This southern Californian State is known for its pristine beaches, vibrant arts scene, diverse food and music and a rich military history.
To make the most out of your San Diego day trip, I recommend waking up and heading out the door early. Starting in early ensures that you can fit as much into your day as possible.
To visualize the itinerary better, I’ve created a Google Maps link which marks all the routes and landmarks I’ll mention in this blog. Here is the complete map
Old Town State Historic Park
Old Town is considered to be California’s first settlement and walking down the streets feels like stepping back in time to the early days of San Diego
There are plenty of shops in the Old Town area, many of which sell handcrafted items from Mexico and other Latin American countries. The town’s Mexican heritage is also preserved through the various restaurants that dish out authentic Mexican food and homemade tortillas.
You can even spot museums, history demonstrations, San Diego’s first one-room schoolhouse, a few notable Victorian style homes and Whaley haunted house.
There is no admission fee, and many of the attractions are free. Not just that, you can also sign up for free walking tours offered twice daily.
La Jolla Shore
The name La Jolla translates into English as “The Jewel”, and for good reasons. This place is known for its clear blue waters and amazing ocean views. Hence, making it an ideal spot for snorkelers and scuba divers.
If you walk toward the ocean, climb down few stairs, you’ll find the entrance to the children’s pool seawall. Unless the tides are really high, you can walk on it for a better view of the ocean.
A little history about the place- This seawall was built in 1932 to protect the shore from oncoming waves, making it the ideal spot for children to paddle without danger. But the setting seems more favorable for seals and sea lions.
From the sidewalk at La Jolla Cove, you can watch sunbathing seals and sea lions. If you want a bit more up-close-view, head down onto the sandy beach but be mindful of the distance.
Behind the Children’s Pool lifeguard tower, there was access to this small beach called South Casa Beach. I personally found this place very relaxing as there were no or very less crowd. You can certainly lay a towel out to soak up some sun. During low tides, this beach also offers a La Jolla Tide pool area.
You can sit on the benches near the La Jolla Shore and spend some time looking at the crashing waves and marine life.
A word of prudent, this area has a limited amount of parking for the public and gets full during the peak season and the weekends unless you arrive before 9 AM.
Besides Little Italy and Little India, Convoy District is San Diego’s Asian restaurant row, lined with authentic eateries offering cuisines from Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan, and Korea.
If you are fond of authentic Indian food like me, then San Diego’s Punjabi Tandoor is guaranteed to deliver the most bona fide Indian flavors. Taste of Himalayas is another great place to have fine Indian and Nepalese cuisine.
Cabrillo National Monument
Spaniard explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the West Coast of States. This monument was established in 1913 to commemorates his discovery.
This place offers a superb view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. You get some amazing views of the San Diego Airport, Naval Air Station, the Bay, and the Ocean. We also got to see some large Navy ships heading out to Sea.
Point Loma tide pools
Point Loma Tide pools is a 1 mile heavily trafficked trail. Parking could be extremely difficult during low tide and also, the area closes at 4:30 p.m. 30 minutes before the rest of the monument.
You must be wondering what is a Tide pool? So, it is basically an area that is exposed when the tide goes out. Hence, gave an opportunity to explore small creatures, seaweed, and plant life that live there or got left behind.
This Rocky Intertidal Zone offers amazing views of the Pacific ocean and of course the chance to discover species that live in this unique habitat.
Access to the tidepools is controlled by NPS and may be limited or unavailable without notice. Generally whenever the low tide is +.7 or less, it is possible to see into the tidepools.
There’s something special about the sunset and maybe that’s because no two sunsets are ever the same. Point Loma in Cabrillo National Monument is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the setting sun.
Make a note that everything in the Cabrillo National Park is protected. That means nothing can be taken or disturbed in the park. This includes shells, rocks, flowers and everything else.
I couldn’t visit the following places during my visit to San Diego. So, I am listing these in case you have more time to spend in this ‘American finest city’.
- Balboa Park– The various gardens at Balboa Park San Diego are beautiful and worth walking through with your friends and family.
- Unconditional surrender statue– If you are in Downtown San Diego, there are a couple of amazing statues located right next to the USS Midway, which are fun to take pictures of or with. The most famous one is the Unconditional Surrender by J. Seward Johnson, and it is a 25-foot tall statue of the famous image of a sailor kissing a nurse from World War 2.
- Torrey Pine State park– If you are thinking of Hiking in San Diego, there is nothing better than Torrey Pine state park. The park has a series of well-kept trails that wind along the cliffs offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Gaslamp Quarter– This area is the heart of San Diego’s nightlife scene. It is also rich with cultural offerings including theatres, art galleries, symphony halls, concert venues and museums.
With so much to see and do, it’s impossible to experience all of San Diego in a single day. Between the picture-perfect beaches and the mesmerizing museums, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, what are waiting for? Pack your bags, put your mask on and head to this beautiful place.
As we all know, all good things come to an end. Until then, I’m California Dreaming on a snowy winter’s day!
Also, don’t forget to visit the blog on my entire West coast trip.
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