Although Mission Beach’s Belmont Park has been updated and improved since its opening in the 1920s, a few vintage attractions have survived, hinting at its roots and giving the place a touch of nostalgia.
That’s what I love about this place. Belmont Park is like a little Coney Island, the way it used to be. Saltwater taffy anyone?
SoCal may have bigger, glitzier theme parks, but if you enjoy the traditional vibe of an old boardwalk and amusement park, spend an afternoon at Belmont Park.
The park offers a more intimate setting than SoCal’s better-known giant theme parks, with less walking required to see the entire park.
The park’s Giant Dipper roller coaster is a fan favorite and is one of the west coast’s two original oceanfront roller coasters that are still operating. People love that the park has two kinds of Bumper Cars. The old-school cars have been updated, so you have the idea of the classic bumper cars with some new improvements for added comfort and function.
Their alternate cars, called Krazy Kars, have the driver’s seat inside a cushy inner tube. Riders bump into other passengers while listening to music. Do this at night when they turn on the disco ball and black lights.
Belmont Park also features San Diego’s largest indoor heated swimming pool called The Plunge. Catch the sheet waves in the wave pool generated by FlowRider and FlowBarrel technology. Younger kids love to ride cars on the Speedway and the train ride Belmont Express train.
Some other park favs include the Laser Maze, Sky Ropes, Sky Climb, Chaos spinning ride, wave machine, children ride go-karts, indoor miniature golf, and a classic merry-go-round.
You can grab a snack at Belmont Park’s many boardwalk eateries, from snacks to full on dinners. I recommend snacking. You’ll see why when you see the options, from Dole Whip frozen delights to Dipping Dots, Hot Dog-on-a-Stick to Belmonty Burgers.
The park also has its share of arcade game classics like Pac-Man, Guitar Hero, and Skeeball.
If you like to browse gift shops for coastal kitsch, Belmont Park at Mission Beach is the place. You’ll find all the beach swag you want, like t-shirts, shells, sunglasses, and souvenirs.
When we go, we like to rent bikes and ride around Mission Beach. On the southwest corner of Belmont Park, Mission Beach Rentals will set you up with bicycles (or surfing or skating equipment) for the whole family. They are the only rental shop at Belmont Park, locally owned and operated.
History of Belmont Park
This iconic amusement park has evolved from a humble beachfront attraction to a beloved landmark that continues to delight visitors of all ages.
- Early Beginnings
Belmont Park was first established in 1925 by John D. Spreckels, an influential businessman and philanthropist. It was originally known as the Mission Beach Amusement Center and featured a wooden roller coaster called the Giant Dipper, which still stands today as one of the park’s most popular attractions.
- The Golden Years
During the 1930s and 1940s, Belmont Park experienced its golden years with an influx of visitors seeking entertainment during the Great Depression and World War II. The park underwent various expansions and renovations during this time, adding new rides, games, and recreational facilities.
- Decline and Revitalization
In the following decades, Belmont Park faced challenges as changing times led to declining popularity for traditional amusement parks. However, in the early 1980s, it underwent a major revitalization effort that aimed to restore its former glory while embracing modern trends.
- Modern Upgrades
Since then, Belmont Park has undergone numerous updates and improvements to ensure it remains a vibrant destination for locals and tourists alike. New attractions such as laser tag arenas, miniature golf courses, arcade games have been added alongside classic favorites like bumper cars and carousel rides.
- Beachside Charm
One of Belmont Park’s unique features is its beachside location along Mission Beach. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean while indulging in thrilling rides or relaxing on sandy shores nearby. The combination of amusement park excitement with coastal beauty makes Belmont Park truly special.
- Community Hub
Beyond providing entertainment value, Belmont Park has become a central hub for the local community. It hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and charity fundraisers, fostering a sense of togetherness and belonging.
Attractions at Belmont Park
With its stunning coastal views and exciting attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Let me take you on a tour of some of the top attractions at Belmont Park.
1. Giant Dipper Roller Coaster: The Giant Dipper is an iconic wooden roller coaster that has been thrilling visitors since 1925. With its twists, turns, and breathtaking drops, this classic ride offers an adrenaline-pumping experience that will leave you wanting more.
2. Wave House: If you’re looking for some water fun, head over to the Wave House. Here, you can catch some waves on the FlowBarrel wave machine or watch skilled surfers show off their moves. It’s the perfect spot to cool off and enjoy the beach vibes.
3. Beachside Arcade: Step inside the Beachside Arcade and get ready for a dose of nostalgia. This classic arcade features a wide range of games such as pinball machines, air hockey tables, skee-ball lanes, and much more. Challenge your friends or family to friendly competitions and see who comes out on top.
4. Mini Golf: Putt your way through 18 holes of tropical-themed mini-golf at Tiki Town Adventure Golf. With its lush landscaping and challenging obstacles, this course provides a fun-filled experience for all ages.
5. Sky Ropes Adventure Course: Test your agility and balance on the Sky Ropes Adventure Course. Navigate through various rope bridges, tightropes, and other obstacles as you make your way across this aerial adventure course suspended above Belmont Park.
6. Bumper Cars: Get behind the wheel of a bumper car at the Bumper Car Pavilion for some good old-fashioned fun with friends or family members. Buckle up and prepare for friendly collisions and laughter-filled moments.
Dining Options at Belmont Park
When it comes to dining options, Belmont Park at Mission Beach in San Diego has something for everyone. Whether you’re craving a quick snack or a full meal, the park offers a variety of choices that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
1. Oceanfront Restaurants
For those looking to enjoy a meal with a stunning view, there are several oceanfront restaurants at Belmont Park. These establishments offer both indoor and outdoor seating options, allowing guests to dine while taking in the picturesque sights and sounds of the beach.
2. Casual Eateries
If you’re in the mood for some casual fare, there are plenty of eateries within the park that offer quick bites and comfort foods. From classic burgers and fries to tacos and pizza, these spots provide delicious options for those looking for a convenient and satisfying meal.
3. Snack Stands
For those who prefer lighter snacks or just want something to munch on while exploring the park, there are numerous snack stands scattered throughout Belmont Park. These stands offer an assortment of treats such as popcorn, ice cream cones, cotton candy, nachos, and more.
4. Specialty Food Vendors
Belmont Park also boasts specialty food vendors that cater to specific cravings. Whether you’re hankering for some mouthwatering BBQ ribs or gourmet hot dogs with unique toppings, you’ll find vendors serving up these specialty dishes along with other delectable offerings.
5. Refreshment Stands
As you explore all that Belmont Park has to offer, you may find yourself needing a refreshing beverage or two along the way. Luckily, there are refreshment stands conveniently located throughout the park where you can grab a cold soda or indulge in tropical fruit smoothies.
So whether you’re looking for an elegant oceanfront dining experience or simply want to grab a quick bite between rides and attractions, Belmont Park has an array of dining options to satisfy any craving. From casual eateries and snack stands to specialty food vendors and refreshment stands, you’ll find a variety of delicious choices that are sure to enhance your visit to this iconic San Diego destination.
Belmont Park: Know Before You Go
Belmont Park Address & Location
Belmont Park at Mission Beach, 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109. Located just a few miles from Sea World.
Where to Park at Belmont Park
You’ll find four free public parking lots available, but they fill up fast so get there early, especially on sunny weekends.
Belmont Park Open Hours
Belmont Park is always open, but individual rides and attractions have different schedules. Most open at 11am.
Airport Shuttle to Belmont Park
Stuck at San Diego Airport for a few hours? You can take a 20-minute bus or shuttle directly to Belmont Park from the airport.
Belmont Park ADA Accessible Info
View their Accessibility Guide PDF here.
Belmont Park No-No’s
The park says: no smoking, and no pets except for guide and service dogs. Also no skateboarding, running, rollerblading, bicycling.
Find out more from the Belmont Park official website.