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"I.B." – authentic beach town in South County

The beach town of Imperial Beach is in the southwest corner of San Diego County. Bordering Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, the City of Imperial Beach is 14 miles from downtown San Diego. While it has its share of visitors, it is much less of a tourist destination than other beach towns in the county. Being more tranquil is just fine for most of the nearly 30,000 people that live her. Most people simply call it "I.B."

Imperial Beach was founded in 1887, taking its name from Imperial County 100 miles to the east. Farmers and landowners from the Imperial Valley came to the area in the late 1880s seeking cooler weather during summer months. In 1887, over 2,000 laborers descended upon nearby Coronado to construct the Hotel del Coronado. A large amount of the workers stayed in Imperial Beach and made it their home. The city was incorporated in 1956.

Imperial Beach
Imperial Beach has some of the most-affordable ocean front real estate in the county.

"It's a very community-oriented area with very friendly neighbors," said Gary Trieschman, a resident of I.B for over 50 years. As a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of South County and a member of the Kiwanis Club of I.B., Trieschman invests his time in community activities. "People are very friendly open and outgoing," he said. "It is a very tranquil place to live with a diverse population."

As owner/broker of of Pacific Realty on Palm Avenue, and a long-time resident, Trieschman knows the local real estate market as well as anyone. "You can get a nice home in a nice neighborhood for about $380,000," he said. In May, 2015 the median price for a single family homes sold was $425,000 according to DataQuick.

Imperial Beach pier photo
Fisherman trying to hook dinner from the Imperial Beach Pier.

The beach is the main attraction here. Beach volleyball and surfing are popular with activities concentrated near the Imperial Beach Pier. To the north, the city connects to nearby Coronado by way of the Silver Strand, the seven-mile long isthmus popular beach for bird watching, and bicycling.

The main landmark here is the pier. It is the in the heart of the beach and the city. The area around Imperial Beach Pier known as Pier Plaza showcases plaques placed on surfboard benches that tell the story of how the city's big waves had an impact on surfing from 1937 to the 1950s. Every August the city holds the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle competition, the largest sand castle competition in the United States, drawing in approximately 325,000 people.

At the southern end of Imperial Beach is Border Field State Park that signifies the most-southern beach on the west coast and allows beachgoers in the United States to correspond verbally with beachgoers in Mexico. Tijuana Estuary is the natural border between Imperial Beach and Mexico. It is a beautiful natural environment where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean and is the largest salt-water marsh in Southern California. The estuary is a national research reserve and state park and and home to many endangered birds and wildlife.

Imperial Beach photos
Imperial Beach is an casual beach town with its own unique style.

For beer and live music try The Salty Frog (992 Palm Ave.) and The Beach Club Grille (710 Seacoast Dr.) has live music on Fridays and Saturday. While not necessarily a hotbed of nightlife, residents have plenty of options with Coronado, Mexico and downtown San Diego close by.

For dining, most of the restaurants are along Palm Avenue and at the beach on Seacoast Drive: Big Kahunas Pizza N' Stuff (600 Palm Ave.), Marco's (763 Palm Ave.), Aroma Thai Restaurant (757 Seacoast Dr.), and Meijo Sushi (600 Palm Ave.) For a unique dining experience try Tin Fish which is located at the end of the Imperial Beach pier.

Imperial Beach town
Pier Plaza in Imperial Beach.

Imperial Beach in recent years has seen significant improvements with its efforts to become more visitor-friendly and commercially viable. In 2004, the city implemented a community redevelopment plan to improve the commercial corridor along Palm Avenue and Seacoast Drive. Future plans for the city allow for construction of additional hotels along the beach areas of Seacoast Drive.

"It's mellow and family-oriented," said said Angelica Livarragh who has lived here for over 20 years. "I like that I can walk down to the beach and it's not crowded." Her husband surfs and enjoys the good uncrowded waves here. "Even when it rains it's nice," she said.

There are lots of actvities for residents. The Imperial Beach Farmer's Market operates from Pier Plaza on Fridays offering local fruits, vegetables and community art. Every September, Imperial Beach also plays home to the Imperial Beach International Film Festival. The festival allows attendees to view independent films from around the world. The South Bay Drive-in, the county's only ocean view drive-in theatre, is located just outside Imperial Beach off Coronado Avenue. In 2004, the City of Imperial Beach began implementing a community redevelopment plan to improve the commercial corridor along Palm Avenue and Seacoast Drive. However, aside from a few smaller hotels, Imperial Beach remains a highly residential city with little hotel or motel accommodation for visitors. Future plans for the city allow for construction of additional hotels along the beach areas of Seacoast Drive.

Copyright 2015 TownBlip.


map link Imperial Beach

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City Website


Tijuana Estuary Reserve
Visitor Center
301 Caspian Way

Veterans Park
1075 8th St.

Boys and Girls Club
847 Encina Ave.

Portwood Pier Plaza
Seacoast Dr. at Evergreen Ave.

Sports Park Recreation Center
425 Imperial Beach Blvd.

Reama Park
Elder Ave. and 2nd St.

Dunes Park
700 Seacoast Dr.

Teeple Park
Florida St. and Calla St.



Mar Vista High School
505 Elm Ave.


Southwest Middle School
2710 Iris Ave.


Bayside Elementary
490 Emory St.

Berry Elementary
2001 Rimbey St.

Central Elementary
1290 Ebony Ave.

Emory Elementary
1915 Coronado Ave.

Imperial Beach Elementary
650 Imperial Beach Blvd.


Photos and information to

Imperial Beach neighborhood profile blip
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Historic Look At Imperial Beach