Earlier this month I took a long weekend to visit a college friend who lives in San Diego. She moved out there last year and we have been playing the “come out and visit” game ever since. We finally nailed down a good time for a visit and off I went! I flew out on Thursday after dropping the kids at school and flew back in the following Tuesday. With 4 full days it was hard to decide exactly what to see/do but I left happy with everything we saw and did (ate, LOL).
My flight arrived after 8 on Thursday evening so we ordered a pizza and hung out catching up. The tourism started Friday bright and early
We started Friday by driving to Mexico…not into Mexico but down to the border. We considered going over the border but decided instead of waiting in the line driving back up the coast over to Coronado would be a better use of our time. We walked around the Hotel del Coronado and ate breakfast at their breakfast buffet. Pro tip…skip the breakfast, it was good but I almost fell out of my chair when we got the bill LOL. We knew it would be more than a normal breakfast but we were shocked at how much more.
After breakfast and wandering around the hotel for a little while we headed downtown to the Gaslamp District. It was raining (thanks Hurricane Kay) so we stopped in a restaurant and had a couple of margaritas. I don’t have any photos to share of this…we had a good time though!
After a liquid break we went back out and visited the cactus garden and rose garden at Balboa Park. By this point it was really raining and our shoes were completely soaked se we headed back to Elissa’s house for a break.
For dinner Friday we walked to a restaurant in the North Park neighborhood. It had finally stopped raining so it was a nice walk and a great way to end the day.
We started Saturday morning walking through Balboa Park. Elissa lives in a neighborhood across the canyon so it was easy to do a quick walk to see some of the architecture.
But really…Saturday was for Del Mar!! The track had live racing so we spent the day playing the ponies – or letting the ponies play us… Elissa has never been to a track so Del Mar was new for both of us.
After the track we stopped at a taco shop for dinner. I’m not 100% sure what I ordered but the menu had 5 different mini tacos so I just said yes! These are MINI tacos…there is nothing mini about these.
After dinner we rode back down the coast on the 101 stopping in the Torrey Pines area to try to catch the sunset. The clouds were too thick so we didn’t get a good one but it was nice to sit and take in the view.
While we were watching the Pacific Surfliner Train pass we started talking about the Pacific Coast Highway. I’ve seen the Pacific before but never on the west coast so we decided to drive up the PCH. I’m bad about taking photos while riding but I did make Elissa let me out to walk down the Santa Monica Pier before we turned around and headed back to San Diego.
We made it back to the San Diego area in time for dinner, which meant more tacos!! These were in Ocean Beach at Elissa’s favorite taco shop. One is an octopus taco and the other is a three seafood taco, both were delicious.
After stuffing ourselves we took a walk down the Ocean Beach pier – which is the longest concrete pier on the west coast. I think my watch said the there and back was 0.6 mile which was quite the feat after those tacos.
Once we made it back to the car we headed to the Sunset Cliffs to watch the sunset.
On Monday we kayaked the caves at La Jolla. It was nice to get out on the water and neat to kayak into some of the caves.
While we were kayaking we saw a few sea lions on the rocks but we didn’t get to see many so when we were back on dry land we drove over to La Jolla cove to see more sea lions.
The next stop we made was in Old Town. We walked around a little but the main reason we went was for food! The restaurant we ate it makes tortillas in the window…these were by far the best tortillas (corn and flour) I’ve ever had! We started with a fundido then I attempted to eat a California Burrito. It was the size of my hand and I got about 1/4 of it down before having to get a to-go box.
The last San Diego stop we made was Mission Beach. We rode the wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park then walked down the beach for a little while before enjoying another sunset. It did not disappoint.
This was such a great trip but several people have asked me why didn’t we go to the zoo. I enjoy a zoo, I’m not anti-zoo and I know the San Diego zoo is one of the best in the country BUT…I didn’t feel like it was a priority. If I’d stayed another day it’s very likely the zoo would have been on the agenda but for me personally I would rather have gone to Del Mar and driven up the coast over the zoo.
When I go back and think about a trip there are usually a thing here or there that I wish I’d skipped or wish I’d fit in and for this trip there’s only one thing I can think of having missed. I should have looked up a great place to get a Hawaiian plate lunch while I was on the west coast. I’m not sure why I was tunnel visioned on tacos but it is what it is! Next time I’ll be googling before hand to find that meal!
Want to see more?
In 2020 my sister and I drove the kids to Yellowstone via the Dakotas – it was such a great trip and you can read about it with the link below!