San Diego is a huge city spanning just over 456 square miles, which makes it the second largest city in California by area, falling behind Los Angeles. Travelling within the city itself can take a long time, and city attractions can be widespread. Travelling from Cabrillo National Monument on the south tip of the Point Loma peninsula to swanky La Jolla takes 35 minutes, all within the city of San Diego. Just to put some college reference upon it, it takes 21 minutes to get from SDSU to UCSD.
Your trip is going to take some planning to prevent you from ping ponging back and forth across the city. First, decide what you want to do, then where you are going to stay, then based on both those things, find yourself some great places to eat!
WHAT TO DO..
|We made it to the top!!
Another great area to hike is the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, located in the northern part of the city between Del Mar and La Jolla, adjacent to the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and Country Club. It costs something to park there, but my brother in law had it all figured out where to park without paying. The hiking there will not wind you as did Cowles Mountain, except maybe as you descent the ridge to the beach. The beach is lovely and not spoiled by industry. No dogs. No food on the trail.
Another option for getting active is to rent a bike and ride around the popular Mission Bay. We were able to rent cruisers through Groupon in the Pacific Beach area last year with the intention of riding around the entire bay. There really is no path that goes all the way around. But we wove our way through picnic areas, parking lots, some city streets and beach paths to manage to circle the bay. We were out about 2 hours and the ride was about 13 miles, plus some extra for going the wrong way.
There are lots of options on Mission Bay-kayaking, paddleboarding, jetskiing--we have a lot yet to try!
|Enjoying the 2 Hour Harbor Cruise
This was a great way to spend a sunny San Diego afternoon on the water of the harbor. The tour is well narrated. I learned a LOT about San Diego and its layout. The 1 hour southbound cruise heads past the USS Midway under the Coronado Bridge to views of Imperial Beach and the Silver Strand. The boat then returns to port and after a change of a few passengers who could only tolerate an hour, the boat heads out via the northern waters of the bay, past Harbor Island and Point Loma. Bar on board.
There are a lot of other great options near downtown-Balboa Park, Mission San Diego, Old Town, the USS Midway, San Diego Zoo, Seaport Village, the Gas Lamp district....so much more we have to see.
WHERE TO STAY:
On all of the four occasions that we chose to visit San Diego, we had business at SDSU, which is significantly inland (about 20 minutes) from what might be considered the more touristy part of San Diego. Twice we chose to stay in a house about one mile from campus which offered us the ability to cook, to make our own drinks, and read and relax in the darling back yard. If coming to campus as a family, we will never stay anywhere else. But literally there is no limit to the places you can stay in every price range. If you want to stay downtown, get ready to pay top dollar and expect a steep parking and possibly resort fee. The Hotel Circle area has a great selection of chain type hotels at a more reasonable price not far from the center of the action. The most famous and historic hotel in San Diego is actually on Coronado Island, the Hotel del Coronado, or just simply "the Del." This fancy hotel will set you back over $300 per night, likely a lot more in peak seasons. The Fairmont actually costs more, at prices up to $650 a night.
WHERE TO EAT:
|The Hangover Burger!!
|Looks like a Truckstop Pile-Up!
also for breakfast. This time we visited
Hey listen I could talk about food forever. Closer to State I have to throw a shout out to the sweet and reasonably priced Cucina Basilico, where I have been twice. It has a good variety of simple Italian inspired dishes. Service is attentive and thorough. Another fun place close to the airport is Corvette Diner, a kitschy 50's themed restaurant. Half the fun here is the sassy service of the waitstaff decked in poodle skirts and beehives. Food is fries, burgers, shakes--all the stuff you might expect to see.
Thank you for reading this post! Now for some more pictures!
Last fall at the top of Cowles Mountain
Ready to leave the San Diego Harbor
Right next door is the USS Midway
Last year on the beach at Torrey Pines State Reserve
Bar on Board!!