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A Quick Peer at San Diego’s Walking Piers

Taking in the sights, one step at a time 

By VANESSA WADE
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As you approach San Diego by air, you can’t help but notice there are plenty of piers that dot the 70-mile coastline. Among them are two impressively long piers (nearly 2,000 feet). All of the piers bustle with activity as people gather to fish, sightsee, people-watch or simply stroll. There are eateries galore: cafes, diners, restaurants, and even bait and tackle shops offering food for the fishies. Most piers have public restroom facilities and are handicap-accessible. Read on to find out how to spend a lovely summer afternoon taking in the sights!

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Crystal Pier
Crystal Pier is located in Pacific Beach and is the only pier where you can make overnight accommodations. Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages, which debuted in 1927, boasts 29 original cottages, fully renovated. One- and two-bedroom cottages with modern amenities are available. Besides the quaint cottages, Crystal Pier is a well-known fishing pier where sandy-shore species, including halibut and perch, are abundant. The pier itself is open from sunrise to sunset, though cottage guests have exclusive 24-hour access.

Imperial Beach Pier
Built in 1963, Imperial Beach Pier is the most southwestern pier on the West Coast! Imperial Beach is just five miles north of the Mexican border, so you can take advantage of the sweeping views of Mexico and the Los Coronados Islands. Extending 1,491 feet, with a water depth of up to 20 feet, this pier is known as a prime fishing locale. Stroll down towards the end of the pier and enjoy a meal at The Fish Cafe. Opened since 2000, you can enjoy burgers, clam chowder, fried or grilled seafood platters, and crab cakes at this fun eatery.

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Ocean Beach Pier
The Ocean Beach Pier is celebrating its 50th anniversary this July. Spanning the length of 1,971 feet (the entire railing is nearly one mile!), it is the longest pier in San Diego County and holds the record for the longest concrete structure on the West Coast. The end of the pier has a T-shaped platform where the ocean depth is 25 feet, making this pier a prime fishing spot for bass, mackerel, herring, lobster and perch. For the anglers’ convenience, a stocked bait store is on the pier. And for nonanglers, the Ocean Beach Pier Cafe offers stunning ocean views right from the pier, and they serve three meals daily. The menu is classic American with a seafood-centric twist. The pier is open 24 hours. Amenities include lights (for night fishing), public restrooms, handicap-access, benches, fish cleaning stations, and free parking nearby.

Oceanside Pier
This is the longest wooden pier on the West Coast and is the second-longest pier (only 1,954 feet long!) in the county. First constructed in 1888, Oceanside Pier has been built and rebuilt six times. The original pier was located further south, right off Wisconsin Avenue. The 1940’s style Ruby’s Diner is at the end of the pier and offers American comfort fare. A bit down the way, you stop at a local bait shop that also sells postcards and souvenirs. Sandy-shore fish are abundant in this area, as are bass, guitarfish and halibut.

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Shelter Island Pier
This smaller, T-shaped pier extends out into the water 200 feet. Interestingly, its perpendicular platform runs 500 feet at the end. Shelter Island Pier offers generous space for fishermen and an array of bay species are available, including croaker, bass, bat rays, barracuda, mackerel, halibut, bonito and shovelnose guitarfish. Public restrooms, fish cleaning stations, a bait and tackle shop, a concession stand, and a gift shop are in close proximity. Boats are permitted to dock pierside. Hours of operation are 6 am to 10:30 pm daily.

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Coronado Ferry Landing Pier
Open 24 hours a day, the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier has dedicated space available for fishing. This is the only public fishing pier located on the west side of San Diego Bay. The fishing area has eel grass and a sandy bottom and is partially covered with clam beds. Corvina, mackerel, halibut and spotted bay bass are abundant.

However, the main purpose of this pier is to transport passengers to and from downtown San Diego (two destination choices: Convention Center or Broadway Pier). Amenities are few, but there are benches, lights and bait-cutting platforms. Restrooms are located in the Ferry Landing Marketplace, attractively situated on Coronado’s eastern shore. A variety of dining and shopping options are available. Street parking is metered in the commercial area, and handicap parking is available in the Marketplace parking lot. Be sure to consult the ferry schedule before you plan your excursion.

Help Ocean Beach Pier celebrate their 50th Anniversary!

June 30th through July 31st
Ocean Beach Pier 50th Anniversary Art Show. Opening reception will be held at Teeter Shop on June 30th. The exhibit will feature pier-inspired artwork and will be on display through July 31st.

TEETER, 5032 Niagara Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107 | 619.221.5929 | shopteetersd.com

July 2nd
Pier Birthday Community Walk at the pier

July 4th
Fourth of July Fireworks Show off the pier

July 18th
San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation, Pier Jump

August 15th
San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation, Pier Jump

For more information about events celebrating Ocean Beach Pier’s 50th Anniversary, please visit: oceanbeachsandiego.com/attractions/ocean-beach-pier