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Active Outdoors: Hiking, Biking, Water Play
Ideas for an Active Day Out in San Diego
- Mission Bay: Play beach volleyball, bicycle, surf.
- Kayak La Jolla Cove: La Jolla Cove is a nice, calm place to kayak with lots of marine life to see. Rent yours from Hike Bike Kayak La Jolla or La Jolla Kayak.
- San Diego Bike Tours: With them, you can bike and learn about town at the same time.
- Segway Tours: I think Segway tours are so much fun that I don't really care what I'm seeing along the way. Add a touch of Coronado ambiance and you're almost sure to have a good time.
- Best Beaches: Whether you're looking for a place to surf, a beach volleyball net or a place to play with the dog, we've got them covered.
Active Day Trips Out of Town
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- Cuyamaca State Park: This is one of the prettiest parks in the area, with lots of hiking trails and places to get active.
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Arts, Architecture, Science and the Unusual
Ideas for an Unusual Day Out in Diego
- Old Town San Diego: Tour the historic buildings and imagine what San Diego used to be like.
- Chula Vista Olympic Center: You can watch Olympic athletes in training and learn how they do it.
- USS Midway: First-class docents make a visit to this retired aircraft carrier a memorable experience.
- Petco Field Baseball Park Tours: See what goes on behind the scenes.
Unusual Day Trips Out of TownContinue to 3 of 12 below.
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Cute Towns Near San Diego
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- Julian: A former mining town with an old-fashioned downtown.
- La Jolla: Pretty, upscale, located on the cliffs above an interesting ocean cove.
- Tijuana: We may be stretching it a bit to call any part of Tijuana "cute," but interesting is definitely a good descriptor these days.
- Coronado: We like the laid-back ambiance and tidy neighborhoods here.
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Famiy Days Out in San Diego
- Sea World: You know the place, at least by reputation. What always surprises me is how much fun I have when I go.
- Legoland: A great place for the younger set.
- Mission Bay: Less tourist-ified than most of the San Diego beaches.
- Coronado Beach: Gently sloping sand, small surf and year-round lifeguard make Coronado Beach great for kids.
- Ocean Beach: If any of your family members are the furry, four-legged kind, this beach is the only place in San Diego where dogs can run off-leash.
- Whaley House: If your kids like ghosts or the idea of ghosts, they might like to visit one of the most haunted places in the country.
- San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park: These are both old standbys for a day out in San Diego.
- Balboa Park: With plenty of room to romp and lots of places to visit, Balboa has something for every family member.
- Birch Aquarium, La Jolla: We like this small aquarium, which is much more kid-manageable than its bigger siblings.
Family Day Trips Out of TownContinue to 5 of 12 below.
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Ideas for a Day Indoors in San Diego
San Diego weather is generally mild and it doesn't rain much, but there are days when you might want to be inside instead of out.
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- Balboa Park Museums: They've got a museum that should appeal to almost any interest.
- San Diego Missions: Take a tour of San Diego history at two of the state's most noteworthy Spanish missions.
- Maritime Museum: The boats are out in the open, but there's a lot to see inside them.
- Casinos: If gambling strikes your fancy, the San Diego area has plenty of places to participate.
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Lunch, Brunch and Foodie Destinations
Ideas for Brunch in San Diego
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- Hash House A Go Go: Citysearch readers voted it the best place for breakfast in 2008.
- Cafe on Park: A neighborhood eatery serving creative egg dishes.
- Hornblower Brunch Cruises: A great way to get your brunch and sightseeing, too.
- Old Town: Pleasant surroundings, outdoor patios and large portions make the Old Town restaurants a perennial favorite with many visitors
- San Diego Brewery Tours: San Diego has become one of the best places in California to find fine, micro-brewed beers and this tour lets you visit three of the area's best breweries without having to find a designated driver to do it.
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Ideas for Exploring Natural Beauty Near San Diego
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- Joshua Tree National Park: A stark desert landscape, popular with rock climbers and dotted with the "trees" that inspire its name but really aren't trees at all.
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Interesting any time of year, but especially pretty in the spring.
- Tide pools at La Jolla Cove: They're easily accessible and full of sea creatures.
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Nice Drives From San Diego
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- Cabrillo National Monument: OK, it's really kinda in town but on the edge, a nice short drive to a really scenic spot.
- Scenic Loop: If you've ever seen those scenic highway signs on the road or on a map, this route follows their California poppy icons. Take I-8 east to Hwy 79 north to Hwy 76 west and back to San Diego
- Anza-Borrego State Park: It's a nice drive out into the desert and if you go at the right time in spring, you may catch the wildflowers in bloom.
- Coronado Bridge and Silver Strand Highway: Just head over the bridge and turn left at the water for a nice drive through Coronado and along a sliver of sand so narrow you can sometimes see water on both sides of the road. Keep going south through Imperial Beach and you'll eventually reach the mainland again.
- San Diego Harbor Cruise: On this one, you leave the "driving" to the skipper, but it's the same kind of experience as a good drive, with lots of interesting things to see along the way.
- Drive to Julian: The drive up to this little former mining town is always pleasant, and in the fall, you'll find plenty of produce stands sellling locally-grown apples along the way.
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Rest and Relax
Relaxing Day Trips Out of Town
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- Hot Springs Resorts in Desert Hot Springs: They've got a whole bunch of options and places to get into "hot water."
- Grover Hot Springs State Park: Many Californians enjoy the hot springs at this state park.
- Glen Ivy Hot Springs: It's a bit of a drive, but worth the trip to one of the nicest, most relaxing outdoor hot spring spas around.
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Seasonal Events, Festivals and Things to Do
Ideas for a Seasonal Day Out in San Diego
- Old Globe Theater: An award-winning theatre troupe presents Shakespeare under the stars.
- Whale Watching: Catch their migrations, south in early winter and back north in the spring.
- Annual Events
- Carlsbad Flower Fields: They grow a showy bunch of flowers in Carlsbad
- Horse Racing at Del Mar: They call it the sport of kings, and Del Mar is one of the most elegant places to watch.
- Imperial Beach Sand Castle Contest: This is one of the biggest contests in the country.
Seasonal Day Trips Out of TownContinue to 11 of 12 below.
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Ideas for a Day of Shopping in San Diego
- La Jolla: Lots of art galleries and boutiques make for great window-shopping even if you don't buy a thing.
- Hillcrest: One of the city's liveliest areas, with lots of local shops and things to do.
- Spanish Village, Balboa Park: You'll find a lot of nice artist's studios here, and with no middleman taking their cut, prices are reasonable.
Shopping Trips Out of TownContinue to 12 of 12 below.
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Vacation Side Trips
If you're on vacation in San Diego, you don't have to stay in time all the time. These places are all suitable for a one or two-day side trip.
- Hollywood: Great for the star-struck and fun even if you aren't.
- Newport Beach: San Diego has plenty of beaches, but Newport's Balboa Island is a nice slice of old-fashioned fun.
- Disneyland: It's not too far away. Find out how to stay out of line and have a great time.
- La Jolla: With a beautiful bay and a pretty downtown overlooking it, La Jolla really is a jewel (which is what its name means).
- Death Valley: Best visited on a two-day side trip, Death Valley offers a fascinating desert landscape.
- Palm Springs: Fun for shopping, mid-century architecture and desert relaxation.