Looking for what else you can do... here is my list
Carlsbad - 40minutes legoland, flower fields
Del Mar - 45 minutes north east - bird sanctuary
Ramona Valley Wine Country - 1 hour
Laguna Beach - 1.5 hours
San Clemente camping & surfing - 1 hour
Temecula Valley Wine Country - 1 hour
Desert Hot Springs (NE) @ base of the San Bernadino Mountains 2 hours
LA - 2 hours
Palm Springs - 2 hours north west
Santa Barbara 3.5 hours
Big Bear - 2.5 hours - ski in January
Yosemite National 6 hours
Mono Lake - 6.5s (Near Yosemite)
Monterey - 7 hours
Cleveland National Forest -45 minutes - camping, cabins
Julian - 1 hour (north east)
Borrego desert state park - 2 hours east - visit after the rains for wildflowers http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638
Joshua Tree National park 2.5 hours
Las Vegas (north east) 4.5 hours
Phoexnix - 5 hours directly east
Canyonlands and Arches - 11.5 hours
Hawaii - Alaskan Air
Punto San Jacinto on the Pacific coast - 2 hours
When I first moved to San Diego I was asking everyone where to go and I heard “go to Julian and get some apple pie”
Now that I have lived in San Diego for a little bit I finally know what Julian is and why it is special.
It is a little town in the mountains (4235 feet) about an hour east of San Diego. It is an historic gold mine town that has tons of B&Bs and is a great place to pick apples, have apple pie, and even take a hike.
There are also casinos nearby if that is your thing.
Other things to do:
Oasis Camel Dairy for camel milk soap, lotions and chocolate.
VISIT: Tours, camel rides and events. 26757 Old Julian Highway, Ramona, CA 92065
Desert tours – I haven’t done the ones here but these are always great.
California Overland, LLC
2 and 4 hour tours of the Anza-Borrego desert, overnight camping trips or full 30+ hour excursions aboard ex-military troop carriers.
(866) 639-7567, (760) 767-1232
1233 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
This small museum is associated with Cuyamaca College but appears to be largely the collection of a private collector and strangely most of it seems to be for sale. Regardless it's a interesting but eceletic collection.
The US Olympic Committee uses this area as a year round training center for Olympic athletes. There is a visitor's center with displays and a shop and tours are given of the facility at 1:30 PM daily.
Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the spot where Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo anchored near Point Loma at the entrance to San Diego Bay in September 1542, just half a century after Columbus first landed in the new world. He was the first European to explore the west coast of the United States, setting sail from Mexico "to discover the coast of New Spain." Cabrillo died a few months later, but his expedition pressed on, exploring the previously unknown Pacific Coast all the way north to present-day Oregon.
It would be more than 300 years before maritime traffic had become heavy enough to warrant a lighthouse at Point Loma. A sandstone structure was erected in the mid-1850s at a point 422 feet above the sea. After 36 years it was replaced by a new light at a lower elevation, because the higher light was often enshrouded with fog.
The Overlook at Cabrillo National Monument offers a splendid 360 degree view. In late winter gray whales pass this point on their annual 5,000 mile migration from their breeding lagoons in Baja California to their feeding grounds in the Arctic.
The National Monument has a statue of Juan Cabrillo, and also a modern visitor center and interpretative exhibits. It is open daily and a small entrance fee is required. Click the web link below for current hours and fees.
Address: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
As a big fan of Motown music I just couldn't pass up a chance to see Mary Wilson of the legendary Supremes and Dennis Edwards of the equally legendary Temptations perform at the Showcase Theater inside the Sycuan Casino.
Located 30 minutes east of downtown San Diego, the Sycuan Casino is a gaming and entertainment option for the local Diegan. Personally, I found the smoke-filled place to be rather ghetto and seedy, but hey, I wasn't there to gamble, just to enjoy some good ol' fashion soulful music.
Besides Sycuan, there are several other casinos in the region from which to choose from. Just a few gaming options include Viejas, Harrah's, and Barona, which are all within a one-hour driving distance of downtown S.D.
Coming here for the first time might be a little tricky since it's in the hills in the boonies. There aren't too many signs leading the way, but just know to stay on Dehesa Road for 5 miles past the Sycuan Resort entrance. At the Harbison Canyon intersection, turn right to stay on Dehesa.
5469 Casino Way
El Cajon, CA 92019
I had the honor and pleasure of visiting the Marine Corp Recruit Depot this August 2004 for the graduation of my oldest son. He is now a Marine and I am very proud of him.
On the Marine Corp Recruit Depot you can find a lot of California, San Diego and Marine history. The base has been there for almost 100 years and served to protect the area now known as Old Town San Diego. On the base is a museum which tells all about the base and the Marine Corp. I was very impressed.
The base is located north east of the airport and can be reached by exiting and going west on Rosecrans Blvd.
This is the only liquor store that I know of near the beach where the employees are usually better dressed than their clientele. Employees are required to wear ties with their shirts. There is ample parking in front and they also have a great selection of drinks, deli snacks and an ATM machine. Located at 3787 Ingraham St, San Diego, CA 92109 and about 2-4 minutes drive away from Sea World-San Diego.
You wouldn't expect a big, juicy burger to be one of the draws at a sports bar near the beach but there you go. Rocky's has been in the Crown Point area of San Diego for decades now. Located on the corner of La Playa Street & Yosemite, this hole-in-the-wall turns out the perfect burger everytime. Burgers come in 1/2 or 1/3 sizes. Fries are also on the menu but be warned, they have a tendency to overcook the fries so gently remind them not to do so. Just a pet peeve of mine. Over 21 only.
There are no known drawings or painting of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sadly. Plus his death is somewhat of a mystery too. He either broke a leg or arm, but did not recover from either injury since he died January 3, 1543, most likely from infection. There was a stone found on Santa Rosa Island in 1901 with etched crude markings of a stick man and the letters of JR. Some believe it was Juan’s crude headstone, but who knows. Although with his untimely death and goals not being completely accomplished, he did leave for future sailors a safer passage. With his detailed maps of currents, landmarks, and winds, this helped established new sailing routes for other adventures.
If you look at anything at the visitor center be sure to read about this and take a look at the stone.
Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106-3601
The eighth USS Wasp (CV-7) was a United States Navy aircraft carrier that found her demise around 2:44 when three B1 Type Japanese submarine torpedoes where spotted heading three points forward of the starboard beam, although six were fired, three sadly hit her gasoline tanks and magazines area. The Bravery of her crew is carried on in memory and honor with this lovely memorial and those of the other memorials here at Fort Rosecrans.
Located at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
P.O. Box 6237
San Diego, CA 92166
USS Ommaney Bay (CVE–79) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy, named for Ommaney Bay, Alaska. She left on New Year's Day 1945, two days later while in the Sulu Sea a Japanese suicide plane nicked her island then crashed her starboard side. Two bombs were released; penetrated the flight deck and below, setting off a series of explosions among the fully armed aircraft on the forward third of the hangar deck. The second bomb passed through the hangar deck, ruptured the second deck, and exploded near the starboard side.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
P.O. Box 6237
San Diego, CA 92166
USS St. Lo (CVE–63) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy during World War II. On October 25, 1944 St. Lo became the first major warship to sink as the result of a kamikaze attack. Around 1047 a battle began when an air attack by the Shikishima Special Attack Unit in the Gulf of Leyte. A plane flown by Lt. Yukio Seki crashed on the flight deck, penetrating the deck that blew out the port side of the hangar deck where aircraft were being rearmed. After many explosions and fire, the ship sank. The ships crew consisted of 889 souls, but sadly 113 were killed or missing and approximately 30 others died of their wounds. The survivors were rescued from the water by the USS Heermann, USS John C. Butler, USS Raymond, and USS Dennis (which picked up 434 survivors.)
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
P.O. Box 6237
San Diego, CA 92166
A trail of missions wind their way from one end of California to the other. Founded by Father Junipero Serra, he set up 21 churches in the state all within one day's travel from each other. They are some of the oldest structures in California and tell rather detailed histories of the state, so for that they are interesting to visit but the fact that the churches have a very bad history with their treatment of the Native American population makes the visit more than a little uncomfortable.
Each mission has something special to that mission although they all look similarly from the outside. San Diego's distinction is that it was the first mission, opened in 1769. It's also one of the prettiest. Bells hanging amidst white-washed adobe and the colorful blooms of bouganvillea bushes welcome you out front and a lovely fountain with more flowers is the focal point of the interior center courtyard.
The best part about each mission is that you can spend as little or as much time there as you like. There is usually a tour, but you don't have to take it. You are free to wander around in either some or all of the areas (some are only accessible on the tour) on your own. There is also always a gift shop.
A couple of things to bear in mind: not all but some of the missions are still active churches so it is always wise to be as quiet as you can, at least until you find out if there is a service going on. Also, every fourth grader in California has to learn about the missions system as part of the history of California requirement so depending on what time of year you're there, you may be visiting with a gaggle of 9 year olds.
The San Diego Mission is located across from Qualcomm Stadium on San Diego Mission Rd (south of Friars Rd) just east of Interstate 15 and north of Interstate 8.
This small park a few blocks east of Old town preserves San Diego's Victorian architecture. Basically its a Mormon church surrounded by Victorian styled buildings containing shops and a Bed and breakfast.
If you want to stay at a place that's not right on the beach, but still close enough to get anywhere...more
First of all, the staff here were super friendly and helpful. I arrived several hours before...more
This is a nice, comfy hotel on the bluff overlooking Pacific Beach. Great views. No restaurant, but...more