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Franko's Map of Mission Bay

Mission Bay, in San Diego, California, is enjoyed by many thousands of people, including both locals and tourists. The City of San Diego have an official slogan about Mission Bay that proclaims that it is “The World's Finest Aquatic Playground.” Not only is San Diego's Mission Bay Park one of the largest city parks in America, it is definitely the best water park in the world. Franko's Map of Mission Bay was designed for everyone who visits Mission Bay, to know everything there is to do in Mission Bay, and what the rules and regulations are for Mission Bay's abundant water recreation. Every tourist who visits San Diego and goes to Sea World, Sail Bay, Mission Beach, Fiesta Island, or any other part of Mission Bay should own this handy guide map. Everyone else who enjoys the superb features of Mission Bay including boating, kayaking, biking, jogging, walking, and swimming in and around Mission Bay needs this map as well. Right below the title block of Franko's Map of Mission Bay there is a neat layout of the facts of San Diego's Mission Bay Park. The caption is as follows:

Mission Bay Park Facts:Size: 4600 acres (approx. half water)Shoreline: 27 milesSandy Beaches: 19 milesSwim Areas: 8 locations, 2 miles totalOceanfront Beaches: 2.3 miles (Pacific Beach Dr. to North Jetty)Activities: Swimming, fishing, waterskiing, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, picnicking, volleyball, softball, beach fires, horseshoes, bicycling, jogging, playgrounds, and much more.
Approximately half of the 4600 acres (over 7 square miles) of Mission Bay Park is water. The rest is a wonderful assortment of parks and resorts, plus the world famous adventure park we know as Sea World.

How and Why Franko's Map of Mission Bay was Created. There is an interesting story to how and why Franko's Map of Mission Bay was created. It was not my original idea, as is the case with most of my maps. In 2003 some of my lifeguard friends in San Diego asked me if I could make an official map of Mission Bay Park for the City of San Diego, which they would give to all of the boaters, jetski riders, fishermen, kayakers, and anyone else who uses Mission Bay for water recreation. It was said that funding had been donated by an environmental group and thus the map needed to be created and printed in large quantity for give-away. My friend, the extraordinary lifeguard Sgt. John Sandmeyer, a map maker himself, assisted me on a project to create “The City of San Diego's Official Map of Mission Bay Park”, which included the City of San Diego emblem in the title block, and San Diego's slogan, “The World's Finest Aquatic Playground.” I made numerous trips to Mission Bay, exploring and gathering information, although my lifeguard friend (affectionately known as “Sandman” by all), was my chief source of information and editing. We finished the map just in time for the City of San Diego to be in the midst of huge financial woes. Therefore, even though the money had been donated for the map, and even though I had submitted an invoice for the work to the city already, a spending freeze had been ordered and the project was canceled. My work had been a waste of time! Or had it?
I elected to take my map artwork, modify it for the better, and deleted the name of San Diego and it's emblem from my map. The title was changed from “The City of San Diego's Official Map of Mission Bay Park” to “Franko's Map of Mission Bay.” The image of the San Diego official seal was removed and replaced with my own bar code. I also put some personal photos on the map and made it a better guide for Mission Bay than it was before. I also included the dive sites just off Mission Beach, which are known as “Wreck Alley”, and showed the exact locations of the HMCS Yukon, a Canadian destroyer placed there for a reef habitat, the NOSC tower, which was once a Naval communications tower, the wreck of the Ruby E, a coast guard vessel, and others. Plus the map shows the resorts all around Mission Bay, which host thousands of tourists, plus offer kayaking, fishing and other fun Mission Bay recreation. Lastly I showed Mission Bay's bicycle paths.

The official city map was intended primarily for fishing and boating on Mission Bay, and so it did not have everything that I wanted to put on the map. With the city not involved in the production I was able to make the Mission Bay map exactly the way I pleased. Fortunately, Sandman continued to help me correct and edit my new Franko Map. One of the key features of the original “official map” was the official rules and regulations governing water recreation in and around Mission Bay. Side two of this map is primarily a listing of the official rules and regulations for recreating at Mission Bay Park, which is actually all on City of San Diego property. Sandman had compiled these rules and regulations for the map. However, I left these rules and regulations on the map, so that all users of Mission Bay would know exactly what they can do and with which rules they must comply. In the end, Franko's Map of Mission Bay supercedes the “The City of San Diego's Official Map of Mission Bay Park.” It is a better map because it did not have bureaucratic inputs and requirements. I made it to suit myself, yet had Sandman's influence and invaluable help. The map turned out better for all.
Now, if you go to San Diego's Visitor Information Center off the 5 freeway at Clairemont Blvd., or to Dana Market Landing at Dana Basin, Aqua Adventures at Mission Bay Marina, OEX Dive and Kayak shop of Quivera Rd., or any of the other locations that sell the map, you will find a Franko-made display box on the countertop with a supply of maps being sold to the patrons who joyfully come by the thousands to Mission Bay all year round. So, instead of having “The City of San Diego's Official Map of Mission Bay Park” being handed out for free, visitors can purchase a much better map called “Franko's Map of Mission Bay”, with much better information, printed on waterproof, durable synthetic paper. The local merchants gladly show visitors where everything is and what to do in Mission Bay and along Mission Beach, because it is all on the map. I'd say Franko's Map of Mission Bay turned out for the better in America's biggest and best water park.

Side 1 of Franko's Map of Mission Bay shows all of Mission Bay, including every detail of what is there, all roads, bike paths, parks, beaches, waterski launches, sailing and motor boating , kayaking, personal watercraft zones, swim areas, lifeguard towers, boat beaching spots, and much more. Outside the bay the beach is shown in detail with every lifeguard tower, the swim zones, surfing zones, and some of the features of the famed Wreck Alley, where scuba divers explore the HMCS Yukon and other well-known wrecks. On the water in Mission Bay the map shows the “Open Speed Zones”, also known to water skiers and personal watercraft (PWC) users as “Go Fast Zones”. The zones are indicated, with their boundaries and their rules are given as well. Mission Bay's most famous spots, especially Sea World, are shown, as well as many other sites, like the San Diego visitor information center, Bonita Cove's scuba diving site (good for lobster hunting), and the major resorts of the bay. The intricate details of Mission Bay's bicycle trail system are provided for the rider, jogger, or walker who loves to use Mission Bay to keep feeling great. There is also a bit of artwork, or interpretive data of the local birds and animals that highlight the scenery of the wetlands around Mission Bay. Franko's Map of Mission Bay has several important lists for the reader. These include the seven major resorts of Mission Bay:
Bahia Resort Hotel (858) 488-0551Catamaran Resort Hotel (858) 488-1081Dana On Mission Bay (619) 222-6440Hyatt Regency Islandia (619) 224-1234Hilton San Diego Resort (619) 276-4010Paradise Point Resort & Spa (858) 274-4630Campland-on-the-Bay (858) 581-4200

There is also a list of Mission Bay's marinas:
Bahia Hotel Marina (858) 488-0551Campland Marina (858) 581-4220Dana Inn Marina (619) 222-6440Dana Landing Marina (619) 224-2513Islandia Marina (858) 224-1234Marina Village Marina (619) 224-3125Mission Bay Marina (619) 223-5191Sea World Marina (619) 226-3915Seaforth Marina (619) 224-6807

Franko's Map of Mission Bay shows in detail all of the parks and parts of the bay. The lifeguard stations are shown along the beach at South Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and South Mission Beach. Just south of the Mission Bay Channel (the entrance to Mission Bay), is Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach Park, and a Dog Beach, perfect for letting your dog run around. There is also a Dog Run on Fiesta Island.
The western part of Mission Bay is called Sail Bay. The map shows where the Open Speed Area is. The Mission Bay Sports Center, Santa Clara Recreation Center, and Mission Bay Aquatic Center are all found on Santa Clara Point, sticking out into Sail Bay. Further south, El Carmel Point, Bahia Point, and Ventura Point are shown. The Mission Bay Yacht Club is shown on El Carmel Point, and Mission Bay's Bahia Resort Hotel is shown on Bahia Point.

Near the Mission Beach Lifeguard Station is Belmont Park, which features The Plunge and a Roller Coaster and an Arcade. This famous roller coaster is shown on a photograph of the Mission Bay map. Belmont Park is busy year-round. Between Sail Bay and the eastern half of the bay is Vacation Isle. There you will note the location of the wonderful Paradise Point Resort, a great park for playing ball, a ski beach, public boat launch and the famous Vacation Isle Model Yacht Basin, where remote control boaters launch their hand-crafted models to sail around a very large basin.
To the east of Vacation Isle is Fiesta Bay, which has large Fiesta Island. Fiesta Island features 5 miles of one-way bicycle path in very little traffic, and almost always blessed with a cool sea breeze. Dog Park is also there, where people and come with their best friends and let them run and have almost as much fun as their master. The astute observer will note the Over-the-line ball field on Fiesta Island as well, where wanna-be baseball players compete for the championship of this abbreviated game of baseball. It is noted that Mission Bay's Fiesta Island aslo has protected nesting areas of the California least tern. Adjacent Water Skiing Areas and Open Speed Area are shown.

On the east side of Fiesta Bay is the San Diego Visitor Center, the Hilton Hotel, and Tecolote Shores Park with a Kite Flying Area and a Playground for the Disabled. The PWC Area is shown at the southeast of Fiesta Island.

At the southern end of Mission Bay is Sea World Adventure Park. I grew up simply saying “Sea World”, and everybody knew that that meant the place where Shamu was, plus all of the amazing marine life shows and fantastic aquariums could be seen, along with a whole day of fun for families.
All of the roads going through and around Mission Bay are shown completely and accurately for your benefit as you go in and around Mission Bay. You can see from the map that Mission Bay Park is a fantastic and wonderful place to visit. It will make you want to come to stay for good.
In the ocean to the west of Mission Bay, the spots of some popular dive sites are identified in “Wreck Alley.” The five wrecks shown are the HMCS Yukon, the NOSC Tower, the Ruby E, the El Rey, and remnants of the Old Ingraham St. Bridge. These and all of San Diego's diverse scuba diving spots are detailed on Franko's Dive Map of San Diego County Coast. In fact, that map has a smaller version of this very map to highlight the excellent scuba diving that is to be found there.

The beauty of San Diego's Mission Bay area is highlighted not only by the map of Mission Bay, but also by several photos. The first photo is a photo of a surfer at Mission Beach. This shows the essence of San Diego surfing. The photo, taken by Anthony Marcotti, my nephew, reminds me that you might like to know that there is such a thing as Franko's Map of San Diego Surfing. It was Anthony who compiled and wrote most of the text on that and my other California surfing maps. His expertise and photography helped this map as well. Then there is the map of Belmont Park's roller coaster, as viewed from West Mission Bay Drive at Mission Blvd. I stuck my digital camera out the car window while I was waiting at the traffic light there for this shot. Not too professional, but it shows the icon roller coaster and reminds us of how much fun things to do there are in and around Mission Bay. Then there is photo of wild flowers growing in the fields near Sea World. After the huge rains of the winter of 2004 and 2005 the flower show was spectacular! The whole of Mission Bay was just so much more beautiful. The contrast of a billion yellow flowers against the brilliant blue water is impossible to convey, so I would suggest a winter or springtime visit to Mission Bay to see for yourself. The last photo is along the sidewalk near the San Diego Visitor Center. People rollerblade, bike, jog and walk by there all day every day. San Diego seems to be the fittest city in the world.
Side 2 of Franko's Map of Mission Bay is not a map at all, but it is a list of all of the rules and regulations that boaters, fishermen, water skiers, PWC users, and all other users of Mission Bay. If you will please comply with these rules, this will ensure that the local lifeguards and police, as well as your fellow Mission Bay visitors will be happy with your actions. Thank the local lifeguards, especially my buddy Sandman, for this information, as well as many of the details on Side 1 of this map.

The Mission Bay regulations given on side two are categorized thus:
SpeedWaterskiingPersonal Watercraft (PWC)SailingRequired Equipment, Registration, & Age RestrictionsReckless, Negligent, and Intoxicated OperationBoating AccidentsAnchoring, Mooring, and BeachingLaunching and Removal of BoatsBeach Fires, Litter, Alcohol, and GlassSwimmingFishingParkingCampingBoating and Safety Guidelines
In the corner of the map there is a note that the San Diegan or San Diego visitor might like to own other Franko Maps products for the area. The picture indicates that for other San Diego map products, you should see:Franko's Map of San Diego CoastFranko's Map of San Diego SurfingFranko's HMCS Yukon deck plan & fish identifierFranko's La Jolla Shores map & fish identifier

- Identification Cards