San Diego California is home to more activities per square mile than perhaps any other place in the world. This laid-back surfer town is packed with hotels, restaurants, and attractions, making it a great choice for any budget. And with an average summer temperature of about 70 degrees, you don’t need to do any heavy packing. San Diego is extremely casual, so flip flops and sundresses are standard attire around most of the city. Be sure to plan at least 3 days to explore — but a week is even better.
If you only have one day in San Diego city, be sure to visit the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. It’s home to one of the finest collections of animals in the world, and it’s a great place to brush up on your wildlife photography.
At San Diego Wild Animal Park, you can explore the African Savannah by Jeep, go camping on an overnight safari, or rush down Flightline, the longest zip line in the continental United States. There are so many things to do in San Diego, but one of the most popular is Sea World San Diego, a marine animal theme park that’s home to fast-moving water rides, entertaining dolphin shows, and that famous killer whale, Shamu. Don’t miss a chance to take part in their Dolphin Interaction, where you can put on a wetsuit and swim with dolphins just like the pros. It’s truly unforgettable.
Small children will love Legoland California, a Danish theme park filled with animated characters, rides and miniature cities made of Lego bricks. The Apple Fries are loaded with calories, but worth every bite. San Diego is a huge metropolitan city, the second largest in California and 9th largest in the U.S. Downtown San Diego is home to the San Diego Padres, who play in Petco Park, and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.
The San Diego Trolley is the city’s rapid transit system, running three separate lines from the Mexican border north to El Cajon. On weekends, up to two children ride free with a paying adult. One of the most popular San Diego tours is offered by the San Diego Old Town Trolley. Your tickets include all day hop-on, hop-off access to the city’s top sights, including the USS Midway, Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter, Whaley House and Seaport Village, where you’ll find great San Diego shopping and some of the best San Diego restaurants.
You can also go on a San Diego tour with a GPS-enabled Go Car, available through some San Diego rental car agencies, or board a hydra-terra vehicle for a land-to-sea experience on the San Diego Seal Tours.
Marine buffs will appreciate the Maritime Museum of San Diego, home to one of the finest collections of historic ships in the world. Book an adventure at sea on a tall ship, or take part in a real cannon battle. Each September, the museum hosts the annual San Diego Tall Ships Festival, drawing salty sea dogs from around the world. For a glimpse at where it all started, be sure to visit Mission San Diego, founded in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. It was the first of 21 Missions in California, and is considered to be the birthplace of Christianity in the Far West.
When planning a San Diego vacation, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the lodging choices. A few San Diego resorts include the golf course and spa resort of La Costa in Carlsbad, the family-friendly Paradise Point in Mission Bay, the business-savvy San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina and the pet-friendly Loews Coronado Bay Resort.
But my all-time favorite is the historic Hotel Del Coronado, one of the grandest oceanfront resorts in the West. Opened in 1888, the hotel offers tours by reservation, or you can explore on your own. While you’re in Coronado, you’ll find plenty to do, from sunbathing on Coronado Beach to kitesurfing at the Silver Strand. Rent a bike from Holland’s Bicycles and cruise the Bayshore Bikeway, take in the sights and shops of Orange Avenue, or spend a romantic sunset at sea on a Venetian gondola.
In June, you can catch the annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition, one of the best San Diego events, where you’re guaranteed to have a dog-gone good time. It’s impossible to mention all of the great things to do in San Diego, but then again, maybe we shouldn’t. It’s always fun to discover new and exciting things every time you travel.