San Diego Vacations

Your guide to the best San Diego Vacations, all from firsthand experience by a  San Diego native.

America's finest city, San Diego California, known for its year round great weather, beaches and attractions.  This city has become one of the best family beach vacation destinations in the world.  With 60 miles of Pacific coastline to 7000 foot mountains just a short drive away followed by miles and miles and desert wildflowers blooming in the spring time, this city has so much to offer that you won't be able to take it all in during a one or two week stay.

Being a San Diego native for 50+ years, I will share the secrets of this great city to ensure that your vacation is a memorable one and that you will want to return, year after year.

The Best Time to go to San Diego

The San Diego climate is controlled by the Pacific Ocean where water temperatures range from 55-57 in the winter to 68-73 in the summer.  This creates a condition known as night and morning low clouds and fog.  Clouds and fog often form in the late afternoon and evening hours and then burn off by mid-morning.  It is nature' air conditioning system for Southern California.  The clouds are more predominant in the spring time, specifically May and June and rarely occur in the fall and winter months of September through March.  Sometimes the clouds are so thick that they don't burn off at all.  There are better times of the year to visit than others, so please check out our San Diego weather page for details before planning your trip. 

We have also provided several San Diego webcams so that you can watch the weather live.  Check if often throughout the year.

Selecting Where to Stay

The great thing about San Diego is that you fly straight into downtown, adjacent to San Diego bay.  There are great hotels throughout the downtown area plus just across the street from the airport is Harbor Island, a very beautiful and convenient place to stay and only 5 minutes form the airport. This area is very centrally located in relation to all the great things to do in San Diego.  The world famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, San Diego Convention center, Petco park (home of the San Diego Padres) and Gaslamp quarter are all just 10-15 minutes away.

Morning view from Harbor Island Sheraton Bay Tower's room balcony looking towards downtown.

If you planning on spending a lot of time in the beach cities of Del Mar, La Jolla or Carlsbad then you may want to stay in one of these northern cities, some 15 to 45 miles away.  Legoland is located in Carlsbad and is a favorite family destination.

Getting to San Diego

San Diego is a 5-6 hour direct flight from the east coast, 5 hours from Hawaii, 3 hours from Texas, 3 hours from Seattle and the surrounding Northwest and an hour from San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix.  In addition, there are direct international flights from London's Heathrow and Japan's Narita airports that take about 12 hours.

All major airlines have flights to San Diego with Southwest, American and United being the more popular airlines in the region.

If you are driving it is probably 2-3 hours from Los Angeles, depending on traffic, 6 hours each from Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The airport is located adjacent and just west of the downtown skyline and is rated as one of the top ten most dangerous airports in the world.  Arriving flights descend from the eastern mountains and literally "part" the skyscrapers on the approach to Lindberg field.  The single runway limits the amount of traffic that this airport can handle, however, its location for the visitor is second to none, right on the bay and very close to downtown, the convention center and many of the main attractions.

On final approach through the San Diego skyline

You Have Arrived

The San Diego airport is the perfect size, not too big and not too small with a nice selection of flights.  As you exit the airport, ground transportation is divided up between taxis and hotel/parking shuttles.  All rental cars are offsite and about a half a mile away.  Catch the shuttle to the main rental car center and then you are off.  Hint! - Try not to arrive during rush hour, especially if 1) you are staying in the northern San Diego county cities of La Jolla, Del Mar or Carlsbad and 2) it is Friday afternoon.  Traffic in San Diego can rival that of Los Angeles at times.  If this happen to you, it is recommended that you find a nice place to eat on Harbor Island or the Gaslamp quarter and let the traffic subside.