San Diego beaches can often be found packed with surfers. Some of the best beaches for surfing are Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. At Ocean Beach, there is even a section of beach just for dogs called, what else but Dog Beach. “OB” is a laid-back beach town and it is likely you will find mostly locally owned and operated shops and restaurants. At Mission Beach, you will find Belmont Park, a historic amusement park with the Giant Dipper, a wooden roller coaster built in 1925.
Whenever someone mentions they are heading on a trip to San Diego, and I am asked for tips, one of the first things I mention is where they should eat. My recommendations are that, at least once, you need to experience authentic Mexican food. My favorite place is Old Town Mexican Café in Old Town. I also recommend a trip to In-N-Out Burger, as well as a trip to Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill. Rubio’s is the home of the fish taco, as well as other tasty creations. It is a favorite food stop in our family.
If sports are your thing, you are in luck! There’s a sports team for everyone! Like baseball? Catch the Major League Baseball San Diego Padres at PETCO Park between April and October. Is football more your thing? The NFL’s San Diego Chargers play in the fall and winter! There are teams representing nearly everything from Major League Baseball to the National Premier Soccer League to the Women’s Professional Football League!
Cross the Coronado Bay Bridge from downtown San Diego and you’ll find one of the jewels of the San Diego area . . . the Hotel del Coronado. “The Del” was built in 1888 on Coronado Island and was the inspiration for the Grand Floridian resort at Walt Disney World! Further to the north of the city, in Escondido, is the San Diego Wild Animal Park. There, most animals are kept in their “natural” habitat and guests are brought through the “Serengeti” on safari trains. There are also walk-through exhibits and shows to check out. Also north of San Diego, in Carlsbad is Legoland California, with rides, attractions and shows for people of all ages all themed to Lego building bricks!
Head up Point Loma and you will find Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and, further up the Point, Cabrillo National Monument. Cabrillo National Monument celebrates the 1542 landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on the land that became San Diego. The monument was dedicated in 1913 and includes the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and a visitor’s center with historical displays and a gift shop/bookstore. The monument offers gorgeous views of the city of San Diego as well as the San Diego Bay, Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island. On the sea-side of the Point, gray whales can be seen migrating off the coast during the winter time and there is also a small stretch of rocky coastline and tide pools that can be seen during low tide. The entrance fee for the park is $5 per car (or $3 if you are on a bicycle, motorcycle or come up on foot or bus) and that is good for 7 days of access to the park! An excellent bargain for some fantastic views and peace and quiet!
Other attractions in the Point Loma area include Sea World San Diego and the iPayOne Center, where you’ll often find shows, concerts and, on weekends, the Kobey’s Swap Meet. The Swap Meet is my favorite place to find odds and ends as well as San Diego souvenir tee shirts! Most vendors sell their souvenir tees for 3 adult tees for $10 and kids’ tees for 3 for $9. Some a bit more, some a bit less, but all great deals for great shirts!
San Diego truly is a melting pot of people and cultures with something for everyone. Beaches, mountains, museums, great food and fantastic weather year-round make this a wonderful vacation destination where you will never be without something to do. I am proud to call it my hometown and enjoy exploring the city whenever I am able to get back there. I know you will enjoy exploring as well!
Tip: You'll find more information and tips on San Diego in our new guidebook, "PassPorter's Disneyland Resort and Southern California Attractions.".
About the Author: Sarah Mudd is the Guide for the Disneyland: Getting There (and Back!) forum on the PassPorter Message Boards. She is a stay-at-home mom, Navy wife, and displaced San Diego native who looks forward to the day when she can move back to her beautiful hometown!
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Traveling up the East Coast- suggestions?
8 Dec 2013 at 3:53pm
I'll be taking a road trip up the East Coast this coming summer.... I'll be looking to book accommodations next month.... In my past travels, I've...
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