Ocean Beach seems to be one of those places in San Diego you need to say you have been to. Here’s our round up of a family trip to quirky, friendly and slightly edgy Ocean Beach.
Staying at Ocean Beach
We stayed in a hotel called Ocean Villa Inn, situated right on Dog Beach at the northern most point of Ocean Beach.
We chose to stay in the Ocean Beach area and particularly in Ocean Villa Inn, as it was the only hotel in our price range that gave us direct access to a beach.
The hotel was very dog friendly and also very accommodating for us with two very small children.
We stayed in a second floor room with a balcony and view over looking Dog Beach. The beach itself was as well groomed as the dogs that were using it and seemed very popular with people and pooches alike!
The staff were friendly, welcoming and informative and we we’re surprised by the quality of the included breakfast. The breakfast room was a little snug, but we met some wonderful people at breakfast over a shared table.
We stayed here for two days and it served us well as a base to explore the San Diego area.
Ocean Beach itself is not very long, but is quite wide so there is a lot of sand to mess around on and lots of opportunities to find sand dollars!
At the opposite end of Dog Beach there is a well used fishing pier and there are always lots of surfers out waiting for waves.
The fishing pier is a pleasant walk although you will have to carry a buggy up the stairs to start with, and there is a shop and cafe in the middle to have a little nosey around.
It’s also a great place to spot some pelicans sitting on the roof of the cafe or quietly perched on the pier wall.
When we visited the pier there were also lots of homeless gathered around the entrance. They seemed a little agitated and it made this particular experience a little edgier than was comfortable.
Having two very small children, a push chair and a very foreign accent we felt a bit of a target.
I’m sure everything was fine and we had no cause to worry. However, now more than ever I am so aware of everything going on around me for the sake of keeping my children safe. If I am not comfortable I know that it is not a situation or a place my children need to be.
Other visitors to the pier were also visibly weary of these individuals too, and we walked back along the pier with another lady for the sake of safety in numbers.
The tourist map we were given by the hotel also stated that visitors are advised not to walk the beach or the trails at night.
Ocean Beach Shopping
You will find most of the shopping in Ocean Beach along Newport Avenue, which bends up into town from Abbott street that runs parallel to the beach.
Some of the shops are really quirky, funky and incredibly fun to have a look around. There are a few beachy themed gift and souvenir shops to browse around too, which we always love to do!
There is also a mini market in town so you can stock up on food supplies if you need to.
We found some amazing surf shops and relished the time we spent walking among the surf boards and wondering what we could be in a different life… pro surfer, obviously.
And we found everyone we spoke to absolutely charming and so eager to share their experiences of Ocean Beach. We were given food and restaurant suggestions, recommendations of equipment hire and generally things to see and do while we were in the area. We felt very welcomed.
We also caught sight of the infamous Urban Leaf bus. I had heard about it from people who had visited Ocean Beach just a few weeks before us and i didn’t totally believe it was a thing. But, it really is a thing!
However, by night fall we were keen to get back to the hotel and got in the car to go and eat with the kids.
Ocean Beach had its highs and lows, but i am pleased we did it and saw it!
Looking for other things to do in San Deigo? Why not take a drive up to La Jolla Cove to see the seal lions and seals?