Mission Beach

When we were in San Diego, we of course had to visit the beach. So on one of our “off” days we packed up a picnic lunch and headed over to Mission Beach.

It was a nice, sunny, hot day, pretty much what you’d expect for Southern California (even in late September), but you know what? The water was cold, which was a total surprise to me. Not Oregon beach cold, nothing quite like that, but much colder than I would have thought. Cold enough to shock you when you first hit it, and make your feet a little numb.

You get used to it, though, and the kids and I were having a great time playing in the water. There were some nice waves too—I wish I’d had a bodyboard or something to try out. Not that I’m all that surfer-inclined, you understand—I love the ocean but the Oregon Coast is no place for that kind of stuff. I’ve seen guys in full-body wetsuits trying to make a go of it, but well…

Interestingly, Mission Beach is also home to the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, a wooden coaster built in 1925 that’s still operating. Only “one of two original oceanfront roller coasters still operating on the west coast,” according to the website. We didn’t ride it, though; the kids are still too small. My brother swears that every time he’s ridden the thing, he’s seen bolts flying off. That’s comforting.

After we cleaned up from the beach, we wandered around the shops a bit, and my wife and the kids got temporary tattoos from a corner shop on the boardwalk. We didn’t stay long after that, as the kids were tired and cranky. But we had a good time.

Later, I told my brother we’d gone there, his response was, “Did you see anyone smoking crack?” Huh? My sister-in-law recommended the place; she reaffirmed that it wasn’t that bad, but then my wife chimed in and mentioned she saw someone dig a chicken leg out of a garbage can and eat it.

Eh, whatever. It was a nice beach, no one hassled us or anything. I’d go there again. Might even ride the roller coaster of death. We’ll see.