Located just 5 miles northwest of Tijuana, Imperial Beach is the southernmost beach city in California – and the continental U.S.!
Here you can see the official Imperial Beach Pier, with its colorful “Surfhenge” announcing your arrival:
Some say that the actual beach in Imperial Beach isn’t the greatest, as it tends to be full of seaweed – not to mention pollution from the Tijuana River, on the southern end – but locals still pack the place on weekends, proving there’s no such thing as a bad day at the beach.
Imperial Beach is the former home of the U.S. Open Sand Castle Building Contest (which ceased in 2011), as well as the new Sun & Sea Festival and the Unleashed Surf Dog Competition, both held in July. Check out the link for pix of the 2014 canine champs hanging ten.
It should be noted that swimming too close to the border between the U.S. and Mexico is not recommended, both because of the lack of on-duty lifeguards and the rough surf.
Surfers, however, rate the breaks at Imperial Beach second only to those at Black’s Beach.
This is a picture of the actual border between the U.S. and Mexico, beachside:
Ironic, really, that the U.S. is so adamant about policing this border, yet you could literally swim – or even wade – around it here.
If you take the bike path that runs north from Imperial Beach, you’ll eventually find yourself on the island of Coronado. Along the way, you’ll also see great views of the San Diego Bay, salt flats, and Silver Strand State Beach.
Imperial Beach is also home to 370 different bird species, so it’s one of the best places for birdwatching in SoCal.
And if you don’t want to drive all the way up to La Jolla for the Birch Aquarium, the Living Coast Discovery Center (formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center) offers another aquarium experience nearby.
Imperial Beach Pier can be found at 10 Evergreen Ave. in – where else? – Imperial Beach.