San Diego Vacations

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San Diego Guide

Things to do   Restaurants   Weather   Maps   Hotels   Webcams

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.

Weather
The Best Time to go to San Diego

The San Diego climate is controlled by the Pacific Ocean which moderates temperatures during both the day and night.  Rarely does it get very hot or cold.  San Diego probably has more days with sunshine than anywhere in the world.  However, there are better times of the year to visit than others and those who visit during the wrong time, often find no sunshine for their entire trip

Calm waters and sunshine at San Diego's La Jolla ShoresTypical San Diego Beach Day
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Selecting Where to Stay

One of the best things 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.

View of downtown San Diego from the Sheraton Harbor IslandSan Diego Skyline from Harbor Island

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.

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Restaurants

The food in San Diego is amazing.  There is fresh seafood caught from local waters, great steak houses, fantastic Mexican restaurants due to the proximity to Mexico, Italian and more.  Some of my favorites are considered "fusion" cuisine where the menu is a combination of different type of food from around the world

The big and juicy Coasterra BurgerThe Coasterra Burger
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Things to do

From the beaches to the mountains, the desert just to the east and wine country to the north, San Diego has endless activities for the entire family.  San Diego boosts some of the best freshwater and saltwater fishing in the world with quick access to Mexican waters to the south via boat.

Two San Diego largemouth bassTwo Large Bass from Lake San Vicente
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Webcams

Take a live look around San Diego county to check out local weather and beach conditions from one of several streaming webcams.

Live webcam of the beach in La JollaLive Streaming View of La Jolla
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Map

Take a look at our interactive map for locations of all the restaurants and things to do that we review of this website

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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.

If you are coming from Mexico or Central America, a great option is to fly into Tijuana Mexico.  San Diego has the Cross Border Express (CBX).  The Tijuana airport straddles the US/Mexican border.  You land and clear Customs/Immigration in Mexico and then walk over an indoor bridge to the terminal in the United States.

The airfare is a fraction of the cost of flying directly into San Diego.  For example, my wife and I flew non-stop to Cancun and back for $300 USD, round trip, for two people.  From San Diego, the cost was just under $1000 for two and there was a three hour layover in Houston.

There are not any onsite rental car facilities at the airport, but you can easily catch an Uber of Lyft and have them take you to one just a few miles away.

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 two miles 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 be worse than that of Los Angeles.  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.