Looking for somewhere drenched in unpretentious surfing culture, where you can learn to surf or simply escape back to your surfing roots? Don’t overlook this unforgettable, beach front town.
Only a ten minute drive from San Diego city centre and a short distance from all the typical San Diego attractions, is the humble surfside town of Ocean Beach, or, as it is known by the locals, O.B. The quaint and quirky high street hosts antique and vinyl record stores, next to piercing parlours and surf shops, coffee shops, pubs and completely underrated restaurants, alongside the better known Hodad’s which has customers queuing out the door every night.
The town’s ultimately winning feature is its gorgeous, soft, white sandy beach. It is always kept sparkling clean by the locals who hold the upmost respect for it. The beach scene is thriving yet chilled out and not overcrowded. The surf is said to be average which makes it perfect for beginners to take surfing lessons, and for the more experienced, it is a nice relaxing surf. There are also many other surfing hot spots suitable for varying abilities only short car journeys away including, but not exclusive to:
– Mission Beach: Suitable for all abilities (10 mins)
– Point Loma: Experienced surfers, boat access only (15 mins)
– El Carmel Point: Suitable for all abilities (15 mins)
– Black’s Beach: Professionals (20 mins)
– La Jolla: Gentle surf ideal for beginners (20 mins)
The local surf school offers daily lessons with equipment included and can also arrange group lessons.
What really makes Ocean Beach an amazing place to stay is the locals and the happy, welcoming, community atmosphere that they breathe into their town. O.B. is the epitome of that typically laid back Californian lifestyle and the OBecians (as they call themselves) make you feel a part of it. Once a year (around the end of July) residents of a particular street close off their road and dedicate it to a street party for the entire town. Now, if you’re British you might be envisioning a few cupcake stalls, some face painting, some wobbly tables displaying damp sausage rolls. No. Ocean Beach goes all out. There were stages with professional sound systems at each end of the street, a variety of bands throughout the night playing every kind of music from reggae to indie to metal. About halfway down the street a subwoofer pumped out an instrumental baseline from the boot of a car and people took turns to freestyle over the top. Everyone was dancing, singing and drinking all the way up the street. They had even hired portaloos. My sisters and I were welcomed with open arms into the town’s festivities and as the after party moved onto the beach we were encouraged to join them. It felt quite surreal to be so unquestionably taken under the wing of the locals; one man even offered us some free surfing lessons. So, it’s fair to say the party scene is thriving but if it ever gets a little quiet the city is close enough for a night out.
There are plenty of beautiful holiday homes, available to rent, dotted around the town that can allow you to fully immerse yourself into the OBecian lifestyle. You can roll out of bed and into the ocean in a matter of minutes. They range in style so Ocean Beach will definitely have the perfect property to suit your personality and purpose. There are charming properties like The Hidden Vine Cottage and The Seamore Cottage, a historic cottage with a homely feel to it, ideal for small groups or families. Then there are the luxury style properties, such as this hidden beach retreat, ideal for larger groups or those looking for an A-list experience.
The vast variety of beaches and amenities at your disposal, along with the picturesque setting and the promise of constant temperate waves makes O.B. a great location to surf and/or learn to surf, but it is the town itself that makes it a great place to hang out and make unforgettable memories with interesting, if slightly different, new friends.