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your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

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Ballater
posts: 79
reviews: 9
your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Hi all, have posted before and have listened to all your advice, and have now booked a car for 5 days. We are staying at the Marriot Gaslamp, in January and are looking for your advice about 5 different day trip destinations. We are happy to start early and return late. We are both in our 40's (just) enjoy food and wine (not when driving) and are open to all suggestions. Thanks Alan.

San Diego...
posts: 12,157
1. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Hi again Alan - do I understand you correctly? You are staying in San Diego for 5 days but every one of those days you want to leave SD and go on an all day drives somewhere else?

Since I'm not sure what you mean I'll just mention a couple of drives from Downtown which don't necessarily have to be for a whole day.

You can take a North drive and make your first stop Cabrillo National Monument (if it's a clear day). Stunning views and nice walking / hiking for 2 or 3 hrs. Then you can continue your drive up the coast going through Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Bird Rock to La Jolla. If you feel like it you can continue on up the coast all the way to Oceanside. However, I would divide the drive up. Go as far as La Jolla on one day. On another day hop on the 5 Fwy to La Jolla / Torrey Pines and resume the drive up thru Solana Beach, Encinitas, Del Mar, Carlsbad & Oceanside.

www.aaroads.com/california/us-101ha_ca.html

www.aaroads.com/california/us-101hb_ca.html

Not an all day trip but you can drive the bridge to Coronado and stop at the Ferry Landing and park for free. Little shops and places to eat. Then you can drive to the other side where the beach and village are and spend some time there. Maybe rent bikes. Have a meal.

Ballater
posts: 79
reviews: 9
2. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Hi again elizzie4000, No we are staying for 2 weeks but everyone suggested getting out and about. Have hired a car for five days and just wondered what were the best sites too visit when we had the car. Thanks for all your info. Alan

edmonton
posts: 2,049
reviews: 43
3. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

drive up the coast to laguna beach - enjoyable place for a meal and walking around for a few hours. Carlsbad is a nice town to stop at for a walk.

January can be cool and rainy in san diego....might want to look at a day inland...san bernadino, temecula (golfing/spa day???)or if you don't mind long drive....palm springs...a nice route to consider is through Julian on your way there and then you could just take the freeways on the way back. using the freeways...it's about a 2 hr 15 minute drive.

if your rental car allows it...an easy day drive can be down to rosarito beach in mexico but i'm not sure how long the line ups now for getting back into the states.

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
4. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Head east to the Julian/Alpine area, check out the Forest, maybe spend some time at the Viejas Casino and Outlet Mall.

Head up to the Temecula Valley area, check out the wineries, and maybe get a lower priced Hotel/Motel for the night so you don't have to worry about drinking and driving. I like the tour option, so you don't have to drive during the tour.

http://www.temeculawines.org/

I like the coastal drive, starting at the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve in La Jolla, and head to Oceanside for a day trip.

sandiego.org/articles/tours-sightseeing/high…

Here is a guide to a day drive within the city of San Diego (59 miles) that is nice.

sandiego.org/articles/tours-sightseeing/san-…

So there are some suggestions.

Ballater
posts: 79
reviews: 9
5. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Thankyou Ittt, Laguna beach is something we have looked at and Carlsbad looks good for the shopping. Don't mind driving so will look at Palm Springs.

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
6. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

IMHO, don't waste a day driving into Mexico, the border is under construction, there are less gates for inspection, and it is a mess and a long wait almost any time of day.

If you want to see Mexico, take a tour to Rosarito or Ensenada.

I am not the biggest fan of Laguna Beach, maybe a day at Mission San Juan Capistrano and its old town area.

San Diego...
posts: 12,157
7. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Ah, OK, I forgot. In that case I would definitely take a day to drive up to Orange County. Get off at Beach Cities and you can visit Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Being January it should be nice and uncrowded.

Ballater
posts: 79
reviews: 9
8. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Darkbeer, Brilliant, lots of info and just what we needed. Looking forward to our San Diego holiday and your post has helped. Alan

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
posts: 12,262
reviews: 7
9. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

If you want a day in the desert, head up thru Julian, then down into Anza Borrego State Park.

If you go to Palm Springs be sure to see the indian canyons. Maybe ride the tram to the top of the mountain.

www.indian-canyons.com

www.pstramway.com

If you want to see beaches in OC try getting off the freeway in San Clemente and check out the Fishermans on the pier.Nice place to eat or have a drink with the waves crashing below the tables.The Coastal Trail runs from the state park to North Beach.

If you want to see Mexico, try Tecate. Maybe tour the brewery if they are offering that.

San Diego...
posts: 12,157
10. Re: your 5 best driving day trips from Downtown San Diego?

Note - it's not likely that your rental agency will allow you to take the car into Mexico. Since you'll be here 2 weeks that might be something you would want to do for a tour either to Rosarito or Ensenada and back.

I was going to mention Julian. You'll be here in winter and it's not uncommon for the road to get icy and/or have snow and frequently the Highway Patrol closes it to anyone that does not have chains on their tires. I would take that drive as a 'wait and see' what the weather is.