San Diego is a beach town that has increased in size, but never outgrown its warm, relaxed attitude. With a comfortable Mediterranean climate and over 70 miles of coastline, this is a place that makes outdoor living easy. And with world famous attractions like SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, home of the giant pandas, you'll find plenty to do and see.
Outdoor Adventures, San Diego-style
With the gleaming Pacific Ocean on one side and the Anza-Borrego Desert and Laguna Mountains on the other, San Diego has plenty of amazing outdoor spaces. Whether you're headed out for a day of sailing and snorkeling, fun on the golf course, or a quick jaunt into Mexico, you can do it all from the second-largest city in California.
Most visitors like to start with a trip to one of San Diego's stunning beaches. This is a great place to try something new like surfing, windsurfing, and sailing, or to stroll along the golden sands. Golfers will love the 90 courses in the San Diego area, a region that Golf Digest named 'One of the Top 50 Golf Destinations in the World.
This is where the sport of skate boarding got its start, and San Diego remains a skating haven to this day. You'll find plenty of skate parks as well as hiking trails up Hot Springs Mountain and Valley of the Moon, just to name a few. You can go rock climbing at Mission Gorge in the Mission Trails Regional Park, do some mountain biking at Corral Canyon, or go surfing at Point Loma and La Jolla.
The whole family will love San Diego's amazing animals. No trip to this region is complete without a stop at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, where you'll take a guided tour through remote African and Asian landscapes, watching for giraffes, lions, and zebras. At SeaWorld San Diego you can catch Shamu in "Believe," the most ambitious killer whale show in the park's history. The world-famous San Diego Zoo has a fabulous new exhibit called 'Monkey Trails and Forest Tales' that you won't want to miss.
For rides, shows, and an incredible display of landscapes built entirely with Legos, head to Legoland, a great place to spend the day. And be sure to stop at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, which recreates life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. The kids will also love the rides and games at Knott's Berry Farm, America's first theme park, and a walk through the old-fashioned Gaslamp District.
For a terrific south-of-the-border experience, plan a day trip to Ensenada, Mexico, a friendly, beautiful coastal town that's a ninety-minute drive from San Diego. Known as the "Cinderella of the Pacific", Ensenada is a Baja stop that's a favorite for cruise ships and pleasure boats. You'll soon see why as you explore this charming city.
You can head to the coast for days of whale watching, looking for the gray whales that calve in Baja's many lagoons. Pay a visit to the Riviera del Pacifico, a plush gaming casino from the 1930s, or see Hussong's Cantina, the oldest bar in the Californias, dating back to 1892. Ensenada has an open-air fish market, lively shopping on the El Malecon boardwalk, and a gorgeous park at the Plaza Civica. Be sure to stop by the flea markets for some incredible bargains, and don't miss the stunning beaches. You'll also find excellent hiking and bird watching in San Quintin, the colorful and bustling agricultural center that stretches along both sides of the transpeninsualar highway.
San Diego Festivals
With all the festivals and events in San Diego, you'll find something special going on no matter when you visit. Don't miss highlights like the November San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, Southern California's largest luxury wine and culinary event. In December, you can ooh and aah over the twinkling lights at Del Mar, then return in February for Museum Month, when all museum admission fees are half price. In June San Diego hosts the Loews Surf Dog Competition, the nation's largest surfing competition for man's best friend, as well as the La Jolla Festival Of The Arts And Food Faire.
From incredible restaurants to fabulous nightlife, San Diego truly has it all. Be sure to squeeze a visit to this beach city into your vacation schedule, so you can feast on fish tacos, swim in the ocean, and hike in the desert. It's the perfect winter get-away spot!