Mission Beach is the quintessential southern California beach community. It takes up only a small strip of land starting south of Pacific Beach, running south to where the San Diego River empties into the Pacific Ocean. It is only one block or so wide, with the beach on the west, and Mission Bay on the east. The main street, Mission Boulevard, runs down the middle. Don't let the size fool you though, plenty of people live on the narrow strip of oceanfront land. Some impressive homes line the boardwalk, and are filled in with apartments, small restaurants, and tattoo parlors. Dividing North Mission and South Mission is Belmont park, where the are places to picnic and people watch. In and around Belmont park is the famous roller coaster, and plenty of shops, bars, and more tattoo parlors.
Spend an afternoon in Mission Beach, and you will see mostly young people, with vacationers and some older people mixed in, either skateboarding, rollerblading, bike riding, or enjoying the beach atmosphere.