We couldn’t wait to get to California! We had some fun in the desert (White Sands, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Zion)… but we were ready to see the Pacific Ocean. Plus, my sister decided to fly out to San Diego and spend several days with us. It was shaping up to be an awesome trip before we even got there.
Our camp was between Carlsbad and San Diego in a little suburb called Del Mar. It took us 20 minutes to get anywhere as long as we timed traffic correctly. 20 minutes to get to San Diego, 20 minutes to my aunts in Carlsbad. And multiple beaches much much closer than that.
When we got there we set up camp, went to the beach (obviously), went to see my uncle and his band play at a restaurant, I had dinner with some friends the next day, and then it was time to pick up Jess from the airport! To say I was excited to see her is an understatement. She got to San Diego on Easter, so naturally, I smashed a confetti egg on her head upon her arrival. I wish I had a picture for that.
After we picked her up we went to Old Town in San Diego. It’s a cute area with some shops and lots of restaurants! We went there for lunch and we had a little bit of a wait so it was nice to be able to walk around and explore while we waited for our table. We even did an olive oil tasting, a first for all three of us!
After stuffing our faces with delicious fajitas and guacamole we had to take her to the beach. *Sidenote: While we were in San Diego we went to the beach every single day.* After the beach, we headed up the coast back toward Del Mar and stopped in La Jolla where they have paragliders at the top of a cliff. The three of us each tried to goad each other into trying it… but we chickened out. Well, Jess and I chickened out. My adventure-loving husband would’ve likely done it if we’d gone back and talked him into it.
And that was just day one in San Diego! Here’s a run-down of all the fun things we did and recommendations.
1) Go to multiple beaches and find your favorite!
We had so much fun going to as many beaches as we could while we were in San Diego. We went to Del Mar, Fletcher Cove Beach Park, Torrey Pines State Beach, La Jolla Shores Park, and Mission Beach. Mission Beach is really nice if you want restaurants right on the beach. We ate at a great sushi place there. La Jolla Shores Park has kayaks that you can rent and explore the coves! Brannon did this while Jess & I worked on our tans. Torrey Pines is where you can watch the paragliders. Del Mar and Fletcher Cove were both cute little beaches, Fletcher Cove wasn’t as crowded as all the others which was a plus!
2) Try all the fun food!
We like food… obviously. And one of the things we have had to learn to balance is eating out while your traveling vs. eating at home. Which isn’t always easy! You’re in a new place, you’re on “vacation” and you want to eat out! We’ve done pretty good with balancing this, all things considered, but being in San Diego and taking a week off work to be with my sister, we were in vacation mode.
We had to try a California burrito (a burrito with french fries instead of rice), it was okay, I’ve had burritos with potatoes in it that were better so I think we just didn’t pick the right place to try it.
Donuts. There are a LOT of donut places that are more “trendy” in San Diego. We tried 3 of them. Our favorite was The Goods in Carlsbad. Carlsbad is a cute area to spend a day, and I’ll write a post about that later.
Acai bowls. There is one that we didn’t get to try called Ever Bowl and we were so mad at ourselves for forgetting! So go there for us, please?
Baked Bear. That glorious ice cream sandwich pictured above with sprinkles? Heaven. And they’re not just in San Diego so see if there is one near you!
Snooze. The best breakfast/brunch – it was so good and there were so many fun options on the menu. We shared the breakfast tacos with a side of sweet potato pancakes. Take a look at their menu, I promise you’ll put it on your list. They also have locations in Colorado, Arizona and Texas!
3) Find Murals
There are so many around San Diego. One thing I did was go on Google Maps and put a mark on every one we wanted to go to. That way when we were driving around I could see on my map if we were close to one and we could stop for some pictures! This is a good list to get you started.
4) Go to Balboa Park
Balboa Park was not at all what we expected it to be. We honestly didn’t do a whole lot of research on it other than seeing pictures on Instagram and deciding to go. It’s a huge park, yes, but there is also the San Diego Zoo there, 17 museums, a Japanese Garden, and more. It’s a gorgeous place to walk around outside and just take pictures. You can also do research ahead of time and pick a museum or two to visit while you’re there. They had so many neat ones like Air and Space, Museum of Man, and Automotive Museum.
I’ve got another post coming about Carlsbad which is just about 30 minutes north of San Diego, and a fun day trip if you want to go somewhere else!
Have you been to Southern California, and if so, where at? If not, is it on your list?