Through the miracle of time-lapse photography (thank you, iPhone!), you can see every colorful entry in the San Diego Parade of Lights — the boat parade starting at Shelter Island, winding past Harbor Island and points south Sunday.
If you are in town and looking for an easy day trip, or even if you are a local resident, Sunset Cliffs is a wonder that is awaiting your visit. Just a few miles south of Mission Beach, Sunset Cliffs is one of San Diego’s true coastal gems and a fantastic place to spend part of a day walking, hiking, jogging surfing, playing in the tide pools, fishing, or just hanging out and enjoying the scenery, sunsets and fresh sea air. The “Natural Park” begins at just south of the intersection of Point Loma Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Blvd and continues south to the end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and the bluffs beyond. The area from the beginning of the park to the end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd is street front with a few small parking lots and street parking. If you continue to the end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and go left to the top of the hill, there is a large dirt parking lot that allows easy access to trails, bluffs, canyons and there are a few trails that you can take all the way down to nearly unpopulated beaches and coves.
From Mission Beach, take Mission Blvd towards the roller coaster and go east on West Mission Bay Drive. Take the exit immediately past Quivira Road for Sunset Cliffs Blvd and follow Sunset Cliffs until you reach the Natural Park.
Best time to visit:
Sunset Cliffs tends to be busiest in the mornings and just before and after sunset. Some of the beaches are more accessible at or near low tide. When the surf is good the area is generally packed with surfers and spectators as it gets some amazing waves.
While San Diego is generally famous for its amazing beaches and pleasant weather, those are not the only things San Diego has to offer. The following are a few winter activities that can keep you and your family entertained in and around San Diego.
Snow Days – Alright, it is San Diego and it pretty much never snows in the city, but we do have mountains nearby and we get snow pretty much every year in Laguna along the Sunrise Highway, up on Palomar, and in the picturesque town of Julian. On a good snow year there is plenty of snow for such activities and sledding, snow ball fights and building snowmen, particularly near the top of the Sunrise Highway at Mount Laguna. You also get the yearly snow festival at SeaWorld for those who do not wish to travel far from the beach.
Ice Skating – In addition to the year round ice rinks at UTC Mall, the La Mesa based Kroc Center Ice Arena, and the Mira Mesa based San Diego Ice Arena, you can also find seasonal rinks located at Horton Plaza, the Hotel Del Coronado and a few other locations.
Sunset Watching – Surprisingly to many, January is actually one of the sunniest months of the year in San Diego and with sunny days comes amazing sunsets. The winter sunsets can sometimes be some of the best ones with frequent green flash sighting at some of the more popular sunset destinations such as Mission Beach and Sunset Cliffs.
Surfing – Sure, the water is a little colder in the winter months, but that’s what wet suits and booties are for. The summer months often bring nice south swells into Southern California, but those tend to miss most of the central San Diego beaches. In the winter we get northwest and west swells that come in from Pacific and Arctic storms and the resulting surf is generally the best of the year. It is not uncommon to see double overhead waves on a good day in January or February.
Do you have any suggestions for great winter activities in San Diego. If so, please comment below.
Whether you are a San Diego local or visiting from out of town, Mission Beach offers some of the funnest and most unique activities both in and out of the water that you will find in San Diego. While many of the activities require equipment or gear, it is not necessary to own or even bring your equipment down to the beach with the array of equipment rental options available at locations like Cheap Rentals, Mission Bay Aquatic Center and other equipment rental businesses in the area.
Popular activities range from biking and roller blading on the boardwalks, surfing and stand up paddle boarding, to sailing and water skiing in the bay.
For those on a tight budget, you can easily rent a bike for the hour, day or week at very reasonable costs. The general rate for a bike, roller blades, or skateboard at Cheap Rentals in North Mission Beach is a mere $12 for the day or $49 for the week. Surfboards stand up paddle boards (SUPS), and body boards start at $5 per hour and as little as $15 per day for a surf board. A kayak can be rented for $15 per hour or $40 per day.
For those with a slightly higher budget, boat and water equipment rentals are available at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, Adventure Water Sports and a number of other local facilities. A typical price for a ski boat can range from $150 to $185 per hour and other equipment such as wave runners can generally be rented for in the range or $100 per hour.
For those who just want to relax and enjoy the beach, but don’t have umbrellas, canopies or chairs, Cheap Rentals offers these as well for very good pricing. These convenient rental locations allow visitors to come to the beach and hang out in style and comfort without having to pack the car to the rim or pile equipment on top of the roof rack.