Relaxing in SoCal's laid-back playground
Is it your first time to California? Or maybe you're a local? Either way, you need to take some time to explore the southern most part of the state in California's second largest city, where there are 70 miles of white sandy beaches, beautiful blue skies most of the time and a Mediterranean climate that is sure to please everyone. This paradise city is San Diego, California.
You might not initially think of San Diego as being the kind of place you go with your RV, but, believe it or not, there are about two dozen RV resorts in and around the city. Some are close to the beaches while others are nestled at the base of the mountains but all are close to the fun so gear up and let's go!
Old Town San Diego
San Diego is located just 30 minutes north of the Mexican border and was the first Spanish settlement on the west coast. Needless to say, there is a great deal of history associated with this town.
One of the best places to find it is in Old Town San Diego, known as the birthplace of California. Father Junipero Serra first settled this area in 1769, where he built a Catholic mission and presidio. The city grew, and by the early 1820's there were a number of families living at the base of the hill where the mission stood. Those homes, some adobe and some wooden, have been preserved or restored for visitors, and today you can walk the streets of the first settlers. You can explore over 12 acres of Mexican lore and history.
You can connect to the past by visiting over 30 historical sites in Old Town, one of which is the famous Whaley House. The Whaley House is an authentic haunted house that isn't just for Halloween, although if you're visiting at that time of the year then it's a must see! The Whaley House has been featured in many television shows and was declared the No. 1 most haunted place in America by the Travel Channel.
Downtown San Diego
Once you've finished being scared at the Whaley House, it might just be time for a little shopping and food to calm your nerves. Across from Old Town is the Trolley and Transit Center. Hop on a trolley and go downtown where you can visit the Gaslamp Quarter and have lunch on the Embarcadero boardwalk. You can grab a bite to eat at the Seaport Village, which features food of all kinds from the catch of the day to handmade tortillas. There are also several of Embarcadero shops, boutiques and places to find one-of-a-kind gifts.
The Embarcadero is also home to the Navy Pier and San Diego Cruise Terminal. While you're here you can visit the goliath U.S.S. Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, the Star of India clipper ship and the Maritime Museum of San Diego, housed on the vintage ferry, the Berkley.
One of the most unique places in San Diego is Balboa Park. It's known as one of the best public parks in the world. But it's not just a park with beaches. No, this place features 15 museums including the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Balboa Park also has a number of performing art venues including ballet, theater and symphony performances. While you're there you can visit the miniature railroad, the Balboa Park Carousel and, of course, the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo
The 100-acre San Diego Zoo has been a part of Balboa Park since 1916. The zoo has over 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species from around the world. You'll see tigers, flamingos and giant tortoises. Visit the bamboo forest, where you'll see giant pandas or go to the Elephant Odyssey, where a herd of Asian elephants roams freely. You can see many of the animals up close at the Children's Zoo or if you really want a unique experience you can book a special backstage pass, inside look or discovery tour to meet the animals one on one.
Looking for a little beach time? Not a problem. San Diego has some of the best beaches in California. One of these beautiful beaches is located across the bridge from downtown San Diego at Coronado. Coronado features 16-miles of boardwalk that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is bordered with glistening sand made so by the mica mineral deposits found in it.
But don't stop there, because beachcombers have nearly 20 locations to choose from on over 70 miles of oceanfront. Each beach has something unique to offer from hang-gliding to kayaking. The one thing that remains constant on all the San Diego beaches are the beautiful sights you'll see from immense cliffs dropping into the ocean to the magnificent west coast sunsets. Check them all out while you're there.
You're trip to San Diego has been jam packed with activities, but there are still a few more. For instance, there are over 90 golf courses in the area with greens fees to fit every budget. There are also hiking and biking trails galore and sport kiting available year round, and college and professional baseball and football teams so you can catch a game year round.
If you're a boating enthusiast, you're in luck. Rentals are available on both Mission Bay and San Diego Bay. You can also take surfing lessons along the coast.
For More Information:
San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
California Travel and Tourism Commission