We love visiting San Diego any chance we get. There’s so much to see and do and the overall vibe is relaxing with great weather and beautiful beaches. It’s super easy to get to San Diego from the Bay Area with just an hour direct flight from any of the Bay Area airports which makes it a perfect place for a quick getaway or R&R from the daily grind. We’ve been to San Diego a couple of times and have put together a quick guide of some things we’ve experienced in the area.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines is located above the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean and within walking distance of the treasured Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. It is home to an award winning golf course, ocean views, and anything you can ever want for some relaxation. This 5 diamond resort has a delicious restaurant on site as well as a full spa. The Spa and its treatments are inspired by its location and indigenous plant life found in the reserve. Their signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, highlights regional San Diego cuisine served in an elegant, timbered indoor-outdoor dining room overlooking the 18th hole of Torrey Pines Golf Course. We loved the beautiful California Craftsman Design with wood beams and live trees infused into the patio space. Great service and delicious food perfects the experience of everything California cuisine has to offer.
If you love boutique hotels, Pantai Inn is the top of the line. Located steps from the famous La Jolla Cove, Pantai Inn is perfectly located off a small street where it is quiet but still near all the popular attractions in the area. They offer a range of different rooms, suites, and cottages as well as a complimentary deluxe breakfast that you can enjoy looking out to the ocean. The hotel decorations are Balinese-inspired which gives you a relaxing tropical feel during your stay. Our favorite thing about our stay was actual their service which was amazing in both friendliness and helpfulness!
Things To Do
One of the most unique things we did was visiting San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The park is over 3,000 acres and is home to more than 300 species. The park has many unique experiences such as their animal encounters, African tram, jungle rope, and much more! Be prepared to spend the whole day there since there’s so much to see and do. Or stay overnight in one of their Safari tents in the park!
The Birch Aquarium is run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography which is part of UC San Diego. It is located in the La Jolla area of San Diego and is right next to the ocean with beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding area. They have over 60 habitats of sea life with the exhibits organized starting with ocean life from the colder waters of the Pacific Northwest and ending with a glimpse of what you can find in the waters of San Diego and tropical waters of Mexico.
They just opened their amazing Seadragons & Seahorses exhibit. The aquarium has been successfully rearing seahorses for nearly 25 years, making them a leader in the field. The husbandry of seadragons is increasingly important since their numbers in the wild have been greatly impacted by climate change, warming oceans, and illegal collection of wild populations. The new exhibit is a great way to view these beautiful creatures up close and learn more about them and the conservation efforts.
If you’re a nature lover like us, we highly suggest a visit to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The reserve has two parts to it- with miles of hiking trails along the bluffs as well as a beautiful beach with towering cliffs behind. The area is named after the rare Torrey pine that can be found in this area. Since this area is a reserve, there are no dogs, drones, and food allowed. There are also no trash cans so make sure to pack out your trash!
Trilogy Sanctuary is a wellness center that offers a beautiful space to relax and heal. They have a 100% organic, vegan & gluten-free cafe with ocean views and offer a number of different types of yoga classes to fit your needs and experience. They also hold many events, workshops, live music, and speaker events.
You know we couldn’t visit an area without finding some hidden local gems! We heard about this amazing “secret” tree swing and had to go look for it! Got there just in time for the sunset! To get there we followed directions from this website: Tree Swing.
About an hour southeast of San Diego is a unique historical train experience with Pacific Southwest Railway Museum. They are a museum with historical locomotive equipment and artifacts and also offer train rides on cars from the early 20th century. Join them for one of their festive specialty rides or take a ride on the weekend any time of the year!
Hornblower San Diego is a great way to see and experience the many things San Diego has to offer. They have many choices of Dining and Sightseeing cruises to choose from throughout the day and for different lengths. We enjoyed a Harbor Cruise where we learned about many historical and storied landmarks along the San Diego shoreline.