This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure you have an easy, quick and reliable experience whilst using the Virgin Holidays website. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details, see our cookie policy.

Skip to main content Virgin holidays logo
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm
San Diego

Holidays in San Diego

America’s finest city

With a trendy Gas Lamp Quarter and quaint gondola rides around the bay, San Diego, dubbed ‘America’s finest city’, offers a sophisticated European vibe. With plenty to do and see, there are cruises aplenty for spotting the beautiful wild Californian grey and blue whales. 

Hotels in San Diego

Retrieving our hand picked hotels...

Essential information for San Diego

Local time
USA flag
American English
US Dollar $
Official currency of the United States
Flight information
Los Angeles (LAX)
11h 30m
Direct flight
Flight schedule
Virgin Atlantic fly twice daily to Los Angeles from London Heathrow.
Our main partner airline.

Do I need a visa?

To travel to the USA, you will need an ESTA visa. Please make sure that you have this approved at least 3 days before you head off on holiday.

Find out more about Travel Visas here »

Getting there

San Diego is a straight-forward 2-hour 30 minute drive from Los Angeles. For local trips, trolleys and buses are cheap and run regularly. To travel further afield, your hire car is perfect.

Sunshine, seafood and surfing: San Diego holidays

Situated on the border with Mexico and perched right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego was once famous for its sun, sea, sand, and surfing. In that respect, not much has changed. On San Diego holidays, you can still hang ten, laze on the beach, and top up your tan. However, the city itself is a great place to explore with its burgeoning culinary scene, top galleries and museums, the most famous zoo in the world and miles of well-maintained trekking trails.

While other cities on the California coast might consider themselves trendier, more artistic, or more laid back, San Diego refuses to pretend to be anything it’s not. Instead, it’s known for having the best climate in the country. Its bars and restaurants are cool and affordable. It’s surrounded by pristine natural habitats, and is home to pretty much every adventure and water sport you can imagine. In other words, we think it’s pretty much the perfect holiday destination. Well, at least one of them, anyway...

Accommodation in San Diego is second to none. With resorts located in the most tranquil bays to hotels in the heart of the city, we’ve chosen some of our favourites to give you an idea of what’s available.

Hotel del Coronado: an enormous stately hotel that looks as though it’s the set of a Hollywood movie (because it was!), the Hotel del Coronado is a one of the top San Diego resorts for families. Luxurious, stylish and comfortable enough to please parents, the hotel also boasts a dedicated kids club, a teen common room, and water sports classes, so it’s suitable for all ages.

The US Grant: situated in the atmospheric downtown Gaslamp district, the historic US Grant hotel is an excellent choice for those that want to stay in the heart of the city. Close to a variety of attractions, including the Balboa Theatre, Petco Park and Symphony Hall, this is the place for culture vultures, city slickers, and those who like a little glamour in their holiday.

Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa: fancy a Polynesian tropical getaway, just a short hop from the centre of San Diego? This is a real beach beauty, with the glistening water of Mission Bay, a curved, sandy beach, and even its own waterfall and koi ponds. Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa is your chance to really indulge yourself at the only beachfront spa in the area.

Paradise Point: set in 44 acres and with its own water taxis to SeaWorld, a flotilla of sailboats for hire, and total seclusion, Paradise Point is the perfect getaway for romantic couples and families.

Holidays to San Diego naturally involve a lot of beach time, but there’s more than just sea and sand to this city.

  • Everybody go surfing!: the stereotypical San Diegoan is a long haired, smiley surfer who spends all of their time in the water. While not everyone in San Diego surfs, a lot of people do, and the city is home to several spectacular beaches and breaks. Whether you’re experienced or not, this is the perfect opportunity to grab your board and give surfing a go.
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve: if you want to see the Californian coast as it once looked, head out to Torrey Pines. Spread over 1,750 acres, there’s an enormous amount of flora and fauna to discover, lots of hiking to be done, and a pristine beach to stroll along.
  • Explore Balboa Park: Balboa Park is the city’s cultural hub and is jam-packed full of museums and other attractions. The world-famous San Diego Zoo, beautiful Botanical Building, incredibly cool Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and the San Diego Museum of Art can all be found at Balboa Park, and are all definitely worth a visit.
  • San Diego Crew Classic March: this is the first major regatta of the year in San Diego, and is one of America’s top meet for athletes from over 100 universities, clubs and high schools. They row for glory around Mission Bay, cheered on by thousands of spectators.
  • Comic-Con July: it’s time to dig out your Ironman and Wonder Woman costume, because July sees the biggest pop culture event in the USA roll into town. Comic-Con is huge, so if you want tickets book very, very early.
  • Monster Jam All Year: big trucks, big burgers, big soda, big everything! Monster trucks come to town regularly and put on a display that the whole family will love. Want to see a giant truck fly through the air and then crash onto some poor, unsuspecting Buicks? This is where you can watch exactly that, and much more.
  • Macy’s Museum Month February: throughout February, you’ll get special offers and discounts in the city’s museums and galleries, giving the whole family a chance to discover native art exhibitions, wildlife and history galore.
  • Car - Like a number of other Californian cities (we’re looking at you, Los Angeles), San Diego is a city of automobiles. A sprawling network of smaller streets connected by big highways, hiring a car is a good idea if you want to move around at all. We’ve teamed up with a number of car hire companies to ensure this process is quick, easy, and affordable for those booking package holidays to San Diego.
  • Bus: the city’s bus network is great for travel in and around the downtown area and central neighbourhoods.
  • Trolley: the city has several trolley lines that run from the downtown area to the southern and southeastern parts of the city.
  • Bicycle: if you want to move up and down the coast, but aren’t in a rush, bicycle is a great way to travel. Rentals are readily available and beachfront cycle lanes make bikes a safe and fun means of getting around.

San Diego’s reputation is quickly growing as a foodie’s city. All San Diego holidays should take in at least one of the three favourites we’ve listed below.

  • Sushi Tadokoro: probably due to San Diego’s abundance of fresh seafood, sushi is extremely popular in the city. Sushi Tadokoro sits at the peak of the San Diego sushi scene, and is highly regarded for its authentic approach to the cuisine. Reservations are an absolute must, as this place gets busy.
  • The Marine Room: waterfront dining doesn’t get much more waterfront than this. When the ocean’s a little more lively, waves often crash against The Marine Room’s windows, but this doesn’t stop its chefs from cooking up some of the best seafood in San Diego.
  • Galaxy Taco: considering how close San Diego is to Mexico, it comes as no surprise that there’s a huge number of excellent Mexican eateries in the city. Galaxy Taco is one of the best and will be a sure fire hit with all the family.

There’s not much you can say about the San Diego climate, apart from that it’s generally spectacular. Warm temperatures and little rain can be expected all year round, meaning holidays in San Diego usually play out beneath beautiful blue Californian skies.

  • June to August: the hottest period of the year, with an average high of just under 30°C.
  • September to November: autumn temperatures remain high due to strong, warm winds from the east and San Diego remains largely dry.
  • December to February: winter is the rainiest period of the year, but you can still expect large amounts of sunshine and average highs of around 20°C.
  • March to May: spring is a lovely time to visit San Diego. Average temperatures climb to around 25°C and it’s generally dry. However, May does have a reputation for being a little foggy and overcast.

With its great climate, pristine beaches, and vibrant and eclectic city centre to explore, San Diego is a Californian holiday with an interesting twist. Check out all our great San Diego hotels and holiday packages to start planning your sunny getaway.

Customers who like San Diego also like...


There has been an error

Please try again

Text Message

There has been an error

Please try again


Thanks, we'll be in touch soon

I'm currently on holiday

Some text goes here...

I'm due to travel to a country that may have travel restrictions!

If you are booked to travel to one of the countries below today and tomorrow, please do not go to the airport - we will contact you.

Any customers travelling to one of these destinations in the next 15 days will be contacted at least 24 hours before departure to discuss options.

Destinations with current travel restrictions

  • All of USA and Canada
  • Jamaica
  • St Lucia
  • Dubai
  • Tel Aviv
  • South Africa
This applies to me, but I'm not departing in the next 15 days

My holiday destination doesn't have travel restrictions

Travelling before 30th April

If your holiday destination isn’t currently affected, but you would like to discuss your options, please complete our call back form and we will contact you within 7–10 days.

Request a callback

Travelling after 30th April

We ask that you don’t contact us at this time due to the dynamic situation and so we can support customers travelling in the imminent future. Continue to monitor our Covid-19 (Coronavius) travel updates page, our social media and the Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice page for latest advice.

Should your holiday destination become subject to travel restrictions, we will contact you at least 24 hours before departure to discuss your options.

Travelling to a destination with travel restrictions, but not in the next 15 days

If you're travelling to a destination with travel restrictions, but not in the next 15 days, please get in touch with us via WhatsApp or SMS.

Where would you like to go?

TESting of Com#4 ticket: COM#4 Request call back journey

Design is here

Where would you like to go?

TESting of Com#4 ticket: COM#4 Request call back journey

Design is here

How can we help?

Let’s get started. Please choose an option below.

Your holiday may be affected by the government’s travel restrictions

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK have advised against all but essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - Our website has thousands of hand-picked options ready to book. But if you need more help, just let us know.

Your holiday will not be going ahead as planned

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK have advised against all but essential travel before 16 April 2020.

We’re flexible with your holiday plans

If you were due to travel before the end of May 2020, you can postpone your holiday to a later date or even choose a different destination instead.

You’re good to go

In line with the advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK, all trips booked from June onwards are unaffected.

Rebook your holiday

We’ve sent you a voucher that is valid for the full value of your cancelled holiday. When you rebook, we’d like to gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles too. 

But there’s no rush. To redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us, just give us a call any time before 31 July 2020 and quote your old booking reference.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

We’re here when you need us

If you’d like to travel with us sometime in the future, just give us a call and we’ll find a great holiday for you (and gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles as a thank you). 

If you'd prefer to simply cancel completely, we understand, and we will refund you in full. You'll just need to give us a call. Refunds will be successfully returned in approximately 45 days.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Your holiday is in safe hands

No need to contact us. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

Change it up

You can postpone your holiday to travel any time before 31 December 2021, and even choose a different destination. We won’t charge you to make these changes and our Service Team are there to help – just give us a call.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Your holiday is in safe hands

Your holiday is scheduled to depart as booked. Continue to pay off your holiday balance with the assurance that your money is fully protected through ATOL. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

The choice is yours

No problem! To amend your holiday dates, just give us a call. Any amendments to your booking can be made for £50pp, and our Service Team can help you decide on dates, or even a different destination.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Register yourself as away from home

If you’re abroad and your flight home has been cancelled please let us know, as relief flights will end soon.

Register as away from home

Alternatively, call our UK Duty Office on +44 0344 472 9646 (option 3) to discuss your options for getting home.

Book online

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist

Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers

Help is at hand

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types online and save your faves to your very own Wishlist

If you’re ready to book but can’t find the information you need on our website, just call our travel experts who will be happy to help.

To redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us, just give us a call and quote your old booking reference.