One of the big perks of living in Tucson is that we’re less than 6 hours to sand and surf! With a little bit of planning, you can jump in the car and head for the San Diego beach. No need for plane tickets! The drive is a breeze.
Omni San Diego
If you like to be right in the heart of the city, consider staying in the historic Gaslamp Quarter at the Omni San Diego Hotel. You’ll be steps away from PETCO Park (IDEAL for baseball fans), across the street from the Convention Center, and walkable to dozens of downtown restaurants + shops. You’ll be able to walk to Horton Grand Theatre, Horton Plaza, even Seaport Village!
This high-rise Omni is a luxury resort – with spacious rooms, warm decor, and front-row service by the concierge and staff. Valet parking is $40/day and is a cinch to use. If you have children, they’ll be greeted with backpacks, courtesy of the Omni Sensational Kids program. The backpacks include an activity book, crayons, a card game, and a silly straw – all featuring vegetable characters. Also included with your reservation if you are traveling with kids in tow? Complimentary cookies and milk on the first evening of your stay!
Not to be missed in San Diego – Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban park with 17 museums, 9 performing arts venues, 19 garden areas, play areas, dog parks, restaurants, trails, and fountains. Admission (and parking!) is free to the park grounds, botanical building, outdoor gardens, and some attractions. Admission charges vary for the other museums. To stretch your dollars, buy an explorer pass to receive admission to 5 museums of your choice – $43 for adults, $25 for children. Ages 2 and under are always free. You can easily spend a day exploring the park – free or otherwise!
The Prado at Balboa Park
If you’re hungry while exploring the park, The Prado at Balboa Park has colorful and breezy outdoor dining areas. Try the Chicken Cobb for a very Californian experience – or ask about the daily specials. A children’s menu is also available – with lunch entrees for kids for $7.95-$8.95 (includes a drink and dessert).
SeaWorld San Diego
Head toward Mission Bay and spend a day at SeaWorld San Diego. The marine-themed theme park is best known for their shows – including Dolphin Days, Blue Horizons, Pets Rule, and – our favorite – Sea Lions LIVE! In between shows, you can catch some thrills on rides, including Manta, Journey to Atlantis, and Shipwreck Rapids. Toddlers and preschoolers will have a blast at the Sesame Street Bay of Play – which includes 3 mini rides, a splash pad, and a variety of climbing apparatuses. Tip – wear ponchos, swimsuits, or lightweight clothing that will dry easily in the sun. No denim! You’re almost certain to get splashed (or soaked!) on the rides and at some of the shows…which feels great on steamy summer days!
One of the best beaches in the area is the Coronado Central Beach. White sands, tame waves, and unbeatable weather. Street parking is free and can be easy to find if you arrive early and/or on weekdays. Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, buckets + pails, boogie boards, beach towels, water, and snacks.
All in All
San Diego is a sunny and modern city – with crisp and fragrant air, inviting beaches, great restaurants, and pretty-close-to-perfect weather. The ideal season to visit is ANY season.
Stay tuned for future posts about other drivable cities from Tucson. Road trips make for fun memories without the steep cost of airline tickets!
What are your favorite things to do in San Diego?