Beyond the "Surf Henge" sculpture by Malcom Jones, Portwood Pier Plaza, a park area, the Pier, the Dempsey Holder Safety Center, shops and the Pacific Ocean are the focal points of Imperial Beach on Seacoast Drive.
It is a great place to stop for a picnic, sit on the grass, people watch or to view the ocean. There are picnic tables--first come first serve and a lawn area that is suitable for spreading out a blanket. On the south side of the park is located the Dempsey Holder Saftey Center, lifegaurd headquarters and Sheriff Station providing information and help. On the north side is located the Portwood Pier Plaza shops where you can buy a bathingsuit, ice cream and a meal of Italian Cuisine California Style! Also here you'll find public restrooms and a public shower to wash off the salt water and sand after bathing in the Pacific Ocean.
If that isn't enough, there is an open air surfing museum to be found throughout. Below the ten "surfboard" benches there are bronze plaques telling the surfing history of Imperial Beach from the 1930's to 1950's. This is when the big surf in IB was a training ground for surfers wanting to compete at Makaha and the North Shore of O’ahu in Hawaii.
A day at the beach can take many forms, sunbathing, picnicing, swimming, boogie-boarding and more. Whatever is your preference, enjoy your time at the beach.
The beach is kept clean and though on occasion some areas may be contaminated, you'll know by the warning signs, most of the time this beach is great. If you like crowds stay around the pier and if you like solitude move further south or north of the pier.
Each east-west street running into Seacoast Drive ends at the ocean so there is plenty of public access to the various sections of beach.
If you plan to go into the water stay near a manned lifeguard tower, there are many tide conditions that can take you unaware and you always want to be able to get help when needed.
Imperial Beach is located in City of Imperial beach south of San Diego = close to Mexico. It's the most southern Pacific beach of the USA, oops... maybe rather continental USA. Aren't Hawaii more to south? :-)))
Imperial Beach is not the best beach of San Diego County but for me the area looked great and I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time there.
And it's surely a SANDY beach, are there any rocky beaches in the USA? Driving around the Pacific Coast from Imperial Beach to Seattle I have never seen any hehe.
From CHRIS (balfor):
We Americans are spoiled without beaches. The vast majority of our beaches both on the atlantic and pacific oceans are sandy. Because of how common a sand beach is for us, we don't normally think of a rocky beach as a beach.... it is just the oceanfront. I was very surprised the first time I went to Europe and saw people laying out on a bunch of rocks!
Thank you for your explanations!
The Pier on Imperial Beach is really long. Just walk and look around - you can admire nice views of the ocean and the city and watch fishermen.
I was in Imperial Beach in April. There were only seagulls and lifeguards on the beach. NO BEACH GIRLS!