Single family, condominiums, cottages and apartment complexes share the area along Mission boulevard with an assortment of longtime businesses, most catering to those experiencing the beach culture. The nearby Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa, Bahia Resort Hotel and Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina, along with Belmont Park and Mission Bay, give this small beach community a feeling of perpetual vacation mode.
Laid-back Mission Beach is sometimes overlooked because of Pacific Beach, it’s fast-paced relative to the north. But there is plenty happening in MB. The area’s landmarks, businesses and organizations are a testament to its rich history. Here is a brief overview:
Hamel’s Surf Shop
With an exterior made to look like a castle, Hamel’s Surf Shop, 708 Ventura Place, has stood out on the Mission Beach boardwalk for more than two decades. A legendary Southern California spot, Hamel’s is a great place for getting some last-minute beach essentials or renting all variety of ocean equipment.
Mission Bay Yacht Club
Born at the beginning of the 20th century, Mission Bay Yacht Club has been in Mission Beach since 1927, currently residing at 1215 El Carmel Place in North Mission Beach. Host to 15 different racing fleets and home to social and junior sailing, Mission Bay Yacht Club also has junior and social sailing. The club also puts on the annual Mission Bay Parade of Lights, with more than 100 boats lighting up the bay during the holiday season.
Gone Bananas Beachwear
Outfitting female beachgoers since the mid-1970s, Gone Bananas, 3785 Mission Blvd., helps women avoid going bananas when shopping for a suit by offering mix-and-match bikinis. According to its Web site, Gone Bananas carries more than 100 brands and 15,000 pieces of swimwear in the store. That’s enough so that even the pickiest shopper can find one that suits them.
A hangout for locals and college kids alike, The Beachcomber, 2901 Mission Blvd., has some of the best drink specials in Mission Beach. Whether it’s $1 you-call-its on Thursdays (a campus favorite) or a 32-ounce beer for $2 on Friday nights, there’s usually a fair amount of money in your pockets when you finish your night at the ’Comber. Adding cheap drinks to a popcorn machine, dance floor and beer pong tables in the back makes an evening at the Beachcomber rarely disappointing.
A laid-back local watering hole since 1962, The Pennant, 2893 Mission Blvd., is a great place to enjoy a drink in a relaxed atmosphere in South Mission Beach. Whether enjoying a drink outdoors on the upper deck, or kicking it downstairs with Electric Charlie among the eclectic decor, it’s hard not to have a good time inside the confines of The Pennant. For the last two years, the G-Spot Grill inside The Pennant has served up tasty burgers and bar food.
Nearing its sixth decade, Saska’s, 3768 Mission Blvd., has been one of the premier late-night dining options in North Mission Beach since 1951. At Saska’s Steak and Seafood, diners can enjoy a top sirloin in the wee hours and pair it with lobster, crab, shrimp or scallops. And at Saska Sushi, raw fish lovers can go for a California roll or a unique specialty such as sushi pizza — yellowtail and crab baked over an avocado and crab roll, served with ecstasy sauce.
Santa Clara Recreation Center
Placed right on the water, it is hard to find a better setting for some exercise or a picnic than at Santa Clara Recreation Center, 1008 Santa Clara Place. Facilities at the 58-year-old center include a tennis court, multi-use field, two half-court basketball courts, picnic areas, playgrounds and a weight room. The center’s Bayview meeting room also houses various community meetings.
Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
Simply known as OMBAC around town, the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club was established in 1954 in South Mission Beach. OMBAC puts on various athletic and social events during the year, including its world-famous Over-The-Line Tournament on Fiesta Island that draws huge crowds annually each July. When it comes to having fun and helping the local community — that’s OMBAC.
There are two local community civic groups in Mission Beach:
• The Mission Beach Town Council meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Belmont Park.
• The Mission Beach Precise Planning Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Park Meeting Room.