Hangin’ In Nature’s Playground – Mission Bay Park, San Diego, CA
We’ve been hanging for about 2 months at our sweet spot right by the water in Mission Bay. Between frolicking in the water and playing in the sand time has flown by super-fast and I figure it’s way overdue for me tell you a little more about the area. This fabulous bay lies right smack in the middle of San Diego and is literally the largest man-made aquatic park in the country. At 4,235 acres (approx. half of which is water), it boasts 27 miles of shoreline and 19 miles of beach. It is a nature’s playground and you really want to come here…..you really do!
Here’s just a sprinkling of the fun
1/ The Best Trailer Park – In the WORLD?
Hidden on the NE corner of Mission Bay is De Anza Cove. This peachy prime piece of real estate may well be the oddest mistake in the history of the City of San Diego. It all started in 1953. The city (who’d been given the land “in trust” by the State) leased it to a developer who was supposed to create something nice for public use. Instead he decided on a trailer park and immediately got people to move in with their mobile homes (who wouldn’t want to live here?) with condition that the city got a little kick-back from the rents. Everyone was happy and a bayfront trailer community was born.
Fast forward to 1980…the State steps in and is shocked to find this “public” land is being used for homes. They demand the City rectify the situation. The City is suddenly in the embarrassing position of trying to chuck out residents who’ve been happily settled in their water-front homes for over 30 years.
Technically they don’t own the land they live on, but no-one wants to move….oh no they don’t. It’s the beginning of a 30-plus year city-resident battle which is STILL going on today. Probably ~30% of the residents have been cajoled to jump ship and there are plenty of empty lots and run-down trailers to prove it, but the rest of them are sticking in their heels and frankly in THIS nice a spot, I would too. We spoke to a resident that told us they probably had a few more years before being truly forced to leave….maybe. Read the whole story here…it’s fascinating!
2/ Water Activities ‘Till You Drop
With half of the park in the blue there are no end of water activities you can do (did you catch the nifty rhyme I slipped in there?). You’ll find kite-surfers skimming the waves on the East side of Fiesta Island, water-skiers jumping ramps on the West side, kayakers and paddle-boarders paddling around the internal islands (there are special kayak-only Geocaches out there!), sailboats making the round and jet skies romping in their own spots. We can walk and drop a kayak in the bay right outside our RV park, or you can rent on the water from Aqua Adventures (which happen to be dog-friendly too!).
3/ Hiking, Biking, Sculpting Golfing & Water-Front Cocktails
The Mission Bay Bike Trail is a 14-mile paved trail that loops around the entire Bay. Folks will hike it, bike it and run it almost any day of the week, and if you’re feeling particularly energetic you can even stop and pump out some pull-ups at one of the handy “fitness circles” along the way. If that doesn’t spark your fancy you can wander on over to the Golf Course for a few hours at the range or spend an afternoon on the 18-hole executive course. When all that’s exhausted you can park your behind on a grassy picnic table or drag your butt for a water-front cocktail at the Hilton.
4/ RV Beach-Docking & Dog-Hanging At Fiesta Island
You already know how much I love Fiesta Island, but I’m just going to drive that nail into the wall. This gorgeous island sits in the middle of the bay and is a 24-hour off-leash doggie-heaven area. Even horse-lovers get in on the action. On the east, north, west and interior it’s all open with an enormous (gigantic) fenced-in area on the SW side. Park the car, hike the interior trails, frolic in the water, or have a BBQ, fish and spend the whole day camped out on the sand….and every single minute of it completely free and off-leash baby!
What’s even better is you can bring the rig too. RVs of all sizes usually park on the wide, firm NW shore and if your tanks happen to need a dump there’s a free dump station right around the corner in bay too. You can park on the island from 4AM to 10PM, then you need move your “beast” to another parking spot anywhere around the bay (there are always rigs in the NE corner of the park) from 10PM to 2AM. Technically the only time you CAN’T boondock in Mission Bay is from 2AM to 4AM, but I’ve seen campers hanging out for a week at the same spot so I guess enforcement is not a City priority? Shhhhh….I didn’t say nothin’!
5/ And So Much More
Although not technically part of the public park you’ve got Sea World on the Southern Bay, tons of boat launches, no end of picnic spots and even a model yacht pond. There are fitness groups and MeetUps that hang on the bay, and of course there’s Mission Bay RV Resort right at De Anza Cove with Campland By The Bay across the estuary. A total water-lovers playground with something for everyone, and everyone for something.
Can you tell why we love it here?