Our time in San Diego was spent as tourists, but also as faux locals. We were blessed to have a once-upon-a-time San Diego resident on the trip with us. One of the few must-visit stops for Jess was Ocean Beach San Diego. We spent the better part of a day of our trip exploring the shores. After we went, I understood why she was so adamant about visiting.
Eating brunch at the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe
We had planned to wake up early to watch the sunrise, but karaoke and dancing the night before thwarted our plans. So, we decided to start our morning off with brunch at the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe. The little cafe lives near the end of the nearly 2,000-foot long fishing pier, otherwise known as the Municipal Fishing Pier at Ocean Beach.
Finding parking close to the pier was not the greatest success that we had on this trip. We ended up parking near the dog-park section of the beach and walking in the sand to the pier. I’m not complaining, because walking barefoot in the sand isn’t something I get to do often(and the dog owners seemed to do a good job of respecting the rules)! It was a great start to the morning.
The Ocean Beach Pier is one of the most visited landmarks in San Diego, getting over 500,000 visitors per year. It was officially christened in 1966 with the intent of making fishing more accessible to the residents of San Diego. They had struggled with their lures getting caught up in the rocks and kelp when fishing from the beach, so the city promised a solution.
Fun fact? You do NOT need a fishing license to fish off of the Ocean Beach Pier. The depth of fishing reaches anywhere from 25-30 feet deep! If fishing is something you’re into, I’d say stopping here is a must.
Although we did see many fishermen on the pier, we didn’t jump in and join. Instead, we joined in with the other group out on the dock that day: the tourists! We soaked in the view, grabbing some pictures, and mosying our way to the restaurant at the end of the dock.
Watch Out for the Seagulls!
The food was good, but the real draw of the experience was eating out on the patio area. The waitress warned us to watch out for the birds, and my goodness she meant it! It was hilarious. As we sat chatting and breathing in the fresh ocean air, the seagulls sat in wait, ready to pounce on any scrap of food they could.
There was one seagull, in particular, that was brave enough to hang out beside us on the railing as we ate our meal. I started calling him the alpha throughout our meal. The rest removed themselves from sight, hanging out on the eaves of the restaurant.
I, of course, was the idiot tourist that didn’t heed the waitress’s advice and learned exactly where they had all hidden. When we were about ready to leave, we thought that we might be able to get a picture of the seagull taking a french fry from me. I stood up, walked around the table, and stepped about two feet out.
Next thing I knew it was bird-ageddon! Have you ever seen the movie Divergent? You know the part where she is facing her fears and all of the birds start attacking her? Yep. That is exactly how it felt in my mind. It went from one seagull to fifteen in 2.4 seconds.
I tossed the fry and ran, and my friends started bellowing. In hindsight, it was hilarious, but wow. That alpha bird, the brave one, almost ate me, and he watched me the rest of the time that we spent there. He also ran all of the other birds off after the incident, showing his true status among them.
Dumb. It was dumb. Don’t feed the seagulls, you guys. They aren’t friendly.
Don’t Miss the Tide Pools at Low Tide
After we stuffed ourselves with delicious food, it was time to go see the tide pools. We had looked up the peak of the low tide before coming and should have been right on time but Google totally lied to us. So, we did our best to scour the rocks for sea life. I saw a few anemones and hermit crabs, but not much else.
I can imagine how cool it is to catch the tide pools at the right time though! It’s hard to feel disappointed when you are with such an awesome group of people. Every little thing we do together feels like a total blast. We laughed and avoided getting soaked by the tides while we hung out in the chilly water searching for magic.
When we were done playing in the water, we realized that I was the only one wearing sandals and that tennis shoes are a heck of a lot harder to wear at the beach. So we went searching for flip flops in the local shops surrounding the area.
I am pretty sure that everyone just ended up with dry feet and souvenirs after a while, and we never actually purchased shoes, but we did find some happy hour margaritas! Score!
Body Surfing in the Ocean Beach Tides
We enjoyed Ocean Beach San Diego so much that we actually returned the night we were leaving, before our drive, to soak in the last bit of #vacayvibes before heading back to Idaho.
It was pretty chilly and I hadn’t planned to go swimming, but you only live once right? My amazing girlfriend coaxed me into the water and we had such a blast body surfing. The evening tides carried our bodies into shore over and over again, and we reveled in the feeling of freedom that traveling lends us.
If you can stand it, don’t miss out on swimming in the ocean and laughing your way through life. I probably wouldn’t have jumped in by myself and I would have missed out on one of my favorite nights of the trip! Over time we got used to the temperature of the water and it became no big thang.
On that note, I’m pretty sure that I mooned an entire restaurant as my numb fingers tried to take off my shorts before climbing into my car. Either way, the risk was worth the reward!
Visit Ocean Beach San Diego
I can’t wait to take my kids to Ocean Beach and explore with them next time we visit Jess’s parents. There were a ton of families there. It definitely pulled my heartstrings that my kiddos soaking up the sun with us.
Visiting Ocean Beach San Diego was awesome. I would say that it completely lived up to the hype. I highly recommend putting it on the itinerary if you are headed to San Diego!
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