If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing beach destination, look no further than Ocean Beach, San Diego. This laid-back neighborhood is perfect for visitors who want to enjoy the sun and sand, as well as plenty of activities and attractions. Ocean Beach, known as 1502 or simply OB, was one of the last developed towns in America’s Finest City and is known for its ultra bohemian vibe. The coastal town stretches from the end of the 8 West Highway into its neighboring community, Point Loma. With year-round sunshine, phenomenal food, and awesome nightlife, visitors flock to OB during all seasons. In this article, we will review where to stay, a few fun facts, and some of our favorite things to do!
Where to stay
Whether you are looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a nice hotel, OB has many options. A popular style of accommodations is grabbing a nice vacation rental. With tons of options, travelers can easily find a place that suits them whether they are looking for a kitchen, something spacious, dog-friendly, or economical. While looking, make sure to keep in mind that OB is a small place, and nothing is too far away. This makes it easy to pick a place to stay as walking around OB to get to where you need to go is a fun activity on its own.
Fun things to do in OB
There is seriously no shortage of things to do in this little California hippy town located on the Pacific Ocean. If you have read any of our other blogs, you may know that VacationRenter is a Golden State based company. We think it is safe to say that we know a thing or two about some great activities in our home state. Let’s dive into our favorites.
Surfing is one of the most popular activities in the area. If you want to get the full Ocean Beach experience, rent a board and take a lesson. With multiple breaks, folks who want to enjoy this thrillful activity can pick the right spot for their skill level. For easy and calm breaks, try surfing by the OB pier, and for a more challenging right-hand break, hop over to the Jetty, which is located by Dog Beach.
Take a walk on the pier
Another quintessential OB experience is a peaceful walk on the pier. This historic landmark was completed in 1925 and is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. With stunning ocean views, take a stroll, snap some photos, and people watch on this classic landmark.
Ocean Beach’s pier is one of the longest on the West Coast. Be sure to stroll its entire length and treat yourself to a bite to eat when you get to the end at the WOW cafe. You can also catch your dinner by spending the day fishing!
Check out the OB farmers market
Ocean Beach has a farmers’ market each Wednesday. There, locals and visitors have the opportunity to purchase fresh produce from local farms. You can also browse a variety of other food options that look just as tasty! Enjoy the crowded excitement of the live music and head to the beach for sunset for a fun hippy style, yoga, and drum gathering. This is a great opportunity to see OB in full swing, sunsets, music, food, surf, and natural SoCal beauty.
Try the Tide Pools
The ocean tide pools are rich in sea life and are some of the best things to do in Ocean Beach, California. Tide pooling is a very popular tourist activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year. The best time to tide pool is on an incoming low tide when the pools are full of water. Heading out on a sunny day will give you ample opportunities to explore the various critters that reside here. Keep your eyes peeled for craggy rocks, hiding crabs, fan worms, sea stars, urchins, and oftentimes; harbor seals if you’re lucky!
Hike Around Sunset Cliffs
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is located in Point Loma, south of Ocean Beach, and is a great little trek from OB. These rocky cliffs provide views of the Pacific Ocean, making them ideal photo ops. The 68-acre park has spectacular ocean vistas, a wide variety of plant life, and is a popular spot for watching the sunset, hence its title. The best way to explore this park is by foot and there are many different trails to choose from. Some of the most popular hiking trails include O’Sullivan Ridge Trail, Point Loma Cliffs Trail, and Razor Point Trail. Visitors can easily walk or bike to Sunset Cliffs from the Ocean Beach main drag.
Visit the iconic Newport Avenue
When you think of Ocean Beach, the first thing that comes to mind is Newport Ave. This is the main drag for Ocean Beach and is known for its hippy vibe, surf culture, and even celebrity sightings. Located on Newport Ave are restaurants, cafes, surf shops, tattoo parlors, clothing boutiques, antique shops, and bookstores perfect for browsing. Stop by the Ocean Beach Antique Center to see a plethora of vintage items from clothing to furniture.
Enjoy a beach day(s)
Ocean Beach offers long stretches of sand, making it a great place to set up a chair or towel and relax for an afternoon. After busy days of vacation sightseeing, you should treat yourself to some rest during your San Diego trip. Swim in the ocean, play some volleyball, or curl up under an umbrella with a book. There’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than a day at the beach.
Check out the live music
Ocean Beach was a big draw during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and it still maintains a lot of its bohemian flair. Several bars and clubs in town have live music, including Winstons Beach Club. Catch some amazing Grateful Dead music every Monday night at this historic music venue for only $7 and meet friendly locals!
Eat a California Burrito
California burritos are a delicious fusion of two different cultures. It’s both Mexican and American, making it an interesting way to try something new. You’ll find carne asada, french fries, cheese, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, salsa verde or red sauce, and sour cream wrapped in a massive flour tortilla. Our favorite Cali Burritos are found at Nicos and Mike’s Taco Club, both on Newport Ave.
Antiques and Hippie Shops
Ocean Beach has a nice collection of antique stores along Newport Avenue, where you can find everything from chairs and lamps to garden statues. Many other little clothing and creative shops have a distinct 1960s and 1970s feel, as they feature glass beads, handmade clothing, woven items, records, and smoke shops. Stop by The Black to pick up the best souvenirs and gifts.
Bonus: Check out the neighboring areas
To the north of Ocean Beach is Mission Beach, a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. If you’d like more info on MB, check out our ultimate guide. Further up the coast is Pacific Beach, which has a lively atmosphere with bars and restaurants lining the boardwalk. Out-of-towners may think that all SoCal beach communities may be the same, the truth is, there is nothing like OB. To experience the difference between the areas you’ll just have to see for yourself.
We are going down to OB
If you’re looking for a fun destination with lots of things to do, Ocean Beach is the perfect spot. With its iconic surf culture and laid-back vibe, this beach town offers an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants that will satisfy all visitors. Whether you want to try some California Burritos or enjoy live music at Winstons Beach Club, the many options in Ocean Beach are waiting for your next visit!