Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Get ready to watch one of the most beautiful ocean side sunsets you will ever seen. The view was like something out of a movie. There was even a group of people doing yoga. Bring a blanket and sweater as it can get windy and chilly out. Parking is free, but is limited as it is in a residential neighborhood, so plan to arrive early. There is a steep drop off onto a rock formation that is perfect for viewing the sunset, but not very kid friendly.
San Diego Zoo
This zoo definitely lives up to its title of being world famous. It is incredibly clean and well organized. The place is huge! I don’t think you could cover everything in one day. Tickets are pretty pricy at $56 per person for a one day pass. My favorite part of the zoo was the Skyfari Aerial Tram, it offered amazing views of the zoo and it was a shortcut from one end of the zoo to the other. I you are looking for a more interactive experience I would check out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
If you are looking for some cute shops to buy souvenirs or gifts head over to North Park. There are also some great art murals in this neighborhood and tons of cute little cafes and restaurants. The two shops that I loved were Pigment and Artelexia. Pigment has a floral selfie wall and swinging chair inside, in addition to design-savy gifts. I literally wanted to buy everything inside the store because it was all so cute. Atelexia specializes in Mexican gifts, art, and home decor, and has a beautiful mural of Frida Kahlo inside.
This park is an absolute must if you are visiting San Diego. This was one of my favorite things that we did. The park is huge so plan on spending the day here in order to see everything. Entrance to the park is free. Yes you heard that right FREE! There is a designated parking lot where you can leave your car, and a free shuttle comes around and takes you to the center of the park. There are several restaurants at the park which was very convenient. The best way I can describe the park is that it is a museum and garden all in one. Make sure to stop in the gift shop and pick up a map. My favorite part of the park that are a must see were the Spanish Village Art Center, Botanical Building & Lily Pond, and the Old Cactus Garden. There are several museums scattered throughout the park, some of which have an additional entrance fee. I would highly recommend doing the California Tower Tour located inside the Museum of Man. There is a lot of stair climbing involved, but the view at the top is well worth it.
Coronado Beach & Hotel del Coronado
There is a beautiful bridge which connects San Diego to Coronado. Driving over this bridge was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It may be scary at first, but once you see the view honestly you will forget about the height of this bridge. Although we didn’t stay at this hotel, it was great to visit this historic hotel which opened back in 1888. The beach was beautiful, and the sand was unlike any I have ever seen before, it literally sparkled like gold. We found out that the gold color comes from a mineral called mica. The beach was stunning, but definitely too cold for a swim in my opinion.
Cabrillo National Monument
This monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. This was the first time a European expedition set foot on the West Coast of the United States. This was my favorite place for jaw-droppingly beautiful birds-eye view of San Diego. I just felt so at peace here, and honesty could have stayed there all day just taking in the beauty of it all. I loved seeing all the sail boats off in the distance and the crystal blue waters.
La Colla Cove & Sea Lions
My favorite thing that we did was hands down getting to see the famous sea lions in La Jolla. This is one of those once in a life time experiences that everyone should have. Being that close to these beautiful and amazing creatures just took my breath away. Start by parking at the garage across from the cave store. Walk down from the cave store and you will be in La Jolla Cove which is a small cove composed of two rocky points. This spot is accessible by a gate, where you can step out onto the rocks and get some amazing photos. Continue along the coastal path which will lead you to Shell Beach which is accessible by stairs. We saw tons of sea lions in the water playing and sun bathing on the rocks. We were literally a few feet away from the sea lions! Continue down to Children’s Pool which is the final stop. There is a sea wall that serves as a walkway.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Trying saying the name of that park five times fast! There is a lot of influence from Mexico seen throughout San Diego as it is only a 30 minute drive to Tijuana. The park is filled with tons of different shops and restaurants. The park is free to enter and there are shows that take place at certain parts of the day. The park features San Diego’s first school house and newspaper office. The park commemorates the early days of San Diego from 1820’s to 1870’s.
Torrey Pines National Park
It’s no secret that I love a good hike, especially a scenic one. When you arrive at this park you pay an entrance fee, and there will immediately be a parking lot to your left hand side. Do not park here otherwise you will have a long hike up to the top and will be tired before you even begin your actual hike. Instead drive all the way up the road to the office at the top and pick up a map. There are numerous different hiking trails to choose from. We decided upon the beach trail as the hike leads you to a secluded beach! This was another one of my favorite things we did the views were out of this world beautiful!
San Diego is one of my favorite places in the States, and definitely a place I could see myself living at in the future. The weather is literally perfect year round. You are near the ocean, and there is an endless amount of outdoor activities to satisfy any adventurous heart. I hope you guys have enjoyed this list of must do activities while in San Diego!