasts a wide variety of desirable attractions. It is hard to imagine San Diego without some of the widely known bars and restaurants found there, or without the cement boardwalk that runs along the coast and is a second home to many bikers and joggers. Since it is a sandy peninsula, and some even go so far as to call it a permanent sandbar, it did not become developed as early or as easily as its neighbors.

Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Mission Bay Park were all beginning to be developed by the early 20th century. Building on sand proved more difficult, so most residential structures in Mission Bay were not built until the 1930’s and 1940’s, and even then they were offered only as summer cottages. The only way these became possible was because of a wooden bridge that was built between Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. In 1914, John D. Spreckels, an entrepreneur and developer in San Diego, offered small lots in Mission Beach for sale. Many people pounced, and now it is one of the most densely developed residential communities in San Diego, with approximately 36 homes per acre.

Previously, Spreckels had developed Belmont Park in the 1920’s and it opened in 1925 as Mission Beach Amusement Center. He hoped to stimulate real estate sales, as well as encourage the use of the electric railway that he had created. Today there are many different attractions and rides at the park, but the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Mission Beach Plunge are the only rides remaining from the original Park.

The bridge to Ocean Beach was demolished in 1951, just as Mission Beach began to come alive, it was never replaced and the easiest way to get to Ocean Beach from the peninsula is to take the bridge on W. Mission Bay Drive through the Mission Bay area.

Currently there are many different reasons people flock there. The strand is a common spot for runners and joggers, while Sea World is a short drive up the road. Be sure to visit sometime soon!