Mission Bay – Fiesta Island Park


Fiesta Island Park is located in the middle of Mission Bay and included a peninsular island that is a perfect place to spend the day for any van lifer. The park is trendy for running, swimming, biking, van gathering, and special events.  There are bonfire rings on the beach, and dogs are allowed off-leash. It’s a popular place for windsurfing and kitesurfing when it’s windy. 


Mission Bay is the epicenter of outdoor Van and RV nomad adventure in San Diego. The bay has a continuous beach around its perimeter that allows for biking, running, swimming, kitesurfing, kiteboarding, jet skiing, sunbathing, and much more.

Mission Bay has plenty of areas to park your van and enjoy the day. Amenities in the park include restrooms, BBQ, picnic tables, showers, and trash cans. 

Map: Mission Bay Map


Mission Bay is a great place to go paddleboarding. The water is normally calm, and there are a ton of places to launch from. 

Windsurfing / Kite Surfing

One of the most popular activities in Mission Bay is windsurfing and Kite Surfing. Mission Bay is ideal for both sports due to the calm water and the winds that pick up in the afternoons. 

Fiesta Island

Fiesta Island is located in the middle of Mission Bay. Follow the one-way loop road around the island and park right on the beach when you find a spot that’s perfect for you. Dog owners love it here as their pooches can roam free in the island’s off-leash area. 

Van Life Gatherings

Once every few months, the Facebook Group SoCal Vanlife will hold van life gatherings for the community. These are perfect opportunities to meet fellow van lifers and learn of other adventures in the area. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, these have been suspended. The picture above is of Ernie, my van, parked on the beach at Fiesta Island. 

Sea World

Located across the water from Fiesta Island is Sea World. You will easily be able to spot it from its 400-foot tower. Sea World is a fun place to visit to learn about marine life and ride the rollercoasters. A trip to Sea World makes for a good side excursion for any Van or RV nomads.

Remote Control Airplane Park

Located within the boundary of Mission Bay is the Silent Electric Fliers of San Diego flying park. The site is located on the south shore by South Shores Park. The park is an excellent place to practice your remote control flying skills or watch others fly. 

Location: Silent Electric Fliers Mission Bay 


There are many areas to boondock around Mission Bay. The best way to find these spots is to look for other vans and RVs. There are places that say overnight parking is allowed but no camping. These areas will have vans and RV’s.

Visit: Stealth Camping in San Diego


There are many parking lots spread out around Mission Bay. The majority are free between 6 am and 10 pm. There are a few parking lots that are 24 hours which are good places to stealth camp. On Fiesta Island you can park right on the sand for the day.


Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego Historic Park makes an excellent day trip for any van lifer looking to explore San Diego’s birthplace to eat, shop or drink tequila. Its many preserved historic buildings and museums commemorate the early days of San Diego’s town from 1820 to 1870, allowing you to visit California’s history firsthand.

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Kate Sessions Park

Kate Session Park is a 79-acre park perched high atop Lamont Street at Soledad Road on the border between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. It’s named after noted local horticulturalists and “Mother of Balboa Park” Kate Sessions. The park has an amazing view of Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and downtown San Diego.

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