The most southwesterly city in the US popular with surfers. Imperial Beach has a Southern California retro beach vibe that can be lost compared to its towns to the north. It is nestled alongside the Tijuana, Mexico border.
History: Imperial Beach was first developed in 1887 as a summer retreat for the people of the Imperial Valley. It also drew military, beginning in the 1900s with the US Calvary troop and then in the 1920s, the Navy came onboard with a base southeast of Imperial Beach. Its 1,500 wooden pier is the community focal point. With the sand dunes and salt marshes, Border Field State Park is a renowned bird watching spot. Friendship Park and the Binational Garden is a place where people from the US and Mexico can get together and meet face to face across the border fence.
Things to Do: The beach, popular with surfers, is the city’s No. 1 draw. If you are into bird watching, check out the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Mike Hess Brewing Co and Bikeway Village is very popular with the locals. You can do a long distance bike ride (11 miles one-way) from the strand to Coronado alongside the marshlands and it is very popular amongst cyclists.