This trip was kinda unplanned but may have been my most spontaneous yet. We haven’t done a last minute Han hol in a minute and we’ve never done a solo flight, so ofc the natural next step was an 11 hour flight to America.
I don’t know why I’m speaking in third person, I’m annoying myself. Is it the lack of sleep, the excitement, the flight anxiety or all of this mixed with CBD oil and a mini bottle of red wine? idk. *NB I started writing this bit on the plane, bear with. It does get better I promise.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we?
Landing at San Diego International airport approx 3 hours after I took off after an 11.5 hour flight (time difference funsies) my head was scrambled. I didn’t know whether I needed a nap, a snack, or a bucket of peach iced tea. So I’d love to advise you on transport options from the airport but realistically my overweight suitcase got dragged straight into an uber.
7 days in San Diego & I’m officially taking on the job of beach
You absolutely can’t go to San Diego without a couple of beach hangs. Here are a few of my favourites…
Mission Beach – Dolphins swam past me at 9am on the first day. Wild, in two senses of the word. Think white sand, beach volleyball, BBQ’s, a funfair, lowriders, candy floss sunsets and more tacos than you can shake a stick at. The boardwalk is great for a spot of people watching and you can stroll all the way up to Pacific Beach stopping for cold brews en route. Just mind that you don’t get taken out by a dude on rollerblades blasting out Dr Dre’s greatest hits.
Pacific Beach – Surfing USA. I know they say “take a girl swimming on a first date” but the phrase should be “take a girl surfing on a first date” because, boy is surfing humbling. There’s a whole bunch of places to rent boards and wetsuits beside the beach and I thought this might be the one sport that I truly excel at. Hint: it wasn’t. If there was an award for spending time clinging on to the underside of the board, gulping down sea water and trying not to unalive myself it would be mine.
When in Pacific Beach…
- Baja Beach Cafe – I fear I’ve become somewhat of a Tac-Hoe. The tacos here were a dream – order the grilled fish tacos, chips and salsa. The perfect spot to watch a peachy sunset roll in over the sea with a frozen marg.
- Cornholing at 710 Beach club – When I say that you will get hooked on this game. Oh my. Who knew throwing bean bags at a wooden board would be so much fun? If I was looking for the sport I’d truly excel at this was most definitely it.
La Jolla – One of my favourite places to visit in San Diego. If you’d like to watch sea lions living their best lives, in their natural environment, keep reading.
You can head to La Jolla Cove to see the sea lions which is a truly incredible experience but don’t get too close. Chaos unfolded on the beach when a sea lion chased a woman into a cave, who abandoned her children & husband leaving them to be rescued by one totally unfazed lifeguard. It was hilarious watching Susan hot foot it across the sand. Family? I don’t know them.
N.B. Everyone was fine btw I’m not completely deranged. Plus you can go snorkelling with the sea lions and visit some secret caves (I didn’t because, see above) but it’s a 10/10.
La Jolla is also host to a whole selection of upscale eateries and a great selection of boutiques. I can fully recommend Richard Walker’s Pancake House for brekkie (one portion of pancakes between a family of 17 is a sensible move btw they are HUGE) plus they have a Lululemon & a huge Benefit bar if your eyebrows have decided to choose violence, if ya know, ya know.
Travel tip: Head to Prospect Street to get your shop on. Downtown La Jolla Village has the best collection of stores, most of which are located along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street.
Whale watching & Dolphin spotting
I accidentally dressed like an idiot for this one. As soon as I see the word “boat” it’s bikini, sunnies, & a cute cover-up. Let me tell you this was not the vibe for this trip. When there’s nothing separating you from Japan except miles of deep blue sea, a cute cover-up doesn’t really cut it. Anyway, the whale trip. The trip takes roughly 3 hours and you cruise out across the ocean with an onboard marine biologist as your guide.
Note: you’re not guaranteed to see whales but you’re very likely to see dolphins and they’re kinda more fun. I identify as a dolphin because whales just pop up when they can be arsed and you’ll probably see a flute of water as they bob up to the surface to tell you to leave and that’s about it. Dolphins will put on a show. Dancing? you got it. Party cruiser? She’s following the boat. Friends? They’re already there. Silly noises? CEO of them.
You get the gist. It’s a great day out and absolutely incredible to see the whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, but don’t dress in an outfit suitable for a yacht in Croatia, pack a jumper, maybe some leg sleeves.
Travel tip: Book ahead https://sdwhalewatch.com/our-trips/
Kayaking across Mission Bay
If you’re an active queen can I recommend a kayak around Mission bay. If you’re an actively lazy pain in the ass can I suggest a double kayak so you can sit comfortably at the back while the person at the front does the ground work. Thank me later. Strong recommendation if you enjoy the water but don’t want to over exert or get in. Cali sea do be freeze. You can also sail/ windsail/ rent ridiculous inflatables so there’s something for everyone’s sea endeavours.
I would recommend going earlier in the day as by the afternoon it can get super windy. The kayak out to the bay was super relaxing, but on the way back my hair looked like I’d got into a fist fight with a tropical storm.
Travel tip: An ideal place for kayak rental on the bay – https://missionbaysportcenter.com/kayak-rental/ you can book on the day as it costs roughly $45 – $50 for two hours depending whether you go tandem or not.
San Diego City – GasLamp Quarter
Talking of tropical storms, hurricane Hilary decided to make an appearance whilst I was in Sanny D. Their first since 1939. Is it me, am I the drama? Trading an ocean apartment for a night exploring the city seemed like a sensible choice. A few recommendations for a night in the city:
Where to eat: Little Italy – a chic neighbourhood, packed with bars and restaurants capturing the style, cuisine and ambience of Italy. Pretty much any restaurant along this strip would be a win.
Drinks and games: Punch Bowl Social – for something a bit different. True Cali style games including bowling, darts and cornholing (aka my new fave) a 360 degree bar and arcade style fun, perfect for a more active style eve.
Cocktails: Lou & Mickey’s – give me one margarita and… I’ll probably fall off my stool. They make them strong over here. Loved this place. Was it because of the artfully arranged up lighting and the boujee bathroom décor or was it the 3 margaritas? Who knows.
Stay: The Guild Hotel – one of the top 3 hotels in San Diego according to Forbes. Stunning interiors, delicious breakfast plus access to the neighbouring AquaVie spa and rooftop pool.
Shawty swing my way
Do you like balls? Stop it. Seriously though, American spectator sports go in. They get involved. I was immediately invested in the home team even if I was only just beginning to understand the rules. Hello Padres superfan. If you’re in Cali you have to catch the Padres at Petco Park. The stadium is INSANE and there wasn’t a boozed up Brit stuck up a lamppost in sight. I’ll be honest, I had little to no idea what the bloody hell was going on at the Padres X Silverbacks but the atmosphere was excellent.
From Nana Jo to baby Steve (lol) the baseball is for everyone, the food is your typical sports cuisine and yes ofc I secured a mid-game hotdog. But for the love of all things holy don’t order a spicy margarita if you don’t want your face to fall off. But aside from that. Excellent.
Travel tip: You can book tickets to the baseball here https://www.mlb.com/padres/tickets/single-game-tickets
She’s a showstopper. If you’re seeking a respite from the Californian sun & a little bit of cultural enrichment then head to Balboa Park. With its 1,200 acres of lush landscapes, museums and sweeping gardens you can easily lose a few hours enjoying the mix of Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture.
If you do pop into the rose and cactus garden don’t spontaneously go and stroke the cacti, speaking from experience and an accidental bit of bloodshed. So dramatic.
Travel tip: While you don’t need to book tickets it’s worth seeing what events and exhibitions are on during your visit https://balboapark.org/
Reading this back explains why I slept for 13 hours when I got home but I could have easily spent another 7 days in San Diego, there is SO much to see. As always if you have any specific San Diego questions let me know – LA will need its own write up as this blog is already longer than my patience. Besos xo
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