Imperial Beach, California, U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition

Camping, clamming and shell collecting.

It's fitting that Imperial Beach is the site of the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle Building Contest, which draws hundreds of thousands of spectators and competitors from around the world each July. This year it is on Saturday July 23rd, 2011. The creations range from fairytale castles to science-fiction landscapes to fantasy mermaids and other inspired forms. The party lasts all weekend, with a street fair on Saturday and main event on Sunday, but its fruits do not. Inevitably, the tide comes in and washes the beach clean again.

Imperial Beach is an incorporated city and a predominantly residential one. Homes and condos line the long beach where surfing, bodyboarding and swimming are good and popular throughout the summer. There's a fun seafood restaurant on the end of the pier and other attractions around Portwood Plaza at the end of Evergreen Avenue. The fishing pier, grassy parks, public sports facilities and year-round lifeguard service make I.B. a popular choice among South Bay residents and visitors alike.

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