San Diego Neighborhood Guide: Ocean Beach

By Vanessa Howard

We’ve covered the Gaslamp Quarter and North Park, now let’s talk about the fantastic boho vibes of Ocean Beach, San Diego. This funky vintage beach town has plenty to offer visitors, and the casual vibes are perfect for families. Just north of Loma Point, you’ll find this throwback California town, where they emphasize small, unique businesses and many wonderful activities. Use this San Diego neighborhood guide to Ocean Beach to plan your visit. 

Where To Stay

Makai Mission Beach

A fantastic option for your trip to San Diego is Makai, the Hawaiian word for “towards the sea.” You’ll love the 2nd-floor patio and ocean view from this beachy duplex home. With its laid-back charm, thoughtful amenities, and an unbeatable location, you’ll love staying at Makai. Makai North is a spacious one-bedroom, and Makai South is a two-bedroom. The house comfortably sleeps 8 if you rent the entire duplex. In addition, Makai offers garage parking and all your beach essentials – towels, an umbrella, chairs, and sand toys. We look forward to hosting you soon at Makai!

The Rockaway House

This Mission Beach duplex can be rented as individual units (Rockaway North with 1 bedroom/1 bathroom and Rockaway South with 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom) or combined to sleep up to 8 guests. Staying at The Rockaway House, you’ll be just steps away from the Mission Beach boardwalk. Rockaway South – a 1930s beach cottage – is charming and perfect for your next beach getaway. Upstairs, Rockaway North is thoughtfully designed and inviting. Whichever space you choose, you’ll love the bright interior and the coastal boho vibes that Rockaway offers.

Did you know that The Rockaway House and Makai are next-door neighbors? So groups traveling with up to 16 guests can rent out both duplexes. This is perfect for multiple groups or families traveling together as you’ll be close by, but everyone still has space to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

Ocean Beach History

Ocean Beach used to be known as Mussel Beach. We aren’t talking about the kind of muscles you find on Venice Beach, but the seafood variety, once very popular here. This beach is also credited for bringing surfing to San Diego around 1916. The story goes that a local lifeguard borrowed a board from the Big Kahuna Duke Kahanamoku. And the rest is history.

Fun Fact: Ocean Beach, known as OB to San Diegans there, is plenty to see and do, so let’s jump right in. 

Things To Do At Ocean Beach

Hit The Beach 

Of course, you want to hit the beach at Ocean Beach, but they have a few options for hitting the sand. If you brought your pup, the famous Dog Beach was one of the first leash-free dog beaches in the country, and it is the perfect place to hang out with your four-legged friend.

Nearby Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is great for those looking for a stroll and some stunning scenery in this vintage beach town. At the same time, Newport Avenue Beach is a popular option for surfers and those who want to watch the surfers. Sunbathers will love Santa Monica Avenue Beach, and families head to Saratoga Avenue Beach because of its manned lifeguard station. 

Check Out The Ocean Beach Murals

Ocean Beach is full of vibrant, fun murals that reflect the neighborhood’s artsy roots. Take the family on a mural walk where you can snap photos with as many oversized artworks as possible. Ocean Beach has long embraced community art projects, and the easiest way to ensure you get all highlights is by checking out the mural walk map.  

Explore The Beautiful Tidepools

You’ll often find people crouching down and hopping around at low tide on the rocks underneath the pier (see more below). They are exploring the beautiful tide pools of Ocean Beach. These are some of the most accessible tidepools in San Diego. Make sure you pay attention to the tide schedule, and please do not pick up any of the marine life you see in the tidepools.

Try A Burger At Hodad’s

With their sign exclaiming they have the ‘World’s Best Burger – With 99 Gazillion Sold’, you won’t be able to miss Hodad’s! They are famous for their delicious burgers, an extensive list of beers, and milkshakes. If you’re looking for a delightful meal in a great atmosphere, we recommend you check out Hodad’s! Try their specialty Guido Burger or the Blue Jay Burger for something different. 

Hodad’s | 5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107| (619) 224-4623

Take A Stroll On The Pier

The Ocean Beach Pier is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast, at around 1,971 feet. This is a fantastic spot to watch fishermen reel in their catch or watch the surfers down below. Take a long stroll down a long pier, or grab some fish’ n chips at the Walking On Water Cafe (formerly known as the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe) as a reward.

The pier is also a great place to take in a beautiful technicolor San Diego sunset. Finally, if you are interested in fishing, this is also the only place in San Diego where you don’t need a fishing license. 

Walking On Water Cafe| 5091 Niagara Ave, San Diego, CA 92107| (619) 226-3474

Grab A Beer At Kilowatt Brewing 

Kilowatt Brewing is one of the most popular breweries you can visit in Ocean Beach.

They offer a wide range of drink options, many of which have fun flavors for you to test out, such as chocolate and pumpkin spice. You’ll find something for everyone there, pale ales and fruity varieties, IPAs, and Belgian delights. Their Ocean Beach tasting room is so much fun and decorated with works from local artists. 

If you visit during the week, drop by on Tuesday nights for Trivia! Try their Passionfruit Green Tea Ale, Pineapple Coconut Blonde, or Watermelon Slushie. 

Kilowatt Brewing Ocean Beach| 1875 Cable St, San Diego, CA 92107| (619) 255-9775

Wander Around Newport Avenue

Newport Avenue is Ocean Beach’s main street, where you will find unique boutiques and a variety of shops to peruse. Spanning around three blocks and featuring shops that range from antique stores to eateries, you’re sure to get your fill. 

Make sure to check out Newport Avenue Beach for a chance to learn to surf or find some beautiful scenery. One thing is for sure: when visiting Newport Avenue, you will have plenty to see and do. 

No matter where you explore in Ocean Beach during your stay with us at Makai or The Rockaway House, there is much to see and do in San Diego. Those looking for vintage boho vibes and family fun will love Ocean Beach and all it has to offer. 

For more fun things to do in San Diego, check out: 

5 Can’t Miss San Diego Activities

5 San Diego Neighborhoods To Explore

San Diego Activities For Every Traveler  

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