Holidays in San Diego 2013/2014:
Possibly one of the world’s best tourist destinations, holidays in San Diego are hard to beat! It’s got something for everyone and plenty of it. The nightlife is sizzling, the beaches rival any of those to be found in the Med and the shopping is to die for. Add to this near perfect year-round temperatures and you’ve got the ideal holiday playground. It’s easy to reach too – fly direct with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, hop in your hired car and cruise down the coast for 2 ½ hours until you reach city limits. All our featured hotels are world-class, catering for families, couples and honeymooners – some enjoy their own resort setting by the ocean, others are in the heart of downtown. Whether it’s the food scene you’ve come for, the music scene (Jazz is red-hot in the Gaslamp Quarter) or forays to the zoo, LEGOLAND and SeaWorld, you won’t be disappointed with a holiday in San Diego. There’s superb diving too, adrenaline sports galore and culture at every turn. Not far from the border of Mexico, head to the Old Town for festive fun and look out for some fabulous annual events that’ll lend even more excitement to a holiday that is already mind-blowing enough!
Things to do/Attractions
There’s no shortage of things to do on a holiday in San Diego, but top of the list must be the beaches – they are simply fabulous! Ocean Beach is 1 mile long and perfect for surfing and swimming. Mission Beach is also top notch, offering the classic Californian beach experience complete with boardwalk, amusement park, beachside restaurants and live music. La Jolla Cove is perhaps San Diego’s most desirable watering hole, with world famous dive sites and calm waters perfect for young children but for surfing, head to Windansea where dudes have been riding the waves since the 1930’s!
Hard to know where to start with this one – a holiday in San Diego offers just about every eating option on the planet! Being close to the Mexican border, however, this delicious cuisine is not to be missed. The Gaslamp Quarter is also home to some superb restaurants and live Jazz music.
For fun after dark, it’s got to the Gaslamp Quarter again, where you can jump from club to club, dancing the night away. There’s live music every night too, played in restaurants and bars. Just being in the Gaslamp Quarter at night is entertainment enough, people-watching in one of the many al-fresco restaurants.
Not to be missed
A San Diego holiday is all about the waterfront, so head to the Embarcadero to soak up the very essence of this incredible city. Catch a ferry to Coronado, an island-like city and home to the iconic Hotel del Coronado. While away the hours on its picture-perfect beach before driving home across Coronado Bay Bridge – admiring the awe-inspiring view of San Diego before you – a definite holiday highlight! Balboa Park is fabulous too, a vast expanse of lush green lawns, manicured to perfection. The Old Town is considered to be the birthplace of California and boasts plenty of historic buildings. At its centre is Bazaar Del Mundo – a Spanish-style plaza with festive shops, mariachi musicians and colourful dancers – grab a Margarita from one of the restaurants, sit back and enjoy.
Best for families
San Diego is nothing if not a family town! As well as parks and beaches galore, there’s LEGOLAND, SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo – one of the best in America and home to some of the world’s rarest animals, including giant pandas and koalas. The zoo also has 10 bioclimatic zones to explore covering everything from the arctic tundra to the rainforest. The New Children’s Museum is a hands-on exhibit with free admission on the second Sunday of each month. The Rueben H Fleet Science Centre also boasts plenty of hands-on exhibits– over 100 of them in fact! Further along the coast at Del Mar you’ll find Powerhouse Park complete with its delightful children’s playground. Peaceful and relaxed, it’s great for families with young kids – bring a picnic and spend the day! Most of our features hotels cater handsomely for kids too, including Mission Bay Hotel with its summer kids camp and Hyatt Regency, home to a fantastic water playground with water slides. With so much to do here with the kids, isn't it time your family enjoyed a fun-packed family holiday in marvellous San Diego.
Best for couples
If you’re looking for romance, you’ve come to the right place! There are intimate restaurants galore in which to linger a deux and moonlit strolls along Sunset Cliff Park, just south of Ocean Beach.
Maybe a horse and carriage ride appeals through the quaint cobbled streets of Seaport Village or hop on-board a gondola – yes, that’s right, a gondola – for a wonderful cruise through the Coronado Cays (or Modern Venice as it’s known) – a glass of champagne in hand. Get cultural in art museums galore or head to the San Diego Opera for a sophisticated night out. The Coast Highway is one of the best cycling routes locally, hire 2 bikes, pack a picnic and explore at leisure. For somewhere romantic to stay, check out our featured hotels, Solamar and Andaz, both in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter or opt for The Hard Rock instead and some rock-star inspired fun!
Pristine beaches, secluded bays and lush-green parks – all offer the perfect wedding backdrop.
Visiting in Summer? Head to Del Mar for the San Diego County Fair – one of the largest in the USA, running from Mid-June to July 4th. There are concerts, coasters, fair games and more, including some great local eats. When the fair wraps up, the Del Mar Race Track opens, showcasing some of the top thoroughbreds in the country. Our featured hotel, Humphrey’s Half Moon & Inn, also plays host to a series of summer concerts (May-Oct), attracting talent from all arenas including music and comedy. On Sunday mornings (9am-1pm), La Jolla Elementary School’s playground and car park transforms into the Open Air Farmer’s Market – one of the largest in San Diego with food vendors, farmers and artisans selling original artwork, jewellery and clothes – pop along and pick up some great souvenirs. Architectural fans might consider joining a walking tour of the University of California at San Diego and the Salk Institute. Between July-October, there are also full moon tours of Scripps Pier (normally closed to the public).
Weather/Best time to go
San Diego boasts near-perfect year-round weather with temperatures often 70 degrees or more! Ideal for outdoor pursuits any month of the year, the summer, when most people visit, is great for splashing about in the surf with water temperatures in the high 60’s. In September, when the kids have gone back to school, San Diego is more peaceful, but still the sun shines, making it a perfect time for couples to visit. In December, January and February, the city empties considerably, yet the weather is far from cold! Head over to enjoy events such as December Nights, an annual festival held in Balboa Park, featuring non-stop entertainment and the lighting of the Balboa Christmas Tree.
Always wanted to go on Safari? Well, San Diego is just the place to do it! Thirty miles north of downtown San Diego is the Safari Park, where wild animals roam to their hearts content in 1,800 acres of land. Ride through on a safari truck or soar above the park on a 2/3 mile long zip line. For something truly special, call ahead and book a special overnight camping adventure – keeping fingers crossed those African lions keep their distance! There’s also skydiving in South Bay, hang-gliding at Torrey Pines Gilderport and kayaking through rocky shoreline coves at La Jolla.
When it comes to retail therapy, Seaport Village goes straight to the top of the list. A 14-acre waterfront shopping/dining and entertainment complex, it enjoys a wonderful harbourside setting with cobbled streets, ponds, lakes and fountains. There are also shops galore, including plenty of big names as well as restaurants aplenty. The Gaslamp Quarter offers an eclectic range of shops to browse in or head to Girard Avenue and Prospect Street in La Jolla for a more exclusive selection. Burns Drugs or Meanley & Son Ace Hardware on Girard Avenue are particularly charming, serving modern merchandise in nostalgic 50’s surrounds.
For local trips, trolleys and buses are cheap and run regularly. To travel further afield, your hire car is perfect.
So, if a holiday in San Diego sounds like a perfect city break getaway, read on to find out more about our fantastic San Diego package holidays!
- San Diego Zoo
- SeaWorld® San Diego
- La Jolla
- Balboa Park
- San Diego Old Town
Jan - Carlsbad Marathon
Jan - Buick Invitational Golf Tournament
Feb - Chinese New Year Fair and Parade
Apr - Port of San Diego Day At The Docks
May-Sep - Concerts on the Green
Jun - Rock 'N' Roll Marathon
Sep - Annual San Diego Film Festival
Oct - Oktoberfest
Nov - San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival
Dec - Sea World's Holiday Festivities