Mission Bay offers vacationing families access to the very best of San Diego.
School’s out for summer and most families are in need of a getaway — something fun for the kids that will keep parents from pulling their hair out planning and budgeting for a vacation. Thankfully, in San Diego’s Mission Bay there is no shortage of outdoor family-friendly attractions that are worth the drive from OC. From jet skiing and yoga on the bay during the day to bonfires and s’mores at night, make the most of this season at one of Southern California’s top family vacation destinations.
About Mission Bay
Situated on 27 miles of shoreline, Mission Bay is a renowned family destination that provides access to the very best of San Diego. Within easy driving distance of SeaWorld, Mission Bay offers six hotels and resorts, more than a dozen restaurants, four spas and numerous outdoor adventures on land and sea. In other words, endless fun for the whole family awaits.
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- OC Summer Fun Guide
Where to Stay
Mission Bay offers a collection of resort properties, including The Dana on Mission Bay, Paradise Point Resort and San Diego Mission Bay Resort. During my visit to Mission Bay, I stayed at the Bahia Resort Hotel, located on a 14-acre peninsula. This classic beach resort is within easy walking distance of the Mission Beach boardwalk and Belmont Park beachfront amusement park. However, the resort itself is full of activities for everyone. Parents can lounge by the pool, play a game of tennis or stroll through the tropical gardens while kids enjoy the playground slide or games like Ms. Pac-Man and Fun-E-Ball at the resort arcade.
Grab A Bite
Before heading straight to the beach, know where to get some good eats. Nothing is worse than dealing with hangry kids during a vacation. Fuel up for the long days of activities ahead. For those that are anxious to get to their vacation itinerary, head to the outside Airstream Grab N’ Go Cafe at the Bahia Resort Hotel for a quick breakfast sandwich and coffee. In the evening, dine at local favorites like Barefoot Bar & Grill and Firefly Eatery & Bar, which offer waterfront views and live music and cooking demonstrations. I watched sailboats pass by the Dockside 1953 restaurant while I savored the rich flavors of their sumac hummus plate with olive tapenade and refreshing strawberry thyme cocktail. Dockside 1953 has great dietary accommodations for vegans like myself or any picky eaters in the family.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Put down the phones and tablets for an hour or two during your trip to appreciate nature and bond as a family. Kayak around the marina or take a family bike ride along the boardwalk. Action Sport Rentals was just steps from my hotel room, located at the Bahia Resort dock. Whatever age or skill level, water sports are easy fun for everyone. As an intermediate paddler, I paddle boarded my way through the bay, basking in the San Diego sun with the cool coastal breeze at my back. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Visitors to Mission Bay can also take in the breathtaking views without getting their feet wet. Reserve a family sunset cruise on the Bahia Belle, a 74-foot, three-story sternwheeler with an observation deck perfect for sightseeing. The 45-minute cruises depart from both Bahia Resort and Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa.
Don’t forget to sketch out some time for some actual relaxation. Remember that it’s a vacation! Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina recently opened a new Wellness Lounge Day Spa, promoting integrative medicine and relaxing services like massage therapy, holistic skincare, and body scrubs and wraps with marine-infused ingredients. A professional deep tissue massage will give anyone a reset to maintain that tranquil vacation vibe. If mom or dad is in a good mood, the kiddos will follow.
Lasting Family Memories
There are so many amazing things to love about Mission Bay. Whether it’s for a week-long trip or a short weekend getaway, the whole family is guaranteed to have a blast. What will be most memorable? Racing through the water on a family speedboat maybe. Or perhaps sitting around a campfire, watching the sunset while roasting marshmallows. After the first visit, Mission Bay is bound to become a regular family getaway. Something to both think back on and look forward to each summer.
By Madison Amirehteshami