Of all San Diego’s beach communities, none exemplify the community and neighborhood ethos better than Ocean Beach. This funky beach town sits between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the more upscale enclave of Point Loma on the hill to the east. It’s a laid back and less rowdy than its brethren Mission Beach and Pacific Beach a few miles north. Ocean Beach was given its name by developers Billy Carlson and Frank Higgins in 1887. Obviously, the beachfront was the main attraction, although in the early 20th century, getting to Ocean Beach was a bit of a trek. There was even an amusement park, Wonderland, at the northern end of the neighborhood but was washed away by tides in 1916. Cottages, bungalows and apartments were built through the years and attracted (and continues to attract) students, young adults, and the free-spirited. O.B. was somewhat isolated from the rest of the city until Interstate 8 was built in the mid 1960s. Besides the obvious fact that O.B. sits on prime oceanfront real estate, the neighborhood still exudes a small town neighborhood feel. Where other beach communities have embraced commercialism, Ocean Beach remains fiercely independent and skeptical of wholesale change. Ocean Beach is fondly looked upon as the neighborhood that time forgot and it still has that hippie vibe – a carryover from the 1960s and ’70s that never really left. But that’s what makes it O.B. Surfers, couples, students, Deadheads, families, and the politically independent make up a community that is protective of their neighborhood, where you’re more likely to see a food co-op than a slew of retail chains. The beach. That’s why you head out to O.B. – a nice, wide, swath of sandy beach. There’s also the Ocean Beach pier, the longest pier on the West Coast, where you can stroll or try your hand at pier fishing. If you have a dog, then head to Dog Beach, just north to the main beach, where you can unleash your dog to romp in the sand and surf. Or stroll along Newport Ave., the main drag in O.B.’s business district and take in the small town feel.
To get to OB-Take Interstate 8 to its western terminus at Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Continue on Sunset Cliffs as you cross a couple of O.B.’s main thoroughfares, West Point Loma Blvd. and Voltaire St. Turn right a Newport Street to drive down O.B.’s downtown district. At the foot of Newport is the beach and the pier.