Getaway to San Diego, California
San Diego is a quintessential California destination – laid back vibes, ocean breezes and year-round sunny weather. From beaches to deserts, there are a wide variety of activities to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Foodies will love San Diego – there’s good food around every corner. San Diego is a great add-on for a trip to Los Angeles, or great as its own visit as well.
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Where to stay in San Diego, California
HI San Diego
A hip hostel with dorm vibes for the younger crowd.
This Center City stalwart has a playful spirit and lively New American restaurant with an ever-popular brunch.
Pendry San Diego
Handsome newbie in the Gaslamp Quarter, with oversized rooms overlooking the city or bay, and a lively bar and restaurant.
$100 resort / hotel credit.
Full daily breakfast (up to $30 each) for two.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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Things to do in San Diego, California
Work out with a view
For sunrise, hike up Cowles Mountain where you can see views stretching for miles. You can also do an urban hike down the coast, from Pacific Beach to La Jolla.
Take surfing lessons from Surfari in Mission Beach. The staff is friendly and talented, and is experienced to teach all levels.
Hit the Saigon Trail, short but challenging. The trail starts at the top of the cliffs between big fancy houses and ends on Black’s Beach. We would recommend that you travel barefoot for better foot traction and to avoid slipping.
Potato Chip Rock is the most iconic hike in San Diego, as you can take photos that look like you’re hanging off a cliff above the clouds.
Torrey Pines State Reserve also has a lot of pretty, coastal hiking trails.
Go roller skating around Mission Bay – there’s a long concrete boardwalk right by the water, beautiful for skating long distances. This is absolutely beautiful to do at sunset.
Go to the La Jolla tide pools and Windansea Beach around sunset. Windansea Beach looks incredible with the contrast of green moss on the rocks with the waves as the sun glows. Go early to watch the seals flop around.
At Carlsbad Strawberry Fields, you can pick your own strawberries, but check the weather ahead of time as they close if it rains. This is a great experience with both friends or family!
Practice yoga on Law Street Beach on the weekend with Yoga Steve. The classes are donation-based and held by the beach every Saturday and Sunday at 10 am. Get there early to get a spot on the grass overlooking the ocean! It’s peaceful to hear the waves while doing outdoor yoga in the sunshine.
Catch the sunset at Kate Sessions Park, a location which is elevated and has awesome views.
Places to eat & drink in San Diego, California
Glazed Coffee & Creamery: Enjoy freshly brewed coffee and breakfast pastries in Pacific Beach. You’ll definitely want to try their ‘beach bomb’ pastry!
Fig Tree Cafe: Famous Pacific Beach breakfast spot known for their stuffed french toast. Get one all to yourself, or share a french toast sampler with the table.
Sugar and Scribe Bakery: Amazing baked goods and lattes in La Jolla. Stop for a quick bakery purchase or sit down for brunch.
Sidecar Doughnuts: The best place for doughnuts in Del Mar, freshly baked throughout the day so that they’re warm no matter what time you go. They make super unique flavors, like basil eggs benedict.
Oscar’s Tacos: Pacific Beach spot for cheap and delicious tacos. Check their website for happy hour deals!
El Pescador Fish Market: Super fresh fish in La Jolla. Choose any type of fish from the menu and get it prepared on a sandwich, taco or salad.
Taste of the Himalayas: The best Nepalese food in La Jolla, go and enjoy a casual dinner among friends and/or family. Don’t skip the coconut naan, it’s amazing!
Board & Brew: Located in Pacific Beach and famous for their sandwiches’ special sauce.
Miss B’s Coconut Club: This Mission Beach tiki bar is super cute! They use tiki mugs for all their drinks.
An’s Dry Cleaning: The best gelato in San Diego, served in a cute shop. All the ice cream flavors are named after different clothing materials you can get at the dry cleaner’s.
Day trips in San Diego, California
Each of these locations are within a few hours of San Diego, and are great options for day trips from the city.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Incredible stargazing – this is the nation’s largest dark sky park.
Joshua Tree: The Cholla Cactus Garden at sunrise is incredible. Grab food at Crossroads Cafe, Joshua Tree Coffee Company, Natural Sisters Cafe or Joshua Tree Saloon.
Visit the Noah Purifoy outdoor art museum to see cool structures and sculptures made out of old scrap materials.
Drive up to wine country: Sample some of the fantastic, farm-to-table Healdsburg, California restaurants.
Need to Know
Looking for more inspiration on adventures in Arizona? Find more guides about traveling to California written by your favorite travel experts (aka Fora Advisors).
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