Due to the recent development at the La Jolla Cove, there will be no firework show there tonight leaving many locals scambling to find a new spot to watch. Luckily, we did our homework this time and got you covered with our top 5 spots that aren’t our beloved La Jolla Cove….
Short Drives North & South
1) MISSION BAY SeaWorld fireworks: SeaWorld San Diego start their firework show at 9:30 tonight. If you’re close enough or in the park, you will be able to hear a patriotic soundtrack to go along with the blasts. Prime viewing of this show can be found away from Seaworld anywhere you can see the bay such as…
2) Del Mar Del Mar Fairgrounds fireworks: The Del Mar Fair’s annual grand finale is the fireworks on 4th of July. They start popping tonight at 9pm. All can purchase tickets to see them from the fairground themselves but other free viewing points include….
Glorietta Bay fireworks: From Coronado most should be able to see the Big Bay Boom, but at 9pm there is an independent show from Glorietta Bay, south of the bridge and near the backside of The Del. Most viewers will need to be on the Island to get an upclose and personal show but they should be visible from….
San Diego is home to more than breathtaking beaches and fabulous restaurants. People come from all around Southern California and the world to view and check out some of the raddest cars, from vintage to contemporary.
The Best Car Shows in San Diego to Visit
Read below to check out our complete guide of San Diego Car Shows hosted year-round in America’s Finest City.
San Diego’s premier event is the La Jolla Concours d’elegance highlighting some of the most elegant cars made. From historic beauty’s like the Rolls Royce to contemporary performance like the Lamborghini, this car show is a car lover’s dream. But the event is more than just a car show, from cocktail receptions to decadent dinners. The Concours d’elegance is the car event you won’t want to miss.
La Jolla Concours d’elegance is held every April
The 2022 dates are April 22-24
Address: 1133 Coast Blvd at Ellen Browning Scripps Park
Highlighting classic and vintage cars, the Rancho Santa Fe Cars and Coffee is held every Saturday from 8-11 am in the center of Rancho Santa Fe. Polish your ride, drive out to show off your classic car, or drive down and grab a bite to eat and check out all the showcase cars parked along Paseo Delicias and Avenida de Acacias. For the sports car enthusiast, rent a Ferrari and join the fun! Be sure you have comprehensive insurance first. If you need tips for renting a car in San Diego, we’ve got it covered.
Held every Saturday 8-11 am
Free to the public
Address: 5978 Paseo Delicia, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Held the second Sunday of every month, the JBA Speed Shop Car Show is the one San Diego car show where spectators can check out the vintage collectibles, as well as catch a live burnout right in the middle of the show. Located in Kearny Mesa, check out the event calendar for more information.
Held 2nd Sunday of every month 530-930 am
Free to the public
Address: 5675 Kearny Villa Rd., San Diego, CA 92123
The Cars, Coffee, and Doughnuts in Mira Mesa are the event for you for a cooler vibe. Held once a month, cruise out, grab a donut and some coffee, and enjoy all the cool cars and cooler people. Monthly themes may highlight Cadi’s, VW’s, and more.
The car show where cars are stars, the San Diego International Auto Show is the event for car fans everywhere. With the broadest selection of new and vintage makes and models, you need to get your San Diego car show tickets early as the event sells out fast. Held annually in late December or early January, this is the one car show in downtown San Diego that attendees come from worldwide to check out the coolest cars on the planet.
Held annually in late December or early January
Located at the San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
Held at beautiful Embarcadero Park, the Day at the Bay Car Show is perfect for steel and ink enthusiasts. With classic cars, low-riders, and tattoo artists all in one place, the San Diego car show is a yearly event that showcases some fantastic cars and bikes from around the area.
The San Diego car show located in the resort town of Coronado, Motorcars on Main Street, is for the vintage car lover. For over 20 years, this annual event takes place off the main street of Orange Avenue and Isabella Avenue, blocks from the iconic Hotel del Coronado. This event features beautiful, timeless rides and live music.
Held annually in April
Free to the public
Located at the corner of Isabella Avenue and Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
The largest San Diego car show is held in North County. The Cruisin’ Grand Escondido is held every Friday evening. Over 5000 people come to view over 500 sports cars, muscle cars, and vintage cars. This is the classic car show in San Diego for enthusiasts to check out and run from mid-April through September from 5-9 pm.
Held weekly on Fridays from 5-9 pm
Located in historic downtown Escondido, East Grand Avenue, Escondido, CA 92027
Known as a sleepy surf-town, Encinitas boasts the Encinitas Classic Car Nights featuring cars of a bygone era like woodies, hot-rods, and more. Held along the 101 freeway, this is the San Diego car show for nostalgia buffs.
Held 3rd Thursday of every month running May through September, 530-730 pm
Located at South Coast Highway 101 from D to J Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
The Del Mar car show in San Diego is your answer for sun, sand, and cool cars. This annual event is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds every spring, featuring vendors, live music, indoor and outdoor exhibits, and over 3,000 classic cars.
Held annually in Spring
Located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
The Cajon Classic Cruise is a weekly event for classic and specialty car enthusiasts of all ages. Held in downtown El Cajon, this event features over 400 unique cars on display and cruising through the area every Wednesday with plenty of venues, restaurants, and shopping for everyone.
Held late-April through October on Wednesday nights, 5-8 pm
Located at the intersection of Main Street and Magnolia, El Cajon, CA 92020
America’s fascination with the automobile is over 100 years old. The National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show reflects on the unique heritage and culture of the car in America. This event is held every August in National City by showcasing unique and exclusive historical and contemporary super-cars selections.
Held every August
Located at Kimball Park – East 12th Street and D Avenue, National City 91950
The American Heritage Car Show is the San Diego Car Show for classic car fans pre-dating 1974, from woodies to hot-rods and muscle cars. Held every May at Grape Day Park in Escondido, this event has food vendors, DJs, raffles and prizes, and more to make your day extraordinary!
Held every May
Located in Grape Day Park – 321 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025
San Diego offers a ton of things to do, and for the car enthusiast, there’s a ton of events to check out. So whether you’re looking for a San Diego Car Show at Qualcomm Stadium to the San Diego International Car Show or simply something a little more casual, there is a show for everyone to check out.
About the author:David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.
About the banner photo: A very special shout-out to Del Mar-based car enthusiast and friend Ryan W., who gave us access to his collection of car show photos, one of which we used for the banner photo in this article. He also helped us find some photos that he didn’t have. See you at the car shows, Ryan!
The time has come to show dad just how much you appreciate him being there for you. After the year we’ve had, you want to do something more than the typical tie and sock set or gift card to his favorite restaurant. This year, you want to give him the gift of experience and quality time. Things are a bit safer with vaccines and declining coronavirus cases, so you’ll find that there are plenty of activities and events to consider, especially in places like San Diego, CA.
Whether you’re a local or are willing to travel, San Diego has plenty of events that you and your dad will enjoy this Father’s Day. Along with sending dad funny greeting cards to let him know he’s on your mind, check out these fun activities and events listed below.
Belmont Park Car Show
Does your dad enjoy the craftsmanship, mechanics, and aesthetics of automobiles? If so, he might enjoy spending the day at a car show. Belmont Park is hosting a Father’s Day Car Show event on June 20th that you won’t want to miss. Check out everything from classic rides to today’s more modern cars, talk to fellow car lovers, and even enter dad’s car into the showing. That’s not all you’ll find at Belmont Park. You can make it a family affair, get on rides, taste delicious food from local restaurants, and even hit the beach. It’s a day dad won’t soon forget.
Father-Daughter Dance at Life Community Center
The father-daughter relationship is an endearing and close bond that only grows with time. What better way to make his day than to let him go dancing with his little princess? The Life Community Center in San Diego is holding its first annual father-daughter dance on June 4th that might be what you’re looking for. The Beauty and the Beast theme is the perfect backdrop to dance the night away. Meet other fathers and little girls, enjoy refreshments, and strengthen your bond in a safe and comfortable environment.
Father’s Day Virtual Race
Whether your father is into health and fitness or simply loves doing things for a good cause, the Father’s Day 1M 5K 10K 13.1 26.2 virtual race in San Diego is sure to put a smile on his face. It’s an annual event where fathers compete in a virtual walk or run. They can compete from home or at one of San Diego’s many parks and beaches, traveling the distance of their choosing.
They even receive a medal, a #1 dad tie tack, and a bib for one low rate. Let’s not forget, a portion of those proceeds gets donated to Team Hoyt. It’s a charity that works hard to assist disabled and physically challenged people build character and confidence.
Golf at Any San Diego Golf Course
Are you looking for something outdoors that encompasses fun, physical activity, skill, and a little friendly competition? Then San Diego, CA, is the place to visit. Home to more than 90 golf courses from Sea n’ Air Golf Course to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, there are no shortages of places to get in a few holes. You can spend the day placing wagers and brushing up on your skills, then head to one of the many restaurants in the city for a bite to eat.
Take A Cruise Around San Diego Bay
If dad’s a fan of cruises, he’d appreciate a Father’s Day Premium Brunch Cruise on the San Diego Bay. It’s a two-hour excursion across the bay with everything you need for a good time. You can spend time with loved ones, take in amazing views, listen to festive music, and indulge in various foods and all the beer he can drink.
Last year, celebrating dad was limited to virtual calls and gifts shipped to their front door. Fortunately, things have come a long way. Now, you can show dad your love and appreciation in -person. If you’re in the San Diego area or willing to travel, you’ll see that there are plenty of activities and events to give thanks to the special men in your life.
San Diego farmers are an incredible group of people. Their hard work means that people around the nation have access to quality honey, avocados, eggs, limes, and more. Not only that, but they provide an attractive option to local restaurants and home chefs who want to source their ingredients from more sustainable suppliers.
As anyone who lives here knows, it’s great to have access to all these foods fresh from the farm when you go to local farmers markets. If you’re really lucky, you live within blocks to one and you don’t even have to look for parking!
What is a farmers market?
A farmers market is an open-air market where farmers, artisans, crafters, food trucks, local cooks, and more all go to sell their handmade, farm-grown, and handcrafted wares to the public. Vendors rent space and bring their tents, tables, and supplies to get their products in front of thousands of people a week. A typical farmers market in San Diego is divided into two sections; one section has booths with wares including local farm-fresh veggies, artisanal honey, local cheeses and meats, imported oils and vinegars, baked goods, kombucha, and hand-made apparel. The other section is where you’ll find food stalls. Typical food options at a farmers market in San Diego include Vietnamese iced coffee, organic smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, stuffed hashbrowns, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, crêpes, gyros, vegan Buddha bowls, East African sambusas, Hawaiian poke, and even fresh sea urchin!
Is it cheaper to shop at a farmers market?
Yes. No. Maybe. Shopping at a farmers market gives you access to local food that is fresh from the farm. There are manyreasons to visit your local farmer’s market. Some farmers pick food the morning of the market or the day before to ensure you get the highest quality fruits and vegetables possible. The pricing for this is typically a little higher than the grocery store. Although, some non-food vendors may sell their products a little cheaper than they would online because there are less fees to pay.
Can you haggle at a farmers market?
Many business owners at the farmers market are willing to give a little bit of a price break if you buy more of an item at one time. For example, a pint of strawberries could cost $5, but if you buy two pints, the pricing might be closer to $8. If you really want a deal, wait until the end of the day, when many farmers want to get rid of their old produce to make room for new.
Where to park at a farmers market
If you plan to drive to a farmers market in San Diego, there will be different parking options at each of the farmer’s markets. See below to find out where to park at each location. Other alternatives include taking public transportation or riding a bicycle. And it’s not unheard of for a local to ride a skateboard to their local market.
How to sell at a farmers market?
Selling at a farmers market in San Diego means you need to have the right credentials. Food producers need to be inspected and pass the inspection with a certificate from the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Office. Many markets also require vendors to have liability insurance and other business credentials. Some of the most important supplies to buy include a tent—like the ones fromInstent Industries— a credit card processing solution, tables, signage, and a chair to sit on if you can get a moment.
The Top Farmers Markets in San Diego to Visit
Spend your morning or afternoon perusing these San Diego farmers markets to find fresh fruit and vegetables, grass-fed and organic meats, pasture-raised eggs, unique gifts, flowers, and so much more. With more than 6,000 farmers in the region, you’re sure to find something delicious to feast on, and something amazing to bring home.
Little Italy is known for its delicious foods, smells, and sights that bring you into the Old World while walking through San Diego. They host a weekly farmers market in San Diego where people can purchase fresh olive oil, supplies to make a delicious Italian meal, fresh-baked bread, paninis, handmade jewelry, and refreshing lemonades to go. Little Italy is a delightful walk with authentic Italian restaurants, boutiques, and more.
Day & Time: Saturday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Parking: Parking for the Little Italy Farmers Market is easy when you use one of the many surrounding parking garages. There is one located at 601 Ash Street and offers interior parking for only $5 per vehicle including all-day Saturday and Sunday. Street parking is limited outside the bounds of the market at metered spots.
Address: 501 W. Date Street from Kettner Blvd. to Front St., San Diego, CA 92101
The Hillcrest Farmers Market is the original farmer’s market in San Diego. It is also the largest and boasts over 175 vendors. Many vendors offer exquisite selections of international foods and ingredients to make your next meal a true foodie haven. With vendors offering locally grown organic produce, you’ll be able to find many options that fit your pesticide free lifestyle. Hillcrest Farmers Market also features incredible craftsmen who make one-of-a-kind pieces for your home. Parking here is simple because it’s Sunday! This means that all parking is free at the meters or one of the designated free lots. This market is also open year-round including on Christmas and New Year’s.
Day & Time: Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Parking: You’ll find 300 FREE Spaces at the School District Parking Lot on Campus Ave. Additionally, there are 153 FREE spots available at the Hillcrest DMV at 3960 Normal Street.
Address: 3960 Normal St Intersection of Normal and Lincoln San Diego, CA 92103
Swing by the Carlsbad Farmers Market in San Diego on your way home from work. Their mid-week market means you’ll always have something fresh to cook with. Whether you come for fresh-baked cookies, or tart and tasty fermented pickles, there is something for everyone at this weekly farmers market in San Diego. If you’re looking for a bouquet of flowers, Carlsbad Village Farmers Market vendors have you covered. They are known for their extraordinary variety of beautiful arrangements that you can take home each week.
Day & Time: Wednesday 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Parking: Hunt for spaces in the Village, because they are there. There are also spaces available in one of the public parking lots within just 2 blocks of the market. Make sure you remove your car from State Street starting at 1 p.m. to make room for the market.
Address: State Street at 2965 Roosevelt St, Carlsbad, CA 92008
People come to the Ocean Beach Farmers Market in San Diego for the local music, the handpicked fruits, and the unique beach vibe. Guests will walk the market on their evening stroll, they’ll come from the beach in their bathing suits, and find local honey, flowers, food truck style meals, and more.
Day & Time: Wednesday 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Parking: There are many affordable parking spaces in the area. The best option is to use Park Connect to find a spot. Additionally, for those requiring ADA parking, you can find it at Union Bank, located at 1858 Cable St, San Diego, CA 92107.
Address: 4900 Newport Avenue between Cable and Bacon Streets, San Diego, CA, 92107
What makes theLa Jolla Farmers Market in San Diego special is their connection to the community. The vendors at this market are like family, but the market does something unique each week. All proceeds from the market benefit La Jolla Elementary School and help to fund the arts, music, additional classroom teachers and more. The farmers and vendors who sell here bring their best meats, honey, fruit, vegetables, and more. You’ll also enjoy free parking because this market is on Sunday.
Day & Time: Sunday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Parking: There are many affordable parking spaces in the area. The best option is to use Park Connect to find a spot. Additionally, for those requiring ADA parking, you can find it at Union Bank, located at 1858 Cable St, San Diego, CA 92107.
Address: 7335 Girard Avenue La Jolla, CA 92037 at the corner of Girard Avenue and Center Street
Designed to be a local neighborhood market, you will find a small, curated selection of around 20 different vendors at the Mission Hills Farmers Market in San Diego. Say hello to neighbors and choose from a local produce, unique cupcakes, and more. The relaxed vibe will help you discover new things and easily find your favorites.
Day & Time: Wednesday 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Parking: Park anywhere on neighboring streets where there is a meter or at a local public parking lot.
Address: Falcon Street (between Fort Stockton and Washington), San Diego, CA 92103
Bring home the catch of the day with fresh seafood at the North Park Farmers Market. They also offer vendors featuring cheeses, salts, fresh honey, and local chef demonstrations and food. With more than 65 vendors, this farmers market is a fan favorite in San Diego. The live music adds a festival flair to the weekly market and people enjoy shopping the vendors whether rain or shine.
Day & Time: Thursday 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Parking: Parking at the North Park Farmers Market can be limited. Get there early to ensure you get a spot. The local North Park Garage has some parking options as well as neighboring streets at meters.
Address: Located between 29th and Ray Street on North Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104
With a location right by the beach, you can get some fun in the sun and stop by the market on your way home. The Pacific Beach Farmers Market in San Diego is known for its wide selection of seafood, vegan soups, and organic produce. Neighbors love to shop, socialize, and explore this local market.
Day & Time: Tuesday 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Parking: Parking can be found on the street at meters or at parking garages. The cheapest parking around is located at 1245 Garnet Avenue.
Imperial Beach, or “I.B.,” as the locals call it, has a reputation for being one of the most laid-back beach towns in all of Southern California. It’s also the most southwesterly city in the continental United States. Take advantage of the relaxed vibes by visiting the Imperial Beach Farmers Market on Thursdays, and stick around to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Day & Time: Thursday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. (open until 7 p.m. during the summer)
Parking: Parking can be found on the street in the surrounding area
Address: Seacoast Drive Pier Plaza, 10 Evergreen Ave., Imperial Beach, CA 91932
No matter where you work or live in San Diego, there is a farmers market nearby. Whether you go for the food, the music, to say hello to friends, there are infinitereasons to visit your local farmers market. Find your favorites and try something new at the farmers market in San Diego.
About the author:Kristi Crosson is a writer, photographer, and farmer. She and her family raise chickens and rabbits and they are attempting to grow herbs as well. Her favorite part about summer is the time in the evening when the fireflies light up the fields with their luminescent glow. You can find her at KristiCrosson.com.
The banner photo of the Little Italy Farmers Market in this article is from IG user @mikireaume.
Looking for surf gear? These are the best surf shops in San Diego for those looking for some wave riding action.
Whether you are a tourist, local, or new transplant, chances are that at some point you will find yourself asking “Where can I buy a surfboard in San Diego?” It might be the great surf breaks, the warm water, or the draw of the city itself, but whatever it is, San Diego has become one of the West Coast’s preeminent surf meccas. San Diego surfboard companies have sprung up everywhere and the number of surfboard shops in San Diego has exploded as well.
The Best Surf Shops in San Diego
It is this very popularity that makes it all but impossible to navigate the hundreds of surf shops in San Diego, so if you are wondering “where can I find some surf shops near me?” you are not alone. Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of the best surf shops in San Diego. Below you can search for shops that meet your needs and are in your neighborhood.
Mitch’s Surf Shop has just about anything you could possibly need to have a great time on the beach. Their expertise extends well beyond just surfboards in San Diego. The La Jolla surf shop even has paddle boarding and spearfishing gear. Both locations offer rentals too, so if you just want to try something out or if you are just in town for a few days, they have you covered. Finally, Mitch’s has a great selection of blanks and resin shaping supplies for all you San Diego surfboard shapers out there.
La Jolla: 631 Pearl St., La Jolla, CA 92037.
Phone: (858) 459-5933
Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closes at 5 p.m. on Sundays
Solana Beach: 363 North Highway 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075.
Bird’s likes to say that it is “way more than a surf shop. It’s a San Diego surf destination.” And, in this case, that is not just hyperbole. Bird’s has been around for decades and is a cornerstone of San Diego surf culture. They even have surf film premiers and hands-on board shaping clinics from the best in the business. The store is covered with surfboards – from floor to ceiling… literally! They have boards all the way up the walls and all over the ceiling.
Bay Park: 1091 W. Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92110.
Phone: (619) 276-2473
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., closes at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays
Pacific Beach Surf Shop is not quite like the other surf shops in San Diego. Yes, they have boards, wetsuits, and everything you would find at any other shop out there, but they also run one of the most affordable surf schools in the San Diego area. The shop (and school) are well-established, to say the least: they have been open since 1962 and show no sign of closing any time soon.
Pacific Beach: 4208 Oliver Ct. San Diego, CA 92109
Clairemont Surf Shop is definitely not a newcomer to the San Diego surfing scene. This family-owned and operated shop has been helping people enjoy San Diego’s breaks since 1976. If you need something, they will probably have it. No matter what their shelves look like when you visit, the one thing that they are 100% certain to have is expertise.
Here is a surf shop that really thinks outside of the box. Other surf shops can offer you what you need to surf, but Mission Surf can also help you be where you need to surf. The shop rents two Airbnb apartments out directly over the store. You can roll out of bed, get everything you need for the day downstairs, and be out the door and on the beach faster than you could say “surf store San Diego.” From there you can choose to surf right on Mission Beach or head up a few minutes north to Tourmaline Beach. You really can’t go wrong.
Mission Beach: 4320 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
This surf shop is a bit of an outlier insofar as it is an online surf shop. All the same, Solana is local and makes extremely high-quality custom hand-built surfboards. If you want the best and are willing to pay for what you get, this might be the place for you.
Torrey Hills: 11211 Sorrento Valley Rd Ste. H San Diego, CA
This shop has a strong local history and dates back to 1974. Its local charm and its business success have led to it opening four sister stores scattered across San Diego. They have a great online store and are very well-stocked.
Ocean Beach: 5023 Newport Avenue Ocean Beach, CA 92107
Phone: (619) 223-7017
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long
Pacific Beach: 740 Felspar St., San Diego, CA 92109
These guys have way more than just surfboards; actually, if you can think of anything that ends in the word “board,” they probably have it: surfboards, skateboards, paddleboards, and even snowboards! They have three locations, so be sure to pick the one closest to you.
Belmont Park | Mission Beach: 3126 Mission Blvd. Suite A, San Diego, 92109
Phone: (858) 866-0108
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. all week long
Fashion Valley: 7007 Friars Rd #844 San Diego, CA 92108
Rip Curl is one of the most recognizable names in surfing and has tons of stores and outlets around San Diego, but the best is the surf center in Pacific Beach. If it has anything to do with surfing, chances are that Rip Curl will have it. They also have an extensive line of clothing for all ages and genders.
Pacific Beach: 4287 Mission Blvd. #A CA Pacific Beach, 92109
Phone: (858) 273-8070
Everyday Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. all week long
This school is run by the experienced surfers (and twin sisters) Izzy and Coco Tihanyi. They have won a bevy of awards for their work, and have done a great deal to introduce women and girls to surfing over the years. Regardless of your gender, however, if you are looking for surf lessons in La Jolla, this is your place. The school doubles as a surf boutique that is filled with surf-related knick-knacks, and you are sure to find something that strikes your fancy inside. If you are interested in La Jolla surfing, this is the spot for you.
La Jolla: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, San Diego, CA 92037
If you are looking to rent any kind of surf-related gear, this is the place to go if you want to save a few bucks. Don’t let the name fool you though; even though it says “cheap,” the store gives off a classy and fun vibe and the things they rent out are all in good shape.
Mission Beach: 3689 Mission Blvd., San Diego, California 92109
The two locations for this shop are both in the Solana Beach/Oceanside area, so if you live a bit north of downtown San Diego, this could be the place for you. In addition to stocking all of the latest accessories, boards, and brands, they also run a popular surf camp.
Oceanside: 1909 South Coast Highway Oceanside, CA 92054
Phone: (760) 433-4020
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all week long
Solana Beach: 325 North Highway 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075
They call themselves the premier surf shop of Coronado for a very good reason: they are. Named after Coronado’s evergreen barrels, the shop opened in 1988 and has been going strong ever since. They have everything you could ever want to buy, as well as a large selection of rentals if you are just in town for a few days. If you are looking to buy, however, they have a price matching guarantee that can save you the trouble of having to shop at all the surf shops in San Diego to find a great deal.
Coronado Island: 1118 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
The shop chose the name Atacama after the driest place on the planet earth: the Atacama Desert. The people who have lived in and around the desert have had to use ingenuity and creativity to eke out an existence in that hostile terrain, and the store holds these same values. They pride themselves on constantly innovating. Their central location allows them to partner with all kinds of local San Diego businesses, and the result is that they always have something new and exciting going on.
One of the great perks of living in San Diego is access to some of the best surfing beaches you can find. Luckily, surf shops in San Diego can be found in nearly every neighborhood and can cater to all levels of surfer. If you are just starting out, then you might want to gravitate towards one of the shops that offer lessons and rentals. If you are an experienced surfer, then head on over to an old-school surf shop where you can hang out and learn about new breaks from other surfers. Whatever your skill or interest level, if it has to do with surfing the surf shops in San Diego have got you covered.
About the banner photo: This IG photo of Bird’s Surf Shed is courtesy of @lightspeed_outdoors
Warm sunshine all year ‘round. White-sand beaches with crystal clear, turquoise waters. An active nightlife, tons of things to enjoy with your family, and exquisite dining. When we think about our favorite things about San Diego, these are just a few of the things that come to mind. With all of the amazing things it has to offer, there’s no question as to why this beautiful city is one of the more popular vacation hotspots in the country.
San Diego truly does have it all. In fact, if we had to try to find the one downside to all of the incredible things we have here, we’d have to admit that it can be hard to take it all in fantastic offerings in just one trip. However, that’s easily fixed — you’ll just have to come back again for another vacation with us in the near future! Whether it’s your first vacation to San Diego or you’re no stranger to our city, we’re excited to share with you all of our favorite San Diego vacation ideas so you can experience it all during your stay.
Tips & FAQs for a Great Vacation in San Diego
Trying to plan a San Diego trip can definitely be a little bit challenging, especially if you’re trying to squeeze a lot into your itinerary. Fortunately, we’ve broken it all down for you, sharing all of our insider tips about what to see and do to see while here. That way, you can make the most of your San Diego vacation, without having to worry about missing out on anything. Oh, and by the way? Everything’s been vetted by the locals, so you can be sure you’re getting the best of what we have to offer while you’re here!
Where to Stay
When you think of a San Diego vacation, what comes to mind first? Is it our warm, sun-baked beaches, or are you more into the bustling urban center that can be found here? If you plan to grab your beach umbrella, a good book, and a bottle of SPF, then you’re definitely going to want to park yourself at one of the gorgeous oceanfront hotels that dot the beach. For one of the best La Jolla hotels on the beach, take a peek at The Pacific Terrace Hotel (at 610 Diamond St.). This 4-star resort hotel is right on the water, and it boasts private patios and balconies that overlook the beach. It’s one of our favorite places to vacation in San Diego.
If you’re looking for more of a laid-back vibe, then The Beach Cottages (4255 Ocean Blvd.) may be more your thing. With fire pits, ping pong, shuffleboard, and grills, this is the perfect getaway for families. And yes, it’s just a few steps away from the inviting waves! Or, if you want to position yourself closer to the parks here in San Diego, you can’t go wrong with the Hotel Republic (421 West B St.), a luxurious boutique hotel just a mile and a half away from San Diego Zoo. The Dana on Mission Bay (1710 W. Mission Bay Dr.) features waterfront rooms and is within walking distance to SeaWorld, or you can take their complimentary shuttle.
Things to Do
You’d be remiss to come all the way to San Diego and not dip your toes into the water. Since we know you came here for our pristine San Diego beaches, then we’re happy to share with you some of the best, little-known coves for you to wade around in. (Psst, our favorite is Coronado City Beach! You’re going to love it.) We promise you, if you’re looking for a San Diego beach vacation, we’ve got you covered.
That said, if you want to branch away from the beach, why not check out Bernardo Winery (13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte)? You’ll have to drive inland a little bit, but it’s totally worth it and is definitely one of our favorite vacation activities in San Diego. They offer wine by the glass or the flight, depending on how much you’re feeling like sampling. You can also make reservations for Sunday brunch, which is definitely something you don’t want to miss! Once you’re done savoring your sips, you can take a stroll around their grounds and take a look at the art galleries and shops on the winery grounds.
San Diego is also home to so many amazing attractions (and we’ll be getting to those in just a moment, we promise!) but there’s also a few things off the beaten path that you don’t want to miss out on. You can check out the San Diego SEAL duck tours (500 Kettner Blvd.) to enjoy your San Diego vacation by both land and sea. Or, if you’re a history buff, you really don’t want to skip seeing the USS Midway (910 N Harbor Dr.), a retired aircraft carrier. And since you’re already taking in the historic sights here, why not mosey on over to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (910 N Harbor Dr.) to take in the rich history?
A San Diego vacation just wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t carve out a little bit of time on your schedule for some of our bigger attractions. People come from across the globe to see them, and for good reason. Where else are you going to be able to admire these exotic, regal animals outside of their natural habitat? Well, if you love animals as much as we do, then you need to make sure you budget a day to visit the San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Dr.). Here you’ll not only see bonobos, leopards, and rhinos, but you’ll also learn about the conservation efforts underway to keep them from going extinct, as well.
This zoo happens to be tucked away at Balboa Park, so if you’re going to be in the neighborhood, you definitely want to take some time to explore this 1,200-acre urban park. It not only has tons of natural beauty to behold (such as the Japanese Friends Gardens), but you can also take in Chicano history (at the Centro Cultural de la Raza), and even catch yourself taking in the various museums and art galleries (the Air & Space Museum and the San Diego Art Institute come to mind, but you have a whopping seventeen to choose from overall!).
If the San Diego Zoo doesn’t scratch that itch to see majestic animals, then you may want to hit up SeaWorld (500 Sea World Dr.) to admire the dolphins, orcas, and penguins and hear about their rescue efforts. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.) is also a must-see, and you seriously cannot skip a wildlife safari while there. For all of the genuine animal lovers out there, this will definitely fulfill all of your dreams of frolicking among the wild beasts of the world, right here in San Diego.
Places to Eat
No doubt, taking in all of this activity is going to leave you with a growling stomach, and you’re going to want to fill up before heading back out. San Diego is a cultural melting pot with a huge Latin American influence, so if you’re a fan of tacos, burritos, churros, tostadas, and tamales, then you’ve come to the right place. San Diego is the home to Mexican food, so we really hope you take the time to enjoy the wide variety of Mexican food in San Diego. A personal favorite is definitely Tacos El Gordo (3265 Palm Ave.), where — get this — the authentic Tijuana-style tacos are a steal at less than $2.50 each!
If you’re not in love with Mexican food, though, don’t fret. There’s so much more to be tasted during your San Diego vacation, and you’ll be able to fill your plate up with a wide variety of delicious fare. Soichi Sushi (2121 Adams Ave.) features authentic omakase-style sushi, and their seafood is guaranteed to be fresh. Meze Greek Fusion (345 Sixth Ave.) in Downtown San Diego offers up a small-plates menu, and rumor has it that they have the best hummus and pitas in town. If you’ve got a hankering for a juicy, seared steak, then you’ll want to snag a reservation at Born and Raised (1909 India St.). While there, grab a cocktail on their rooftop patio. You seriously won’t regret it!
One thing that we love about San Diego is that it’s the perfect place to take the whole family. Once your children have gotten their fill of the beaches, why not bring them indoors for a while? And we have the perfect place to take them: The New Children’s Museum (200 West Island Ave.). Yes, they’ll have fun while there, but they’re also going to learn so much about art and culture while running around and exploring the various installations. From art studios and workshops to talks from artists, you’re going to have a little Picasso on your hands when you’re done there.
We’re also a huge fan of the Maritime Museum (1492 N Harbor Dr.), where you and your kids can ogle the Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship. LEGOLAND® California Resort (just up the road at One Legoland Dr., Carlsbad) is a fantastic place for them to burn off some energy while riding rides (there’s over 60 to experience!) and splashing around in the Lion Temple Wave Pool. And we definitely have to put in a good word for Aquatica San Diego (2052 Entertainment Cir., in Chula Vista) during your family trip to San Diego. There’s rides, slides, and so much fun to be had. Of course, your kids will love SeaWorld and The San Diego Zoo, too, so make sure you pencil those in for your San Diego family vacation, as well.
Nightlife & Things To Do For Adults
San Diego isn’t just for the kiddos, though. After all, why should they have all the fun? A San Diego vacation isn’t complete without taking in the impressive nightlife that we have here. If you’re wanting to sneak away and do something solo (or with your partner!) then you need to get a load of our incredible roster of things to do once the sun goes down. We have to admit, romantic vacations to San Diego are sort of our thing, and we’re definitely proud of it. Trade out your flip-flops for dancing shoes and head Downtown to The Rooftop by STK (600 F St.). You’ll feel classy when they lift the velvet rope for you and let you in, and the upbeat jams from the DJ will keep you grooving all night long.
If live music isn’t your thing, no worries. The Shangri-La Hookah Lounge (1140 Garnet Ave.) in Pacific Beach has smooth hookahs and a chill atmosphere. You’ll want to arrive early for their happy hour, but definitely plan on staying a while. Or maybe getting your funny bone tickled at American Comedy Co. in the Gaslamp Quarter (818 Sixth Ave.) is more your vibe. Order your tickets in advance so you don’t miss out on their headlining guests, as they always have a steady stream of celebrity comics on rotation there. However, laughing until your sides split can be thirsty business, so you’ll want to breeze on over to one of our many breweries for a craft beer once the show ends.
It’s hard to choose a favorite brewery here in San Diego (we have so many!) but some of our favorites include Modern Times (3725 Greenwood St.), Eppig (3794 30th St.), North Park Beer Co. (3038 University Ave.), Alpine Beer Co. (1347 Tavern Rd., in Alpine), Bagby (601 S Coast Hwy., in Oceanside), Pizza Port (with locations in Carlsbad, Ocean Beach, and Solana Beach), Burgeon (6350 Yarrow Dr. Ste E, in Carlsbad), Burning Beard (785 Vernon Way, in El Cajon), and Mother Earth (2055 Thibodo Rd Ste E, in Vista). There you’ll find local microbrews and we’re betting you’ll discover a new favorite, too.
Safe to say, San Diego is the home to craft beer, and we’ve also got a share of craft beer bars from which you can choose. The Blind Lady Ale House (3416 Adams Ave.) in Normal Heights has been repeatedly voted as one of the top 100 beer bars in all of America. Hamilton’s Tavern (1521 30th St.) in South Park also holds its own and is worth the visit. We also need to put in a vote for The Brewer’s Tap Room (1456 Encinitas Blvd., in Encinitas) for some of the best craft brews in the city.
San Diego Vacation Frequently Asked Questions
If it’s your first San Diego vacation, then you’ve probably got a question or two about what it’s like here and what you need to know before you arrive. By planning ahead, you can help ensure your San Diego vacation goes off without a hitch so you can make the most out of your stay here with us.
Is San Diego a Good Vacation Spot?
Not to boast, but San Diego literally has it all. We’ve got amazing weather all year round, gorgeous beaches, tons of things for you to do with your family, and an active nightlife. What more could you ask for?
What’s the Best Time To Go To San Diego?
While we love our summers here in San Diego, so does everyone else. If you can handle the crowds, then please free to swing on by during those months. However, the absolute best times to come for a San Diego vacation are in the spring (between March and May) and in the fall (between September and November).
How Much Is Vacation To San Diego?
Depending on your budget, a San Diego vacation can range in price, all the way from the economy to the luxurious. Cheap San Diego vacations aren’t out of the question, though. Most hotels are over $100 per night, and you’ll want to budget for food and activities, too. You can reasonably expect to spend anywhere between $2,000 and up to $6,000 or more for one week.
Is San Diego Safe for Families?
San Diego is great for families! In fact, San Diego boasts a crime rate that is an impressive 15% lower than the national average, making it a fantastic place for you to bring the whole family.
How Many Days Are Enough for a Vacation in San Diego?
With so much to see and do here in San Diego, we really don’t want you to feel rushed to take it all in. It may be a good idea to pick up a San Diego vacation guide when you get here so you don’t miss anything. At the bare minimum, we recommend at least three days here. That way, you can take in all the major highlights our city has to offer.
Do You Need a Car When Visiting San Diego?
While having a rental car can definitely make your stay easier, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. San Diego has incredible public transportation, such as our Trolley Station and public transit. We also have rideshare options here, too, if you prefer private transportation instead.
What Is the Best Location To Stay in San Diego?
Depending on what your goals are during your San Diego vacation, there are a few places we can recommend that you stay. Obviously, the beach is always a solid choice and is definitely the best area to stay in San Diego for a vacation if you want to stick close to the water. If you want to be closer to the nightlife, we can vouch for the Gaslamp District, and if you want to be closer to the parks, then Balboa Park is perfect for you.
Closing Thoughts on Planning a San Diego Vacation
If you’ve been thinking about getting away from it all for a few days, then you really can’t go wrong with planning a San Diego vacation. We’ve got everything you’d need to make wonderful memories and have the time of your life in our beautiful city. From our theme parks to beaches, and our amazing cultural influence, San Diego really is a hidden gem on the West Coast. No matter if you plan to come solo or bring your whole family, you’re all welcome here, and we’d love to share our warm Californian hospitality with you!
About the author: When Karyl Trejo isn’t writing articles about health and fitness, you can find her hanging out with her husband and two cats on the beautiful Central Coast of California, chipping away at her next science fiction novel. If you want to hit her up for her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or swap running tips with her, you can find herLinkedIn here.
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish and they go to San Diego where the fishing is always good. That is because when you teach a person to fish, you also teach them about the best places to do it. California enjoys an embarrassment of riches when it comes to world class fishing locations. San Diego boasts some of the best places in a state full of the best places to fish.
What makes a place good for fishing? Here are a few things to look for:
Access to a lot of water
Favorable laws for hobbyists
Sound regulations for environmental protection
An active and vibrant community of like minded people
A strong and supportive ecosystem
If you narrow your focus to this handful of items, you will see why San Diego volts to the top of the list of great fishing locations. San Diego fishing is not just a passing fad. People have been fishing in San Diego for ages. In fact, San Diego is one of the world’s premier fishing destinations.
Your Full Guide to Fishing in San Diego
In this guide to fishing in San Diego, we will be exploring the best places to fish and the kind of fish you can expect to catch. You will also learn about licensing and even deep sea fishing in San Diego. When you are done reading this guide, you will be ready to pick up a San Diego fishing report along with your gear of choice.
One of the best things about fishing is how it tends to bring families together. Fishing is great as a solitary experience. But it is amazing when shared with family and friends. Getting outside is a good thing. And learning about nature and appreciating its diversity and splendor is even better. So before you pack up the vehicle and put on your favorite fishing hat, here are a few things you need to know:
Fishing America’s Finest City: Is Fishing Good in San Diego?
Is this a good time for fishing San Diego’s waters? The good news is that no matter when you read this the answer is yes, it is an excellent time for fishing San Diego! One of the reasons for this is the year-round perfect fishing weather. Theweather in La Jolla ranges anywhere from mid 60s to high 70s with a handful of exceptions on either end. Weather like this is not only good for the fish, it is good for the person doing the fishing.
The thing to remember is that fishing is not just a singular event. It can take all day, or several days. A fishing trip consists of more than the time spent angling. It consists of beer runs, orcoffee runs if you prefer. You also have to find something to eat during the day. Everyone in the family will need to use the facilities while out fishing. So make sure there are some facilities nearby. There is a whole infrastructure required for a good day (or week) of fishing. San Diego has that infrastructure in spades. With that in mind, here are some of the places to go for the best fishing in the area:
Where to Go Fishing in San Diego
Where can I go fishing in San Diego? This is a common question. It is one thing to know that San Diego is great for fishing, and quite another to know all the great San Diego fishing spots. The best fishing areas in San Diego is a rather subjective call. It depends on what kind of fish you are after. Pier fishing San Diego spots are a good alternative to a deep sea adventure. Searching for fishing near me will surface places to go for the more casual angler. Here are a few locations to check out:
Don’t be frightened off by word of an algae bloom clogging the lake. The cleanup went very well and the area is good for fishing. Bass fishing is good at DVL year-round.
This spot is interesting because it is a kids only fishing spot. They define kids as 15 and under. While exact numbers are not known, this lake is stocked with trout. 1/2 pound is the average weight of each fish.
This is a good choice for catfish and bass lovers. When the water is colder, go for trout. Because the water is clear, you will have to fish more tactically. If the fish can see you, they will be harder to catch. Shad is their meal of choice so stock your bait box accordingly. Dixon boasts another feature worth mentioning: You don’t require a license to fish there.
When it comes to fresh-water fishing, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to explore.
Saltwater Fishing in San Diego
Beyond the lakes, there is plenty of fishing to be found. Here are a few examples associated with key neighborhoods and communities:
You don’t need another good reason to visit La Jolla. But if you need just a little more convincing, the fishing should be reason enough. If you like halibut, yellowtail, barracuda, lingcod, and calico bass, La Jolla is your place to be. What’s that? I had you at halibut? That’s good to know. Because this isn’t the only San Diego spot to get it. The kelp line is equally generous as the shore line when it comes to giving up fish to the hungry angler. You can cast your line from a motor boat, canoe, or your own two feet planted firmly on mother earth. Either way, you probably won’t go home empty handed.
San Diego Bay
No one who has seen it denies the scope and grandeur of San Diego Bay. Shore fishing San Diego Bay is fishing nirvana for angling from land or boat. Of the 12 miles of shore, there are no bad spots. The catch of the day could be any of a large variety of species. Try Shelter Island and the Cays for something a little different. The Bay is a great place to find bonefish, spotted bay bass, and of course Halibut.
San Clemente and Catalina Islands
Why would you need to bother with the islands when there is so much bountiful shore? Tuna. It is not the chicken of the sea. It is the filet mignon stuffed with caviar topped with truffles of the sea. Perhaps you had tuna last night and have your heart set on a giant yellowtail. Either way, the decadent delights of the deep await.
Drop your line in the drink and it is likely one of the premier, San Diego fishing spots. Tuna fishing San Diego islands is as satisfying whether or not you catch your limit. Where can you fish in San Diego? If there is not a faucet attached to it, you can probably fish in it. Check the signs just to be on the safe side.
What Fish Are in Season in San Diego?
Check the San Diego fishing report or San Diego fishing calendar to know what is in season when you get there. Here is a quick look:
Year-round: rock cod, rockfish, yellowtail
Spring: blue fin, bonito, calico bass, halibut, wahoo, swordfish, white sea bass
Summer: barracuda, durado, marlin,
There are no fish exclusive to the fall season. But some of the summer fish start in late summer just as some of the spring fish start in late spring. Because there is so little change in the weather from one month to the next, the fishing is relatively consistent all year. There is never a bad time to visit San Diego for fishing. It is always fishing season in San Diego.
Do You Need a Fishing License in San Diego?
You will definitely need a California fishing license for many of the best spots. But there are still plenty of free fishing San Diego locations if you just want to give it a try without committing too much investment up front. You do not need a license when fishing from any one of the 7 public peers. Licensees must be a minimum of 16 years old.
A sport fishing license for residents is $52.66 and $142.05 for non-residents.
It is $7.98 for disabled vets, recovering service members, and low-income seniors.
The license is free for low income Native Americans and people with various types of disability including visual, mobile, and developmental.
There is a 10-day sport fishing license for non- residents costing $52.66. That is the same amount for the annual resident license. You can also get licenses for one or two days at $17.02 and $26.49 respectively.
How Much it Costs to Go on a Fishing Trip
You are going to love deep sea fishing in San Diego. A guided fishing trip is great fun for the whole family. Your deep sea charter could last anywhere from three hours to three weeks. You can turn it into a full-blown cruise vacation replete with 5-star meals and lavish accommodations. Prices run the gamut from reasonable to REALLY?
You can do a day trip off the Coronado Islands for as little as $5,000 for up to 60 people. That’s less than $85 per person. Obviously, the bigger the party, the better the value. It’s not exactly fishing. But if you are in for some great white shark cage diving, you can find a 5-day trip for around $3,500 per person. 15 days will set you back over $5,000.
Naturally, pricing varies depending on the charter. The long-range charters will usually require a passport. Some require half the charter fee up front. The trips are usually booked out well in advance. So be sure to plan ahead, especially for the longer trips. Usually included are meals like you have never had before. Bait and tackle is provided. Expect the crew to help you with your catch including cleaning and bagging. On the multi-day charters, be prepared to get up early for an incredible breakfast and maybe a giant tuna. Those who sleep late miss out.
Teach a person to fish and they go to San Diego. Any travel agent will tell you they come from all over the globe. They come by land, sea, and air. They drive past, sail through, and fly over fertile fishing waters to get to the sand and surf of San Diego. One begins to suspect that there is something in the water. And it isn’t just the yellowtail. Come sea for yourself.
About the author: David Johnson is a professional writer whose relationship with La Jolla started with a family vacation at a young age. A former professional musician, he enjoys creating music in his free time.
San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!
It doesn’t matter if you live in San Diego or are simply visiting the area, there’s one thing that never changes: the beauty that surrounds America’s Finest City.
If you’re interested in taking pictures in San Diego, you’re in luck. No matter where you turn, photo opportunities are calling your name. All you have to do is listen!
San Diego Instagram Spots To Know About
With approximately one billion monthly active users, Instagram is by far the best place to share photos online. And for that reason, a list of the best San Diego Instagram spots is sure to come in handy. Below, we break down the best places to take pictures in San Diego, along with information to help you decide where to spend your time.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to share your photos on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Where Can I Take Pictures in San Diego?
The better question may be: where can’t I take pictures in San Diego?
You can get beautiful pictures of San Diego in almost every corner of the city. As long as you keep your eyes open, you’re sure to find a handful of opportunities at every stop.
Digging in a bit deeper, let’s examine some of the best general areas for photography:
Any beach or ocean
San Diego Zoo
Petco Park (maybe while you’re taking in a game)
San Diego photographers—as well as amateurs—enjoy the unlimited opportunities and potential provided by these areas.
Sunset Cliffs Ocean Beach
When you’re talking about the best places to take pictures in San Diego, you can’t overlook Sunset Cliffs, near Ocean Beach.
The name alone tells you everything you need to know about this popular destination.
Sunset Cliffs has long been a top attraction in the area, thanks to its 18 acres of parkland located on the ocean bluffs. Add this to the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, and you have a winner.
If you’re seeking unique photoshoot locations in San Diego, this is a great place to start. Just make sure you leave plenty of time for all the shots that are available to you.
It doesn’t matter if you swing by the famous Hotel Del Coronado or take a walk to enjoy the picturesque beaches and water, you’ll find it difficult to put your camera down.
When visiting Coronado Island, it’s likely that you’ll find hundreds of photo spots. You could spend an entire day here and never see everything.
Not only is Coronado one of the best San Diego photo spots, but it’s also one of the most well-known throughout the world.
If you thought Coronado has a lot of photo spots, wait until you spend some time in La Jolla.
From its rugged coastline to its walking trails to its wildlife, photos are yours for the taking.
Maybe you’re looking to snap some of the best La Jolla engagement photos you’ve ever seen. Or perhaps you want to take a few shots of your children or friends.
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish, there’s no denying that there are many La Jolla photography spots that will suit your needs.
Are you searching for the most Instagrammable places in San Diego? Well, look no further than Balboa Park.
Not only is it a 1,200-acre historic urban cultural park, but it’s also home to theaters, museums, and the San Diego Zoo. Everything you need is right here.
There’s plenty of open space for photos, as well as gardens and walking paths to add some character and color to your shots.
The Botanical Garden, in particular, is a local favorite for engagement, wedding, and graduation photos.
If you want a lot of everything—to ensure that you miss nothing—set up your next photoshoot at Balboa Park. You won’t be disappointed.
Are you a golf enthusiast (or maybe you just watch on TV)? If so, you’re probably familiar with the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.
However, there’s more to this coastal area than the golf course. It’s a well-known community set on more than 2,600 acres.
If you’re seeking San Diego scenic spots for your next photos, head straight for the Broken Hill.
Located within the Torrey Pines State Reserve, this is one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset over the ocean. And for that reason, photos can be magical.
There’s a reason why Torrey Pines is among San Diego’s most-Instagrammed places. But, you have to visit yourself to find out just how much the area has to offer photographers.
Old Town San Diego
Before you ask, yes, Old Town San Diego is every bit as cool as it sounds. There’s something about the ambiance that will keep you in this neighborhood for as long as time allows.
As for photo opportunities, there’s no shortage of places to visit in Old Town San Diego:
The entrance of Old Town
Old Town State Historical Park
Serra Museum in Presidio Park
Las Casa de Estudillo Museum, Old Town
Along with the above, there’s plenty of unique architecture around the neighborhood, so keep your eyes open.
Flower Fields in Carlsbad
While you can only visit the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields during the spring months—generally from March to May—it’s well worth it.
During these three months, its flowering fields are open for the public to enjoy.
It’s become so popular that people from all over San Diego, as well as the rest of the state (and country), make it a point to visit at least once each spring.
Between the months of March and May, the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields opens up their lush ranunculus fields to the public. While these fields are only open for a short amount of time, this place is a fantastic attraction for locals and tourists alike.
Note: if you’re seeking cute places in San Diego to take pictures, you’ve found your location. For instance, spring wedding photos at Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields will knock your socks off!
Located in downtown San Diego, in close proximity to San Diego Bay, this waterfront shopping and dining complex is home to nearly 100 stores, eateries, and galleries. Add this to its location on the water and abundance of waterfront property, and it’s easy to see why so many people come here to take photos.
What’s better than taking photos while you shop and eat?
If you’re a student or young professional in the local area, there’s a good chance you spend a lot of time in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. But there’s more to it than restaurants, pubs, live music, and a vibrant nightlife.
North Park is also one of the best places to take pictures in San Diego.
Day or night, when you stop by this historic neighborhood, make sure you have your camera ready.
Every year San Diego is visited by millions of people worldwide, making it a hotspot for things to see and do. From the perfect weather all year long and expansive beaches to Legoland and SeaWorld amusement parks, the Del Mar Racetrack, restaurants in the Historic Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego, as well as the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, there are so many fun things to do in San Diego for adults and kids alike.
And with proximity to Mexico to the south and Orange County to the north, with its attractions, theme parks, and beaches, San Diego is perfectly situated to be the destination for every vacation.
Whether you’re on vacation visiting San Diego for the first time or a local looking for hidden gems and ideas for something to do, read on and see our selection of all the fun things to do in San Diego for adults and their families.
The Best Daily San Diego Activities for Adults
From beaches, parks, museums, mountain biking and hiking trails, and top-rated restaurants… to some of the coolest dive bars in America, there are many things to do in San Diego. This list is designed as a resource for you to discover San Diego and have a great time along the way.
We’ve separated our list into sections from boat cruises and tours, other attractions for adults, amusement parks for families, sightseeing tours, sporting events, outdoor activities, and the many casinos located around San Diego.
Cruises & Boat Tours
Take a tour of the San Diego Bay with a cruise, boat tour, or rent a boat and take a spin around the bay. From Shelter Island to Coronado, the San Diego Bay allows you to see the incredible downtown skyline in a new way. Or leave the piloting to the professionals, hop on one of the Hornblower’s evening cruises to have dinner, drinks, and entertainment on the bay while you watch the sunset over Point Loma.
San Diego Attractions for Adults
Home to the most craft breweries per capita globally, San Diego boasts award-winning breweries such as Ballast Point, Stone, Coronado Brewing Company, among others. Grab a rideshare, cab, or join a beer tour and check out some of San Diego’s many breweries.
If beer is not your thing, San Diego is also home to small wineries in Fallbrook, Rancho Bernardo, Penasquitos, and Valley Center in North County and is a short drive to the incredible wineries in Temecula.
If nightlife is what you’re after, San Diego has several hotspots to check out.
Cruise out to any of the beach communities and sip on a cocktail next to the beach during sunset.
The historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs and is one of the top destinations for things to do in San Diego for adults after dark.
If catching some live entertainment is more your “jam,” check out Winston’s in OB, the Comedy Club in La Jolla, the Starlight Theater, and the Old Globe in Balboa Park for live plays.
If you’re looking for suggestions on what to do in San Diego for seniors, Lamb’s Players Theater in Coronado offers intimate small traditional plays nightly.
Amusement Parks in San Diego
Not as famous as Orange County for its amusement parks, San Diego has a few local secret spots for you to enjoy.
One of the two major amusement parks in San Diego is SeaWorld. As an oceanarium, you can watch and see aquatic animals in their natural element either within their exhibits or live-action shows. Grab a beer and snacks, walk around the interactive park, or head over to the roller coaster and other rides, including the Bayside Skyride.
Legoland is for the kid in all of us. Check out the exhibits, each made from thousands upon thousands of legos. Or get in a line and jump on one of the many roller coasters and other rides. Don’t worry, the passages and carriages aren’t made from legos, just the exhibits.
The San Diego County Fair (formerly Del Mar Fair) is held annually in late June with vendors, attractions, and rides.
Built-in 1910, the Balboa Park Carousel adjacent to the San Diego Zoo is one of the oldest standing amusement park rides around.
Not to be outdone, Seaport Village has the oldest carousel in all of the area. Built over 125 years ago in 1895, take a nostalgic trip to a time long ago as you go faster and faster on the Fair Park Looff Carousel.
The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park opened for its maiden voyage in 1925. Known for long drops at speeds approximately 50 miles an hour, the Giant Dipper is the oldest remaining wooden roller coaster on the west coast.
Old Town Trolley Tours the historic areas of San Diego, allowing riders to hop off, shop, dine, explore, and hop back onto the next trolley when ready to head back.
San Diego SEAL Tours takes you from street to bay in their unsinkable Hydra-Terras. Take a guided tour of historic San Diego and a “bird-eye” view of the seals and sea lions while you float nearby.
San Diego Bay Cruises takes you from shelter island in comfort and style around the San Diego Bay and harbor.
For the hop-head in you, one of the best San Diego activities for adults is to take one of the many brewery tours. With over 100 craft breweries to choose from, get unique insights, details, and most importantly, a designated driver while you sample a variety of San Diego’s famous breweries.
There are several sporting events in San Diego throughout the year, so if you’re looking to catch a game or some of the world’s best golfers, we’ve got it on our list of the best things to do in San Diego for adults.
The San Diego Padres: Play at Petco field, downtown San Diego in the East Village.
The San Diego Seals: Play professional lacrosse at the San Diego Sports Arena.
The San Diego Gulls Hockey Team: Plays at the San Diego Sports Arena of the AHL.
San Diego State Aztecs, UCSD Tritons, and USD Toreros: Various college games hosted by local teams from the San Diego State Aztecs, the Tritons of UCSD, and Toreros of University of San Diego.
Del Mar Races: Held every summer beginning in mid-July, the Del Mar Race Track is renowned as a premier venue for horse racing
Red Bull Air Races: Held in the San Diego Bay, catch some of the most acrobatic single-engine planes worldwide
San Diego is more than just beaches. In fact, within less than an hour’s drive, you can get to the desert, mountains, and valleys for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and even snowboarding during winter.
San Diego Casinos
San Diego is home to numerous resort casinos, from Sycuan, Barona, Pechanga, and Viejas, among many others. To explore San Diego for adults, spend a day at one of the luxury resorts surrounding the casinos, lounge poolside, or jump into the action on many different popular casino table games and enjoy yourself.
Things to Do in San Diego for Adults FAQs
From casino games, shopping, dining, amusement parks, and more, there are many things to do in San Diego. If you have questions about all the attractions and things to do in San Diego for adults, our frequently asked questions section below can guide you.
Q: What Can Couples Do in San Diego?
If you and your loved one are looking for San Diego date ideas or need romantic things to do in San Diego, try a sunset boat cruise. Or perhaps romantic dinners overlooking the ocean in La Jolla is your thing. Maybe cocktails at the Hotel del Coronado or dinner overlooking the San Diego skyline at any of downtown’s rooftop bars and restaurants.
Q: What Is There to Do in San Diego at Night?
There’s never a dull moment in San Diego. For nightlife, check out the historic Gaslamp Quarter, a romantic dinner in downtown La Jolla, or drive up the coast to sleepy Solana Beach and catch a show and grab a beer at one of the many breweries and restaurants in the area.
Q: How Can I Spend a Day in San Diego?
Outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and mountain biking are common in San Diego and are among the best things to do in San Diego alone.
Q: What Can You Do for Free in San Diego?
When making a San Diego itinerary for adults, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention freebies like the first Tuesday of every month the museums in Balboa Park offer free admission. With so many trails around the county and beaches galore, just basking in nature at Torrey Pines State Beach, watch the seals at La Jolla Cove’s kiddie pool, browse the Ocean Beach Farmers Market, or hike Mission Trails are excellent ways to spend your time.
With so many things to do in San Diego for adults, you just can’t get it all accomplished in a day, much less than a week. Remember to pack your sunscreen, drink some water, and prepare to have the time of your life.
About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.
The current pandemic situation has surely taken its toll on our lives, from how we learn to our traveling habits. Many counties were under lockdown for quite some time, including San Diego, until just recently when the regional stay home order was lifted and San Diego moved to Purple Tier. Because of this, you might ask yourself, “What to do in San Diego?” After all, there’s only so many times you can refresh your social media feed or try to find out if you have any unclaimed money or check to see if anything good was released on Netflix today. Well, businesses have been allowed to reopen with some restrictions.
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The following restrictions are currently active in the state:
Movie theaters, family entertainment centers, and casinos are closed down unless they are outdoors.
Indoor hair salons and barbershops are closed.
All indoor recreational facilities are closed.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums are closed. They are permitted to operate only outdoors.
Basically, indoor activities are still forbidden. Nonetheless, these restrictions should not keep you from having a fun-filled vacation. Going on vacation and finding things to do in San Diego during Covid is perfectly safe if you follow all the safety guidelines against covid-19 transmission.
What To Do in San Diego During Covid?
Luckily, most of the fun things to be done in San Diego are outside, which is excellent against the spread of coronavirus. So, let’s move on and see what fun activities can be done in San Diego, even during the covid-19 pandemic.
Enjoy a picnic on one of the many beautiful beaches in the area. Restaurants may be closed for indoor dining, but they are still open for take-out, so you can still enjoy your favorite meal in an even better setting than a restaurant.
Go hiking. Go cycling. Go off-roading. Go kayaking. Go fishing. Do yoga on Sunset Cliffs. Watch the sun set into the ocean. There are plenty of alluring beaches in the area, so we’ve made a list of the most popular ones:
Located on Coronado Island, this gorgeous beach is also close to the Hotel del Coronado. The hotel dates back to the 19th century and is a popular destination for royalty and celebrities. It contains four beach areas, including Coronado City Beach, Tidelands Park, Glorietta Bay Park, and Centennial Park. Tidelands Park and Glorietta Bay Park both have picnic areas, grassy fields, and play areas for children. All the beaches have glittery sand due to the presence of mica, which makes it sparkle under the sun, making it look like gold. You can easily reach this beach by public bus, car, private shuttle, or taxi via San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.
This beach is located at the northeast end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla. From the grass park above, two stairs lead you down to the beach. For a little after-meal adventure, you can explore the tunnel at the south end of the cove that will lead you to some pretty cool tide pools. This if you are willing to hop around on large boulders.
Solana Beach is a secluded spot in San Diego’s North County with many hidden coves (accessible by staircase on nearly every street corner). Solana is also a great place for antique and vintage shoppers, being home to the Cedros Design District.
Pacific Beach, most commonly known as “The Strand,” is a two-mile stretch of beach and one of the top destinations in San Diego, drawing crowds every season of the year. It has an abundance of shops and restaurants along its north end where you can grab a delicious bite to enjoy on the beach.
Enjoy a North County Staycation
North County San Diego is the perfect place for a relaxing staycation. You are conveniently close to downtown San Diego where you can find whatever you may need, and there are plenty of beautiful places in nature where you can enjoy a breath of fresh air. Here you can find some great ocean view rentals for the best staycation experience. So what activities can you still enjoy, even during the coronavirus pandemic, here in North County?
The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park is one of the most beautiful places to see in South California & one of the top things to do in San Diego during Covid. With desert landscapes, breathtaking coastal sights, pine forests, sandstone canyons, rugged cliffs, and hiking trails on the bluffs that offer gorgeous views of the ocean that will make your trip simply unforgettable. From the high viewpoints on the bluffs, especially the ones that stick out into the ocean, you can have a novel experience watching migrating gray whales from December to March.
Spend a Day at the Famous Swami’s Beach
Swami’s Beach is an internationally known surfing spot located in Encinitas that draws up surfers from around the world, especially during the fall-winter seasons when waves can surpass 10 feet. On days like that, surfers line up to catch their big wave, and people gather on the cliffs above to watch the surfers tackle the ocean’s waves. The beach also has a spiritually rich history. It gets its name from Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian monk, yogi, and guru that chose the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, to overlook this reef point.
Visit the Historical Oceanside Pier
Standing 1,942 feet long, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the most iconic landmarks of Oceanside city. Its first piling was driven into the sand 125 years ago, and the remnants of that first pier are still there, occasionally making an appearance during low tides and low sand levels.
San Diego North County offers plenty of choices when it comes to wine tasting. More than 60 grape varieties are grown commercially throughout the county, from Albariño to Zinfandel, with small, often family-owned wineries producing a wide range of whites, reds, and rosés, plus sparkling, port, and dessert-style wines.
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Check Out the Local Surfing Spots
If you want to enjoy the ocean view and experience the waves, the San Diego area surfing scene is abundant and colorful, and you can surely find the most suitable waves for your surfing skills. Here are some of the best surfing spots in North County:
Swami’s Beach, Encinitas
Windansea, La Jolla
Silver Strand State Beach, Coronado
Imperial Beach Pier, Imperial Beach
Ocean Beach, San Diego
Cardiff Reef, Cardiff-by-the-Sea
We know it’s hard to plan for a vacation and find things to do in San Diego during Covid within these restrictive times we live in. Still, you deserve a relaxing, recharging break, and we hope that the information we provided in this article will help you make the right choice for a perfect vacation, even during the pandemic.
Photo Credit: Banner Photo by BommaritoArt.com
San Diego Outdoor Activities
San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!
San Diego is abuzz with news that December’s stay-at-home order has been lifted in Southern California. We’re back in the COVID-19 “purple tier,” which means that restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms are allowed to offer modified outdoor dining. Breweries and bars without food service remain closed. And live sporting events can continue as long as fans aren’t in attendance.
This is just in time for local golf fans, because the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, a La Jolla-based PGA Tour event, runs from Jan. 28 – 31.
Background on the Farmers Insurance Open
One of the premier golf events is back at Torrey Pines. For over 50 years, the world famous Farmers Insurance Open has been hosted at the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course under perfect skies and buffeted by beautiful coastlines in idyllic Torrey Pines north of La Jolla.
Since 1968 this event has brought some of the world’s best to compete for the championship, which is no different this year. Local hero Phil Mickelson, legends Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player have all been champions at the crown jewel event in La Jolla.
This year’s field is loaded with talent from favorites Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy versus the field, so who ya got? According to CBS Sportsline, the top ten finishers based on odds to win the tournament are:
Jon Rahm 7-1
Rory McIlroy 8-1
Xander Schauffele 14-1
Tony Finau 20-1
Patrick Reed 25-1
Harris English 25-1
Viktor Hovland 28-1
Sungjae Im 28-1
Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
Scottie Scheffler 33-1
The four-day event is sure to be remarkable. And with San Diego having the stay-at-home order lifted, that means you and the family can make an entire trip to the event and have time to explore what to do in La Jolla for a day to experience what makes it an extraordinary place.
The current public health status is that San Diego is listed in the Purple Tier. This tier means that local eateries can serve food and beverages outdoors, shops can be open at a limited occupancy, and the parks and beaches will be available for all activities.
If you’re considering checking out the action, keep reading for our list of things to do around Torrey Pines.
Why Stop By La Jolla?
Just south of the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the city of La Jolla, also known as the Jewel City.
This pristine city has a small-town feel and offers a slew of places to shop, eat, swim, and enjoy the outdoors for the entire family. From restaurants, beaches, parks, hiking trails, and more, see all that La Jolla has to offer and why it’s called the Jewel City. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of kid friendly things to do in La Jolla.
Where to Eat
After a long day at the course, check out some of the best eateries in La Jolla. You can get food to go and picnic, or sit along the sidewalks and take in the ambiance of downtown La Jolla.
One of the local’s secret spots, these handmade fresh tortillas, and authentic Tijuana style food-to-order is a sure-fire hit. Like all good things, these tacos take a little bit of time, so expect a slight wait as this is one happening taco joint.
Georges at the Cove
Voted best restaurant in San Diego, this upscale eatery is open for curbside pickup. Choose from the Chef’s 3-Course menu, a particular Saturday “Date-night” option, or Family-dinner on Sunday. Order ahead to schedule your pick-up time to get these tasty treats while watching the tournament play-out.
A “Michelin-plate” designated restaurant, Nine Ten offers a rotating menu of California Coastal Cuisine. Check the website for updates on their reopening plans.
After 12 years, Whisknladle is permanently closed due to the COVID pandemic. However, check out its sister restaurant Catania for fine Italian cuisine made-to-order and curbside pickup between 4-8 pm.
Known for their unique take on tacos and other savory Mexican dishes, Puesto is famous throughout La Jolla. Check for updates on their menu and hours of operation.
With a focus on organic, whole-foods, Parakeet Cafe believes in Hippocrates philosophy that we are what we eat and “let food be thy medicine.”
Where to Go
Don’t forget to take some time to explore everything else that La Jolla has to offer.
If you’ve never checked out La Jolla Cove, you’re missing out. The cove is one of the premier places to visit in La Jolla. You can watch the seals and sea lions that call the kiddie pool their resting place from the secured edges of the cliffs.
Just north of La Jolla is the city of Del Mar. With family-friendly beaches to swim, sunbathe, and explore, the shops and restaurants around Del Mar (almost) rival some of La Jolla’s.
North by about 15 miles is Carlsbad, a bustling city with outlet malls, beaches, and the lagoon to spend the day relaxing on a shoreline, shopping, or eating at many restaurants.
This beach town that the locals call “PB” is located just south of La Jolla and hosts the famous body-surfing spot at Marine Street, Crystal Pier, the start of the PB/MB boardwalk, and plenty of coastline for any activity.
South of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach connects to its neighbor by way of the boardwalk that ends at Belmont Park, San Diego’s original rollercoaster!
Ocean Beach is known fondly as “OB” hosts many breweries, and has a weekly farmers market. Wander around Voltaire street and see some of the original beach town life.
This family-friendly “small-town” is located just over the Bay Bridge in San Diego Harbor. Tour the mile-long Orange Avenue and visit local restaurants, parks, and the historic Hotel Del Coronado, home to more than a few movies over the years and rumored to be the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Emerald City.
Everyone knows San Diego is fantastic. With Mexico to the south, Los Angeles to the north, and short drives to Las Vegas and Arizona, there’s no better location in the world.
There’s something for everyone to do, from the proximity to so many destinations in the region to the almost always perfect weather, being outside is one of San Diego’s highlights.
To take advantage of all that San Diego has to offer, you just need to step outside and explore the amazing parks to breathtaking beaches and go surfing. Drive out to the mountains for some snowboarding, or check out the desert for hiking and even mountain biking in San Diego. It’s a short drive for every outdoor type of adventure.
Mountain Bike Trails in San Diego
Living in San Diego means you’re probably adventurous, or at least outdoorsy. I mean, with the almost always perfect weather, how could you not be?
If you’re curious about all the region has to offer, there are numerous hiking trails and mountain bike trails in San Diego. And if that’s the type of thing you’re into exploring, we highly recommend you refer to the San Diego Mountain Biking Association for tips on the kinds of rides you can take and etiquette for each trail.
The San Diego Mountain Bike Association will provide you with a detailed list of the types of rides, terrain, and riding levels for each trail.
Also, before any ride, make sure you have the right type of protective gear, from mountain biking (MTB) helmets, MTB goggles, gloves, shoes, a flat kit, and water. Whether you are experienced in MTB in San Diego or are a beginner, there is an opportunity to explore the outdoors for every rider type.
Below is our list of the best MTB trails in San Diego for you and your family to consider.
Throughout Balboa Park, there are ten miles of easy to intermediate trails to explore. You can even make a day of your bike ride and explore the history and beauty of San Diego. You can bike about, park, enjoy the parks, zoo, and museums, return home, and still have time left in your day. Pictured here are the Botanical Building and the Lily Pond; combined, they are some of the most iconic images of Balboa Park.
Rose Canyon Trail
Located just east of La Jolla, the bike trail in Rose Canyon is a single trail that transverses the railroad tracks that run north and south with a couple of water crossings along the way. This ride is one of the best mountain bike trails in San Diego for beginners.
It’s not a challenging ride, and even if you don’t own a bike, Rose Canyon Trail isn’t too far from La Jolla, where you can easily pick one up from any of the options for La Jolla bike rentals in the area.
One of the tougher rides in San Diego, this ride has a grade of 25-30% toward the top, making it a bit brutal of a climb but an excellent downhill ride. There are switchbacks and railroad ties, rocky terrain, and even a creaky bridge of the creek to enjoy along the way.
Mission Trails Climbers Loop
Located close to Cowles Mountain, this moderate 1.8-mile loop is precisely how it sounds. It’s a loop on a moderate vertical incline. It’s accessible year-round and while dogs are allowed (on a leash), keep in mind that you may also encounter some wildlife along the way.
Fortuna Mountain Trail
A part of the Mission Trails bike paths, Fortuna Mountain offers a steeper climb and more loose rocky terrain than some of the other Mission Trails routes that switchback over the San Diego River crossing making this a more moderate route for riders.
Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail
Located near the San Dieguito River Park, this moderate 8-mile trail can be heavily trafficked at the starting point. Hikers and bikers alike can enjoy this scenic trail that encircles the local Lake Hodges, so be prepared for a busy course if you head out here.
Anderson Truck Trail
One of the more remote trails for mountain biking in San Diego, the Anderson Truck Trail is a little over 7 miles of private trails that ride quickly through some of the more rugged terrains of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego. If you’re looking for a beautiful, peaceful ride, then head out to Anderson.
Meadowbrook Mountain Bike Trail
One of the more challenging rides of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego goes through some rugged terrain and overgrowth with steep climbs. The landscape is home to some filled in mines, and you can explore some of the terrain and see the cutouts from those years that the mines were open. Before you travel, make sure you’re prepared for all possibilities and pick up some gear or get your bike serviced quickly at nearby Black Mountain Bicycles.
Iron Mountain Trail
A moderate 5 mile, heavily trafficked ride near Poway and the Meadowbrook trails. Much easier terrain will meet the rider with vistas of lush wildflowers with views as far as Mount Woodson and even the Catalina Islands on clear days. Just be aware that you’ll encounter hikers and bikers of all ages on this ride.
Happy’s Loop Trail
You can access these remote trails just past Ramona with the trailhead located just past the Ramona fire station. This trail is a fast ride through Oak Groves and along equestrian trails with lots of long climbs for the adventurous.
San Elijo Harmony Grove
This single-track loop merges with the fire road is a comfortable ride even for beginners. It’s heavily used between intermediate riders and hikers as the trail has a mix of rough terrain and smoother fire roads that pass by electrical towers mixed with lush San Diego flora.
One of the more amazing San Diego mountain bike trails that is accessible for riders of all ages and skill levels. Just short of 3 miles, this ride takes you along the outskirts of Lake Poway, traveling to an active waterfall, and is (leashed) dog-friendly to boot.
This is the furthest south of San Diego mountain biking trails on our list. This bike path is located near Chula Vista, features in-bloom wildflowers with towering mountains in the backdrop, and is accessible for riders of all types and ages.
The Best Trails, Shops & Community for Mountain Biking Are in San Diego
Whether you’re a more advanced mountain bike enthusiast or merely a weekend hobbyist, there are some incredible mountain bike trails in San Diego to explore. With so many bike paths to explore, there is a whole cottage industry of bike shops to get all your gear and services that we recommend, such as La Jolla bike rentals, Black Mountain Bikes, and California Bicycle.
Regardless of your destination, our list of mountain bike trails in San Diego would be incomplete without including the top 3 La Jolla Bike Path and Trails. The beauty of living and visiting San Diego is that there is always an opportunity to explore all the great outdoors.
About the author:David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.
Whether you’re a La Jolla native, recently moved to the area, or a tourist simply spending a few days in this California beach town, you should definitely pay the local farmers market a visit. While the idea of visiting a place that appears to have nothing more than fruit and vegetable stands seems boring, just one visit will quickly open your eyes to the many benefits of visiting on a regular basis. Check out some of these beneficial reasons listed below!
A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended for a number of reasons. It helps to keep the mind and body in optimal health while also reducing your risk of life-altering diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and more. While you could essentially purchase produce from your local grocery store, it’s nothing compared to the nutritional value of produce purchased from the La Jolla farmer’s market.
What you may not have known is that produce loses its nutritional value over time. The fruits and veggies found in grocery stores, therefore, has fewer nutrients and minerals in it because it was picked, processed, and shipped long distance. Produce from the farmer’s market, however, is picked fresh and transported a short distance meaning you’re getting the fruits and vegetables at their freshest state.
Support Local Businesses
From local farmers selling fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers, to small business owners with tents from www.instent.com selling health and wellness products like all-natural supplements, skincare products, soaps, and aromatherapy candles, you’ll find a ton of different local businesses who have set up shop at the La Jolla farmer’s market. For every dollar you spend while you’re there that’s a dollar that goes right back into the local economy.
More than just helping local businesses to flourish, you’re essentially helping your community to thrive. Local businesses have a smaller carbon footprint than their competitors helping to preserve the environment. They are responsible for employing many members of the community essentially helping families to afford the cost of living. Local businesses are also more inclined to invest back into the community by donating to schools and non-profit organizations to benefit those who live in La Jolla.
Expand Your Palate
Fruit and vegetables aren’t the only things you’ll find at your local farmer’s market. At La Jolla’s farmer’s market, for instance, you can also shop for things like baked goods, eggs, fresh-baked bread, cheeses, jams, nuts, cooking oils, meat, fresh seafood, and more. If you have time for a bite to eat, you can check out the international food court where you can indulge in Mediterranean, Latin, Mexican, Chinese, German, and Italian cuisines.
Socialize with Members of the Community
From vendors and farmers to La Jolla locals, you’ll have a great time meeting new people, connecting with those you know, and striking up friendly conversations. Learn about life in La Jolla, how local produce is grown, get tips on how to prepare certain dishes, find out what’s in season, and so much more.
Explore Local Talent
Another fun way to spend the afternoon at the La Jolla farmer’s market is browsing the unique finds sold at many of the nearby boutiques. You’ll find tons of arts and crafts and other cool finds to purchase. You can buy some artwork for your home or office, handcrafted jewelry, trinkets, knick-knacks, or creatively designed hats, shirts, scarves, and other articles of clothing.
Get Outdoors with Loved Ones
Between work, school, and other obligations, spending time outdoors happens less and less for the average family. Spending the afternoon at your local farmer’s market, however, creates the perfect opportunity for you to spend time in nature. The warmth of the sun, fresh crisp breeze, and the lax but exciting environment can really do the mind and body some good. Whether you make it a weekend date with you and a significant other or you grab the kids and make it a family affair, it’s an inexpensive yet fun way to explore La Jolla and spend quality time together.
If you’re in the La Jolla area on vacation, a lunch break, or simply looking for something to do over the weekend, the farmer’s market is an ideal place to visit. From fresh fruits and veggies to crafty gifts and other neat treats, you’re sure to have a great time exploring all there is to offer.
There are those travelers that enjoy things like shopping, attending events, visiting popular tourist attractions, and dining at the finest restaurants. Then, there are those who’d much prefer to explore the great outdoors. Though there’s no right or wrong way to spend your vacation, there’s simply something amazing about centering your trip around nature.
Spending time outdoors is great for your health. The warmth of the sunlight, the angelic sounds of wildlife, and picturesque views, there’s really nothing like it. Whether you’re going for a rejuvenating yet relaxing outdoor excursion or you’re looking for some fun and adventure, you’ll find these outdoor activities in San Diego and surrounding areas to be worth giving a try.
Go on a Whale-Watching Tour
If you’re a lover of the open water and ocean life, then you’ll enjoy going on a San Diego Whale Watching tour. This exciting tour is offered all year long and is great for families, couples, or solo travelers. For a few hours, you get a seat onboard a ship that takes you out into the ocean to gaze at some of the most gorgeous creatures in the ocean like humpback whales and dolphins. Don’t forget to register in advance and bring your camera as this is a view you’ll want to capture on film.
Skydive Over the Ocean
If it’s a thrill you’re after then nothing compares to skydiving. Imagine jumping from 12,000 feet from a plane above the Pacific Ocean. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you’re dropping from the plane with a view of the ocean just beneath you. This is a great outdoor activity you don’t need any past experience to try. For beginners, you’ll have a trained and certified instructor strapped to you the entire time. For those who have gone skydiving before, you can easily get certified and take the dive alone.
Take a Hike to Devil’s Punchbowl
Want to burn some calories, enjoy nature, and have fun while doing it? Why not go for a hike nearby San Diego? Instead of hitting a national park or similar destination, take a hike to Devil’s Punchbowl. The hike, though rigorous, is well worth the trek. When you reach the final destination, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. You can simply admire the view and take pictures, go for a quick dip, or enjoy a nice snack and a couple of brews with your friends.
Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove
For water lovers, this outdoor activity is sure to tickle your fancy. Head on over to La Jolla Cove for an experience of a lifetime. You’ll be privy to everything you need including waterproof cameras. As you get an underwater tour of the surf at La Jolla Cove you may come across some of the most awesome ocean creatures like the local leopard sharks (which are completely harmless to humans, by the way).
ATVing in Ocotillo Desert
Another thrilling outdoor experience you can try while in San Diego or surrounding areas is riding ATVs or dirt bikes through the desert. You and your traveling companions get to take a tour through various types of desert terrain. Check out an abandoned WWII Russian tank or catch a glimpse of a breathtaking canyon called Painted Gorge made of purple, green, and red dirt. If you happen to be planning your trip between January and March, you may even see the Blue Angels practicing for an air show.
Catch an Outdoor Movie
If you love the outdoors but are looking for something a bit more laid back, then you’ll love the chance to catch a movie outside. All you need is a comfy blanket and some snacks. There are several destinations where you can watch outdoor movies in San Diego. Whether you want to catch a flick under the stars beachside or you’d prefer to view the big screen sitting in the middle of a botanical lawn, there’s the perfect atmosphere waiting for you.
This is only a small fraction of the outdoor activities you can enjoy while vacationing in San Diego, California. From bike tours and watersports to movies under the stars and relaxing by the shore, there is something for everyone, no matter what their idea of spending outdoors may be.
If you’re vacationing in San Diego, your trip isn’t complete until you’ve visited the Harbor. There’s so much to see and do along this beautiful strip located near the Mexican border. Want to indulge in the nightlife scene? There are plenty of bars and lounges in the area that offer happy hours and late-night cocktails. Want to enjoy the bay waters? Then you’ll love sailing on a boat, or jet skiing across the waters. Sound exciting? Here are a few suggestions on fun ways to explore the San Diego Harbor.
Shop, Dine, and More at Seaport Village
Located just along the shoreline of San Diego Bay, Seaport Village is the ideal destination for tourists and locals alike. The 14 acre stretch of land is packed with more than 50 shops for your retail pleasure. There are also more than 10 restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining to suit any palate. The action doesn’t stop there. You’ll find live entertainment at the Embarcadero boardwalk. Depending on the time of year you visit Seaport Village, there are also plenty of fun events to take part in. From Surfin’ Santa visiting in November to Landlubber’s Day in September, there’s always something going on in Seaport Village.
Rent a Boat and Tour the Bay
Interested in seeing the city by water? Then why not rent a boat and bring your travel companions out for a ride? There are many places for boat rental in San Diego that are ideal to see this side of the city. You can check out the USS Midway aircraft museum from the water, or cruise the shorelines until you reach Coronado Island. It’s just you, your friends or loved ones, and the open water. The best part is, you don’t need a license and only need to be at least 18 years of age to drive.
View the World’s Oldest Sailing Ship
If you happen to be in San Diego Harbor you have to visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego. There you’ll find one of the oldest active ships in the world referred to as the Star of India. Whether this is a family vacation, a couple’s getaway, or a friend’s trip you’ll find touring both the temporary and permanent exhibits of historic ships that tell amazing stories about US maritime history. It is just one of several historical museums and sites you can visit around town.
Family Fun at Embarcadero Marina Park
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city head on down to Embarcadero Marina Park for some family fun. Both the north and south sides of the park have plenty of things for you to enjoy. Centered next to the water it’s a great place to take a walk, have a nice picnic, fly kites, watch artists create masterpieces, purchase trinkets and other items from nearby stands and shops, jam to outdoor concerts, and much more.
Quick Tips for Planning Your Trip to San Diego Bay
With so many things to get involved in at the San Diego Bay, you’re probably anxious to pay this popular tourist attraction a visit. Below are a few quick pointers to ensuring you have the best time possible.
Look for City Passes
If you’re looking to visit San Diego on a budget you’ll want to invest in a city pass. These passes provide you with affordable admission into the area’s most popular attractions. You can check out museums, go on boat tours, and gain entrance to some of the most historical attractions in the area for one low price.
Check for Events
Though the San Diego Bay can be fun to visit any time of year it’s always the most lively when there are events going on. Check the city calendar to find out when activities ranging from street fairs and festivals to car shows and outdoor concerts are taking place so you can be in the midst of the fun. Going during popular holidays like the 4th of July is also ideal and very exciting as the firework displays burst into the beautiful night skies overlooking the water.
The great city of San Diego, California has a lot to offer. From more than 70 miles of beaches to famed attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and the USS Midway Museum, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to have a great time. To make your trip complete, however, don’t forget to stop by the San Diego Bay to explore activities like those listed above.
Expecting a bundle of joy in the next few months? If so, you’re probably thinking of planning a shower to celebrate. If you live in or near La Jolla, CA, then you’re in the perfect destination to throw a wonderful event. There are plenty of venue options to choose from no matter what your budget or personal preferences might be. Below, is a brief look at some ideas to consider:
Your Home or Backyard
For couples trying to stick to a budget, you can save a ton of money by having the baby shower at your home. Depending on the weather (which is usually pretty nice year-round in La Jolla), you can have the shower in your backyard. It’s a very intimate setting and with a bit of decor can really be nice. If you’re having it at your place and want to save even more money you can also make your own decorations, cocktails, and food for your guests. You can even be your own DJ and create a playlist to rock out to.
There are several beaches in La Jolla all with a different scene. Whether you prefer a laid back, quiet like the Marine Room, or a more uptempo popular one like George’s, you can find it here. While it might be a bit much to have your shower on the beach, however, you can always look at nearby restaurants or bars. Beachside restaurants are aesthetically appealing – especially when you have the shore as your backdrop. Beach themed showers are also pretty nice. If it’s a boy, you can have a Finding Nemo theme. However, if it’s a girl, the little Mermaid is the perfect beach theme to celebrate your princess’s arrival.
If your yard isn’t large enough to host your shower then host it at a nearby park. La Jolla has no shortage of beautiful public parks for you to choose from, like Scripps park right in the village. It’s a great place for adults but also works if you planned on allowing children to attend. A nature theme is best suited for the park. Consider going with zoo or jungle animals as they fit in well with the natural landscape. Chances are you’ll need a permit to host your event here so be sure to plan well in advance. You can have a cookout with burgers, hot dogs, and traditional sides to fit with the vibe. Who knows? Maybe you can even tie in the gender reveal and use confetti or smoke cannons to let everyone know what you’re having.
Last but not least, a more traditional route to take for your baby shower would be to host it at a wedding reception hall. These venues are large enough to hold several hundred people. They’re also very elegantly designed for those interested in throwing a more upscale baby shower. You can plan a grand event complete with beautifully decorated tables, a delectable menu, and live entertainment. You could have a royal theme with tiaras or crowns to celebrate your prince or princess’s arrival. Have your guests dress up and get ready for a good time. La Jolla venues are very popular, so you’ll want to make sure that you make your reservation before it’s too late. The best part is many of them offer a full wait staff, catering services, and a bar if you plan on serving drinks.
The upcoming arrival of your newborn deserves to be celebrated. When you live in or near a city as amazing as La Jolla, finding the perfect venue won’t be very hard. Whether you decide to have it at your home, a beachside restaurant, a local park, or a wedding hall, you have several selections to choose from. Hopefully, this list of ideas has given you some inspiration on how to celebrate the newest member of your family coming into the world. And before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your baby’s first birthday!
4th of July in San Diego is just one big celebration! Fireworks displays, parades, street fairs, and festivals are all part of the fun on the big day. Sadly, there will be no 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove this year due to funding issues; but there are plenty of other places and ways to celebrate 4th of July in San Diego! Here’s the roundup, from San Diego Bay to Rancho Santa Fe.
Annual Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show
Where: Multiple Locations along San Diego Bay When: 9:00pm
Take in the largest fireworks display in the county! With fireworks launched from four barges placed around North San Diego Bay, they can be seen from multiple locations along the San Diego coastline. Just find a place along the bay, set up a blanket and some hot chocolate, and get ready for the display! We recommend arriving early to reserve a spot.
Where to watch:
Boating/On The Water
SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks & Celebration
Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109 When: 10:00am to 10:00pm SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack, starting at 9:40pm on July 4th. Entrance is required, and there are plenty of spots throughout the park to watch the display. You can reserve seats ahead of time via seaworld.com.
Ocean Beach July 4th Celebration
Where: Ocean Beach Pier (end of Newport Avenue) When: 9:00pm
Spend Independence day picnicking, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand, and shopping along Newport Ave. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show launched from Ocean Beach Pier! Free parking will be available at the Main Beach Parking Lot as well as at the Pier Parking Lot. We do recommend arriving early to reserve a spot – head to obsandiego.com for more information.
Where: Old Town State Historic Park When: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Although Old Town won’t be putting on a fireworks display, there will be a parade, crafts, and activities all throughout the day on July 4th. The activities will recreate an old-fashioned Independence Day just as it was celebrated on the frontier. You’ll also be able to compete in several contests, including cherry pit spitting or an egg toss, for handmade ribbons.
4th of July Celebration in Coronado
Where: Various Locations on Coronado When: 7:00am to 9:00pm; Fireworks at 9pm
Celebrate the 4th of July in the Crown City! Independence Day activities will include a parade down Orange Avenue at 10:00am, a concert in Spreckels Park at 4:00pm, and fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9:00pm. The fireworks display can be easily viewed from anywhere along the bay on Coronado Island.
Earlier that day, the Crown City Classic 4th of July Race will take place between 7am and 10am. This historic run through Coronado will feature a 12k and a 5k, and kicks off at Coronado Tidelands Park.
San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebrations
Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014) When: Starts at 10:00am, Fireworks at 9:00pm
Independence Day is one of the best days to come to the San Diego County Fair, because they pull out all the stops with food, fireworks at 9:00 PM, entertainment, and more! Fireworks are launched from the west end of the racetrack and are choreographed to a soundtrack played through the Corona Grandstand Stage sound system. The fireworks are visible from many areas of the Fairgrounds, with favorite viewing areas including reserved Terrace seating and 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand, Family Funville, and the Fun Zone.
Where:LEGOLAND California (One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008) When: 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Fireworks at 8:30pm
Take the whole family and spend the day enjoying over 60 rides, shows, and attractions at LEGOLAND along with some all-American picnic games like burlap races and water-balloon tosses. Then cozy up with a blanket and a picnic that evening, and watch the awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic music!
Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic
Where: 16948 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091 When: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Pack a few blankets and chairs for Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic! The parade kicks off at 12:15pm, and will include floats, vintage cars, and equestrians. The picnic and concert will begin at 1:30pm, complete with a barbecue and live music by The Harmony Grove Band.
Poway 4th of July Fireworks
Where: Poway High School When: 6pm – 10pm; fireworks at 9pm The fireworks in Poway start at 9 p.m. at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.). The gates will open at 6 p.m. and the event will include games and a DJ spinning tunes; it costs $5 per person to get in and kids 11 and under get in free. Meanwhile, during the day, the Old-Fashion Fourth of July Celebration goes down from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.), a patriotic party, “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” That event includes western-style reenactments, free crafts, train displays and old-timey games. Free shuttles to the daytime fest will run from two locations: the Poway City Hall parking lot on Civic Center Drive, and the Poway Adult School parking lot on Twin Peaks Road.
Where: Oceanside Blvd & Rancho del Oro Road, Oceanside, CA When: July 3, 2018
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm, Fireworks at 9pm
You’re invited to the City of Oceanside annual Fireworks Show! Spectators are encouraged to arrive anytime after 6:00 pm, park in the business park nearby, bring a beach chair, and walk to the viewing area on Rancho Del Oro road. There will be live music as well as food trucks offering a wide variety of foods. The firework show will begin at 9pm.
Then, on Wednesday, July 4th at 10am, head to Oceanside Beach and Pier for more festivities! Main Street Oceanside will be hosting a variety of booths and activities in the plazas, parks, and parking lots from the Oceanside Pier to Tyson Street Park. The day will include kids’ crafts and activities in the Pier Amphitheater, with a wide range of food vendors. There will also be retail vendors of all kinds in both the Pier Plaza and in the parking lot south of the Pier Amphitheater.
In the San Diego area, one of the best beaches to visit and bring your family to is La Jolla. There are a ton of activities that the area provides. No matter how old your kids might be, there is an adventure to be discovered at La Jolla. This article will discuss five beach activities that you can do at La Jolla with your family.
1. Beach Volleyball
For families who like a little bit of competition to go along with their fun, beach volleyball is an excellent activity to try. While bringing your own ball is a no-brainer, it’s also a good idea to bring your own net just in case. Packing a couple of Cobra volleyball nets means getting to play no matter what. Many of the beaches in and around La Jolla have designated areas for volleyball that include two permanent poles for stringing up a net, but sometimes the net isn’t there.
2. Building Sandcastles
There are actually quite a few sandcastle competitions in San Diego. Your family can start honing your skills early by building sandcastles at La Jolla. Even the humble castle should be considered a great achievement. It’s no easy thing making sand stand up on its own and hold its shape. Your family can experience a great team-building exercise as you hurry to and from the water to keep your sand moldable. It’s also a great way to encourage your child’s creativity.
3. Scuba Diving
One thing that La Jolla offers is scuba diving lessons. These you typically have to sign up for, so it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time to find out when the best time to sign up is. Once you’re in the program, however, you and your family can suit up and learn how to use the oxygen tanks and other equipment. Once you’ve been trained, you’re able to do a bit of scuba diving in La Jolla and look at some of the sea life of the Pacific Ocean. Children will likely love seeing the colorful fish in their natural habitat, but note the minimum age is 10 years old.
4. Sea Lion Watching
La Jolla has a lot of sea lions and seals on the beach at certain parts of the day. While you should never encourage your children to touch them–no matter how furry they might look–you can enjoy watching their antics. Usually, they like to just sleep around. However, once they’re active, sea lions can be quite fun to watch. They play, fight, and try to outswim one another. Your children will love watching sea lions on the beach.
5. The Children’s Pool
One part of La Jolla is an area where the tide is quite low and becomes shallow. This is a perfect area for children to swim and enjoy and has since been called The Children’s Pool. This area is almost considered family-friendly except that it does have some potentially dangerous wildlife. Sea lions and seals have been known to make the area their hangout spot. If the area is clear, however, The Children’s Pool is an excellent place for families to swim and look at sea life with their smaller children.
La Jolla is an incredible beachfront community offering an abundance of activities for families. Whether you like to swim and be active or just relax and watch the local wildlife, this beach is for you.
There’s a reason (okay, maybe several) that the La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is one of the top ten places in the world for snorkeling.
Together, the Park and Reserve span 6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands, from Scripps Park across La Jolla Shores all the way to Torrey Pines. From the seven sea caves to the variety of brightly-colored sea creatures, the Underwater Park and nearby La Jolla Cove have become destinations for snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world.
Full Day Snorkel Gear Rental
Snorkeling gear, surfboards, paddleboards and more, LaJolla.com offers exclusive discounts on the best beach gear rentals and activities. Plus, save an additional 20% off when you choose two or more of 50+ of the most popular attractions in San Diego with a digital GoCity discount pass.
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Here are just a few reasons why snorkeling La Jolla Cove and the Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve should be at the top of your bucket list!
1. You never know what you might see.
La Jolla is home to an incredible variety of sea creatures and provides a rare opportunity to see marine life up close and personal. The warmer-than-usual water and protected cove attracts fish and mammals from all along the coast.
Snorkelers and divers have reported seeing Garibaldi, octopus, urchins, dolphins, sea turtles, leopard sharks, sea stars, shovel nose guitar fish, schools of fish big and small; and of course, playful seals and sea lions.
2. You can snorkel through some pretty magical sea caves.
Where else in San Diego can you actually swim through an entire sea cave?
La Jolla Cove is home to seven caves, the biggest of which is Clam Cave (just offshore from Goldfish Point Cafe); when the tide allows, visitors can delight in snorkeling or kayaking through it to the other side. The other six are viewable from the water, and there is usually a plethora of marine life clustered near the caves at any time; which makes for some great snorkeling!
3. Leopard sharks: thousands of them!
Between the months of June and December, snorkelers can experience swimming among the largest annual gathering of leopard sharks along the coast of California.
Each year, thousands of pregnant female sharks migrate to the beaches near La Jolla Cove, where the warmer, calm water helps their young develop faster. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t find anywhere else in California – it’s an absolute must-do if you enjoy snorkeling!
4. You can explore one of the region’s only underwater canyons.
Within the Ecological Reserve, the bottom takes a sudden and drastic 500-foot- plunge into the La Jolla Underwater Canyon (which reaches depths of up to 600 feet!). It’s exactly these unique features that make snorkeling in La Jolla such an incredible experience!
Fun fact: a giant concrete map of the underwater park was completed in 2008 at La Jolla Shores. You can find this unique map near the boardwalk between the restrooms and the children’s play area at the south end of Kellogg Park.
Enjoy Adventure Activities?
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5. The La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is federally protected and provides fantastic snorkeling.
The La Jolla Underwater Park was created by the City of San Diego in 1970, and both the Ecological Reserve and the Marine Life Refuge lie within it.
The Reserve is federally protected, and fishing or collecting of any kind is outlawed. With this added protection, marine life has flourished over the years – which makes for some fantastic snorkeling!
6. And there’s a secret underwater graveyard!
Two underwater canyons, two artificial reefs, and a kelp forest all span 6,000 acres underwater, making the Park and Reserve visually beautiful and geographically fascinating.
There is one feature of the underwater canyon, however, that is especially unique: a secret underwater graveyard! Just beyond the coastline, about 100 yards out from the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club and 35 feet underwater, lies an eerie underwater memorial that is unofficially known as “Tombstones.”
There are no bodies as the name implies, only several markers that are dedicated to fallen spear fishermen and members of the “Bottom Scratchers,” the first documented diving and spearfishing club in North America.
Over time, markers have been placed for other fallen free divers and locals. The tradition began all the way back in the 1940s and has continued up to present day.
Snorkeling La Jolla Tour Information
The next time you’re in La Jolla, we definitely recommend snorkeling around La Jolla Cove and the La Jolla Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve! You can venture out with a partner on your own if you feel comfortable doing so. Make sure to rent a mask and snorkel for a full day so you have plenty of time to explore. You can take a guided tour with experienced professionals if you prefer. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try a combination kayak/snorkeling tour – it’s the best of both worlds!
Interested in more water activities while you’re here? Scuba diving and kayaking are also great ways to explore the underwater world of La Jolla!
We won’t lie – summer in La Jolla is a beautiful thing! Endless hours of sunshine, warm weather, and seven miles of gorgeous, sandy beaches make our little village by the sea one of the best places to spend the summer in all of San Diego.
With so many things to do in La Jolla (not to mention the world-class dining options), you’ll definitely want to take advantage of absolutely everything while you’re here. So, we’ve put together the ultimate activities guide for things to do in La Jolla this summer; start ticking things off the list and get out there!
Take a kayak tour of the La Jolla caves
If nothing else, this is the one activity you absolutely cannot miss during a visit to La Jolla. The seven sea caves that line the shore are millions of years old and carved from sandstone; they’re beautiful to look at, and even better, incredible to kayak through.
Guided kayak tours (you can choose from several local tour companies down at La Jolla Shores, where the tours start) will allow you to experience the whole enchilada, from paddling out and braving the waves to exploring Clam Cave, the biggest and one of the easiest ones to kayak through. On lower tide days, you’ll also get the chance to kayak into one or two of the smaller caves, but that may be an activity reserved for the braver members of your group!
Snorkel around La Jolla Cove
There’s nothing quite like getting up-close-and-personal with the marine life at La Jolla Cove. During the summer months, leopard sharks number in the thousands when they come here to hatch their young. The sharks are harmless, and the Birch Aquarium even hosts guided snorkel tours that take groups out to the most populated spots.
Other creatures you may see while exploring include Garibaldi, shovelnose guitarfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, stingrays, and all types of other fish.
Have a beach bonfire at La Jolla Shores
Need we say more? Beach bonfires down at the Shores are pretty much the epitome of an awesome summer night in La Jolla. There are several bonfire pits located on the sand along the shores at this beach, but fair warning: they do fill up very early on weekends. To secure a pit, you’ll probably need to get down there and stake one out around 11am. But hey, it’s totally worth it once you’re staying warm next to a roaring fire right on the beach.
For more information on how to have a bonfire, head here.
Learn how to scuba dive
Interested in going one step further than snorkeling in La Jolla? Try your hand at scuba diving! There are a couple of different companies (such as SD Expeditions) that offer scuba diving certification and classes throughout the year. From beginner open water certification to advanced rescue diver classes, you’ll be able to customize your own experience and really get a feel for how it all works. Plus, the amount of marine life you’ll be able to see is incredible!
Sunny Jim Cave is the only sea cave accessible from land in California; which is a pretty cool thing in and of itself when it comes to things to do in La Jolla. Adventurers can access the cave via The Cave Store, which has been there since 1903, and pay the $5 to head down 145 stone steps to one of the most unique views that you’ll see in all of La Jolla. There are six other sea caves, but most of them are inaccessible except for by kayak during low tide and calm waters.
There’s nothing better on a clear, sunny day than going on a great hike! There are a ton of great hikes in San Diego alone, but there are a few hidden gems right here in La Jolla. The Coast Walk Trail, which begins at the Cave Store, travels along the bluffs for a super scenic, easy walk.
The Scripps Coastal Reserve is a bit more of a rugged hike, but offers terrific views of the Torrey Pines Gliderport and beyond. Finally, there’s the Coastal Meander Trail, which starts at La Jolla Shores Dr. and heads down to a bluff overlooking Scripps Pier for sweeping ocean views.
Whichever hike you choose, you’re definitely going to be greeted with scenic panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and all of San Diego.
Walking along the sea wall down at The Children’s Pool is one of our favorite pastimes. If you walk all the way to the end, you’ll get a great perspective of looking back at La Jolla from the water; which is hard to do unless you’re out in a boat or kayak. Fair warning here: you most likely will get wet by doing this! But that’s really all part of the fun, right?
There’s no better way to cool off during a hot summer day in La Jolla than spending it in a pool – much less a beachside pool! There are a ton of great hotel pools in La Jolla, from La Valencia to the Grande Colonial and La Jolla Shores Hotel & Restaurant.
Enjoy dinner with a view
La Jolla is home to a number of incredible fine dining restaurants along the coast, boasting great views. Prospect Street is your best bet for dining with an ocean view – George’s at the Cove, Eddie V’s, Crabcatcher, Duke’s La Jolla are all incredible fine dining restaurants and will make for an experience you won’t soon forget!
Adrenaline seekers, here’s an activity for you! Hang gliding or paragliding from the Torrey Pines Gliderport is an awesome experience that’s totally unique to La Jolla. You can take a tandem flight with an instructor (which is recommended for those who have never flown before) or learn how to fly one yourself. For the experienced flyers, there are even advanced clinics that take place every few weeks.
Bonus: Falconry classes are offered at the Gliderport during certain months of the year! This is seriously a must-do bucket list item if you happen to be in La Jolla when they’re happening. Check their page for the class schedule.
Each spring and summer, The Marine Room offers a series of High Tide Dinners, where guests can experience the magic of giant waves crashing up against the floor-to-mirror windows while they dine. This is truly one of the best restaurants in San Diego, and is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been. Their website lists the exact time at which the highest tide will be, so you can plan your reservation accordingly. Do reserve in advance, as these fill up way ahead of time!
Check out the views from Mt. Soledad
If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy view, Mount Soledad should definitely be on your list. The mountaintop offers 360-degree panoramas of La Jolla, downtown San Diego, and even Mexico (on super clear days), and it’s totally free to go and park. Pro-tip: go just before sunset for an even more gorgeous view!
If you’re in the mood for some walking, take the 5-minute drive over to La Jolla Heights Open Space Park. It’s a short walk that will give you even more great views, plus a cute little bench to sit down on and take in the scenery. It’s worth checking out!
Watch the seals at La Jolla Cove
We would be remiss if our list didn’t include a visit to the seals at La Jolla Cove. Though a bit odiferous, it’s great to see these creatures up close. You can usually find them sunning on the rocks just offshore from the Cove, or on the sandy beach and rocks at the Children’s Pool nearby. You can easily walk from the Cove to the Children’s Pool; stop to have a picnic or a drink of water at Ellen Browning Scripps Park to break the walk up a bit. Read up on how best to see these animals without endangering their safety before you go.
Take in the art galleries and museums downtown
La Jolla is a great place to experience a little arts and culture. Museums in downtown La Jolla include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (which is closed for renovations until 2019, but you can still check out the Edwards Sculpture Garden in the back), the Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla, Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and the La Jolla Historical Society.
There are also several incredible art galleries here, including Madison Gallery, Thumbprint Gallery, and the Legends Gallery which is home to a huge collection of Dr. Seuss’ art.
These spots are pretty gorgeous parts of San Diego, and as you can see from the list, there is definitely no shortage of awesome things to do in La Jolla!
What better way to enjoy a balmy summer evening in San Diego than with some popcorn, a blanket, your friends, and a movie under the stars?! We can’t think of one, to be honest. Some of our favorite venues throughout the city are showcasing some pretty excellent films this season, and the ‘theaters’ range from sandy beaches to cozy, lantern-lit patios.
We’ve done the hard work and put together a big list of the best spots to watch outdoor movies in San Diego and La Jolla this summer; so sit back, relax, and start planning your epic summer nights.
Flicks on the Bricks
Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037). When: 7:30pm, Thursdays in August
One of La Jolla’s most beloved traditions returns this August at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Get ready to enjoy classic films, complimentary wine, and tasty bites on the outdoor patio! This year’s program is focusing on La Jollans of Noir: Vintage Crime Thrillers Starring Actors with a La Jolla connection. With so many great films noir to choose from, this series focuses on films with La Jolla stars!
August 15 | Underworld U.S.A. (1961)
August 22 | Mirage (1965)
August 29 | Sudden Fear (1952)
Movies on the Beach
Where: Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave., Coronado 92118 When: Saturdays at 8:00pm
Experience a movie under the stars at the Hotel Del Coronado! Guests can snuggle up on one of the comfy Del Beach sand chairs, or, for the ultimate VIP movie experience, get cozy around a private beach bonfire with s’mores and a daybed. General admission tickets start at $20. Doors open at 7:00pm and the movie starts promptly at 8:00pm. We do suggest reserving your tickets in advance to guarantee seating.
Take a trip into the art world as you sit under the stars on the Botanical Lawn (east of the Museum) in beautiful Balboa Park. Grab a picnic, a blanket, and a few friends and enjoy a selection of films whose themes take inspiration from the Museum’s summer collection. Admission to the film series is free.
Note: alcoholic beverages are allowed in Balboa Park until 8:00p.m. Pets are allowed on the lawn, so feel free to bring Fido!
2019 Schedule TBA.
Summer Movies in the Park
Where: Various venues throughout San Diego When: Dusk (approximately 15 mins after sunset); May 25-October
Summer Movies in the Park is one of San Diego’s longest-running outdoor movie series. It began in 2007 as a ‘take back our parks’ initiative, giving local residents a reason to visit their local county and city parks for a free and fun evening event. This year, the venues are all across San Diego County – from here in La Jolla all the way to Oceanside.
Summer Moves in the Park: La Jolla Venues:
2019 Schedule TBA. Check back later for details! For a complete venue lineup and film schedule, visit the Movies in the Park website.
Liberty Station Outdoor Movies
Where: North Promenade Lawn; Liberty Station When: 8pm; 2nd Saturday of each month, May-October
Arts District Liberty Station presents its free outdoor film series once again this summer! These six curated films reflect the diverse arts and culture offerings at the growing ARTS DISTRICT at Liberty Station and appeal to film lovers of all ages. Evenings feature surprise pop-up performances or activities along with curated shorts preceding the feature film. So, bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great cinema! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early to set up your spot on the lawn.
2019 Schedule TBA.
Movie Nights at Stone Brewing Liberty Station
Where: Stone Brewing at Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Road) When: 7:30pm; Tuesdays from June-Aug
Craft beer lovers, this is the film series for you! Every Tuesday this summer (June through August), bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great beer and even better cinema. Space is limited, so plan to arrive as early as 5pm to set up your spot on the lawn and have dinner in their garden before the show. For more information, see their website.
Sometimes, we all just need a day off – to relax, recuperate, and escape the hassle and stress of everyday life. What better way to de-stress than with a massage, facial, or a manicure/pedicure? La Jolla offers plenty of ways to relax, from luxurious day spas to world-class hotel salons and spas. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots to have the perfect spa day in La Jolla, whether it’s with your girlfriends, Mom, a special someone, or a solo day out.
The Spa at Estancia La Jolla
The award–winning spa at Estancia La Jolla, which was recently enhanced, is meticulously decorated and designed for ultimate relaxation. The spa’s spacious lounge area has a luxurious, Moroccan décor with French doors that swing open to reveal a beautiful outdoor space, complete with a beautiful fireplace and a Zen garden for meditation. An added bonus: you won’t be smelling nail polish when you walk into the spa. The stand–alone canvassed “Nail Bungalow” funnels the noxious fumes away from visitors in an open–air environment, so you can fully sink into your experience.
The women’s side of the spa offers a salt-water whirlpool with an outside rain shower and an indoor Eucalyptus steam room. The menu of facials, massage therapies, and body treatments is extensive and offers a little something for everyone.
What to try: The Ginger Renewal body treatment is a blissful 80 minute-treatment; let ginger’s healing and warming properties invigorate and nourish in this pampering head-to-toe experience with a head, back, neck and shoulder massage.
The Spa at Torrey Pines
Taking advantage of its seaside location, almost all of the treatments at the Spa at Torrey Pines (located in the Lodge) utilize marine and botanical-based products; particularly sage. Sage is known for its purifying and detoxifying properties and is the main ingredient in The Spa’s signature Coastal Sage Scrub, performed in the Vichy shower. Torrey Pines State Reserve, located just a few minutes’ walk from the resort, is actually home to seventeen different types of sage! All spa treatments and rituals were designed to focus on wellness and are performed to meet the needs of each individual.
In addition to 14 separate treatment rooms, the Spa features a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, dry saunas, herbal infused steam rooms, and aromatherapy inhalation rooms. A cardio/strength room features state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary cycles, and weight-training equipment. Yoga classes and guided nature walks through the Reserve are also offered. An outdoor pool and whirlpool take advantage of the year round temperate weather and beautiful views.
What to try: The Coastal Sage Scrub is definitely at the top of the list — a three-step experience that begins with a natural loofah cleanse and finishes with a luxurious application of their Lemongrass and Sage Lotion.
If you’re looking for something more than a traditional day spa/salon, look no further! Cove Wellness offers various purifying therapies that focus on the entire body, a synergistic approach to wellness and healthy aging by supporting the body as it strives to maintain its natural alkalinity and ideal weight. The Spa provides a wide range of unique services, including oxygen facials, specialty therapeutic massages, cleanses and whole body detoxes, cellulite reduction, lymphatic therapy, Reflexology, Hydrotherapy, and much more.
What to try: The Lymphatic Oxygen Facial coupled with the 4-step Signature La Jolla Detox makes for an incredible afternoon of rejuvenation.
La Jolla Cove Salon & Spa
La Jolla Cove Salon and Spa is situated in the heart of beautiful La Jolla Cove overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The salon and spa energy and creativity is determined to ensure every client that walks out of the front door has had the ultimate La Jolla Cove experience! They offer a wide array of hair services in addition to manicures, pedicures and gel nail polishes as well as spa services that includes facial and body massages.
What to try: For the best of both worlds, try the Cove Ultimate Package. It includes a manicure, pedicure, Signature Facial, and a 15-minute hand and feet massage.
Turn your relaxing day into a staycation! Spend the night at one of the many luxurious hotels in La Jolla and escape the hustle and bustle of the ‘real world’ for a little while. Where are your favorite places to unwind?
Imagine – walking above the Pacific Ocean on a warm summer night, using only the moon’s glow as your guide while you explore one of La Jolla’s most fascinating landmarks. You can do just that during one of the Birch Aquarium’s Full Moon Scripps Pier Walks, which are held all summer long!
A working research pier still used by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the beautiful Scripps Pier is usually closed to the public. Every summer, however, visitors are invited to explore all 1,090 feet of this La Jolla treasure by moonlight. Attendees have full access to the pier and the chance to ask guides (naturalists from the aquarium and staff members from the Institute) all about the pier and how it’s used. A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most prominent landmarks!
How it Works
Your Pier Walk evening kicks off with a video about the history of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As you head out on your walk from the Auditorium, you’ll learn about the 100-year history of data collection at Scripps. Once you arrive at the pier, you’re welcome to soak up the striking scenery by the moonlight, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, there are hands-on activity tables – where the staff may or may not ask if you’d like to dissect a squid or help dig through clumps of mussels.
Otherwise, the Birch Aquarium naturalists will be around to give you the 411 on subjects like shark teeth, the latest in plankton studies, and for the serious nature lovers, the unique donut-shaped brain of a squid.
An added bonus, especially for those with a penchant for photography: the event is timed perfectly so that you walk out of the Sumner Auditorium, down the campus hill, and right into the sunset ducking down beyond the pier. This is a rare – not to mention gorgeous – photo opportunity in La Jolla, so come camera ready!
Pier Walks 101
The pier walks are held twice a month from June through October. Tickets are $35 for adults ($30 if you’re a Birch Aquarium member), and can be purchased ahead of time on the Birch Aquarium website. The walks are from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.
Children must be at least 9 years old to participate, and attendees under 13 must be accompanied by a paid adult.
This year’s Pier Walk schedule:
Sunday, June 16th
The original Scripps Pier was built in La Jolla between 1915 and 1916 as a 1,000 foot long facility for acquiring clean seawater for campus labs and Birch Aquarium. Ellen Browning Scripps provided all of the funds necessary for its construction. Extensive repairs were made to the pier in the 20s and 40s, though major concerns about its structural soundness led to the pier’s complete rebuilding later on.
The Bottom Line
Today, the pier is a remarkable and beautiful structure that is rarely available to be explored. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seen-it-all local, a Full Moon Pier Walk is the rare VIP event that’s both exclusive and completely unique; you’ll be hard-pressed to find another working research pier to explore under the moon’s glow!
For a similarly unique adventure, head down the 145 steps at The Cave Store to explore Sunny Jim Cave. For the slightly less adventurous, walk over to La Jolla Cove to watch the sunbathing seals, grab a bite to eat, and take in the stunning views.
For more information on the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla or other things to explore while you’re there, head to the aquarium’s website.
This historic San Diego park is a must see, no doubt about it. Built in 1986 and majorly re-vamped in 1915, Balboa Park holds over 100 years of Southern California life and culture. It’s home to seventeen award-winning museums, more than fifteen green promoting gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo and (if you can believe it) much more! Here’s the basic layout of what you’ll find, events to look out for and information to help you plan the ultimate trip.
Whether you’re a lover of science or art, trains or sports…there’s a museum for everyone, even the typical non-museum goers. Some of the most applauded favorites include:
San Diego Natural History Museum San Diego Museum of Art San Diego Air & Space Museum San Diego Museum of Man Reuben H. Fleet Science Center San Diego Model Railroad Museum Mingei International Museum Museum of Photographic Arts Timken Museum of Art San Diego Automotive Museum San Diego History Center
As for prices and packages, there are multiple options. If you’re a resident, did you know you can go for free? On each Tuesday of each month, Balboa Park hosts “Residents Free Days,” where different museums offer free admission to San Diego residents (you’ll need ID confirming your residency) each week. Find out which museums are free on which Tuesdays here.
If you’re not a resident or you’re interested in going on a day other than a Tuesday, you can :
• Pay for admission at each museum individually (prices vary)
• Purchase a Go San Diego Cardfor discounted admission to more than 40 San Diego attractions – including Balboa Park!
• Purchase an Annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass: This pass gives you entry into all 17 museums for an entire year. And this isn’t Disneyland; there are no blackout days.
**It’s important to note that with any of these options, special exhibits aren’t included, such as the Natural History Museum’s King Tut or Museum of Man’s Torture Exhibit.**
Balboa Park Gardens
If you enjoy botany or simply looking at beautiful flowers, there’s plenty to see here. Walk through the Botanical Building to transport yourself across the world. Not only is the inside captivating, but the outer design is very striking and in many classic Balboa Park photographs.
Just outside its main doors are plants known for housing caterpillars. They blend in well, but look carefully amongst the green leaves and you’ll find them; you may be surprised at just how darling a yellow caterpillar can be! One of the best parts about this spot though? It’s free.
As far as larger gardens go, the other two main ones are the Rose Garden across the road from the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is lovely, especially the coy fish it features in its shaded pond. It’s good to note that it’s the only garden that charges a fee.
The other smaller gardens you’ll find sprinkled amongst the park; we recommend walking and exploring to let yourself surprisingly stumble upon them. Go far enough? You’ll find trails around the park’s edges, the most intricate and steep going along Florida Street to Morley Field.
The world famous San Diego Zoo is famous for many reasons, some of the top being the pandas and Australian koalas, of course. There’s so many wonderful things here that we gave it its own page. Learn more about this zoo and what it has to offer at our San Diego Zoo page.
The Old Globe Theatre
You were transported to Asia in the Japanese Friendship Garden. You experienced Australia taking in the zoo’s koalas. Now, let’s take you over to Europe by putting you in the recreation of England’s Old Globe Theatre. We think Shakespeare would be proud the Old Globe created right here in San Diego, still performing his plays to this day.
You’ll find more than just Shakespeare, though. Famous Broadway and locally written plays are performed here, as well. Watching a play here is a brilliant way to experience theatre the way it was back in Shakespeare’s time, a great way to transcend time.
There’s a constantly updated calendar for Balboa Park. Between all the museums, the theatre and zoo, there’s always something going on. We want to highlight two particular noteworthy events, one that’s weekly and one yearly.
International Cottages Sunday:
Every Sunday from noon to 4 pm, head to the international cottages located on the lovely stretch between the Organ Pavillion and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Each of the cottages represents a different country and is filled with cultural decor, educational information and folks (usually from and) very knowledgeable about the country.
On these Sunday afternoons, they have samples of treats from that nation. For example, head to House of England for tea and samples of tea cakes, House of Spain for Spanish cookies and House of Iran for a savory treat so magical….you just have to eat it to believe it.
There’s also a lawn program included. Every Sunday, one of the nations’ cottages puts on an afternoon of cultural performances and entertainment. It rotates throughout the year, so you’ll enjoy Filipino dancing one week and witness Ukrainian performances the next!
Each year at Christmas time, usually the first weekend of the month, Balboa Park features December Nights. To say this event wows is an understatement. Attendance is at over 350,000 folks a year, and that’s just across 2 days.
These high numbers are drawn by the museums offering free admissions (certain ones at certain times), endless food booths (not free), cultural cuisine hosted by the International Cottages (also not free), no-cost performances in the Organ Pavillion, stages hosting performances around the entire park and so much more.
We find that it’s good to go in with some knowledge, but, when it comes down to it…you’re going to discover things you had never heard about simply arriving in-person. Show up and let the event sweep you off your feet.
Balboa Park truly does have something for everyone. As with anywhere, the earlier you come for parking the better and the weekdays are less busy than weekends. However, because it is such a vast space and there are so many lots as well as street parking along the sides, even if there’s some hunting, you’ll be able to find a spot! Learn more about San Diego and it’s nearby downtown at our Downtown San Diego & Gaslamp Page.
We are in the throes of the perfect time to go whale watching in San Diego! Every winter, more than 20,000 Pacific gray whales travel 10,000 miles round-trip (the longest migration of any mammal on earth) from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California. That makes San Diego, with its 78 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, the perfect place to watch.
The best time to watch for gray whales is from December through mid- to late April, depending on the year. To see a blue whale, wait until the spring and summer seasons. That’s when several hundred Blue whales migrate into southern California waters to feed on huge quantities of krill. Dolphins, Finback whales, Humpback whale, Minke whales, and other whales may also be viewed then.
There are plenty of boat tours that will take you out on the water for a close-up glimpse, but if you’re looking to stay dry and just take it easy, here are some great ways to go whale watching in San Diego and in and around La Jolla.
Western Overlooks at Cabrillo National Monument
The gray whales have been known to pass right by the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument – the heights and incredible panoramas from the park’s Whale Overlook and Old Point Loma Lighthouse offer the best viewing of the San Diego coastline. Bring binoculars if you have them: they can make things much easier! If you don’t have any, a limited number of binoculars are available at the Visitor Center during whale season. Just ask for them at the information desk.
Luckily, it’s possible to see the whales anytime during daylight hours – they swim 24 hours a day.
Where to Look
Look west from the park overlooks, toward the ocean and San Diego Bay. The whales are migrating south towards mainland Mexico, so they will be moving from the north (right) to the south (left) as you look from the park. Expect them to be moving at a steady clip of about five miles per hour, and although some whales swim close to shore, most swim in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about three-quarters of a mile out) to the horizon.
Later in the spring, the gray whales will migrate north again, but they are generally too far out in the ocean to see from the park.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, the State Reserve is comprised of 1,750 miles of hiking trails, Torrey Pine trees, and indigenous wildlife. Its beautiful coastal wilderness coupled with easy, family-friendly paths and hiking trails, makes for a perfect place to whale or dolphin watch in La Jolla.
The Beach Trail (3/4 of a mile) or the Razor Point Trail (1.4 miles) are probably your best bet for some action. Much of the Beach Trail, as the name implies, does indeed hug the beach. Razor Point is a longer loop and gives you more time on the trail, and never strays far from views of the water. Much of the path also overlooks the beautiful, jagged cliffs the area is known for.
Take a Kayak Tour
This is a popular one – many people have reported whale sightings during their La Jolla kayak tours. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the whales, and it’s safe to say there’s no better way to experience the migration.
There are several companies at La Jolla Shores that offer specific Whale Watching kayak tours on a daily basis (weather permitting). Depending on the tour, you may also get to explore the seven sea caves along the shoreline.
According to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, gray whales generally travel alone or in pods of two or three but more may be seen traveling together during peak migration season (Mid-January), so keep an eye out for large pods. Fun fact: adult gray whales can be up to 45 feet long and weigh up to 33 tons!
Book a Boat Excursion
If you want to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures, a whale watching San Diego tour around San Diego harbor is your best bet. Book a tour through any number of whale watching companies in the area; most are located near Point Loma or San Diego Bay.
Book a discounted tour with the Go San Diego Card here:
San Diego Whale Watch is one of the more popular ones, but any one of them will get you out on the water. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins (particularly the common dolphin, the most prevalent) – they have been seen during blue whale and gray whale season, as well as sea lions! Additionally, Hornblower Cruises offer San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours starting December 9.
The tours are 3.5 hours and each ride features informational narrative by an onboard naturalist about the marine life you’ll see. Each yacht has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, plus a snack bar featuring food and a full bar. Cruise-goers often spot whales, sea lions, dolphins and other types of marine life!
What to Look For…
The Birch Aquarium has some great guidelines for what to expect to see when you’re grey whale watching:
The Blow or Spout
When warm, moist air exhaled from the whales’ lungs meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates what we call a blow or spout. A gray whale’s blow can spray up to 15 feet high, and each blow is visible for about five seconds. Anticipate that the whale will dive for three to six minutes, then surface for three to five blows in row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for three to six minutes again.
The Flukes (Tail)
Before making a deep dive, a gray whale often displays its 12-foot wide fan-shaped flukes or tail. The weight of the tail above the whale’s body helps it to dive deep, so you’ll see it surface just before they go under. Fun fact: a whale’s fluke has no bones; it only connects to the body and tail muscles by banks of tendons.
Knuckled Back and Footprint
If the lighting is right, and if the whale is close enough, it’s possible to see the back of a gray whale during and after the blow. It’s generally shiny and black or gray, with a knuckled ridge along the spine. After the whale submerges you may note an elongated, smooth oval of calm water, known as a footprint, where the whale has been.
Breach and Splash
Gray whales occasionally hurl themselves out of the water and plunge back in with a tremendous splash. This is called breaching. Scientists don’t know exactly why they do this, but it’s incredible to watch. Sometimes other whales in the area will copy the behavior, so keep your eyes open!
If You Do Spot a Whale…
Remember that they are migrating south – so once you’ve spotted a whale, you can expect that it will surface again to the south. After watching an individual gray whale for a while, you will be able to anticipate its unique rhythm of breaths and dives and where it will surface next.
La Jolla, California is famous for its mouthwatering brunches, gorgeous views, the Birch Aquarium, and, of course, its beautiful beaches. And one of the most recognizable is definitely La Jolla Cove! It’s beautiful, safe for children, great for snorkeling, and one of the few places you can truly see the local sea lions in action. Instead of coming for just an hour or two, why not make a day out of it? We’ve put together an itinerary for a fun, carefree way to do just that.
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Enjoy a delicious breakfast – with a view.
To fuel up for an exciting day, we recommend grabbing a great meal and cup of coffee at Harry’s Coffee Shop. This is a beloved local gem that’s been a family-owned business for more than fifty years, since its founding in 1960. Soak in the friendly, local atmosphere as you tuck into waffles (our favorite), eggs, or fluffy French Toast. You can even grab a cheeseburger, if that’s what you crave at 7am; they’re served all day!
Head to La Jolla Cove to watch the sea lions.
From the sidewalk above the cliffs at La Jolla Cove, you have a great vantage point of the sunbathing seals and sea lions. If you want a bit more up-close-and-personal view, head down onto the sandy beach via the staircase to the left. Look for a series of small sea caves, which make for great photo ops!
Take in the view from Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
Head up the steps and onto the green of one of La Jolla’s best parks, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. It’s a lovely place to play frisbee, fly a kite, and shake the sand from your toes; or just to throw down a blanket and check out the gorgeous panoramas (including the seals and sea lions down below).
From here, it’s an easy stroll to your next destinations within the downtown Village!
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Take a break for lunch.
Downtown La Jolla Village offers some great restaurant options. Take in your midday meal at a casual spot like the Coffee Cup or The Cottage (both beloved by locals for their fabulous brunch and lunch options), or head to an upscale venue with a patio for people-watching like NINE-TEN Restaurant inside the Grande Colonial Hotel.
Take a stroll along the Historic Coast Walk.
In our opinion, no visit to La Jolla is complete without a stroll along the beautiful Historic Coast Walk Trail! The trail begins at The Cave Store (where you can venture down to Sunny Jim Cave before you walk), and takes you along the bluffs over to La Jolla Shores.
While you’re at The Shores, you can rent equipment from a local spot and go kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or snorkeling.
Enjoy Happy Hour by the sea.
Coming back after your exhilarating stroll, a refreshing drink may sound like the very best thing! There are some amazing happy hours to choose from in La Jolla; whether you’re in the mood for drinks with a view (we love Catania) or you want something a little cozier and more quiet.
Locals’ tip: For something a bit more tucked-away, try the We Olive & Wine Bar! They have a terrific patio in back with an ocean view; it’s rarely crowded, and makes for a relaxing spot to enjoy a glass of wine while you watch the sun set.
Stroll the art galleries or tour the eclectic Murals of La Jolla.
After sipping a glass of wine or a martini, enjoy the downtown Village art scene as the sun goes down. La Jolla is an art lover’s paradise! Walk the numerous art galleries along Girard Avenue or Prospect Street, or take a walk and discover all the hidden murals throughout La Jolla. There are now about two dozen of them scattered throughout the Village; many of which are tucked away in small corners and on the sides of buildings. On certain days of the month, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library offers free guided tours – be sure to check it out!
If you’re looking for more public outdoor art, check out The Stuart Collection at MCSASD La Jolla. Although the museum is temporarily closed for a new exhibit installation, the gardens are open and free to the public – and make for a great sunset-watching spot!
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Grab some dinner.
The beauty of dining here is the variety! You can enjoy fine seafood spots like The Hake and Crabcatcher, or brewery-inspired restaurants like Karl Strauss and Public House La Jolla. To dine with a view, check out Duke’s La Jolla and George’s at the Cove. Both of them are waterfront and have gorgeous views of the coast! Spice things up with a yummy cocktail (the Hake just redid their cocktail menu) and catch some live music later at The Manhattan.
The Comedy Store, which has been hosting well-known comedians since its opening in 1977, is a great place to sit, relax and let yourself be entertained after a long day. We recommend checking it out and booking tickets ahead of time. It’s a wonderful way to end a great day, and some pretty famous comedians have come through here over the years – including Jim Carey, Bill Hicks, Whitney Cummings, and countless others.
Spend the night in a luxurious hotel.
If you’re staying the night, try one of La Jolla’s five-star hotels (we love La Valencia and the Grande Colonial), or check out one of the cozier and more quaint B&B’s (The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, Redwood Hollow Cottages, and Scripps Inn are our favorites).
LEGOLAND California is one of San Diego’s most popular theme parks, and provides families the unique opportunity to experience all things LEGO – in one place! Located in Carlsbad, California, and surrounded by tons of family-friendly activities, the entire park is themed around the colorful LEGO bricks. Each section of the park (there are 9 different areas) comes with its own theme – from Ninjago World to MiniLand USA, which features LEGO-sized reproductions of certain areas of the US, in addition to a waterpark, aquarium, and its very own LEGOLAND Hotel. Here are ten reasons to visit LEGOLAND California this year!
1. It’s more than your typical amusement park.
LEGOLAND California has more to explore than its rides – including a Waterpark, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the official LEGOLAND Hotel.
The Waterpark: The LEGOLAND Waterpark is impressive, especially with the recent addition of the Chima section which includes more slides and the Lion Temple Wave Pool. Head to the park to experience Riptide Racers, the Wipeout Lagoon, Build-a-Raft River, Duplo Splash Safari, Joker Soaker, Pirate Reef, Orange Rush, Soak n Sail, and the Splash Zoo; each one offers a different set of rides, splash zones, and epic water adventures for you and the little ones!
You can upgrade your LEGOLAND ticket to include the Waterpark for $30.
Sea Life Aquarium: The aquarium at LEGOLAND is an interactive guide to the life of the sea, combining active hands-on learning with fascinating educational talks and up-close encounters with sea creatures, including sharks, octopi and rays. The newest exhibit, Sea at Night, allows you to stroll in a gentle surf under a starry sky – during the day! Walk, jump and splash in a simulated bioluminescent tide with the little ones. Any LEGOLAND ticket can be upgraded to include SEA LIFE Aquarium admission for $25.
2. You can get discounted tickets any time of year.
The Go San Diego Card, is a multi-attraction pass that gets you big discounts at the top attractions in San Diego. With the all-inclusive pass, you’ll have access to more than 40 spots in San Diego – and that includes LEGOLAND – at discounted prices! 1-Day admission tickets to LEGOLAND California start at $89.99.
3. The LEGOLAND Hotel (and Castle) is truly magical.
The LEGOLAND Hotel recently expanded to include a brand-new LEGOLAND Castle, which offers a totally different (and awesome) overnight experience. The original hotel boasts themed rooms, each one completely unique – choose from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO Ninjago, or LEGO Friends. There is nightly children’s entertainment, and a free breakfast buffet every morning of your stay. The Hotel is located right at the entrance to LEGOLAND, so when you wake up the park is quite literally at your front door.
The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is a new castle-themed wonderland. The hotel features 250 LEGO Castle themed rooms with your choice of Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard, plus a new themed restaurant called Dragon’s Den for all your dining needs. There is a special kid’s area that features LEGO building tables and scavenger hunts daily. There is also a pool area, entertainment courtyard, and playful surprises around every corner; every part of the hotel is interactive, and your little ones will get a kick out of exploring every nook and cranny!
4. Kids go for free all year long in 2019.
You heard that right! This year, LEGOLAND California turns 20 years old, and in honor of such an epic occasion, kids 12 and under can enter the park completely for free. If you have little ones, we can’t possibly think of a better reason to check the park out this year!
5. Kids can bring minifigures to trade at the park.
Have your kids bring their old LEGO minifigures to the park (including all the parts and accessories), and they can trade them for new ones right at the Park! Every LEGOLAND employee – they’re called Model Citizens – has a name badge with minifigures fixed onto it. If your little one wants one of the Model Citizen’s minifigures, he or she will gladly trade with them. You’ll also find trading posts throughout the park that offer tons of of mini-men to trade for, and if your child doesn’t have a minifigure for trading, there are plenty of shops throughout the Park where you can pick one up.
6. The park is fun for all ages – even younger kids.
Unlike many theme parks in California, there are a ton of rides and attractions with no height or age restrictions. Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise are great for babies to enjoy, and there are baby-friendly splash pad areas in Pirate Shores and Heartlake City. Toddlers will love the Coastersaurus, Duplo Play Town, and Mia’s Riding Camp, which is a cute carousel.
Preschoolers will get a kick out of the Royal Joust, which takes little ones on a LEGO horse ride through the “countryside.” Junior Driving School is a can’t-miss attraction for kids 3-5, too. Bonus: there are plenty of areas in line for your younger ones to stay entertained and play with LEGO blocks while you stand in line – just scoop up the kiddos before you get on the ride!
7. The whole family will love MiniLand USA.
You’ve likely seen photos of it online, but MiniLand USA is one of LEGOLAND’s most fun attractions. Built with a whopping 32,496,352 LEGO bricks, the area features real-life attractions and famous spots throughout the U.S. See the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the capital building in Washington D.C., Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Grand Central Station in New York, and the strip in Las Vegas all in one day!
8. LEGO fanatics will really get a kick out of the LEGO factory tour.
If you’ve ever wondered how a LEGO brick is made, this self-guided tour will show you from start to finish. The tour features different displays of machines that are used to make LEGO bricks, and you even have an option to get a special item engraved by someone at the end. This is a fun stop that offers a bit of a break in between the other rides and attractions.
9. The park makes it easy to skip long wait lines.
LEGOLAND offers a Reserve-n-Ride system, which allows you to hold a spot in line for their most popular rides without physically having to be in the actual line. To set up a Reserve-n-Ride, visit their website or head to the kiosk just inside the gates. When you purchase the pass, you’ll get to choose between reducing wait times by 25%, 50%, or 95% for $35, $55, and $100 per person, respectively. When you pick up your pass you’ll receive a device that allows you to make a reservation for one ride at a time, from anywhere in the park. When it’s your time ride the device beeps to let you know, and you’re on your way!
10. The LEGOLAND app is a great way to streamline your experience.
Download the LEGOLAND app before you arrive for access to an interactive map, up-to-date ride wait times, height restrictions for rides, directions, and even a car finder to help you keep track of where you’ve parked. It’s a great way to important information right at your fingertips, which can come in handy for a long day of exploring.
They flop around, surf the waves, and make sweet love under the moonlight: the season of the grunion run has begun! On beaches all throughout Southern California, you’ll get the chance to experience these strange little creatures up close; and La Jolla has some of the best seats in the house. Just grab your flashlights, a few beach chairs and, if you don’t mind staying up late, get ready to watch them run!
So, What Is a Grunion Run?
Each spring, from April to May or June, thousands of these little silvery fish wash ashore to partake in a strange mating ritual under the moonlight. While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves half-way in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves around the females to fertilize their eggs. The females will lay anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. Then, as the next round of waves wash in, the fish simply float back to sea. Some may call them the original bodysurfers!
1. Grunions runs are unique to Southern California.
That’s right – because grunions are only found off the coast of Southern California, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, and in Northern Baja, Mexico (just north of Punta Abreojos), we Californians are the sole witnesses of this incredible event every year.
2. They usually ‘run’ on wide, sandy beaches.
Ergo, La Jolla is the perfect grunion run destination! La Jolla Shores, to be exact. If you’re a newbie and you want the full experience, we recommend going with the expert naturalists at the Birch Aquarium during, or just after, a full moon. They host guided visits of grunion spawning areas at La Jolla Shores throughout April-June, which includes a full rundown on these mysterious creatures as well as a demonstration of hatchlings emerging from their eggs in a vial of seawater.
Birch Aquarium Grunion Run 2018 schedule:
Wednesday, May 2: 11:00pm – 1:00 am
Thursday, May 31: 10:30pm – 12:30am
Friday, June 1: 11:00pm – 1:00am
3. You can even catch the grunions – but only during specific periods.
If you’re in the market for some fresh seafood, you may want to check out a grunion run this year! While April and May are off-limits to fishing or catching the fish while they’re onshore (this is their prime mating period and are therefore protected), you are allowed to do so in March and June – and only with your hands. No nets, buckets or other gear is allowed, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Additionally, people over 16 need a fishing license to participate, and while there is no official bag limit, it is illegal to waste them. Digging holes in the sand as traps is also forbidden.
4. For the best runs, look for the fish after new or full moons.
These silvery little fish are most likely to surface after the highest tides during a full moon, and the largest numbers of grunions usually wash up about an hour after the ‘run’ begins. Try to avoid using flashlights, as the illumination can scare away the fish, and if you do, limit their use to times after the waves have receded. Do remember to tread carefully; you never know what you may be stepping on, and the vibrations of your feet will often scare the little guys away.
5. Though unlikely, be prepared for a no-show.
As with any creatures, there is an element of luck to our ability to witness them; and while grunion can hit the beach by the thousands, they can also decide not to show up at all. It’s disappointing, but not altogether unusual. And, at the very least, you’ll be enjoying a peaceful moonlit walk along the beach – what could possibly be more Southern Californian than that?
A few grunion run tips and things to remember:
Do not touch or or interfere with spawning during closed fishing season (April and May).
Walk quietly and don’t shine a flashlight directly on the water
Leave your furry friends at home
Wear waterproof shoes, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Same goes for clothing, as well.
What to bring: a flashlight, a beach chair, a bucket to put your grunion in, and a fishing license if you are planning to take them.