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.) indoor swimming pool. There are a variety of carnie-style rides at Belmont Park, but something more unique awaits next door at the Wave House (tel. 858/228-9317; This self-described "royal palace of youth culture" features FlowBarrel, a wave machine designed to create stand-up rides on a 10-foot wave, and FlowRider, which provides a less gnarly wave-riding experience for beginners. You must qualify on FlowRider before attempting the FlowBarrel. Note: As of this writing Belmont Park has declared bankruptcy over a lease dispute with the city. It's unknown how this will play out, but operation of the Giant Dipper will be unaffected by the proceedings.