Of all the laid-back beach towns in California, San Diego wins for its perfect weather, pretty sunsets, and great places to explore. A short weekend getaway takes the prize for rechargin’ the old batteries with some sweet solar rays. From dipping your toes in the water on sandy beaches to getting the heart pumpin’ with an exhilarating hike or bike ride, San Diego is a prime spot for first-place fun.
Take a Walk
Love to shop? Good news! The walk along Embarcadero, the Bayfront road that runs along the harbor between Market and Grape Streets, is one of the most popular ways to start a weekend in San Diego, and it’s got plenty of places to shop. Clean restrooms and security add the perfect touch to this family-friendly area. Check out the Maritime Museum before heading over to Carnitas’ Snack Shack, a popular counter lunch spot on University Avenue that serves up pork sammies and local veggies on the fly.
From the North Park/University Heights area, you’re only a stone’s throw from Balboa Park, 1,200 acres of space that’s so cool it landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Rent bikes and cruise around to check out the gardens, museums, and even the San Diego Zoo. If you want to make a day of visiting a few of the 16 museums and the zoo, purchase a multi-day Explorer Pass to save some bucks.
Soak Up Some Sun
There’s no better way to end a day in San Diego than watching the sun set at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, located on the way to Old Point Loma Lighthouse. To snatch one of the coveted free parking spots, get there at least 45 minutes before the sun dips past the rocky cliffs into the Pacific Ocean. Nothing stands in the way of this epic view, so get ready to snap the best sunset shot ever.
Chip Off the Old Rock
Let’s do this! Start your day early with a breakfast burrito — locals love Snooze Eatery and Brian’s 24 for huge portions — and then drive about an hour to take a big hike to another awesome photo spot. Potato Chip Rock is a crazy-thin rock that juts out into a little seat that’s perfect for resting after the steep hike. Bring lots of water for the 7.5-mile Mount Woodson Trail — it’s shady and worth it.
You can’t miss the beach, even when your trip is short. Swing in to the classic Hotel del Coronado to relax for at least a couple of hours. The mother of all West Coast resorts, it dates back to 1888 and has seen all kinds of celebs dig their toes into the soft sand. You’ll feel like a celebrity yourself when you sip a mojito by the pool. Did someone say clambake? There are lots of special events throughout the year, even a beachfront ice skating rink during the winter months.
Seriously, how perfect is a weekend in San Diego? Hopefully you got lots of great photos — tag our Instagram page!