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Exploring the best of the West Coast, San Diego Travel Guide

San Diego, California is one of my favorite beach destinations in the US. This city is truly unlike many as the downtown area is right on the beach! The neighboring beach towns are also some of the best beaches in the state with breathtaking views. Here is my list of the best things to do when visiting San Diego.

Viewing a Southwest Airlines plane flying over the highway in to San Diego Airport  between a metal chain link fence


There is no shortage of amazing beaches in San Diego and I urge you to visit multiple beaches. The water is the clearest and warmest in San Diego compared to the rest of the entire West Coast.

La Jolla is a short drive north of San Diego worth a visit in its own right. This is a small town with tons of dining options and shopping. Head to La Jolla Cove famous for the hundreds of sea lions and seals that reside on their rocky beaches for you to see.. and smell. Go over to La Jolla shores for the large and sandy beach home to the Scripps Pier with views of beautiful Torrey Pines. This is the best beach because it is home to tons of Leopard Sharks! Be sure to bring a snorkel and waterproof camera and head out off shore to sea these amazing and harmful animals. There are also tons of places to rent Kayaks where you can paddle to the beautiful rock formations and caves along the coastline.

aerial view of a girl in a White bikini laying on a paddle board floating with leopard sharks in La Jolla

Sunset Cliffs is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in San Diego with beautiful rock formations and dramatic cliffs. During low tide, there are sea caves that can be accessible for some of the most beautiful landscapes in San Diego.

girl in a yellow bikini with a surf board inside a giant sea cave in Sunset Cliffs in San Diego California

Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are the classic beach communities just a few minutes North of Downtown. Not only are these great beaches to enjoy but it also has a bay for extra enjoyment. Mission Bay is a great place to enjoy water activities or their large open park areas that surround the water. This area is home to major attractions like Belmont Park and Sea World

Coronado Island is just south of the City and has some of the biggest and best beaches in the city. This picturesque little island is famous for its main hotel, the Hotel del Coronado.


Not many downtown cities are along the beach. Enjoy the best of both worlds with San Diego as the large sky scrapers and buildings are only steps away from the water. The downtown is home to the famous Gas Lamp District and Little Italy which has tons of amazing dining options and bars.

In the Spring and Summer Months the city comes alive with Petco Park hosting Padres baseball games.


Known as the "Central Park" of San Diego, Balboa park is a destination to visit with over 1200 acres of gardens and museums. It is also home to one of San Diego's most famous attractions, the San Diego Zoo.

man standing on the edge of the sunset cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Diego


Enjoy the best climate in California with some amazing outdoor hiking.

hang gliders flying over the cliffs in La Jolla beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla has amazing coastal hiking with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. There are amazing canyon trails with stunning panoramic views. Watch out for all the hang gliders that are flying and taking off from nearby glider port.

Potato Chip Rock is a far drive from the city but one of the most picturesque views with the optical illusion rock formation.

Mission Trails offers tons of beautiful hiking trails with panoramic views of the city.

sun lighting up the badlands of the rocky terrain at Anza Borrega State Park

Anza Borrego State Park is a longer drive outside of the city but has some amazing desert trails that has slot canyons and stunning views of the badlands.

Torrey pines golf course with stadium seating


Northern California has some of the world's best golf courses but San Diego offers better weather and a plethora of word class courses. The iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course is a public course and actually an amazingly cheap course if you are a local resident! Find an SD Local and hit the links with some of the most stunning ocean views.


The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Hotel Del Coronado


Breakfast Spots:

- Snooze AM Eatery has a few locations through out the City from downtown to La Jolla. Be sure to get there early as it can get crowded. Great food and drinks for a casual breakfast or fun brunch.

- Carolines Sea Side Cafe in La Jolla Shores is a great little spot right next to the beach and Scripps Pier for perfect views while enjoying a casual breakfast.

Dinner Spots:

- Born & Raised is a popular steak restaurant in Little Italy in downtown San Diego


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