Imperial Beach is a beach city in San Diego County, California, United States. The population was 29,992 at the 2006 census. The city is the most southern beach city in Southern California and the West Coast of the United States. It is located 14.1 miles south of downtown San Diego and 3 miles northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico. Imperial Beach is part of the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area, an area with over 5 million people.
Every year the city holds the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle tournament, which draws about 400,000 people over three days. The city also holds the Imperial Beach classic car show every summer.
Imperial Beach is located at mediterranean climate with summer temperatures often in the upper 70's. Because of the comfortable year round temperatures many homes in Imperial Beach are built without air conditioning. Imperial Beach is mostly or partly sunny 263 days of the year, with the wettest months in winter.(32.578255, -117.117111) making it the most southwesterly city in the continental United States. The city has a
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.7 km² (4.5 mi²). 11.1 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 0.6 km² (0.2 mi²) of it (5.53%) is water. The city occupies the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States: bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and Mexico on the south. Nearby Coronado, California borders Imperial Beach to the north. Imperial Beach operates under a Mayor-council government and provides city fire department services but is policed by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) provides bus and paratransit services to the city from throughout San Diego County. MTS also provides service to San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field) from Imperial Beach. The city is one of five Port member cities making up the Port of San Diego.
Imperial Beach has undergone a significant makeover in the last ten years to become more visitor-friendly and commercially viable. In 2004, the City of Imperial Beach began implementing an ambitious community redevelopment plan to improve the commercial corridor along Palm Avenue and Seacoast Drive.
Imperial Beach is home to the The Tijuana Estuary, a National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Park. The estuary located off Seacoast Drive and Imperial Beach Boulevard is home to many endangered birds and wildlife. This estuary marks the place where the fresh water Tijuana River enters the salt water Pacific Ocean. It is the largest salt water marsh in Southern California. Nearby Border Field State Park signifies the most southern beach on the west coast and allows beachgoers in the United States to correspond verbally with beachgoers in Mexico.
The city encompasses just over 6 miles of beach including a dog beach and employs a year round lifeguard staff. Surfing is also popular in Imperial Beach with activities concentrated north and south of the Imperial Beach Pier and in front of the Tijuana Estuary at the famed Boca Rio beach break. The area around Imperial Beach Pier known as Pier Plaza showcases plaques placed on surfboard benches that tell the story of how the cities big waves had an impact on surfing from 1937 to the 1950's.
Imperial Beach also boasts a high military population and is home to the US Navy's Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach also known as NOLF Imperial Beach.
Kem Nunn's novel, Tijuana Straits, provides insight into the culture of the border and surfing in Imperial Beach and the Tijuana River Valley, and the environmental problems that impact residents of Tijuana, Imperial Beach and Coronado.
The HBO television series John from Cincinnati was about a dysfunctional surfing family in Imperial Beach set against the backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico border. The series (from Executive Producer David Milch, writer Kem Nunn, and director Mark Tinker) was filmed at a variety of locations in Imperial Beach and in the Tijuana River Valley.
As of the census of 2006, there were 29,992 people, 9,272 households, and 6,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,440.7/km² (6,324.2/mi² or 9.8/acre). There were 9,739 housing units at an average density of 880.6/km² (2,281.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.26% White, 5.26% African American, 1.10% Native American, 6.55% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 29.08% of the population.
There were 9,272 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.30.
Imperial Beach has one of the youngest median ages of any Southern California city with a median age of 29 years. 29.4% of residents are under the age of 18, 13.9% aged from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.4 males.