This time last week I was sitting in the sun, glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand and listening to live cover bands at the Vista Strawberry festival. Already my adventures in San Diego, California are becoming a distant memory and the post holiday blues have most certainly set in as I am now back to reality of work, unpredictable English weather and the feeling that the next holiday is far too far away.
Therefore, in order to keep my adventures alive in my mind, I share my highlights, my favourite days and those attractions that I would advise other travellers to avoid.
Day one saw us cover a massive 13 miles round the city. A beautiful sunny day, I was happy to explore the city mainly on foot. Jumping on the “trolley” we headed down to Seaport Village for a wonder round the marina, soaking up the views and enjoying the glorious sunshine. Moving on from the area we headed to the famous Gaslamp Quarter – what became one of my favourite areas in the city. Known as the historic heart here you will find a multitude of bars, restaurants and events. Here we stopped for refreshments and to wonder round the shops.
With so much to see we didn’t linger for too long. Off we went, walking the streets all the way to Balboa Park – which is simply a MUST for anyone visiting San Diego. Beautiful grounds in the middle of the city, with plenty to keep you busy. One could easily spend a couple of days here – especially if you enjoy museums, there are a whopping 17 museums to keep you busy if that is something you fancy. Not wanting to spend any time indoors, when the weather was so amazing, we simply chose to stroll around the park, taking in all the architecture. Of which there was so much to take in, all the buildings along El Prado were a sight to see. From the botanical building, Lily pond, the Japanese Friendship Garden, to name a few, even if you decide not to visit the museums there is plenty to keep you occupied. And if you fancy a spot of lunch I would thoroughly recommend stopping at The Prado at Balboa Park or even bringing your own picnic.
Day two saw us venture down to the USS Midway museum. For anyone who is interested in their history then this is definitely worth a visit. For just $18 (if you book an online ticket), this is a great day out for all. We spent a good 2-3 hours at the museum, which allows you to get a sense of how life on the USS Midway would have been like. You can also watch short films about the history of the Midway and how it came into commission. The flight deck was the highlight for me – where you could wonder round the planes and helicopters. Ross was in his element! The area surrounding the Midway had plenty to see too – the Famous “Kissing Statue”, Bob Hope memorial and various monuments to honour those who lost their lives in service – including Pear Harbour.
In perfect proximity, we then headed to Little Italy. We after all needed refreshments and I wanted to check out the area. We found a perfect spot for coffee for Ross and a San Pellegrino for me. Then came back a few nights later for dinner at Davanti Enoteca – great pizzas, though the wine was a little more pricey than other establishments we had come across so far.
Over the next few days we continued our adventures with gusto. Visiting the area of Carlsbad to Legoland – which I would not recommend at all. $90 for a day where a lot of rides were closed, there was no atmosphere and If we did not visit the coast line afterwards, it would have been a complete day wasted.
The area of Pacific beach should definitely be on your list. The beach is simply stunning, no Instgram filters needed here. The sea front is lined with many restaurants, bars and there is plenty to keep you occupied too. If you are an active person, then you would fit right in with many of the locals who were running, skate boarding, cycling and roller skating along the beach front!
We continued exploring the coast line. With stunning beaches continuing – at Del Mar, Encinitas and we even travelled as far as Huntington Beach – which was heaving with those celebrating Memorial Day weekend.
Travelling slightly outside of San Diego and North County we could not resist a trip to the Wine Country of Temecula. What a day. Being slightly inland resulted in a rise in heat – boasting 90+ degrees on the day we visited – I was in my element. Wine and sunshine – two of my favourite things. Visiting two wineries in the area, Callaway and South Coast was simply a dream. I loved every minute of the day – taking in the views and tasting A LOT of wine. Then, after, visiting the Old Town of Temecula too. It was one of many great days we had during our holiday – something I definitely would do again and recommend others to do.
La Jolla. What can I say about La Jolla? If you have been to the area but not stopped by here, then shame on you. It is simply paradise. The views are amazing – I could sit for hours on the coast line just doing nothing! It is so tranquil. And to top it off, you get to see Sea Lions and Seals in their natural habitat. At sunset they were chilling on the beach, but during the day they were swimming in the sea – very close to the beaches or sunning themselves on the rocks. A sight to see for sure, and definitely an experience worth having. The area is known as the “Beverly Hills” of San Diego so you can imagine what the high street was like. Ferrari and Maserati show rooms, roof top bars with Ocean views and estate agents dubbing the area as “Billionaires Row.” I fell in love with La Jolla and would happily retire here – if I was a billionaire of course.
Sadly, shortly after visiting La Jolla, our holiday was closing to an end. For the first time ever we were not ready to go home. So different from other breaks in the USA, we simply felt at home here. We wanted to stay, we wanted to see more. So we packed in a few more days of fun; including shopping at the Mexican borders in San Ysidro, a local Strawberry Festival at Vista and on the very last day, in our last remaining hours we stopped off at Coronado Island for brunch, a walk along the sea front and even managed to wonder round the Hotel del Coronado – the hotel where Marilyn Monroe was famously filmed in “Some Like It Hot.”
San Diego must have been in mourning for our departure as the sun did not shine at all that day – the only day in our two weeks that we did not see a peak.
So our adventures in the Golden State were over and it was time to come home. Five days later, with jet lag still in force, I am missing the sunny care free days in California. Sadly this is what happens with holidays, they have to come to an end, we have to return to reality and start saving and planning for the next adventure.
I never expected to love San Diego as much as I did, expecting more time on the sun lounger than on my feet. But there you go, some places in the world just surprise you and stay with you. San Diego certainly did that. And I will welcome any opportunity to go back, perhaps explore a little more of the state of California too.
In the meantime, reality is beckoning on a Sunday evening….