San Diego – Laid Back Mission Bay

Beneteau sailboat in Mission Bay

A sailboat heads out of Mission Bay to the open ocean

Bird of Paradise flower and palm trees in Mission Bay

Bird of Paradise in Mission Bay

Palm trees in Mission Bay

Tranquility and peace reign at

Mission Bay

Cute villas line the walks at Mission Bay

Cycling the paths along the Mission Bay beach villas

Beachfront bungalows and villas on Mission Beach

Mission Beach cottages open onto the wide sandy beach

Beachfront bungalows and villas on Mission Beach

Charming beach houses line the boardwalk

View looking from Mission Beach up towards Pacific Beach  San Diego California

Pacific Beach - kite-boarding paradise.

Surf shops and surfer lifestyle at Mission Beach San Diego California

Surf shops.

Surf lessons, surfing and the surf lifestyle at Mission Beach San Diego California

Anyone can learn to surf here, though the buff bod

may be harder to achieve.

Surfer with his surfboard at Mission Beach San Diego California Bicycle rentals and bikes lined up on Mission Beach San Diego California California laid back attitude, guitar and bike in Mission Beach San Diego California

SoCal is truly laid back

Beach bikes and coaster bikes at Mission Beach San Diego California Crazy California stuff

A modern day Jesus Freak?

RV lineup at Mission Bay Mission Beach San Diego California Old Winnebago at Mission Bay San Diego California

Any smaller, older RV will do.

Not a Winnebago, but it's still an RV at Mission Bay San Diego California Laidback RV lifestyle at Mission Bay San Diego California

Jerry relaxes in the back of his toy hauler.

Horses and horseback riding on Fiesta Island, Mission Bay San Diego California

Horses cool their hooves along the beaches at Fiesta


Life's a beach at Fiesta Island.  Our RV is parked at Mission Bay San Diego

Life's a Beach on Fiesta Island

Palm trees at Mission Bay San Diego California Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island San Diego California

Hotel del Coronado.

Mission Bay, San Diego, CA

October 1-28, 2008 - A few times during our stay in San Diego, we

moved our RV from Shelter Island to Mission Bay.  We (and at least 50

other RVs) were doing the "San Diego Shuffle," moving our rigs around

on the city's waterfront streets to stay in line with California's 72-hour

parking law.  As long as we all moved every three days, we could enjoy

the many delights of this beautiful city and gaze at prime multi-million

dollar waterfront views right outside our doors.

The serenity

of Mission Bay

is a dramatic

contrast to the

hustle and

bustle of Shelter Island.  Also manmade, from sand dredged out of San

Diego Harbor, Mission Bay is a series of waterways through former

mudflats, with the land forming quasi-islands and little peninsulas.  The

manicured grass lawns along the bay are largely city parks, and there

are many children's playgrounds, picnic areas and even large bonfire

rings along the beaches.  The tall palms and sparkling water offer a calm

retreat from downtown San Diego.

The walking and bicycling paths go on for miles, and we had many happy bike rides in and

around the bay and along Mission Beach.  There are endless charming beachfront villas on both

the placid bay side and on the surfing beach side.  Each home is unique, and they line up cheek-

by-jowel, with patios and porches facing the lovely views.  Most are available as vacation rentals.

We rode our bikes along the Mission

Beach boardwalk up as far as Pacific

Beach, making the transparent

transition from one miles-long

expanse of sandy beach to the next.

Pacific Beach was teaming with

people kite-boarding.  Each had a

huge parachute, and they used the

wind to skim across the ocean on their


Surfing is a beloved passtime in this area, and we saw surf shops,

surfers and surfer dudes that were right out of a Beach Boys song.

Sea World is tucked into one corner of the Bay, and bike rentals and

people on

bikes were everywhere.

This is a very laidback

area, where surf, sun,

sand and beach bars all

come together in a

dreamy combination.  As

we drove one afternoon,

we passed a young

fellow playing his guitar

while he rode his bike.

Not too much stress

there!  Others just rolled

along the sidewalk on

beach cruisers.

The best way to enjoy San Diego is to have a

lot of money (for a pretty multi-million dollar

beach bungalow, a convertible roadster and a

yacht) and to have a lot of time to enjoy them

(i.e., no job).  Most people we saw seemed to

have either one or the other.

This can be an eclectic crowd too.  We saw a

strangely painted car, several perfectly

restored Microbuses, and an odd collection of


In Mission Bay, the older the RV, it seems, the better.  The

shapes of some are from a long distant era, while others are

clearly homemade.

The "San Diego Shuffle" of RVs moving from one parking

space to another is actually something of a two-step in

Mission Bay, as parking is prohibited between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.  Each evening a parade of RVs makes its way

out of the Mission Bay parking areas into the industrial city streets on the far side of the freeway.  Early each morning

the RVs return, many to the same spot they had the day before.

The best setup we saw was Jerry's.  He towed his toyhauler "office"

trailer behind his Class C motorhome, and on lazy afternoons he would

string up a hammock inside his "office" trailer, taking in the view of the

Bay from his swing.

The stories of each household living in their RV were

varied, but a common concern was the upcoming city vote

on whether to override the California law and ban overnight

parking on public streets.  The days of this urban RV lifestyle of freedom on the waterfront may be

numbered.  The vote was held on our last day in the city, and we didn't hear the outcome.

One day we parked our trailer out on Fiesta Island, a tiny dot of California desert perched in the middle of

the Mission Bay.  The dry, brown, tumbleweed land is sparsely visited, and we had a stretch of beach all

to ourselves.  As we sat there enjoying the view of the homes across the water, a group of horses

suddenly appeared, splashing in the water as they walked.

The weather was unusually warm

for October (90's), and we spent

much of the month in tank tops

and shorts.  A visit to Coronado

Beach offered delicious relief from the heat one afternoon, and we

played in the sand and waves.  On a return visit we discovered the

history and beauty of the Victorian Hotel del Coronado that presides

over one end of the beach.

After a month of coastal pleasures,

we felt a little nip in the air as the

fog banks crept in and stayed

longer and longer each morning.  It

was time to move on, and we

headed inland to the California

desert of Anza-Borrego.  But the

temps were falling fast, and we

continued on to the warmest of the

southwestern desert areas in

Yuma, Arizona.