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23 Greatest Day Journeys From San Diego You Do not Need to Miss

Lovely San Diego is a straightforward promote. The town has a lot to do, from artwork galleries, avenue artwork, and museums in Downtown San Diego to its spectacular portfolio of sandy seashores for the extra laidback vacationers. You may carve out spots for whale-watching cruises or wine tasting – and in case you are staying for longer than a day or two, you need to positively plan some day journeys. San Diego is ideally situated on the southern California coast, splendid for venturing to among the state’s prettiest locations and most fun points of interest.

Greatest Day Journeys from San Diego

fun day trips from san diego california

Whether or not you’re a nature lover or desire modern artwork, San Diego has a visit that can be up your alley. On this information, we’ll introduce you to the highest contenders, from hours spent in Los Angeles to afternoons wine tasting amidst rolling hills. It’s protected to say that there’s loads of selection. Seize a pen and paper as a result of San Diego’s day journeys don’t disappoint.

Ebook your airport switch to your downtown San Diego lodge upfront for a personal worry-free journey.

1. Newport Seaside

Newport beach shoreline California

Newport Seaside is just the place for a part-glitzy, part-cheesy seaside expertise in California. As a day journey from San Diego, it is a perfect seaside day vacation spot. You may chill on quite a few sandy seashores, head browsing, or attempt some scrumptious ice cream. There are off-beach actions, too, like amusement park actions on Balboa Pier and at Balboa Enjoyable Zone.

It is a light-hearted day journey to select from San Diego. In order for you a enjoyable day trip or are touring with younger kids, it’s a nice wager. Take a look at 28 Greatest Seashores in California

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

2. Salton Sea

Salton Sea ar sunset

The Salton Sea is one thing fairly particular. The weird pure lake is legendary for its tremendous excessive salt ranges, house to solely a handful of marine life species. Solely the hardiest creatures and flora can hack a life within the Salton Sea. The white sands across the lake are aesthetic sufficient to attract photographers, not simply swimmers. Total, Salton Sea is simply the proper uncommon day journey so as to add to your San Diego itinerary.

When you’ve admired the lake, there’s a historic city round its perimeter to have a potter round. There’s additionally Rock Hill Path for those who fancy a leisurely 2-mile stroll with panoramic lake views and potential hen watching.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

3. Tijuana

Tijuana Cultural Center, Baja California Peninsula

A Tijuana day journey is the last word persuasion to go out of downtown San Diego for a day. The border metropolis has a fame for being energetic and tradition – probably the most accessible level of Mexico to achieve on a day journey from San Diego. It’s massively widespread for these desirous to squeeze a glimpse of Mexico into their San Diego itinerary. In order for you an bold day trip, Tijuana is right.

You may wander the outdated city, watch wrestling occasions, or go to the Tijuana Cultural Middle. You may go to independently or take a guided tour.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour and quarter-hour or 35 minutes by automotive
  • How you can get there: Shuttle or automotive

4. Borrego Springs

Fun Day Trips from San Diego Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is without doubt one of the very best locations to go to for stargazing – fully surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a delegated Worldwide Darkish Sky Neighborhood. Which means that whereas we’re including it as a ‘day journey’, you may wish to go to at evening in a barely extra unconventional journey. When you get there earlier than evening, although, you need to try among the trails within the state park. The Slot Canyon Path is especially widespread. Clark Dry Lake is a cool spot, too; it’s a cracked lake that appears like one thing straight out of a Hollywood movie.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

5. Palm Springs

palm springs california mountains

Likelihood is you’ve already heard of Palm Springs. This metropolis is sat on – unsurprisingly – sizzling springs, which means you’ll discover tons of thermal swimming pools and luxurious flora. As a metropolis, it is usually action-packed in an opulent means, with tennis courts, golf programs, horseback driving, and nightlife galore. Palm Springs is actually an adults’ playground. It’s the splendid place to let your hair down for a day. Learn extra: 16 Greatest Cities in California

As a fast facet word, Palm Springs is instantly between San Diego and Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. You may mix the 2 with a fast stopover in Palm Springs en path to the nationwide park.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2.5 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

6. Los Angeles

los angeles skyline at sunset

We received’t mince our phrases; ideally, you’d have greater than a day in Los Angeles; it’s simply considered one of California’s finest cities. From theme parks to the Stroll of Fame and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles is just about all people’s dream vacation spot on the subject of visiting California. The mega-city obtained its fame from A-listers and Hollywood films, and it has among the finest points of interest and excursions your entire state gives. That stated, Los Angeles is doable on a day journey from San Diego. You’ll simply should have a military-style itinerary. You can too spend money on a guided day journey. This manner, the 2-hour drive every means received’t tire you out an excessive amount of.

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You can too e-book this two-day personal sightseeing tour combining Los Angeles and San Diego. Learn all of the issues you are able to do in Los Angeles in your day journey or weekend getaway at 37 Greatest Issues to Do in Los Angeles – By A Native

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile, practice, or tour

7. Catalina Island

Catalina island overview in California

Catalina Island is without doubt one of the most adventurous locations you possibly can go to from San Diego. The beautiful island has a pure rugged attract, with shrub-covered mountain ridges and small villages hugging the beachfront at their base. Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast of California, which means you’ll be catching a ferry. The ferry leaves from Dana Level, roughly an hour’s drive north of San Diego.

When you attain the island, you’ll have mountain climbing, recent seafood eating places, and wildlife watching to entertain you. Catalina Island is legendary for its magnificence and nice hospitality. And in a day, you’ll positively be capable of get an actual expertise of the island.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • How you can get there: Ferry

8. Rosarito Seaside

Best day trips from San Diego Rosarito Beach

If you’re on the lookout for San Diego seashores, this sandy seaside is additional than you may need initially thought to look. Throughout the Mexican border, Rosarito Seaside is the best spot for a serene stroll on the sands. As an entire, the seaside city of Rosarito is superb enjoyable – finest recognized for its footloose type of nightlife and passionate surf tradition. It doesn’t take a lot to clarify why Rosarito is a well-liked getaway amongst US vacationers. However even simply on a day journey, it’s a nice seaside day vacation spot. It has implausible scuba diving alternatives, too, with a man-made reef mendacity simply offshore.

Lower than a 50-minute drive from San Diego, what extra may you need? You’ll mix two international locations in a single journey and get a refreshing dose of Mexican tradition.

  • Distance from San Diego: 50 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

9. Go Whale Watching

best day trips from san diego whale watching

So far as animal encounters go, seeing an enormous humpback whale floor from the Pacific Ocean tops most experiences. For any wildlife lovers, going whale watching is without doubt one of the very best day journeys from San Diego. And whereas you may get fortunate nearly all yr spherical, the perfect interval is winter and early spring. Most tour operators provide a assure, too, the place for those who don’t see a whale in your tour, you get a free tour the following day.

Even for those who don’t spot whales, there are particular sweeteners. There are nearly assured sightings of sea lions and dolphins, which is able to enable you crack a smile. This highly-rated tour is more likely to promote out.

  • Distance from San Diego: N/A
  • How you can get there: Tour

10. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is without doubt one of the most lovely day journeys from San Diego. If you wish to go mountain climbing for a number of hours, the shaded oak woodland at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is irresistible, particularly within the morning of a sizzling day. Many camp on this park and full in a single day hikes, nevertheless it’s equally well-suited to day trippers. It isn’t simply scenic; keep quiet, and you’ll spot something from cougars to coyotes and mule deer. The park is a magical place for wildlife fanatics.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour
  • How you can get there: Automobile

11. Cleveland Nationwide Forest

Day Trips From San Diego Cleveland National Forest

Cleveland Nationwide Forest is a dream for hikers and mountain bikers; it even has horseback driving trails. This spot is the southernmost nationwide forest in California and sprawls over a decent 460,000 acres. Cleveland Nationwide Forest can also be house to a few mountain ranges, together with Santa Ana, Palomar, and the Laguna Mountains – which means loads of summit hikes and difficult trails to get your tooth into.

To flee Downtown San Diego for a day, you possibly can’t beat the shaded trails in Cleveland Nationwide Forest. The forest has all kinds of wildlife, too, together with mountain lions, coyotes, and mule deer. It’s a good suggestion to carry binoculars. Learn extra: 15 Greatest Hikes in California – Inspiration to Get Open air

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

12. San Clemente State Seaside

Day Trips From San Diego San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Seaside stretches a mile lengthy, with spacious sands and dramatic views that pack a particular wow issue. In order for you a seaside day, San Clemente State Seaside has the house to beat the crowds on a busy day. It’s also simply an hour north of town. It takes you on a relatively scenic miniature highway journey by a number of Californian seaside cities because the route hugs the shoreline. At San Clemente State Seaside, you possibly can get pleasure from many various water sports activities, picnic, or chill out with a e-book. Keep in mind to go to the close by San Onofre State Seaside as properly, which is a extra rocky seaside however backed by dramatic cliffs and a beloved surf spot.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour
  • How you can get there: Automobile

13. Lake Poway Leisure Space

Lake Poway Recreational Area in California

Lake Poway is the place to go for an impartial fishing journey from San Diego. Chances are you’ll want to rent gear within the metropolis for those who didn’t carry yours, however the serenity once you arrive will make it value the additional organizing. The reservoir is ready in opposition to a scenic backdrop of a number of small hills. While you aren’t fishing, you possibly can full a straightforward perimeter hike of beneath 3 miles. Lake Poway is a small slice of peacefulness solely half-hour away from San Diego’s metropolis middle by automotive. Plus, you’ll very probably come again with trout.

  • Distance from San Diego: 40 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

14. Volcan Mountain Wilderness Protect

Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve outside of San diego California

Volcan Mountain Wilderness Protect is a shocking 2,900 acres of conifer woodland with a mountain peak. Volcan Mountain has nice indigenous significance, and it’s worthwhile studying concerning the tradition and historical past behind the mountain earlier than visiting simply to make your mountain climbing much more particular. The most effective hike is a 5-mile spherical journey that takes you proper to Volcan Mountain’s summit. But when that sounds a bit a lot, there’s additionally a 3.2-mile mid-summit hike you possibly can go for. Each have beautiful views over the protect and are good for nature lovers and people wanting a health problem with lovely views.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

15. La Jolla Cove

best day trips from san diego la jolla

La Jolla Cove is sea lion heaven. This rocky outcrop is located simply north of town middle, making La Jolla Cove one of many shortest day journeys from San Diego. Nonetheless, La Jolla Cove is value allocating a number of hours or extra, as these animals can maintain you entertained for ages.

La Jolla Cove is a tiny stretch of seaside that sunbathers share with the large animals – sunbathing or walloping their means alongside the sands. You mustn’t contact them, and the resident lifeguards are tremendous strict on implementing respect for the animals. At La Jolla Cove, sea lions reign supreme. What’s to not love about this tremendous enjoyable setup?

  • Distance from San Diego: 20 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

16. Julian Pie Firm

Julian Pie Company in California San Diego Day Trips

This is without doubt one of the whackiest day journeys from San Diego. The Julian Pie Firm is simply over an hour’s drive inland from town and is most recognized for its scrumptious apple pie. For good old style American delicacies, this spot is well worth the mini highway journey. You’ll be having fun with your pie in a diner-style café. Critically, in case you are a foodie, it’s properly value a go to. You could possibly even replenish on takeaway pies as souvenirs. In your means again, think about stopping at one of many scenic spots you drive previous. These embody the wineries within the San Diego Nation Property area and Cedar Creek Falls.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour quarter-hour
  • How you can get there: automotive

17. Wine Tasting Tour

best day trips from san diego wine tasting

Going wine tasting is an interactive day journey selection to boost your San Diego itinerary. You may truly drive to a lot of the vineyards, that are situated only a brief drive exterior of town middle. Nonetheless, for apparent causes, there are guided excursions that embody shuttle companies – a a lot better thought and well-established service within the San Diego tourism business.

One of many main wine locations close to San Diego is Temecula Valley. The valley has greater than 45 totally different wineries to decide on between, and it’s recognized for its Rhone and cabernet sauvignons. Its heat local weather calls for these better-adapted grape varieties. Nonetheless, Temecula Valley nonetheless has greater than 24 grape varieties thriving in its hills.

This personal wine tasting facet automotive tour is a singular technique to discover San Diego whereas tasting wines at totally different areas.

  • Distance from San Diego: Roughly 1 hour
  • How you can get there: Tour

18. Disneyland

Day Trips from San Diego Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Are you prepared for one of the vital enjoyable actions close to San Diego? Disneyland is simply 1.5 hours north of San Diego and is a good day journey for the entire household.

Embarking on a day journey from San Diego to Disneyland gives a magical escape right into a world of marvel and pleasure. Only a brief drive north, Disneyland, referred to as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” is the proper vacation spot for households, associates, and Disney aficionados alike. From the thrilling adventures in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Large Thunder Mountain Railroad to the whimsical rides in Fantasyland, there’s one thing for everybody.

Plus, with year-round sunshine and the comfort of proximity, San Diego residents can spontaneously determine to discover the enchanting realms of Disneyland for a day with out the necessity for intensive planning. It’s the best fast getaway that guarantees a lifetime of reminiscences and a much-needed dose of pleasure and leisure.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

19. Laguna Seaside

best day trips from san diego laguna

Laguna Seaside is without doubt one of the hottest day journeys from San Diego and – actually – anyplace else close by in California. Laguna Seaside is famed for its boho vibe and exquisite shoreline. For glitzy folks in a scenic setting, Laguna Seaside ticks each field. Visiting is an expertise in itself, even only for a day. You may take advantage of nice surf by renting a board, spending a day on a lovely seaside, or mountain climbing whereas admiring Pacific Ocean views. Laguna Seaside is without doubt one of the most well-known locations on the California shoreline, which is an unimaginable feat in itself. For a ‘occurring’ seaside day, it’s a excellent day trip.

  • Distance from San Diego:
  • How you can get there:

20. Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve

Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve is a scenic reservoir surrounded by roughly 13,000 acres of protected land. Nature lovers will adore this reserve, particularly with all of the bird-watching alternatives. In winter, you may get fortunate and spot bald and golden eagles. Whereas, as a barely extra uncommon animal encounter, you may as well see kangaroo rats all yr spherical for those who look rigorously sufficient. Kangaroo rats seem like little gerbils and are among the cutest animals you possibly can see. They’re nocturnal and extremely savvy on the subject of noticing could-be-predators close by. However for those who cling round Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve a bit later, you could possibly get fortunate with sightings. In any other case, simply lap up the waterfront views and produce some bird-watching binoculars.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • How you can get there: Automobile

21. Mission San Juan Capistrano

best day trips from san diego mission san juan capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is an enchanting museum to go to and is ready in an outdated Spanish chapel. The San Juan Capistrano ‘mission’ was based in 1776 as a means for Spanish settlers to achieve out to the neighborhood and preach about Catholicism. You may study extra about this early faith preaching by totally different reveals, in addition to catch the bell ringing, which happens every day in honor of Saint Junipero Serra. Mission San Juan Capistrano is ideal for anybody involved in faith, the colonial influence within the US, and the historical past round San Diego’s area.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile or practice

22. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

best day trips from san diego joshua tree

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is without doubt one of the most traditional day journeys from San Diego. There’s nothing incorrect with leaping on the vacationer path sometimes. And that’s particularly the case on the subject of Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. The park covers practically 800,000 acres and attracts over 3 million guests yearly, principally because of its weird namesake bushes. The Joshua Tree is a twisted, bristly tree with inexperienced spiky shoots on the finish of its branches. It seems like an outsized cactus, an absolute novelty that pulls photographers and non-photographers alike to elevate their cameras.

best day trips from san diego joshua tree Southern California

Apart from its bushes, the nationwide park has many nice mountain climbing trails. Hidden Valley Nature Path and Mastodon Peak are agency favorites.

  • Distance from San Diego: 3 hours and quarter-hour
  • How you can get there: Automobile

23. San Jacinto Mountains

Best Day Trips San diego San Jacinto Mountains

Do you prefer to mountain bike or go mountain climbing? The San Jacinto Mountains are the place to go in your chosen one-day tour from San Diego. The mountain vary is simply east of Los Angeles – northeast of San Diego. A fast Google brings up dozens of motorbike trails on-line, and you’ll both carry your individual or rent one in San Diego. The mountains are additionally dreamy for climbers. The granite peaks overlook beautiful meadows and forested valleys. You’ll be properly rewarded with any summit climbs, and there are many technical challenges for extra skilled climbers.

In fact, there may be additionally San Jacinto State Park itself. That is the very best peak within the mountain vary and sits at 10,834 ft. It is just appropriate for probably the most superior hikers however an excellent problem for these with enough expertise.

  • Distance from San Diego: 3 hours
  • How you can get there: Automobile

Day Journeys from San Diego: FAQs

best day trips from san diego faqs

Are you able to evaluation the FAQs behind the proper day journeys from San Diego? That further insider info can rework your journey – so it’s properly value scanning over these prime 4 questions. Who is aware of what may simply provide you with that further little bit of inspiration? Listed here are the highest FAQs for planning day journeys in San Diego.

Are you able to do a day journey from San Diego to Mexico?

Sure, you completely can. San Diego is located proper on the US/Mexico border, close to the border metropolis of Tijuana. Tijuana is definitely accessible on a day journey from San Diego, which means you possibly can nip throughout a unique nation for a day. Tijuana is nice for seashores, Mexican delicacies, and cultural experiences like watching wrestling.

Are you able to do a day journey to Tijuana from San Diego?

Sure, you possibly can simply manage a day journey to Tijuana from San Diego. A number of excursions take vacationers throughout the border for a day, or you could possibly head on an impartial day journey by renting a automotive. Tijuana is superb enjoyable and the proper addition to a keep in San Diego. Speak about maximizing your time!

Are you able to do a day journey from San Diego to Los Angeles?

Positively, you possibly can take a day journey to Los Angeles from San Diego in simply 2 hours by automotive or 3 hours by practice. You can too e-book organized excursions, which is superb if you wish to get taken round the primary sights with minimal effort. Los Angeles is clearly very iconic. It is without doubt one of the finest day journeys from San Diego in order for you an inspiring getaway.

What’s the finest Mexican city close to San Diego?

Tijuana is probably the most generally visited Mexican vacation spot from San Diego. Nonetheless, we propose visiting Rosarito. Rosarito is a sunny resort city on the Baja Californian peninsula with a lovely seaside and intense sufficient nightlife to attract common US guests. It’s a browsing hotspot and can also be good for scuba diving, with a former Navy ship creating an unimaginable synthetic reef simply offshore.

Why We Love These Day Journeys From San Diego

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As you possibly can see, you might be tremendous spoiled for selection on the subject of day journeys from San Diego. The town is ideal for spreading your wings and experiencing extra of California, and what higher technique to take advantage of your vacation? San Diego day journeys are an excellent thought. And for those who keep longer than two days, you positively have time for not less than one of many journeys on this checklist.

top day trips from san diego

Are you on the lookout for extra San Diego inspiration? You might be in the precise place. Keep in mind to have a look at our The place to remain in San Diego information and final California highway journey itinerary. San Diego has a lot to study and is a perfect launchpad for much more adventures. Profit from your journey.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey To San Diego With These Assets

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