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An Imperial Distraction

One of the definitions of “imperial” is something of superior or unusual excellence. 

Brian Felber and his granddaughter, Maisie, dropping a sand dollar into the little girl’s bucket of sand in Imperial Beach, CA.

By Brian Felber, Chula Vista, CA

One of the definitions of “imperial” is something of superior or unusual excellence. While Imperial Beach (IB) is no La Jolla or Laguna Beach, for its size, it really is an excellent place to visit. It’s much less expensive than nearby Coronado or La Jolla and is a great drive-to destination, especially for those inland of San Diego and into Arizona and New Mexico wanting to beat the desert heat. 

Just south of Coronado and south and across the bay from San Diego, IB has undergone an amazing transformation in recent years. Once a seedy, drug infested, biker hangout, the beach area is now home to new restaurants, a couple of breweries, a park, shops, and a new beachfront hotel that also houses a restaurant that includes a beachfront patio with views of the nearby pier and Mexico’s Coronado Islands. 

It’s a great place to enjoy and offers a lot. The Tin Fish at the end of the nearby pier has delicious crab cakes and seafood. On Friday afternoons at the foot of the pier is a farmers’ market. A wildlife refuge borders the beach area to the south. There is great bike riding available along the Silver Strand, where a section of the Bayshore Bikeway goes from IB to Coronado along the San Diego Bay through another refuge on a sandy strand between ocean and bay. It runs through Silver Strand State Park, where you can stop to go to the beach on the ocean or on the bay.  Upon arriving in Coronado, you are greeted by the famous and grand Hotel del Coronado. The village is a perfect place to stop at a street side café or you could go sunbathe on one of the best rated beaches in the country, Coronado Beach.  If you go to the far end of Coronado there are fantastic views of downtown San Diego across the bay. You can also take a ferry to downtown. 

IB is a little hidden gem worth a visit. 

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