Imperial Beach, Calif.-The biggest sandcastle contest in the nation returns to South San Diego County from Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24, 2011.
The huge U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition is a three day event held annually in July in Imperial Beach. The event started in 1980 and has grown during its 31 year reign. It includes contests for amateurs and professionals. If you'd like to participate, amateur teams are divided into five categories: Castles of Your Mind, Best Sculpture, Best Replica, Creatures of the Sea and Executive Sand Box, which is a business sponsored team. Cash prizes of $1,000 for 1st place, $500 for 2nd place, $200 for 3rd place and $100 for 4th place is awarded for each category.
Kids can enter the Kids ‘n Kastles contest in which absolutely no adults are allowed in the plot. Kids registration is a little different-parents must get their kids' forms filled out by July 18, which is only 2 weeks away.
In addition to the sandcastles, the event includes a Sandcastle Dance on Friday for the 21+ crowd, vendors and a street fair on Seacoast Drive all weekend, bands, food and outdoor beach fun. The family friendly event appeals to all ages.
For those seeking a great San Diego vacation to add to the weekend, the nearest, best accommodations are in Coronado where you'll find lots of hotels ranging from four diamond Loews Coronada Bay Resort, Hotel del Coronado and The Marriott, to a variety of Best Western hotels and more. The distance is approx. 9 miles. The city of San Diego across the bay also has thousands of hotel vacations from the budget Hotel Circle to the various vacation villages, Gaslamp Quarter and downtown.
If you love U.S. Opens, stick around California. The U.S. Open of Surfing follows the sandcastle event. The surfing and beach games mega-event is held July 30 - August 7, 2011 in Huntington Beach.
Other US Open events include the national tennis tournament in New York that runs August 29 - September 11, 2011 (usopen.org). The US Open of Mountain Biking and US Open of Karate have completed their 2011 seasons.
The US Open of Golf will be held in San Francisco June 11 -17, 2012 at the Olympic Club (usopen.com)