Summer in San Diego always seems to go way too fast. In just a month’s time, the kids will be starting back to school and life will return to a more regular schedule. But before summer’s end, there’s still time to take a quick trip with the family! Just plan a visit to one of these great spots located within easy driving distance of San Diego.
Spend a day enjoying the classic California beach town of San Clemente! Walk, jog, or cycle your way along the San Clemente Trail. Explore the charming downtown area, the pier, or relax on the beach. And no trip to San Clemente would be complete without a stop at Casa Romantica. This award-winning local landmark features a cultural center, botanic gardens, breath-taking views of the ocean, special exhibits, and more.
San Juan Capistrano
Plan a visit to beautiful San Juan Capistrano, one of the oldest towns in California. If you like history, make sure to visit the Los Rios Historic District, the O’Neill Museum, or the famous Mission San Juan Capistrano. Have small children? Plan a visit to the Zoomars Petting Zoo, where kids will have the chance to meet the animals, go for a pony ride, get lost in a maze of hay, and more.
Located just over an hour away from San Diego, Laguna Beach boasts some of the best beaches (and waves!) in Southern California. With seven miles of soft sand, if you haven’t made your way to Laguna Beach yet the summer, start making your plans! Laguna offers some of the best seaside dining, art galleries, and local boutiques in Southern California. Or for a more action-packed visit, plan to go sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, or surfing. Click here for more information on planning a trip to Laguna Beach.
Visit Southern California’s wine country by taking a drive to Temecula! Although Temecula is known for their beautiful wine valley, there is much more to do and see. Temecula’s Old Town dates back to 1892 and is full of historical buildings, antique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more. During the summer Od Town Temecula hosts live music concerts on the weekends, as well as a Sunset Concert Series at the Temecula Amphitheater.
Escape the city with a trip to the desert! Borrego Springs is located about seventy-five minutes from San Diego County and sits in the heart of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. If you like to hike or bike, there are tons of great desert trails to explore! Other activities available include bird watching, wine tasting, golfing, and stargazing. Click here for more information about all the fun you can have in Borrego Springs.
Take a step back in time and visit the gold rush town of Julian. While still in San Diego County, Julian feels a world away with historic buildings that date back to the 1870s! Come for the day and sample Julian’s famous apple pie, go hiking, and even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the country. If you’re looking to make it a weekend trip, book a stay in town at a historic hotel or romantic bed and breakfasts to choose.
If you’ve got your passport in order, venture south of the border to Mexico for the day! Outside of the authentic tacos and churros, Tijuana is packed with history. Visit Plaza Santa Cecilia, the Bullring, or a traditional Mexican market to get a taste for the unique cultural history of this part of Mexico. Tijuana is also filled with trendy coffee shops, breweries, and great local restaurants. If you don’t want to drive across the border, there are plenty of guided group excursions from San Diego available.
Further down the coast of Mexico lies the port city of Ensenada. About 100 miles from San Diego, it’s the perfect place for a day or weekend trip! Ensenada’s main attraction is its sheltered harbor filled with boats that you can tour and even rent for the day. In fact, this is the only commercial harbor in Baja California. Besides its beautiful beaches, Ensenada also offers top-rated golf courses, restaurants, and luxury spas for visitors to enjoy. Click here for a more extensive visitor’s guide to Ensenada.
I hope my list of day trips from San Diego County inspires you to squeeze in a little more fun with the family before the kids go back to school. What’s your favorite day or weekend trip from San Diego?