Ocean Beach is a perfect go-to summer vacation destination. Located on the Point Loma peninsula, it's a 15-minute drive northwest from downtown San Diego. At the northern edge of Ocean Beach (dubbed O.B. by the locals) lies a large, unfenced dog beach that is adjacent to the San Diego River. Facilities here include a restroom, showers, and water fountains.
The shore is smooth sand until you reach the pier about a mile south. Here the shimmering gold sand gives way to tide pools and a rocky coastline that gradually recedes into sandstone cliffs. Some of the animals that can be seen in the tide pools at low tide include periwinkle snails, crabs, barnacles, mussels, limpets, fish, lobsters, octopi, sea stars, and sea urchins. Seaweed, which grows in the tide pools as well, is one of the main sources of food for many of these animals. O.B. is home to many species of birds as well, including pelicans and Amazon parrots. The parrots thrive here because of the temperate climate and abundance of fruit trees, but they are originally from Central and South America. If you're lucky, you might even see a sea lion.
The beach usually becomes crowded during the summer and on major holidays. Crowds tend to thin a bit along the 1,971-foot Ocean Beach fishing pier, one of the longest in southern California. Amenities on the pier include restrooms, a bait and tackle shop, a snack shop, fish cleaning stations, benches, a restaurant, and free parking at the base.