CSULB is close to the beach.. You can get to it in under 10 minutes. It is very urban and has over 35,000 students in attendance. The academics are on par with other major institutions and they have one of the best reputations of all the CSU's. Beyond that, it is a lot less expensive than going to a UC. Also the rent in the surrounding area is about 1/3rd what you would pay to live near UCSD.