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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. 

New to Virgin Atlantic Holidays...

Mission Pacific

Spectacular sunset views  and coastal vibes await you, at this sophisticated hotel in the heart of Oceanside, CA. With dazzling DJ sessions at the weekend and top notch dining available every evening, there's facilities to keep you fed, entertained, and satisfied all round. 

Find out more

The Seabird Resort

Just steps away from the white sands and surfboards of Southern California, the Seabird Resort is a coastal estate in which you can relax, eat and drink, and get pampered to your hearts content.

Find out more


More 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.

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.

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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of options ready to book. But if you need more help, just give us a call on 0344 472 9646.

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.

Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice

Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates

Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected by email. 

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Let’s talk

If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646 or chat to us on SMS/Whatspp via Manage my booking.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility

Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans

We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned

If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon

To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?

You can contact our team by emailing to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

I am currently on holiday and I need to speak to someone

The easiest way to contact us while you are away is via WhatsApp. To get the conversation started, click the link and type "hello” .

or you can get in touch with our in-resort team during local opening hours

Find contact details for your location

Outside of local resort office hours you can call us in the UK +44 (0) 344 472 9626 (option 2) or email us

If you are in the USA or Canada please email:

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