Rules and Regulations in Mission Beach

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COVID-19 Mission Beach Rules & Hours

Per the San Diego County public health order in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this park is open for passive use only. Please follow the temporary protocols below for enjoying our parks and trails.

  • Passive use only, such as walking, jogging, or hiking.
  • No congregating or participating in sports activities, except for member of the same household or if practicing social distancing.
  • Do not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact.
  • Maintain social distancing of a minimum of 6-feet (1.8 meters)
  • Wear face covering when in the parks and on the trails.
  • Do not enter the parts of trails if you have a cough or fever.

Failure to follow these requirements may result in closure of the amenities. Please check www.sandiego.gov/status for updates regarding closers and restrictions. If you see something that needs attention, please submit the AskParks or the GetItDone app.

Hours & Curfews

What time is mission beach open?

Lifeguards generally start at 9am to patrol the water. What hours is Mission Beach open? The beach is open to the public during the day hours starting at dawn. There are specific curfews in Mission Beach, especially for special occasions like the covid 19 pandemic.

What time does Mission Beach close?

While there are not specific hours of operation or a closing time posted by the city for the general Mission Beach area, there are a number of curfews and restrictions you should be aware of:

  • Once Lifeguards are off-duty water activities are no longer recommended until lifeguards return at 9am the next day
  • Additional restrictions are included for tomes dogs are allowed on beaches and boardwalk
  • Use of fire pits between is not allowed 12pm – 5 am
  • Loud noise is never allowed. And regulations are in place for quiet hours to be observed after 10pm everyday
  • Gathering of large groups is only allowed by permit

Regulations for Beaches, Cliffs, Walkways, Park Areas and Adjacent Parking Lots

No Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas and adjacent parking lots.

No Smoking

Smoking is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.

No Disturbing Noise

Disturbing noise is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.

No Glass Containers

Glass containers are NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.

No Littering

Littering is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.

No Overnight Camping

Overnight camping, sleeping, or parking is NOT allowed on the beach, cliffs, walkways, park areas or adjacent parking lots.

No Dogs

From November 1 through March 31, dogs are NOT allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. From April 1 through October 31, dogs are NOT allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. At all other hours, dogs must be leashed. Owners are expected to pick up after their dog. Dogs are prohibited at other hours of the day, except at Dog Beach (adjacent to Ocean Beach) and Fiesta Island (in Mission Bay). Visit our complete page for Dog Rules in Mission Beach fully explained.

Lifeguards

Lifeguards are staffed year around at the permanent lifeguard stations (Ocean Beach, South Mission Beach, Mission Beach, North Pacific Beach, Pacific Beach, Children’s Pool, La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores). In summer, additional lifeguards are staffed in seasonal lifeguard towers. Lifeguards are generally on duty from 9:00 a.m. to dusk; check with lifeguards for specific staff hours. It is a misdemeanor to fail to follow the lawful order of a lifeguard or to provide false information to a lifeguard. Any person who intentionally injures a lifeguard in California may be convicted of felony battery.

Fire Pits

Where fire pits are provided during the summer months, they are available on a first come, first served basis. The burning of rubbish is prohibited. Only wood, charcoal or paper products may be used as fuel. Fuel for the fire may not exceed a height of more than twelve inches above the upper edge of the fire container. The fire must be extinguished before leaving the beach. Fires are not allowed between midnight and 5 a.m. Coals must be removed or deposited in hot coal containers. Open beach fires outside containers are prohibited at all San Diego beaches.

Swimming

Never swim alone. Always swim near a lifeguard. Water areas off the major beaches are divided into swimming and surfing zones. A black and yellow checkered flag will normally be posted between zones. Check signs or ask a lifeguard for the proper zone for your activity.

Surfing

Water areas off the major beaches are divided into swimming and surfing zones to separate these users. A black and yellow checker flag will normally be posted between zones. Check signs or ask a lifeguard for the proper zone for your activity. Regardless of the area of use, it is unlawful to use any water recreational device (surfboard, boat, etc.) in a manner which endangers others.

Scuba

If you’re planning to dive, telephone the lifeguard beach information line (619-221-8824) for surf information before coming to the beach and always check with lifeguards before diving.

Fishing

Where fishing is permitted from the pier, a fishing license is not required, but catch regulations are enforced.

Boat Launch

La Jolla Shores has the only beachfront boat launch within City limits. Small vessels can be launched directly into the surf at the foot of Avenida de la Playa, approximately 300 yards south of the lifeguard station. This is an unimproved boat launch and vehicles are allowed to drive on the sand in a very limited area at five miles per hour or less. Four wheel drive is highly recommended.

Disabled Accessibility

The boardwalk and areas adjacent to the beach are accessible by wheelchair.

Beach Wheelchairs

A limited number of wide-tire beach wheelchairs are available from the lifeguards.

Large Groups

The basic rule of thumb is that any gathering of more than 50 people requires a permit from the Park and Recreation Department. A permit is also required for a wedding, water event, athletic event, voice and/or music amplification, or use of special setup equipment (such as an inflatable party jump, dunk tank, canopy, etc.) For permit information call Regional Parks at (619) 235-1169.

Boardwalk Speed Regulations

On the Mission Beach/Pacific Beach boardwalk, the maximum speed limit is 8 mph (13 kph).

No Motorized Scooters or Vehicles on Boardwalk

This includes electric scooters, motorized skateboards, bikes and mopeds.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Can you clarify the dog policy second part that says “ Dogs are prohibited at other hours of the day, except at Dog Beach (adjacent to Ocean Beach) and Fiesta Island (in Mission Bay).”

    What other hours of day are prohibited at Mission Beach and Pacific Beach and their associated boardwalks?

  2. It seems like a no brainer but you have not mentioned anything about leaving dogs in hot cars. I have seen this happen 3 times in as many weeks. I have asked the lifeguards for help, I have called the police and they tranferred me to the Humane Society. Today the lifeguard fluffed me off even though it was too hot for me to sit in my car with all windows down. This person today is a repeat offender. She does not leave one window opened or cracked. I wish you would add this to your rules.
    Thank you,
    Sally King

    • Hi Sally! Thanks for the comment, you make a good point. If you’d like to write up the rule we can add it to this page!

  3. What part of Mission bay is the most kid friendly in terms of having a fire-pit? Also, are fire-pits still allowed since California is pretty much on fire?

  4. When I was walking the boardwalk a few weeks ago, I noticed several open fires not inside the designated fire pits. The lifeguards message before signing off for the night said all fires just needed to not be over 12inches of the top and be out by I think 10 or 12 pm. Can you have a fire if you are not able to get a fire pit.

  5. Could you please clarify “A permit is also required for a wedding, water event, athletic event, voice and/or music amplification, or use of special setup equipment (such as an inflatable party jump, dunk tank, canopy, etc.)”? What constitutes special set up equipment and what code section or regulation does this fall under? Further does canopy include the pop canopies often used by families?

    • Hi Natali! Thanks for you comment and I think you ask a good question here. Let me try to clarify for you as best as I can.

      A good rule of thumb is to consider the following: Are you planning an event that is larger then your immediate family and friends? And will it require special equipment that you cannot bring in your cars? If so – it’s probably good to first check with the city of San Diego if a permit is required.

      The beach is a park for all to enjoy, equally and if you’re planning to have an organized event that includes things like alcohol, tickets, amplified music like a band or a DJ, a competitive sporting event you will most definitely need a permit.

      Check the San Diego City website for further information and your question regarding specific city code. Our website is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice.

      Please use your own judgment and enjoy your day at the beach!

      • Thank you for the response but the reason I ask is because lifeguards have gone up to volleyball players with portable nets saying they will ticket them next weekend if they set up. When the lifeguards were asked what law this is, they were unable to provide a response. Canopies were listed with special equipment above, so it seems unfair if only volleyball players would be ticketed but people with portable canopies wouldn’t be.

        • Oh wow Natali! That is very interesting and the first time I have heard of this.

          Could you leave some more details about this? Where about in Mission Beach did this has happen? What exactly did the lifeguards say? Was this specific to 4th of July weekend or in general?

          I think this is worth exploring more and looking into. If you would like we can write a post on our findings so that others are aware and don’t risk a citation.

        • Hi Natali! I spoke with a lifeguard today about your question and have a few things to report.

          First, all games of sport are prohibited on public beach, except for designated areas. Lifeguards don’t actually enforce this law, but it is in fact the law.

          Second, clubs that organize volleyball games on the beach are by law required to get a permit from the city. Again, this is not strictly enforced but is in fact the law.

          Lastly, there was been a recent increase in the amount of clubs and general games of volleyball set up on the beach and such some residents have complained. As a result, lifeguard are speaking with players in order to get a idea and scope of the problem and try to come to a resolution that keeps everyone happy, and doesn’t involve writing citations.

          For more information about the municipal code please visit: https://www.sandiego.gov/search/ocd/Beach%20games?f%5B0%5D=sm_field_doc_type%3Amunicipal-code

          Let me know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day at the beach!

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