With a name like Fiesta Island, you can be certain that good times are ahead on this popular shoreline that includes expansive off-leash areas for dogs, swimming for horses, bonfire rings, and distinctive sunsets with the Ingraham Street bridges in view. But perhaps it’s most known for being the home of the annual wild-and-wacky Over The Line tournament, where crowds of 50,000 revelers pack onto Mission Bay’s central isle for the softball-like tournament. Have a team that has what it takes? Registration is happening at 7 a.m. on May 2 at the Beachcomber and Pennant bars in South Mission Beach. For free shuttle bus locations to this legendary local event, approaching its 62nd year on July 11-12 and 18-19, visit ombac.org.
With the sun not quite hot enough yet to explore water sports in Mission Bay - the largest park of its kind in the world - now is the perfect time to partake in land activities on Fiesta Island, with the promise of splashing around soon in plain sight.
Dog Park 4-1-1
Fiesta Island is superior to all other off-leash areas in San Diego because of its large size and varied terrain. The majority of the island is leash free, with plenty of space to spread out and explore sand dunes, a central brush area and the calm waters of Mission Bay. Whether exercising, training or playtime lies ahead, you can really have it all here without the crowds of a typical dog park.
Know before you go
There are no public restrooms on Fiesta Island, though there are some portable toilets. Plenty of parking can be found around the island, and a parking lot borders the main dog park. Daily hours are from 6 a.m. to midnight. For more information on dog park rules, visit sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation.
Whether you’re a horseback rider, dog owner or there solo, everyone should know the space is shared among all species. There’s something magical about watching horses go for a swim, so even if you don’t own one, this is a prime location for viewing with surroundings that feel wild - despite the view of downtown’s skyline - because of all the free-roaming animals.
The Fiesta Island Trail ride is popular among riders at around 3 miles with signs to follow along the way. Pro tip: The most popular spot among visiting pooches is the northwest side of the island. Parking for trailers is available throughout the island.
Get to know these nearby Bay Park businesses
There is no shortage of good eats along Morena Boulevard, the main road running parallel to Mission Bay. If you’re shopping for bonfire supplies or need to replenish after a day in the sun, these Bay Park businesses have your back.
Siesel’s Old Fashioned Meats: Depending on how committed your beach party, Siesel’s has all the meaty supplies to pimp out your Mission Bay BBQ to gourmet proportions. Or, let these guys do all the work and order some sandwiches to go; there’s a full-service deli counter in addition to the butcher, prepared foods, local goodies like Julian Pies, produce and more. 4131 Ashton St.
Luce Bar & Kitchen: For an Italian take on American gastropub favorites, Luce Bar & Kitchen is a great spot to stop on your way home from Fiesta Island. With delectable cured meats, intense sandwiches and the popular “pork wings"-don’t ask, just go eat-Luce is popular among locals in the mood for something out of the ordinary. 1959 Morena Blvd.
High Dive Bar & Grill: A San Diego bar through and through, this laid-back sports pub is a hangout for hardcore Chargers fans, bikers and beach babes alike. Down a huge breakfast burrito before heading out to Fiesta Island, or “hydrate” with some local beers afterward at this Bay Park favorite. 1801 Morena Blvd.
More neighborhoods to explore
Anza Borrego, Balboa Park, Coronado, Del Mar, East Village, Encinitas, Fiesta Island, Golden Hill, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Linda Vista, Mission Beach, Mission Hills, North Park: Part 1, North Park: Part 2, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, San Carlos, South Park, University Heights