Ocean Beach and the hippie experience

ocean beach san diego hippie family vacation


We took a day trip to Ocean Beach from downtown San Diego. There is definitely a hippie vibe. We bumped into VW vans decked out in graffiti and the scent of weed floating here and there. we had fun experiencing this pocket of southern California.



We simply went to wander. We ended up in the downtown area of Ocean Beach in the afternoon.  Newport Avenue is the main strip and leads to the town pier and one of the beach areas. We weren’t there at night, but there were bars that gave the sense that it becomes a lively place for adults.

ocean beach san diego vw van

Shopping. The shopping here was eclectic and an interesting activity on its own. Since we’re not Californians, we all loved checking out the surf shops. They’re full of colourful surfboards and many of them have skateboards (which my little guy is interested in). We happened upon the weekly Farmer’s Market that occupies a big portion of Newport Avenue (Wednesday afternoons). There was all kinds of great music and booths selling everything from food to flowers to awesome souvenirs.

ocean beach surf shop

ocean beach san diego shopping bear

Beach time. There is a great sandy beach where lots of surfers were catching waves. We weren’t there for a beach day, but we did dip our toes in the sand. There’s a pier you can walk out on and marvel at the power of the ocean.
ocean beach surf watch family trip

Yoga on the beach. As we wandered down by the ocean we saw a group of yogis starting to set up. My son got into it on the sidelines. There are tons of yoga practices around, even a group that offers free beach yoga (probably not kid-appropriate). The whole reason we found Ocean Beach is the local library branch offers two different children’s yoga story time once a week. Our schedule didn’t allow us to get there, unfortunately.

yoga in the park at ocean beach california


Farmers market on Wednesday afternoon/evening – so much yummy food to eat.

ocean beach ice cream

Lighthouse Ice Cream & Yogurt. Home of the waffle ice cream sandwich and bacon flavored ice cream, this place is full of yummy dairy-filled delights.


We had our rental car and lucked into parking right where we were going. We got there just before the farmer’s market and the streets were blocked off.

ocean beach downtown walk

There were bike rental spots right by the beach, but they didn’t have kid seats so this would be an adult-only activity. The downtown core was easily walkable and not that big. We had our wide stroller and easily maneuvered as we went.


Beach tides & times schedule. Pay attention to the lifeguard flags and station information boards to ensure you’re not going into rough or dangerous waters.

Ocean Beach Farmers Market. Wednesday afternoon/evenings.

Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association. This is a great site (a lot of support links in this guide go here); you’ll find event and hospitality information.

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