The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Although it might seem like many spots in San Diego County are alcohol- and adult-centric, there are plenty of great places that cater to the younger demographic, as well! So if you’re looking to dine out in San Diego with the little ones, look no further: we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly restaurants in San Diego, from North Park all the way up to Del Mar, Oceanside, and the rest of North County.

Waypoint Public (794 30th St., North Park)

Come for the beer and stay for the food at this family-friendly hipster hangout in North Park! The play space is enclosed with a mini picket fence, and is often packed with local families. Kids can lounge on bean bags while they sample an assortment of books, toys, and movies in their own kid play space in the back of the restaurant. The weekend brunch menu offers a creative selection of Egg Benedicts, including the must-try Southern Belle, featuring perfectly poached eggs, a thick slice of bacon-scallion cornbread and a cheesy IPA sauce.

Corvette Diner (2965 Historic Decatur Rd., Point Loma)

San Diego’s standby for burgers, shakes, and poodle skirts is still going strong after three decades! It’s no secret that kids love the 50’s themed diner, complete with an onsite arcade. The “Gamer’s Garage” offers more than 60 games to keep the little ones busy, from classic air hockey to new favorites like Fruit Ninja and Guitar Hero. Nostalgic décor, doo-wop music, and sassy waitresses make the experience complete.

Station Tavern (2204 Fern St., South Park)

Nothing sets the tone for a relaxing weekend like burgers and beer in the heart of South Park. Station Tavern boasts a spacious “backyard” with picnic tables and dirt floors. The restaurant is dog-friendly and offers an enclosed play space for children, which includes chalkboards and a half-scale wooden trolley.

While the kids play conductor, enjoy a remarkably fresh, well-seasoned hamburger, or a marinated chicken sandwich with delightful house-made barbecue sauce for lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to eat a plate of the restaurant’s famous tater tots – deliciously crisp with a generous dusting of spices.

The Patio on 101 (345 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas)

The Patio on 101 features a special area for kids that includes outdoor games and pint-sized seating for little ones. During daily happy hour, parents can enjoy drink and appetizer specials while kids entertain themselves in the designated fun area. There’s even an outdoor space for adults nearby, featuring games and comfy furniture.

The kid friendly menu offers a wide variety of American-style cuisine and share plates. Not to be missed: Crispy Brussels Sprouts with bacon and maple syrup, creamy Mac & Cheese with Andouille sausage and bao buns! That’s right — The Patio on 101 offers menu items from its sister property, Bao Beach, which means North County residents can indulge in Shrimp Bao, bulgogi, Karaage, and pork belly right in Encinitas.

BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden (8384 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa)

Experience casual French fare in charming downtown La Mesa, and bring the kids along too! Request a table in the idyllic covered courtyard, where a decommissioned school bus and chalkboards set the stage for fun, imaginative play. While you await your entrée, indulge in Bo-Beau’s legendary Brussels sprouts, prepared with pancetta and a balsamic reduction. Every selection is a good one on this small, thoughtful menu.

Classics Malt Shop (3625 Midway Dr., Suite B, San Diego)

This old school soda shop on Midway is famed for its classic American fare, lively atmosphere and friendly service. Kid’s meals include a junior hamburger, hot dog, grilled cheese and a corn dog, which all cost $5.99 each. Ice cream freezes, root beer floats and a Banana split (made using Thrifty ice cream) should keep everyone happy for dessert.

Panama 66 (1460 El Prado, Balboa Park)

Tucked inside one of San Diego’s prime attractions, Balboa Park, Panama 66 offers the perfect spot to rest and recharge after a day spent wandering around Balboa Park. Kids can run around the adjacent sculpture garden while you wait in line to order them child-friendly fare like a PB&J, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandwiches from the kids’ menu (each comes with a side of fruit).

Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen (1020 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos)

Arguably the most kid-friendly restaurant in all of San Diego, Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen offers a fully staffed playroom within the restaurant (available for a small fee). Onsite staff lead group activities, offer homework help, and can even suggest books and crafts. The menu boasts veggie-forward entrees with organic, vegan and gluten-free options for the whole family, as well as an extensive children’s menu.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto (1747 India St., Little Italy)

Long-standing family favorite Filippi’s is a great place to bring the kids. The atmosphere is loud and lively and the menu is simple – think cheese, tomato and meatball simple – and reasonably priced. Children’s dishes include spaghetti, ravioli, and lasagna, with optional sausage or meatballs. If the line is long, grab a pizza to go and enjoy alfresco by the fountain at the end of the block.

Mendocino Farms (12873 El Camino Real, Del Mar)

This hip spot for next-level sandwiches offers a kid-friendly patio with cornhole, foosball, and a toasty fireplace. Try the delicious “Not So Fried” chicken sandwich with free-range chicken, crispy polenta bites, herb aioli, pickled red onions, and chipotle barbecue sauce. The kids will love their high-quality menu, complete with gluten-free and vegan options. They offer a quality kids menu, plus gluten-free and vegan options.

The Crack Shack (407 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas)

With its breezy indoor/outdoor space, bocce ball court (that can also be used for corn hole and mini-golf), and oversized chicken statue, the Encinitas fried chicken and egg concept is the perfect destination for families in North County. Kids receive a special meal, which includes three chicken nuggets with fries, a small drink, and choice of cookie of the day.

Officine Buona Forchetta (2816 Sims Rd., Liberty Station)

This chef-driven spot for Neapolitan pizzas and pastas offers fresh, authentic flavors and family fun. Sip sangria on the back patio while kids play in a spacious grassy park right next to the restaurant: they’ll be busy with the teeter-totter, slide, and swings while you enjoy your antipasti! We recommend the Pizza Al Metro, a two-foot-long pie that’s perfect for sharing with family and friends; and whatever you do, don’t skip dessert: the Cremoso al Cioccolato e Nocciola will make all your chocolate dreams come true!

For more kid-friendly fun in San Diego, check out our Guide to Kids Free October!

San Diego Attractions for Kids: Explore Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the best places for families to visit in San Diego. There is a plethora of beautiful gardens, museums, cultural spots, theaters, playgrounds, and walking trails within the 1200-acre park. What really sets Balboa Park is all of the activities that are free and family-friendly – the park is a great place to spend the day, the afternoon, or even a couple of days exploring if you have the time! Here’s our list of some of the best family-friendly activities in Balboa Park for a fun family outing.

Free Activities in Balboa Park

If you’re looking for free things to do in San Diego, Balboa Park has enough activities and events to keep you and your family busy for several days! All of the gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails are open to visitors every day, and some attractions are also free.

On each Tuesday of the month, museums and attractions rotate to offer free admission to San Diego residents for “Residents Free Tuesdays.” The deal includes:

  • The Museum of Man
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Model Railroad Museum

Some of the museums also offer free admission to active duty military and their family or local college students (with ID). The Veterans Museum and Memorial offers free admission every day for active duty military. Each October during the Kids Free in San Diego event, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Reuben H. Fleet and other Park museums offer free admission to children as well.

Balboa Park Playgrounds

There are five different playgrounds within Balboa Park, which are a fun and free way for families to relax and get some exercise. Some of the playgrounds are better suited for kids under age 5, while others are intended for ages 5-12. Here are some of the most popular Balboa Park playgrounds:

Pepper Grove Playground: suitable for kids of all ages. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for children younger than five has a giant sandbox, cushioned floors, slides and swings. The other side, designed for kids five and older, offers a large jungle gym, faux zip line and fun things to spin on.

Sixth Avenue Playground: this is a large play area that kids of all ages can enjoy. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for kids aged 5 and up is fun and futuristic with loads of obstacles and things to climb on. The other side, recommended for children under 5, has a fire engine-themed jungle gym with ropes, slides and climbing bars.

Morley Field Playground: this medium-sized playground is perfect for kids aged 5-12, families with dogs and those who love playing sports. There are slides, monkey bars, swings and a rock-climbing wall to enjoy. It is surrounded by fun places like the a swimming pool, dog park and tennis courts.

balboa park

Fun Activities for Kids at Balboa Park

Balboa Park Carousel: The historic carousel is closer the entrance of the San Diego Zoo, and is truly an awesome place to visit for families. The carousel dates back to 1910 and is a fun menagerie of animals, and all but two pairs are original with hand-carved European craftsmanship. The carousel is one of the few in the world still offering the brass ring game for everyone taking the 5-minute ride!

A little history of the carousel: the Herschell-Spillman menagerie carousel was made in New York, and shipped to Los Angeles, California. In 1915, it was displayed at the summer resort called Tent City, in Coronado, and then moved up Balboa Park around 1922. It originally was placed at the east of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Natural History Museum, but moved to its current location in 1968 to make way for the Fleet Science Center.

In 2017, the Friends of Balboa Park purchased the historic carousel. As its new owner and operator, they will ensure that it remains an historic park landmark for many more years to come.

Miniature Railroad: The miniature railroad is next to the carousel, and families with young children will likely enjoy both rides. The train pulls out of the station for 3-minute rides around a portion of Balboa Park.

The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is always a hit with the little ones. Founded in 1948, the Puppet Theater is the longest continuous running puppet theater in the United States! Puppet performances are presented throughout the year by a variety of troupes; the theater presents approximately 45 shows a year, with different shows each week (12 shows a week during the winter and 15 shows a week during the summer). The theater boasts 6 rotating resident puppeteers and 2 associate puppeteers, plus occasional guest artists from around the United States. The theater seats 200, and many of productions are “full-stage” using life-size puppets.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, whose exhibits depict railroads all over the Southwest. The Museum also features a Toy Train Gallery, complete with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting. Your little train-lovers will absolutely love this railroad museum!

Balboa Park Gardens

The dozens of gardens located throughout Balboa Park are lovely places for a picnic or simply to just relax and enjoy the sunshine. Kids can play on the grass, and most of them offer plenty of shade and picnic tables. The Botanical Building is one of the most photographed buildings in Balboa Park and nestled among several of the most popular natural history museums.

The EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden is a unique organic herb, fruit, and vegetable garden that honors the memory of George Washington Carver. The space is dedicated to teaching young people about the role of plants in society. Gardening classes are available to schools, youth programs, individuals and families by appointment or on Sundays at 11:30am, and the garden also serves the nearly 6,000 students in the 5th Grade Balboa Park Integration Program.

The Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, and Zoro Garden are also good options for families. Some gardens are free and some cost money to get in, so be sure to double check on admission before you go.

Where to Eat at Balboa Park

After a long day of fun, the little ones in the group will definitely have worked up an appetite! There are several great places for families to dine at Balboa Park, including casual spots for outdoor activities and quick-and-easy snack carts.

Nosh down on hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft serve ice cream at the Village Grill behind the Natural History Museum. Over by the Fleet Science Center, you can sit outside and enjoy the fountain when you eat at Craveology. They have salads and panini sandwiches, and it’s a fun little spot that’s slightly off the beaten path for a quieter experience. The Alaska Airlines Flight Path Grill is a good go-to spot over by the Air & Space Museum: from chili cheese dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches, there’s yummy comfort food for all palates! You can sit out on the observation deck and watch the colorful planes land at the airport, too. There are also several coffee, snack, and water spots sprinkled throughout the park that you can walk to for a quick pick-me-up.

For more Balboa Park tips and how-tos, visit our explore Balboa Park page!

The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in San Diego

As one of the year’s biggest culinary trends, vegan and vegetarian cuisine is here to stay in San Diego! When it comes to healthy, San Diego is well ahead of the curve with plenty of great vegan and non-meat restaurants opening their doors to cater to the burgeoning scene. Here’s our roundup of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Diego – from downtown to Encinitas!

Café Gratitude

1980 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego 92101
Café Gratitude is a branch of the famous LA chain that offers creative plant-based cuisine, fresh cold-pressed juices, and organic wine and beer in a casual, laid-back setting. Located in Little Italy, the Bay Area-born vegan chain presents a menu of healthy vegan dishes with unusual names such as “I am grateful” and “I am crunchy.” While the meal titles might be odd, the food certainly isn’t — with sumptuous dishes like asparagus risotto, buckwheat-flax pancakes, and collard spring rolls.

Kindred

1503 30th Street, San Diego 92116
French Gothic cathedral meets death metal bar in this unique and eclectic eatery! Located in the former Alchemy space in South Park, Kindred is an exclusively vegan restaurant with the aesthetic of a European comic magazine blended with a 1920s Parisian cocktail bar – and a fun menu to match. Offering an array of unusual and delicious food, the menu features dishes such as cornmeal-crusted tempeh on a rye pita with kale fennel kraut, smoked beets, and Sriracha Thousand Island sauce, spicy Grilled Seitan skewers, and Memphis BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with crispy house-made potato chips. Kindred is open for dinner from Monday through Friday and brunch, lunch, and dinner on the weekends.

Trilogy Sanctuary & Café

7650 Girard Ave., La Jolla 92037
Trilogy Sanctuary brought vegan cuisine into our very own La Jolla just a few years ago. Set in a downtown La Jolla yoga studio, Trilogy Sanctuary is a vegan rooftop restaurant and juice bar that boasts Boho chic décor and beautiful ocean views and serves a menu of organic, vegan, and gluten-free fare, super smoothies, and fresh juices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features yummy favorites such as “eggs” Benedict served with cauliflower cheese “eggs,” avocado, sprouts, “Hollandaise” sauce and eggplant “bacon” on a toasted gluten-free bun, the Sunflower Sprout Raw Pizza, and the Kale Superfood Salad.

Donna Jean

2949 5th Ave, San Diego 92101
Open since 2017, this homey California-meets-Midwest restaurant serves vegan and vegetarian fare seasoned with herbs from its onsite garden, as well as kombucha and beer. It’s named for Chef Roy Elam’s late mother, who died at age 55 from breast cancer, which he believes could have been prevented with a plant-based diet. Specialties include comforting favorites like socca pizzas (flatbread made with chickpea flour), skillet mac ’n’ cheese, mushroom risotto, Nashville hot mushrooms, and house-made pies.

Jyoti-Bihanga

3351 Adams Ave., San Diego 92116
Jyoti-Bihanga is a casual spot with an inventive menu of vegan and vegetarian fare run by local students of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. The tranquil eatery offers a creative menu of delicious food for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday and an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on a couple of Sundays every month. Indulge in whole-wheat blueberry pancakes, challah French toast, tofu scrambled eggs, and French biscuits for Sunday brunch, fresh salads, homemade soups, wraps and sandwiches for lunch, and a variety of entrées, sides, and desserts for dinner.

Flower Child

2690 Via De La Valle, Del Mar
This fast-casual healthy-foods restaurant opened in late 2016 at the Flower Hill Promenade. Flower Child has a whopping 19 vegan options on its menu, including its top-selling avocado hummus, Mother Earth ancient grains bowl, vegan poke, Forbidden Rice, spicy tofu Thai dish and Indian-spiced cauliflower. Meat add-ons are available for most dishes, if you’re looking to add a little more protein.

Loving Hut

1905 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego 92116
Renowned as the world’s largest vegan restaurant chain, Loving Hut has two outlets in San Diego (one in University Heights and the other in Mira Mesa) that serve an array of standard dishes along with California fresh signature plates. Loving Hut uses fresh locally sourced ingredients to create hearty, healthy, and tasty cuisine, including favorites such as Cha Cha fried rice, Lucky Lemongrass, Beyond Wild West BBQ burger, and Heavenly salad. Loving Hut is open for lunch and dinner.

Plant Power Fast Food

2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego 92107
Relatively new on the vegan culinary scene, Plant Power-Fast Food was opened by the founders of Hillcrest’s Evolution Fast Food and offers a broad menu of plant-based sandwiches, salads, wraps, and burgers along with super smoothies and desserts. It’s become a staple in the veggie fast food scene with signature dishes like the “Big Zac” Burger (their vegan take on the famous Big Mac) and the Southwest Avocado Wrap, filled with a zesty black bean and “beefy” medley of chipotle “aioli,” avocado, salsa, and kale mix. Plant Power-Fast Food is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Evolution Fast Food

2965 5th Ave, San Diego 92101
Established in 2009, Evolution is San Diego’s original vegan fast food outlet and the vegetarian’s answer to the universal fast food burger joint – including a drive-thru window. Following the successful formula of meat-centric burger joints, the restaurant has a menu of burgers, tacos, and wraps, including the gluten-free Evo Burger with either a black bean or house-made tempeh patty stacked with fresh lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, tomato, and a creamy Thousand Island dressing. Pair burgers with a side of chili cheese fries and organic shakes or smoothies. Evolution is open daily for lunch and dinner.

O.B. Garden Café

4741 Voltaire St., San Diego 92107.
Opened as an expansion of the popular Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market in the fall of 2017, OB Garden Cafe is a two-story indoor/outdoor restaurant with a vegetarian/vegan menu, wine and beer, and Sunday morning yoga classes on the roof deck. Specialties of the house include a BBQ jackfruit bowl, black bean and quinoa burger, vegan pot pie, Portobello tacos, and veggie noodle dishes. There are also smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, breakfast dishes, and coffee drinks. The Garden Cafe is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Peace Pies

4230 Voltaire St., San Diego 92107
Committed to “changing the world one slice at a time,” Peace Pies serves a menu of raw, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free products and cooked dishes, ranging from pizza and pies to salads, wraps, entrées, desserts, and more. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers and artisans and always served fresh, while dried goods and products have earth-friendly packaging. The restaurant, which is open every day for brunch, lunch, and early dinner, offers dishes such as a peace pizza of marinated veggies and “cheese” on a sunflower seed crust, mushroom quesadillas, and a Sol Bowl of cheesy kelp noodles with sautéed mushrooms and onions.

For more epic food inspo, check out our Dining Guide for all the best restaurants in La Jolla!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Tips For The Family

Whether you are planning a family day in La Jolla or plan to head to a theme park, San Diego certainly doesn’t lack in options. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a 1,800-acre wildlife preserve that’s home to over 3,500 animals across 260 species from six continents of the world. A sister location to the San Diego Zoo, the Safari Park offers a much more diverse experience: its most famous feature is the expansive free-range enclosure area that’s home to herds of giraffes, rhinos, antelope, zebras, and buffalo, among other animals! Here is everything you need to know about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, including helpful tips for visiting families.

Hours & Directions

The Safari Park is located at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido 92027. The park is open from 9am-5pm seven days a week.

Directions from the NORTH (southbound): From Interstate 5 (Orange County, Los Angeles), take the State Route 78 East exit at Oceanside, proceed east to Interstate 15 South, exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs to the Park. From Interstate 15 (Riverside), exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs east to the Park.

Directions from the SOUTH (northbound): From State Route 163 (downtown San Diego, Mission Valley) proceed to Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Go east and follow signs to the Park. From Interstate 5 or 805 (Mexico), proceed to State Route 163, then to Interstate 15 North, and then exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27). Follow signs east.

Directions from the EAST (westbound): From Interstate 8 (Imperial County, Arizona) take Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Follow the signs east to the Park.

Parking

Parking at the lot at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is:

  • $15 per vehicle.
  • $20 for RV parking.
  • Preferred parking is available on weekends and holidays for an additional $18 ($15 + $18 = $33 total to park in preferred parking).

San Diego Safari Park Tickets

  • 1-Day Pass: $56 Adults / $46 Children. Includes Africa Tram, Cheetah Run, and all regularly scheduled shows.
  • 2-Visit Pass: $89 Adults / $79 Children. Includes one visit to the San Diego Zoo and one visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park -or- two visits to the San Diego Zoo -or- two visits to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
  • San Diego GoCard: $209 Adults / $189 Children. The Go San Diego Card is a 3-day, all-inclusive attraction pass with free admission to the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, LEGOLAND®, SeaWorld San Diego, and 35 other attractions.

Best Time to Visit the San Diego Safari Park

The best time to visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park is in the springtime, during birthing season. The busiest times of the year are from June-August and during school vacations. The park offers many nursery exhibits to see the baby animals, including enclosures that let visitors watch them as they take their first steps or are fed from a bottle.

Regardless of the time of year, the best time of day for guests to visit is in the morning as the animals tend to be most active then, before the temperatures reach afternoon highs. Tip: To avoid crowds, plan to visit the park on a weekday if possible.

What to See and Do

There is so much to see and do at the Safari Park, especially at the extensive free-range animal enclosures in the park. The park has 13 habitats and distinct regions.

[image: Facebook]

Tiger Trail

Make sure you grab a map at the Park entrance to help you navigate your way to all of the animals and to see the day’s schedule of entertainment, talks, tours, and attractions. Then start your visit with a trip through the awe-inspiring Tiger Trail, where you can watch tigers play and splash in the water – and if you’re lucky, they’ll walk straight up to the viewing window! When you first enter the Tiger Trail, there’s a little nook off to the right where you climb down netted rope to access a small viewing window. Kids will love feeling like they’re climbing through the jungle to happen upon a tiger like we did, as seen in the above photo! Kids will also love climbing and exploring at the Samburu Jungle gym located in the African Woods section of the Park.

Petting Kraal

Be sure to take your kiddos to the Petting Kraal to touch and brush the goats. Just make sure you don’t have any food on you before you go in––the goats will eat anything! For a list of all the animal encounters available at the Park click here. We love the Lemur Walk and Lorikeet Landing, where you can come face to face with lemurs and lorikeets!

Africa Tram

Definitely plan on riding the Africa Tram, which runs from 10am – 5:15pm daily. It’s a fun excursion through the African field exhibits, and is included with park admission. It’s one of the easiest ways to observe the animals here – the view from the open-air Tram gives kids a thrilling perspective of animals, ranging from giraffes to African rhinos. A tour guide narrates the tram ride with fun and educational facts about animals and what the Safari Park is doing to help critically endangered species. Tip: You can see the giraffes from the tram or from the African Plains’ Kijamii Overlook. For a special experience, feed the giraffes during a Caravan Safari.

The Safari Park has had over 100 births of the Uganda giraffe in their African Plains habitat, which greatly helps with the conservation efforts of this endangered giraffe subspecies.

Lion Camp

After your tram ride, head to see the nearby lion and lionesses in all their splendor. They’ll most likely be lounging under the Acacia tree since the regal felines can sleep up to 21 hours a day. Don’t miss the large glass panels that let you peer into the habitat with the hopes of coming face to face with the lions.

Gorilla Forest

Meander down the Gorilla Trail through the Gorilla Forest where you’ll behold a band of beautiful gorillas. After, don’t miss the gorilla activity center off to the left of the habitat. Kids can see how they measure up to an adult gorilla, watch a video on how the Park cares for the gentle giants and listen to sounds gorillas make.

Posted signs encourage passerby to “shhhh” be quiet because the gorillas don’t like loud noises. This may be a good exhibit to take your kids through after they’ve let off steam elsewhere so they can be quiet around the gorillas.

Elephant Valley

Don’t miss the opportunity of seeing the exquisite herd of African elephants in the Park’s two large exhibit yards. You may see elephants eating a snack, taking a dip in their pond, or watch the young elephants playing in a mud hole. There’s an Elephant Viewing Patio next to Tembo Stadium, but there are plenty of additional vantage points to get a close look at these amazing creatures.

Add-on Experiences

In addition to seeing the animals and regular exhibits, the Safari Park has a wide array of add-on activities including: a zip line, balloon Safaris, campouts, playgrounds, behind-the-scenes safaris, rope climbing through the trees, encounters with animal ambassadors, trike safaris, and customized experiences with personal guides – so you can really make a whole day of fun out of your visit and tailor your experiences to your kids’ interests! Visit the park website for details.

Tips for Families

  • Be sure to bring snacks, water or a water bottle, and a picnic lunch if you don’t plan on buying lunch inside the wild animal park. There are plenty of tables throughout where you can eat the food you brought from home.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes, and bring a stroller for younger kids who might get tired from walking around the Park all day. Strollers are also available for rent at the Park.
  • Arrive early, at opening time if possible – temps are cooler and you’ll see more animals out and about.
  • There are four separate play areas, including one “cool zone” with water misters during the spring and summer months. Kids will love these when it’s hot out. The Park also has misting fans on many of the paths.
  • Bring a swimsuit/towel for kids who want to make a big splash in the Savanna Cool Zone.
  • Pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen – it can get warm at the Park, especially during the spring and summer months.
  • The park is open even in the rain. In fact, it’s an excellent time to go, when many of the animals may come out to soak it up. And you might feel like the only person in the whole park.
  • Start off walking, and then switch over to the Tram once the little ones start to tire. It’s a good way to break up all of that exercise!
  • Make sure your camera or phone are fully charged to capture lots of great photos!

Regardless of how you spend your day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, there is truly no other place like it in San Diego. Be sure to check out our San Diego Zoo Guide if you plan on checking that out, as well!

The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 24th

The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 24th

The upcoming Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego is the golf event of the year! It has been held at Torrey Pines every year since 1968. Tiger Woods has confirmed he’ll be playing this year; Woods, who recently turned 42, won eight of his PGA Tour victories at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods is a clear favorite, especially among locals: keep an eye out for him and you just may score an autograph!

Overview

Opening Day is on Thursday, January 24, and each day through Sunday, January 27 holds a Championship round in the morning. Here’s the schedule breakdown for the week:

  • Thursday, January 24
    • Opening Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Friday, January 25
    • Second Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Saturday, January 26
    • Third Round, South Course
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Sunday, January 27
    • Final Round, South Course

In addition to Tiger Woods, players this year include defending champion Jon Rahm (who won in 2017), Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Before you go, purchase tickets online at the Farmers Insurance Open website. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the parking options available and the detailed Spectator Guidelines. Specific tee times will be updated the night before each event.

History of the Farmers Insurance Open

The tournament (originally called the San Diego Open) was first played in Chula Vista, then moved in 1954 to Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, which had hosted the Crosby Pro-Am prior to World War II. The event was played at Mission Valley Country Club in San Diego in 1955 for one year, then moved to El Cajon in 1956.

In 1968, the event began its present relationship with Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, a 36-hole public facility owned by the City of San Diego. In the current tournament set-up, players split the first 36 holes between the North and South Courses, then play the final 36 holes on the South Course. In 2008, the South Course hosted the U.S. Open, won by Tiger Woods in a playoff. Today, the Farmers Insurance Open is a PGA Championship tournament known as the “West Coast Swing,” and is organized by The Century Club of San Diego .

Itinerary

6:00 am – Get breakfast! Nearby restaurants include Caroline’s Seaside Cafe open at 8 am, and Farmer & The Seahorse open at 7 am weekdays. The Grill at Torrey Pines also opens at 6 am, situated at The Lodge at Torrey Pines hotel right next to the golf course for a closer breakfast.

7:00 am – Gates Open. If you’re an early bird, now is a great time to get yourself situated and set up your chairs or look for autograph opportunities (Tiger Woods if you get lucky!).

9:00 am – The round opens. You can bring pop-up stools and chairs without their carrying bags, but no lawn chairs or step stools. Times for each of the holes are on the schedule, and the player list is here. Then grab lunch at the event zones found at multiple locations throughout the event. See below for a full list of concession areas and food spots!

3:30 pm – Typically, the day’s round lasts until about 3:30 pm. The Post Party hosted by Harrah’s kicks off after the end of the rounds (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Enjoy drinks and live music while mingling with other tournament attendees.

Attractions

SERVPRO Fan Village:

  • The Michelob ULTRA Zone: Open to the public, the 30,000-square foot Michelob ULTRA Zone features premium food and drink offerings.
  • Champions for Youth Tent in the Fan Village: Buy an official Farmers Insurance Open “Keep Calm & Torrey On” quiet paddle. All proceeds benefit at-risk youth charitable organizations!
  • Official Merchandise Tent: Shop all Official Tournament gear.
  • Fan-Friendly Expo: Try the latest golf equipment, learn more about special offers from Tournament partners, and engage in interactive displays.
  • The Fringe: Located on the 15th green. Upgrades on site are available at The Fringe entrance so check out what has become our most popular venue with artisan menu choices for purchase and a premium cash bar.
  • The Post Party: When play ends, keep the party going with live music from local DJs and Happy Hour drink specials.

The Swell Coffee Co. Grove (located between the 7th and 18th Fairways):

  • Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck: The expanded Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck will feature an all-new elevated viewing deck with panoramic views of the course, a Pétanque course and specialty drinks including the 2018 signature cocktail, the Torrey Breeze.
  • Concessions and picnic benches

Vantage Point (located near the 1st tee and 18th hole of the South Course).

  • Grey Goose La Cantine: Get the morning started with signature Grey Goose Boody Mary
  • Practice Putting Green: Watch the Pros as they prepare to play.
  • Autograph Area: Snag an autograph from your favorite player after the round.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Shop: Buy Official Tournament merchandise and accessories.

 

The PGA Championship Tour continues after the Farmers Insurance Open with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, the Genesis Open in Pacific Palisades, and the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida in March. Open tickets and tickets for each upcoming event can be purchased at pgatour.com, along with a complete schedule and list of players. Tee times will be announced as each event approaches. The highly anticipated World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational will be held in August of this year in Akron, Ohio; the current American favorite player for that one is Zach Johnson.

Where to See Snow in San Diego County

One of the best things about San Diego County is the fact that you can be at the beach, in the mountains, or in the desert pretty much within an hour’s drive from downtown. And when winter rolls around, particularly December through February, there’s nothing locals want to do more than get out of town and hit the slopes – or simply enjoy a cup of hot cocoa! These five destinations are less than a two-hour drive from San Diego and almost always experience significant snowfall during winter in San Diego. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mount Laguna (1 hour)

At just over 6,000 feet above sea level and 55 miles east of downtown San Diego (about a 1 hour drive), this is one of the most popular places to see winter snow. This is a great spot to cross-country ski, build snowmen, sled or toboggan, or make snow angels; but be sure to take a few precautions before you speed up the mountain.

If the urge strikes to stop along the way, you must pull completely off the road, avoid private property and purchase an Adventure Pass online or at a local vendor for $5 before you go. If there is snow, chains are required and you’ll need to purchase them before your trek up the mountain. The highway patrol sets up check points, that also tend to slow traffic, and you may find yourself in hot water if they catch you without chains. The Laguna Mountain Lodge has reasonably-priced accommodations, a Visitor Center, and Adventure Passes for sale.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (1 hour)

In the coldest winters, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park turns into a winter wonderland, completely covered in snow. You’ll find many families flocking here, taking up the relatively small number of parking spots in the Paso Picacho area campground. Both campgrounds offer several hiking trails, including treks to several popular peaks such as Stonewall Peak, Middle Peak, and Cuyamaca Peak. Additionally, there are several free turnouts ideal for kids to stop and play in the snow. If you aren’t looking into snow camping, try nearby Blue Jay Lodge for affordable accommodations. 

Arrive early, enjoy a day in the snow, and drive an additional 20 minutes to eat some warm apple pie in Julian afterwards.

Palomar Mountain (1 hour, 45 minutes)

A windy drive up Palomar Mountain transports you to biodiversity reminiscent of Northern California. Step into the pine, cedar, and fir wood forests and you might forget you’re even in Southern California. While Palomar Mountain is farther than other snow destinations in San Diego (about an hour and 45-minute drive), it is one of the best in terms of snow hikes and solitude. If you plan to hike, double check on whether or not you need an Adventure Pass. As far as accommodations go, you’ll find plenty of camping.  

Take a walk along the French Valley Trail and loop back towards Doane Pond for a beautiful hike through the forest and meadow; or head to the nearby Palomar Observatory for a scenic viewpoint. 

Julian (1 hour, 15 minutes)

Many flock to Julian for their famous apple pies, historic landmarks, and scenic hiking trails, but winter offers an additional appeal: snow! At just an hour and fifteen-minute drive from downtown San Diego, Julian is the perfect destination to travel to to build a snowman, start a snowball fight, or hike along a lightly snow-dusted trail. Parking is usually not an issue, but easiest to find at Jess Martin park, Julian Memorial Park, or William Heise Park. 

Once you’re done playing in the snow, make sure to warm up by stopping at one of their famous wineries or breweries in the downtown area.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Idyllwild (2 hours)

Though it’s the farthest away from San Diego proper, Idyllwild is very much worth the drive for local snow-seekers. It’s a cozy little mountaintop community located above the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, and is known for its quaint downtown filled with boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops. It snows most winters here, and the best time to go is usually in December or January. This particular area is generally much less crowded than Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, and some of the other larger communities nearby; it’s a great spot for a winter hike, sledding, making snow angels, and cozying up in a local Airbnb to watch the snow fall.

Tips Before You Go

  • Make sure to check weather and traffic conditions before heading up to the mountains.
  • Bring chains in case they are required on certain roads. 
  • Bring a fully-charged cell phone and plenty of snacks for the road, just in case you’re not the only one with the grand idea!
  • Always pack your trash out, and practice the “leave no trace” philosophy; most of these lands are within National Forests and are protected by law.

Where is your favorite place to see the snow in San Diego County? 

QUIZ: Which San Diego Neighborhood Are You?

Anyone who’s spent some time in San Diego knows how eclectic, fun, and downright awesome America’s Finest City is! From enjoying our near-perfect year-round weather to indulging in some of the best craft beer in the country, there is no shortage of great ways to spend your time in our coastal city. But where to begin?! With dozens of different (and completely unique) neighborhoods and communities, it’s a tad overwhelming for visitors (or brand-new locals) to figure out which one is which – and more importantly, where they want to live! 

Are you a fun-loving extrovert who loves the hustle and bustle of urban downtown, or are you happier with a glass of wine and Netflix in a quiet suburb? Do you live for the beach, or are you the type to hit the trails every morning? Take our fun quiz to find out which San Diego neighborhood suits your personality! 

  • North Park
  • La Jolla
  • Ocean Beach
  • Little Italy
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Pacific Beach
  • Mission Beach

GIVEAWAY!

That’s not all! One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a $50 gift card to Whisknladle La Jolla! All you have to do is complete the quiz to be eligible to win. 

Flemings La Jolla Hosts Wine Pairing Dinner Featuring Tobin James

On January 25th, Fleming’s La Jolla will host a special wine pairing dinner featuring five incredible wines from Tobin James Cellars. This one-night-only event includes a perfectly prepared five-course menu expertly curated for the occasion by Chef Partner Matt Cook – and we are giving away two tickets! 

GIVEAWAY

 

 

 

We are giving away two tickets to the Tobin James wine pairing dinner at Flemings La Jolla! Tickets are valued at $125 per person. Entries must be submitted by January 22nd, 2019. To enter, visit our Giveaway PageIf you win, you’ll receive an email with instructions and details on the event!

Here’s a sneak peek at the five-course menu for this year’s Tobin James Wine Dinner.

First Course

  • Stuffed Baby Heirloom Tomatoes with chèvre, mint pesto, pistachios.
  • TOBIN JAMES Dream Weaver Sparkling California, NV

Second Course

  • Dungeness Crab Louie with red leaf lettuce, blood orange remoulade, roasted red pepper jam, shaved jicama.
  • TOBIN JAMES James Gang Reserve Chardonnay Monterey County, 2015

Third Course

  • Crispy Korean Pork Belly with marinated radish, potato pancake, pork jus.
  • TOBIN JAMES, Black Magic Petite Sirah Paso Robles, 2014

Entrée

  • Kona-Rubbed Wagyu Ribeye Medallion with spicy smashed cauliflower, gorgonzola cream.
  • TOBIN JAMES, Fat Boy Zinfandel Paso Robles, 2015

Dessert Course

  • Humboldt Fog Cheesecake with walnut crust, fig jam, prosciutto dust.
  • TOBIN JAMES, Liquid Love Late Harvest Zinfandel Paso Robles, 2013

About Flemings Steakhouse La Jolla

Fleming’s La Jolla is located at 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122. Flemings’ menu is filled with your fresh favorites and a local chef’s table that changes monthly with fresh produce and seasonal flavors. The bar manager here has curated a wide selection of locally selected wines, handcrafted cocktails, and distilled spirits for all palettes.

About Tobin James 

Tobin James was the original winemaker at another familiar winery, Peachy Canyon. He put his name—and Paso Robles—on the map, when the very first wine he made won a spot on the coveted “top 100” wines of the year with the Wine Spectator. It wasn’t until 1993, after numerous gold medals and scores of 90+ on his wines, that Tobin decided to build his own winery on highway 46 east of Paso Robles.

La Jolla Hotels Guide

With its world-class beaches, luxurious hotels, and renowned fine dining, La Jolla is a truly one-of-a-kind weekend getaway destination. While you’re here, explore a variety of boutiques, cafés, la jolla restaurants, galleries, and museums, and enjoy a number of outdoor activities. And at the end of a long day, allow yourself some much-needed R&R at a gorgeous local hotel right here in La Jolla. This is your complete guide to La Jolla hotels, from quaint B&Bs to luxurious coastline resorts!

La Valencia

1132 Prospect St, La Jolla
Affectionately known as “The Pink Lady”, La Valencia has been an icon of elegance and grandeur in La Jolla since it was built in 1926. Sitting on the hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the resort’s Mediterranean architecture still enchants visitors today as it did during its heyday as a Hollywood hideaway.

La Valencia embodies a distinct vintage, historical charm that you won’t find in many other contemporary hotels. From the red tiled floor to the painted ceiling and, of course, the exterior pink paint, La V remains unmistakably regal. Inside, guests are treated to charming rooms with ocean views; upgrade to a larger suite for more privacy and even better panoramas. La Valencia is a local icon and a fantastic option for a romantic getaway or a San Diego staycation.

La Jolla Shores Hotel

8110 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla
The La Jolla Shores Hotel shares the same beach as its sibling hotel (LJBTC) and thus offers many of the same incredible amenities, including stunning views.. If you’re dreaming of waking up to the sound of crashing waves, taking a leisurely walk along the sand with a cup of coffee, or sipping a cocktail on the beach as the sun sets, then the La Jolla Shores Hotel is the destination for you!

Some rooms have kitchenettes, great for saving a few bucks on breakfast so you can splurge on dinner. The beach is just steps away from most of the rooms, and a pool and spa occupy some prime real estate right on the sand in front of the hotel. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for a beachfront getaway!

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla
Want to stay right on the beach? Look no further than the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, one of the few San Diego hotels that are literally right on the sand. Built in 1935, this luxurious spot has its own private beach complete with lounge chairs, water service, and even nightly s’mores roasting!

Rooms range from street view to ocean view 3-bedroom suites, and many have kitchenettes (great for families with kids). The Marine Room restaurant is right next door, one of San Diego’s finest oceanfront restaurants (read about their High Tide Dinner here!). Kayaks and water sport toys are all available for rent right on the beach, and tennis, sparkling pools, and gorgeous grounds all make this a serious destination resort.

Grande Colonial Hotel

910 Prospect St, La Jolla
The Grande Colonial opened back in 1913 when La Jolla was still a sleepy little beach town and rooms went for $25 to $50 a month. Over the years, the hotel has gone through multiple updates, and now has clearly found its place as one of the most elegant ocean view luxury hotels in San Diego.

With traditional furnishings and decor, The Grande Colonial looks like something out of a magazine. Rooms are updated and upscale, and Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar on the first floor is a local favorite, helmed by an award-winning chef and boasting fresh local California cuisine. The beach is an easy walk down the street, and its downtown La Jolla location means there is plenty to do during your stay; from exploring the local La Jolla nightlife to checking out one of the art galleries and museums.

9700 N Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla
The beautifully adorned adobe buildings and rustic setting at Estancia gives way to spacious stone courtyards, bubbling water fountains, outdoor fireplaces, and an air of understated elegance. Located next to the Torrey Pines Golf Course, this particular resort boasts gorgeous views and a relaxing ambiance; perfect for a couples’ weekend getaway.

Rooms are tastefully done with contemporary tones and upscale furnishings, and the grounds are truly exceptional. The popular spa is a destination in and of itself, and several restaurants throughout the property offer different types of food for all tastes. What we love most about the Estancia La Jolla is its unique approach to luxury; calm, quiet relaxation is the order of the day here, and although it doesn’t boast ocean views or a bustling downtown scene, you will no doubt leave feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead!

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla
Set amongst the pines, The Lodge at Torrey Pines looks more like something you would find at Lake Tahoe than oceanfront San Diego! An upscale Craftsman-style resort with excellent restaurants, a fabulous pool, and full-service spa, the Lodge is a great getaway for golf lovers and vacationers alike. Located right at the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines Golf Course, this is a fantastic option for those looking to spend their weekend time out on the course.

Customer service, attention to detail, and panoramic views of the golf course and the Pacific Ocean make The Lodge a true one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy fine dining at A.R. Valentien, or spend the day strolling through the grounds and experiencing everything the on-site Spa has to offer (massages, facials, etc.). 170 guest rooms and suites are sprinkled throughout the grounds, and downtown La Jolla is just a few minutes’ drive away.

 

Empress Hotel La Jolla

7766 Fay Ave, La Jolla
For a bit more bang for your buck, the Empress Hotel is a great (pet-friendly) option for families. This comfortable, European-inspired base offers newly renovated accommodations that feature spacious floor plans, upgraded furnishings, and gourmet coffees and teas. Waiting for you just beyond your bedroom each morning is a complimentary continental breakfast, the perfect way to start your day before hitting the beach or exploring downtown.

Manhattan of La Jolla, the hotels’ on-site restaurant, serves classic Italian fare in the heart of California. From the fresh Caesar salads, made tableside, to the fine wines from the extensive list, this go-to spot’s menu strikes the perfect balance of European and American coastal. Pick from a selection of al-dente pastas, steaks and fresh seafood, and don’t miss the piano player on weekends! Situated right in downtown La Jolla, its location makes it a breeze to explore everything the Village has to offer – including restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

Hotel La Jolla

7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla
Nestled among the palms a few blocks away from La Jolla Shores beach, this boutique hotel is a fun escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown La Jolla. The hotel is also minutes from La Jolla Village, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the University of California, San Diego.

Rooms here are casually chic and come with balconies, many of which overlook the Pacific Ocean. Choose a suite for a living area with sofa and gorgeous ocean views from three balconies. Cusp Dining & Drinks, the 11th-floor restaurant, and lounge, boasts a California coastal menu and expensive wine list (and a great ocean view!). Their outdoor poolside lounge, Hiatus, is a fun way to spend the day or a nice spot for an evening cocktail. Other perks include the on-site fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary bikes for exploring the city.

For more things to do in La Jolla, check out our La Jolla Cove and San Diego guides!

The Best Views in San Diego

If you’re born and raised in San Diego, you already know that it’s truly one of most beautiful places on the planet  – people come here from all over the world to lay on our beaches and enjoy the perfect weather all year round. Whether your thing is hiking to waterfalls or sitting on the beach watching the sunset, San Diego is paradise. Here are some of the best views in San Diego, from coastal viewpoints to seaside meditation gardens! Plus, visit our San Diego guides section to explore more fun things to do in each neighborhood.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Where else can you sit back and watch people fly over the ocean? The Torrey Pines Gliderport sits above Black’s Beach (a clothing optional La Jolla beach) and next to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, a coastal state park and community known for its world-class golf course (it hosted the 2008 U.S. Open) and picturesque San Diego hiking trails. While both the golf course and trails have views well worth writing home about, just a little south is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, a city-owned aviation site where paragliders and hang-gliders can launch off the cliffs to the beaches below. It’s a magical spot to take in the scenery and watch San Diego’s finest soar through the sky.

There’s a massive parking lot in front of the glider port that’s free all day, so parking is almost always easy to find.

Mt. Soledad

Mount Soledad is one of La Jolla’s secret spots. It’s a small mountain with a veterans memorial and giant cross at its peak; the memorial itself offers an expansive, panoramic view of San Diego and the coast below, and it’s easily accessible by car. It’s an iconic San Diego spot, partially due to the massive controversy over the constitutionality of the cross — it went to the Supreme Court twice! Parking is easy, although the road from Pacific Beach to Mount Soledad is a popular cycling path if that’s your thing.

Sunset Cliffs

With sheer cliffs bordering the ocean, several decent surf spots, and coastal trails along the bluffs, Sunset Cliffs is one of San Diego’s most picturesque – and iconically Southern California –  areas. As the name suggests, it’s a popular spot if you’re wondering where to catch the sunset, although the beaches below are also a great place to hang out if you’re looking for something a little more secluded than some of our busier beaches.

Local tip: The cliffs are mostly unfenced, so watch your step as you explore the area. There are also a few spots where locals and visitors alike jump off the cliffs into the ocean, but be careful if you join: it’s technically illegal and there are lots of sharp rocks hiding in the water.

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

Incredible views and inner peace await within one of San Diego’s most picturesque gardens. Perched atop the cliffs in Encinitas, a coastal city in North County, the Meditation Gardens are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple grounds. It’s the perfect spot for a thoughtful stroll through lush greenery, and has plenty of benches facing the ocean view. This is an amazing place to take in the sunset, or simply spend a few hours admiring the garden and the views during the day.

If you’re there around lunchtime, head across the street to Swami’s Cafe! It’s a local gem that is well known for its breakfast and acai bowls, making it a perfect place to stop by before or after your garden stroll.

Stonewall Peak

Stonewall Peak is a favorite among San Diego hikers, and for great reason! Julian is a small city in the outermost part of San Diego County, known for its small-town country feel and freshly baked pies. But just a few miles from the sleepy town is the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, home to several hiking trails with some awesome vistas. We recommend Stonewall Peak, which has a trail that leads up a small mountain via a series of moderate switchbacks. After a 30 minute hike, you’ll arrive at a staircase leading you to the very top, where a breathtaking coastline view awaits.

Go as early as you can manage to see this great view — the view during sunrise is spectacular, plus you’ll avoid the midday heat and the crowds. Parking is at the campground just next to the trailhead and costs $10.

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It was a great weekend for the beach! This is Del Mar City beach 🏖 First time here and it was such a great day to get out and enjoy it. Each of California’s beaches are so unique. They all have a personality. This one included green lawns, and a Amtrak that zipped by every once in a while. The sand was like powdered sugar, and felt so cool on my bare feet. Del Mar is where the Torrey Pines golf course is, which is where they hold the US Open. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are just north of San Diego. I absolutely love discovering new places like this pretty seaside town. Happy Thursday everybody!#nofilterneeded #beach #beaches #beachday #delmarbeach #delmar #citybeach #greenlawns #amtrak #whitesand #feelsgood #unique #personality #beachlove #travel #travels #travelinsta #travelgram #travelinstagram #travelphotography #socal #california #californiaadventure #palmtree #pacificocean

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Powerhouse Park

One of our favorite places to relax in North County is Powerhouse Park, located in the quaint beach town of Del Mar. Both Powerhouse Park and adjacent Seagrove Park comprise Del Mar’s crown jewel, and after you take in the view there, you’ll see why!

The sprawling grassy knolls overlook the beach, making it a popular place to sunbathe or dine al fresco at one of the many picnic tables. To see the full scope of this area, begin at the outer rim of Seagrove Park and work your way down to Powerhouse Park, stopping along the routes to gaze at the sea and surfers below. If you walk past the “Tot Lot” play area at Powerhouse Park, you’ll find a small gateway that leads to a dirt path. Follow that trail to a cluster of benches where you can sit and bask in the sun. Seagrove Park is located off Coast Blvd. in Del Mar.

Coronado Ferry Landing

If you’ve ever searched Google Images for “downtown San Diego”, then you’ve seen the view of the San Diego cityscape lit up, standing tall and bright in front of the water. Those photos were taken from Coronado, a small city on a peninsula in the San Diego Bay, just west of downtown. The peninsula’s ferry landing leads into a waterfront park with restaurants, shops, a beach, and the same incredible view of the city that photographers love, making it an ideal place to spend the day. The view is especially impressive in the evening, when the city turns on its colorful lights and they dance off the water.

The best way to get to the ferry landing is the ferry! The ride is about 15 minutes, and it costs $4.75 each way. It operates regularly from downtown to Coronado from early morning until just before 10:00 pm.

La Jolla Cove

We wouldn’t be able to mention views without mentioning La Jolla Cove! Beautiful La Jolla Cove is a small beach area surrounded by cliffs which boast a beautiful view of the neighboring cliffs and hosts a colony of California sea lions – they make for a fun spectacle to watch as you wait for the sunset. 

La Jolla gets pretty busy in the summertime, especially on the weekends. Our recommendation is to explore the area in the evening on a weekday, or stop by during winter or fall (typically regarded as “offseason” here).