If you are thinking about moving to San Diego, you are about to make a great decision. San Diego is a beautiful place, but sometimes you might want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. In this article, we will be discussing the top seven getaways from San Diego.
San Diego is a beautiful city located in Southern California. It offers beaches, parks, and year-round sunshine that make it a popular tourist destination. However, sometimes you just need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take a break from everyday life. Thankfully, San Diego is surrounded by several amazing destinations that make for great weekend getaways. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone within a few hours’ drive from San Diego. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the best weekend getaways from San Diego that are perfect for a quick recharge.
Santa Monica for a quintessential SoCal beach experience
For travelers looking for a quintessential Southern California beach experience, Santa Monica is a must-visit destination. Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, this eclectic beach town is full of vibrant culture and unique charm. Visitors can stroll along the famous Santa Monica Pier and enjoy the views from the solar-powered Ferris wheel while taking in the stunning coastline. The town also boasts boutique shopping and oceanfront dining, making it the perfect weekend getaway spot. And for those seeking adventure, the nearby mountains of Malibu offer hiking trails and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. No matter what type of traveler you are, Santa Monica has something to offer for everyone.
Borrego Springs for desert landscapes and stargazing
Borrego Springs is a scenic desert town that promises breathtaking views of the lucid night sky, which is perfect for some stargazing. As California’s largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offers a vast terrain of wildflowers, cactus-studded hikes, and palm groves that are perfect for a weekend getaway from San Diego. Visitors can hike through the Colorado Desert and enjoy the milder climate in late summer. The landscape is a maze of canyons, mountains, and badlands that will leave you awe-struck. End your trip with a visit to California Overland Desert Excursions for the ultimate desert adventure. Overall, Borrego Springs is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, astronomers or anyone looking to escape city life.
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa for historic luxury just outside of LA
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa is a luxurious weekend getaway option just outside of LA, and is highly recommended for those seeking historic luxury. This AAA 4-Diamond hotel occupies an entire city block in downtown Riverside and is just moments away from the Riverside Convention Center. The hotel boasts luxury accommodations, dining options, and top-notch amenities such as a spa and a golf course. The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa offers a unique blend of history and luxury, making it an attractive choice for those looking for a bit of both on their weekend getaway from San Diego.
Julian for apple-picking and small town charm
Looking for a laid-back weekend trip? Just an hour east of San Diego, Julian nestled in the picturesque Cuyamaca Mountains awaits you with apple-picking and small town charm. Julian was once a bustling mining town in the late 1800s and still retains its quaint character with local craft shops and hot apple cider to taste test. Take a self-guided tour map and explore the charming town, famous for its apple orchards and pies. You can also visit cute antique shops or enjoy a beautiful day outside. This small mountain town is well worth the visit for anyone seeking a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Julian is well known for its apples, hard cider, and apple pies, and it is a cool little mountain community. There are a lot of options for restaurants, and obviously, pie is one of the things they are most well-known for, so you have to get to a couple of different bakeries there. It’s a popular spot for hiking, but also just enjoying the amenities. When it snows up there, which happens a couple of times a year, it gets super crowded, so just something to think about. But it is also an opportunity to get up and throw some snowballs for a couple of days a year. They also have events that focus around what they are known for, which is pretty much apples. There is not a ton of lodging up there, so Airbnb-style cabins might be your best bet.
Catalina Island for hiking, diving, and island adventure
After exploring the beach towns and desert landscapes, it’s time to head to the island life at Catalina Island. Hiking enthusiasts can challenge themselves with the Trans-Catalina Trail, a 38.5-mile trek that offers stunning ocean views and rugged terrain. For a real adventure, dive into the clear waters surrounding the island to discover an underwater world full of colorful marine life. And don’t forget to experience the island’s unique attractions, like the historic Catalina Casino or the Zip Line Eco Tour. With endless options for island fun, Catalina Island is the perfect destination for those seeking a little bit of everything on their getaway from San Diego.
Catalina Island is just about an hour’s drive from San Diego, and you can take a ferry from Dana Point which is just over an hour’s boat ride to Catalina Island. It is an amazing and awe-inspiring little community where golf carts are the main source of transportation. There are a ton of restaurants, bars, and even karaoke if you are into that. The things you can do in nature are awesome; there’s snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and even a golf course. There are zip lines and everything you could ever want in the great outdoors. When you are done with all that, there is nightlife to enjoy. If you plan on going there, make sure to book your tickets early because the ferry fills up quite quickly. It is quite a popular destination, especially in the warmer months.
Palm Springs for mid-century architecture and desert relaxation
Palm Springs is the perfect spot for those seeking a mix of mid-century architecture and desert relaxation. With luxurious resorts and spas, this Californian gem has ample opportunities for a rejuvenating weekend getaway. Visitors can explore the vibrant downtown with mid-century modern boutiques and art galleries before retreating to the nearby desert. The Omni Rancho Los Palmas Resort and Spa offers excellent amenities including a pool, fine dining, and a spa. Nature lovers can hike through the barren desert landscapes, while others can explore the stunning mid-century architecture that the city is most famous for. The best way to get there from San Diego is to take the 15 North to the 74 East, which meets the 111. So, pack your bags and head out to Palm Springs for a blissful escape.
La Jolla for oceanfront dining and boutique shopping
When it comes to weekend getaways from San Diego, La Jolla is a gem that should not be missed. The beautiful beaches, mountain backdrop, and upscale atmosphere make it the perfect destination for a romantic or luxurious getaway. And if oceanfront dining and boutique shopping are what you’re after, then La Jolla has you covered. From chic bars to incredible restaurants, and cute shopping boutiques, there is something for everyone’s taste and budget. Make sure to check out The Marine Room for some of San Diego’s finest dining with an ocean view. And for boutique accommodation, Grande Colonial is an upscale option that’s just a short walk away from the coast. La Jolla truly lives up to its name as “The Jewel” of San Diego.
Temecula Valley for wine tasting and hot air balloon rides
If you are looking for a unique and romantic weekend getaway from San Diego, Temecula Valley is the perfect destination for you. After exploring the beach towns and desert landscapes, indulge in wine tasting and hot air balloon rides in Temecula’s beautiful wine country. As the sun rises, hot air balloons float over luxurious resorts, estate wineries, orchards, and ranches, offering a breathtaking 360-degree view of vineyards. With its Southern California charm and accessibility, it’s no wonder Temecula Valley is considered one of the best wine regions in California. So why not enjoy a guided tour from Vindemia Winery, indulge in a sunrise hot-air-balloon ride, and make unforgettable memories in Temecula Valley?
If you head up the 15 freeway, you will find Temecula, our Southern California wine country, with over 40 wineries out there, including wine resorts like South Coast Winery. There are also mom and pop shops, so there is a wide range of wineries to visit. Go out there, stay in one of those spots, cruise around, do all the wine tours and explore other areas of Temecula too. Downtown Temecula is great for wine clubs, and we get to take advantage of their memberships like free tasting. The one that we’re a part of is Danza del Sol, which is a great winery on the east side of Temecula, and when we go up there for staycations, we stay at a spot called Temecula Creek Inn, which is a great little resort. It’s got its own restaurant.
Joshua Tree National Park for otherworldly rock formations and natural beauty
If you’re craving an otherworldly adventure just a few hours outside of San Diego, then Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect weekend getaway for you. This renowned desert oasis is a paradise of unique rock formations, stunning landscapes, and diverse wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else. Tour the park via 4×4 and venture deep into the rugged backcountry, where you’ll have the chance to capture enviable views of the Mojave Desert, sacred Joshua trees, and wild rock formations. And when night falls, be sure to take in the superb stargazing opportunities at Arch Rock. With all of these natural wonders to explore, Joshua Tree National Park should definitely be on your travel bucket list.
Laguna Beach for art galleries, beaches, and seaside dining.
Laguna Beach is a true gem among the many weekend getaway options from San Diego. The city boasts numerous art galleries, showcasing local artists’ unique creations, and exhibiting stunning works of art from around the world. Apart from art, the city is renowned for its seven miles of breathtaking coves and beaches making it perfect for water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers. Additionally, the city has made a name for itself as a foodie destination, with numerous dining options featuring freshly caught seafood and farm-to-table cuisine. Visitors can also indulge in seaside dining while enjoying stunning ocean views. With its perfect blend of art, beaches, and seaside dining, Laguna Beach is undoubtedly a must-visit destination on any weekend getaway list from San Diego.
Channel Islands National Park
Right off the coast of Ventura is Channel Islands National Park, and there are no amenities or services on the islands, unlike Catalina Island. However, there are hiking trails and some primitive camping. If you’re going out there, make sure to bring all your food and supplies, as the boat might have some but be prepared. A better idea would be to book an Airbnb in Ventura or the surrounding areas and then hop on a ferry ride to the islands for the day or the weekend. It could be anywhere between a one to three-hour ferry ride to get out there, but it is worth it. The Channel Islands are beautiful, and you can see them from off the coast, but you cannot grasp how gorgeous they are until you are out there. There is kayaking, a ton of hiking, and it’s just a great spot to check out.
Oceanside, California, is the staycation spot of the group. It is a spot where, as locals, we don’t get to spend much time in the downtown area, but there are a whole ton of new resorts down there, new bars, and restaurants, breweries. There are a lot of great spots down in downtown Oceanside, right by the pier, and there are killer rooftop decks to cruise up to and watch some gorgeous sunsets. Take a walk down the pier or go to the harbor, rent out a boat for the day, or cruise out a little bit. There is just a lot to do down there. Craft Coast is right in the heart of it, and it’s a killer place that we always recommend. Great beer, great tacos, and there is just more and more to explore every day.
Just a little bit northeast of Santa Barbara is Solvang, a little Danish-inspired city where most of the architecture is Danish-inspired. You will find places that have danishes and other Danish food. If you’re going up there, they do have hotels and stuff, and it’s a good jumping-off spot to hit up wine country. Los Olivos is right over the hill, and you can cruise up to Flying Flags, which is in the next city over of Buellton. It’s kind of like an RV resort, but they also have cabins and little cottages to stay in. There is a lot of space for the kids to play, and it’s a good spot right in the center of town to get your bearings.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes is an awesome community in the mountains, and it is quite a drive about a six and a half to seven-hour drive up through the middle of California, but it takes you to a spot where, in the winter, there is amazing skiing and snowboarding, with a great resort up there. There is also tubing and sledding and all that too, so there are a lot of fun amenities for those winter months. In the summer, it is just as cool, and there is a great golf course, hiking, camping, and a really cool park called Devil’s Post Pile. On the backside of the mountain in Mammoth, it’s definitely worth checking out. In the summer, they also turn the ski resort into a mountain bike resort, and there are a ton of trails. You take lifts up to the top or the gondola up to the top and ride down, so there’s really cool mountain biking in the area too. There is a lot of condo-style lodging right around the mountain where you don’t have to go too far within a mile or two. Mammoth Brewing is a great jumping-off spot. It’s right at the base of the hill, and they have really good food and beer that’s always changing up.
In conclusion, San Diego is a beautiful place, but it’s always good to take a break and explore the surrounding areas. These seven getaways from San Diego are just a few of the many options available, but they are definitely worth checking out. Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway or a mountain retreat, there is something for everyone. We hope this article helps you plan your next adventure and gives you a taste of what Southern California has to offer. If you are thinking about moving out here, hit us up, call, text, email, and we’ve got your back. We’re real estate agents here in North County San Diego, and we are always happy to help you make the move to this beautiful part of the world.