Ocean Beach Pier
Just west of Niagara Avenue
San Diego Parks & Recreation Department
Ocean Beach Pier resembles a manmade peninsula jutting from the natural peninsula of Point Loma. "Welcome to the West Coast's longest pier," a sign reads near the Niagara Avenue entrance. After strolling the equivalent of a city block or two, one sees ocean on all sides and gains a new perspective of the shore. Sunset Cliffs become more visible. The invisible line where swells become waves is already behind, along with surfers bobbing on boards. Sailboats ahead drift closer. Fishing poles planted against the railing, buckets of bait, camp chairs and coolers mark anglers' favorite spots. The waters below hold bass, perch, bonito, mackerel, halibut, queenfish, stingrays, and an occasional school of dolphin. For those unequipped to catch a meal, the pier's café -- two thirds of the way to the end -- features mango pancakes and lobster tacos. To explore the pier's entire length and back -- including the crosspiece at the end -- is to walk nearly one mile. Estimated lengths range from 1971 feet to 2016 feet -- not counting the crosspiece, which exceeds 500 feet from end to end. Bring a tape measure. Too tired to walk? Watch the pier live or take a virtual tour via the Ocean Beach Merchants Association's website, www.oceanbeachsandiego.com.