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Monday, February 11, 2019

Fun in San Deigo

San Diego is one of my favorite California Beach cities to visit.   The size of it makes doing a lot of things possible even if you only have a weekend.  I've been a few times and each time I find something new and fun.  Flying into San Diego you will fly right throughout the city and what seams really close to homes but then suddenly there is the runway.  One evening we went to the top of the parking garage to stand under the approaching planes as they came in, which was quite a rush looking straight up to the underside of a 747.

Obvious attractions you can go and spend a good amount of money at, but good to do at least once and especially with kids are Sea World the San Diego ZooBalboa Park is beautiful to walk around and if you have time to look at some of the museums.    All of those choices will take you 1/2 to full days.  Less expensive attractions are Sea Port Village, Mission Beach and Belmont Park, La Jolla and Old Town San Diego.   Old Town San Diego is everything Mexican style.  I prefer to go later afternoon into the evening so you get both experiences of seeing the town in the day and then lit up at night.  The Mexican restaurants are easy to find and fairly predictable in style and choices.  There is usually a fun event going on which can bring a ton of huge crowds so check the link and calendar.

One of my favorite things to do is walk or ride bikes along the boardwalk at Mission Beach.   The sunshine and sounds of the ocean, wind in my hair riding down the boardwalk is simple and free.  There are several spots to stop for food and drinks along the way.  The sunset was glorious and as people started stopping what they were doing at watching the sunset go further down, it was as if it was a quiet spiritual moment where everyone just paused what they were doing to watch the wonder of the sun and the end of the hot beach day.   For evening fun a quick drive to downtown  Mission Beach and the Mission Bay area are packed full of activities.  Boating, Biking, Swimming, Paddle Boarding to name a few.  The Hotels in this area are very nice and a few have some great pool spots.

A nice drive up to LaJolla for the sunset is a lot of fun.  One major attraction is the Children's Pool where you can walk out to the end of the jetty and try to escape the crashing waves.  The entire Seal Rocks area is a great spot to take pictures, sit on rocks, eat a picnic lunch and take in the beautiful Ocean waves.

Just north of La Jolla is Torry Pines Recreation Area.  Here you will find or get your chance to Paraglide!  It's quite amazing to watch the paragliders fly along the edge of the cliffs.  It's a beautiful view from high on the cliffs out to the Pacific Ocean.  If you are really adventurous you can walk down the path on the side of the cliff down to Blacks Beach.  But be aware that there may be a little more surprises at the bottom of the hiked down than expected.  In other words, swimsuits are optional.  The hike up is pretty challenging and steep so bring lots of water and stamina.

Tory Pines Recreation Center
One thing we are pretty particular about is our street tacos, salsa, and chips!  You'd think in San Diego with the influence of Mexico as the neighbor you'd find amazing Mexican food on every corner, but we had to hunt.   Finally, at Pacific beach we found some great Catina's that had some nice outdoor spots and good Mexican food...and then we found Oscars.   Oscars was simply stunning Mexican food, like the kind you journal about when you get home.  A line out the door is not a surprise the flavors were something we still talk about.  Cash only so come prepared.

Heading South to Downtown San Deigo you will find Seaport Village.  This section of San Diego is quite touristy and a lot of people.  After all, the cruise ships unload nearby so it's no wonder.   It's a fun place to walk around the nice little shops to get souvenirs and see street acts.  A fun thing to do is the Jet Boat rides in the bay.  We went on a very warm summer day and got absolutely drenched, but it was a complete blast and seeing the city from that vantage point was really nice.   The USS Midway is very worth it.  They have portable radio "tour guides" you can listen to as you go into each room of the ship. We spent a few hours on the ship before we did the Jet Boats and it was perfect!


San Diego Gas Lamp Quarter where there are a ton of great little restaurants and bars and people spilling out in the sidewalks and streets.  It definitely drew a younger crowd but it was fun to experience and at a minimum, drive through.
Driving along Point Loma to the end you get to the Cabrillo National Monument where the city views from that vantage point were really beautiful.  There you find the history of San Diego and can climb up in the historic lighthouse.  The road back was lined with thousands of white military tombstones that looked out over the beautiful Pacific Ocean, pretty amazing and made me pause again to reflect.

Next Time:  I'll spend more time on Coronado Island and exploring Downtown as I know there are some great spots there.  If you have your favorites San Diego traditions and favorite spots please comment below! 

Hotels: Kona Kai Resort, Dana Point, Hyatt Regency

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