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Free Things To Do In San Diego County - Ocean Beach and Point Loma

Updated on June 8, 2012

Just south of Mission Bay is the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. The northern portion of the beach here is referred to as Dog Beach, where dogs do indeed roam freely. On the southern end is a fishing pier from which it is possible to fish without a license. In between, the beach offers good swimming and surfing along with a boardwalk and an overall slightly more bohemian feel than its neighbor to the north, Pacific Beach. There is an excerise path that leaves the northern end of the beach area and heads inland. If you are in town during the summertime,the Ocean Beach Farmer's Market is held every Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Newport Avenue. in May, help welcome the summer season at the Ocean Beach "Beach Ball" celebration, with live music, food and games. In June, you might catch the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-off Festival, centered around Newport Avenue. In September, the Ocean Beach Music and Arts Festival, formerly known as the Ocean Beach Jazz Fest,is held in and around the Pier parking lot.

South of the pier is Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which does not make for safe swimming, but offers several surf spots and magnificent views of sunsets and breaking waves. Adjacent to the southern portion of the park is Point Loma Nazarene University, which offers a variety of music and theatrical performances as well as art exhibits throughout the year, some of which are free to the public. Check the website for the current schedule (http://www.pointloma.edu/ or calendar http://www.pointloma.edu/calendar).

Further south, near the tip of Point Loma, is the Cabrillo National Monument, which commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. The Point Loma Lighthouse is also here (although entry is not free), along with a spectacular 360o view of the surrounding area. As with any designated park area, there is typically a small entrance fee for vehicles. However the National Park Service designates several days throughout the year during which entry is free. These days can be found at the following website: http://www.nps.gov/cabr/index.htm. As an alternative to visiting on these days, it is worthwhile to simply walk on the pathways surrounding the monument and to go down to the beaches below, which have excellent tide pools for viewing wildlife and sea shells at low tide. During the months of December through March, it is also possible to see the Pacific Gray Whale on its southbound migration from Alaska to Mexico.

Heading around Point Loma and onto the northern shore of the San Diego Bay, you can take in some beautiful waterfront walks on either Shelter or Harbor Islands.

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