This seaside amusement park was opened in 1925 by business tycoon John D. Spreckels. No, it wasn't quite the magnanimous gesture it seems; it was actually a real estate scheme to lure people to what was then a scarcely populated area. Today, Belmont Park's star attraction is the Giant Dipper roller coaster, one of two surviving fixtures from the original park and a registered national historic landmark; the other holdover is the Plunge, Southern California's largest (175 ft./53m) indoor swimming pool. There are a variety of carnie-style rides at Belmont Park, but something more unique awaits next door at the Wavehouse (tel. 866/843-9283 or 858/228-9300; www.sd.wavehouse.com). This self-described "royal palace of youth culture" has as its centerpiece Bruticus Maximus, a wave machine designed to create stand-up rides; you have to get certified (about a 1-hr. process) before attempting "B-Max." The FlowRider provides a less gnarly wave-riding experience.
- © Frommer's 2013