A few weeks ago on my Spring Break from school, Hubby and I took a five-day vacation in San Diego, California. This charming coastal town is an easy five-hour drive from our fair city of Tempe, AZ. It was our first visit in 18 years! We’d taken the kids to Sea World when they were little, but for whatever reason, we didn’t have a good time AND it was expensive, so we crossed it off our list. After all these years, I’m happy to report that I HEART SAN DIEGO!!! Mountain views, beautiful foliage and flowers, charming restaurants, great people watching, and clean beaches—-I can’t wait to go back!
And now I will attempt write a Very Professional Trip Report, and not drivel on and on like an idget like I usually do.
- We saw way more elderly couples than college students, which was a happy surprise. (I was worried about obnoxious crowds of frat boys.)
- We stayed at the Bahia Resort at Mission Beach, which was affordable and on the bay, but not within walking distance of any restaurants off site. But I felt the location between Pacific and Ocean Beaches was a good compromise. Next time we would want to stay near Pacific Beach.
- Our hotel room was right on the bay, and directly out our sliding glass window was the marina where around 200 boats were anchored. The two Riverboats which the hotel uses to transport hotel guests north to the Catamaran Resort go in and out of this bay. (We never were there at the right time to ride the river boats.) We had little foot traffic by our room, except for the mandarin ducks and mud hens, which often pecked at the closed glass door to our hotel room.
- San Diego Breweries: There are a zillion charming places at which to drink delicious craft beers. (Apologies for the overuse of the word “charming” but seriously, San Diego oozes charm!) There are tap rooms which do not serve food, and there are brew pubs with full menus. We Ubered to Stone Brewery our first night, since it is, without a doubt, the mecca of breweries in the Southwest. The service and food were incredible (quite pricey meals at $30 per plate), and the building itself is super cool with HUGE amounts of seating. Nobody has cooler t-shirts or better beer, hands down. Lots of good people watching, too!
- Travelling off-season, we had easy parking and no waiting at restaurants. I’m certain this is not true in the summer months. Nice though that there was still a fun, tourist vibe . . . even though it was off season.
- We live in the desert where it NEVER RAINS. So though we had a few cloudy days with sprinkles of rain, that was actually a plus for us. WEATHER! YAY!
- Visiting the Birch Aquarium at Scripp’s was so much fun. We arrived just in time to see the fish feeding in the humongous kelp fish tank. Two divers swim into the tank, and the crowd can ask them questions. It was super fun, and also very informative. We patted ourselves on the backs for visiting this busy tourist venue at the perfect hour—NAP TIME! All the families cleared out around 1:30, and we had the place mostly to ourselves. We saw so many strange and wondrous sea creatures, and also enjoyed the amazing views of La Jolla from our high vantage point.
- We visited a shell shop from which you can access a sea cave. I’m glad I was brave and decided to follow Hubby on the 120 slippery steps down to see the cave. The cave was dug in the 1920’s, and I’m sure every owner since then has been making money hand over fist. The line was out the door to pay our $5 per person to see the cave.
- We had Eggs Benedict every day. The best one was at World Famous on Pacific Beach. It featured a crab cake base, instead of an English Muffin. YUMMMMY!
- Our Bahia Hotel was old, thus the walls were thin. The first night the neighbors (two adult men) next to us talked all night until 6am in boisterous voices. They drew my attention later in the day, sitting at the bar, and I felt like approaching them, but instead decided to ask at the desk. They had checked out . . . whew! I was tired after a night of holding a pillow over my head to block the noise. We had one quiet night, then the weirdest thing of all: The new neighbors had their tv turned on high to a religious station. I kid you not, every few minutes I heard the preacher saying the word, “Lucifer,” in bold, chiding tones. The next morning I went to the front desk, and they assured me they would assist me, even if it was just a loud tv. Lucky for me, we had another quiet night. (Hubby sleeps like the dead and heard none of it.) (Note to self: Investigate into sleepy drugs for our next vacation.)
- Driving in San Diego is pretty tricky. Thank God for Google directions, which often said, “In .2 miles, cross four lanes of speeding traffic to turn right.” Certainly not safe after ANY alcohol, so we Ubered a lot, which added to our vacation budget, for sure. Also driving over the mountain areas one-hour out of San Diego, we had thick fog which was a bit unnerving. Hubby has nerves of steel, and we arrived safe and sound.
- The Uber drivers we’ve had in the Phoenix area are very professional and good drivers. HOLY MOLY! Our first San Diego Uber experience was disgusting; the driver had obviously chain-smoked in his car, then sprayed some noxious odor-remover. I rolled down my window and tried to not smell. The next night, our driver was a young man who appeared to be a) in a hurry or b) on some sort of stimulant. We careened down the highway, miles past our hotel when I spoke up and said, “Ummm, I believe you’ve gone past our hotel.” Not saying a word, he made a U-Turn and had us back on track toward our hotel. 90 mph, not braking for turns, it was a Wild Ride for certain. I said a prayer, “Thank you, Universe, for my wild and splendid life. It appears it may be ending in a few minutes. Amen.” And then we arrived at our hotel. I caught my breath and said, “Wow! That was VERY EXCITING!” with a laugh. In the rear-view mirror, I caught a glimpse of smile. Until you walk in someone’s shoes, right? I don’t know what his deal was, but wow, it was frightening. Yet we lived to have another fun day in beautiful San Diego, my new go-to for Spring Break. Who’s in to go with us in March 2018???