Bucket List Worthy
It may not have the glamour of LA nor the quick access to wine country San Francisco boasts, but San Diego ought not be ignored when visiting the Golden State. You can’t beat San Diego’s near perfect weather, which makes exploring its endless beaches and abundant green spaces all the more pleasant. The Southern California city is mere minutes away from the Mexican boarder, but you don’t have to trek into Tijuana to sample some of the best Mexican food in North America. You’ll find it here, too. Have we wetted your appetite? Get started with this game plan.
A golden sweep of sand swaddled between Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Mission Beach is a funky little community filled with beach volleyball courts, playgrounds, bike and surf rental shops, plus eclectic eateries. At this time of year it’s too cold for a dip, but still stroll along the boardwalk and admire the million dollar beachfront homes. House rentals are abundant in this region and it’s the perfect bolthole from which to situate yourself. Teens will want to suss out Belmont Park, an amusement park with a rollercoaster and other midway games, plus all the typical carnie stalwarts.
Go on Safari
If you can’t tear away on an African safari, a visit to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is the next best thing. Within this 1800 acre wildlife preserve, you’ll find animals from around the globe and many endangered species who’s numbers have thrived within the enclosure. It’s worth paying the additional fee for their Caravan Tour to get up close and personal with animals from Africa and Asia. Hop into the back of a truck with a guide and feed leaves to rubberneck giraffes. Pet a rhino and journey through the Asian plains learning about Indians species you’ve never heard of. It’s a feel good tour made more so with all proceeds going directly towards animal conservation.
Take a Taco Tour
You can’t be this close to the border and not expect to find some seriously good Mexican eats, now can you? World Famous in Mission Beach is tops on Taco Tuesday when succulent shrimp tacos are only $2 a pop. Carnitas lovers will want to suss out the crispy pork served up al pastor style at Carnitas Las Michoacanas. And local favourite Salud tucks savoury fillings into hand-pressed tortillas (get a side of street corn while you’re at it).
Need to sell the advantages of travelling through your stomach to your travel mates? Have them join you on a culinary walking tour of the city. Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones delves into the city’s questionable past.
Fittingly, this grand urban park (one of the largest in North America) was the location of the first World’s Fair. Much like Washington’s Mall is more than a boulevard of museums, this is more than a park. Speaking of museums, there are a whooping 17 of them set within this space. Naturally, you’ll find plenty of green spaces to loaf about in, plus there are lovely walking trails and over a dozen themed gardens. Families are spoiled for choice with five playgrounds, a carousel and mini train to climb aboard.
Situated across the bay from downtown, getting here is half the fun across the impressive Coronado Bridge. Beach lovers can’t miss Silver Strand State Beach, often ranked as one of America’s best with its sparkly sand courtesy of the mineral Mica. The island is a walker’s paradise with a sweet main street flanked with galleries, eateries and shops. Even if you haven’t booked in for the night, it’s worth taking a wander around Hotel del Coronado, a National Historic Landmark and rumoured to have been the inspiration for The Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City.
Have you ever been to San Diego? What are your favourite activities to do there?