Sponsored by SeaWorld San Diego
Heading off to a new and exciting destination pretty much always sounds good to us, but the beginning of spring seems to inspire our desire to head to warmer climates for a little fun in the sun, relaxation, and adventure. Perhaps even as adults, we still want to go on Spring Break!
So naturally, our thoughts turn to vacation research and planning. While there are plenty of places in the United States and abroad that offer all of the above, we're particularly drawn to southern California. World class beaches with plenty to do for both kids and adults? We're booking our tickets already.
SeaWorld San Diego
The Museums At Balboa Park
Cultural and educational activities are important, even - or perhaps especially - when you're on vacation. So a day or two at the museum might be called for, especially when you're in a place that has plenty of world class museums to choose from.
And that's really easy in San Diego thanks to Balboa Park - a massive green space in the middle of the city that's 40% larger than NYC's Central Park. With seventeen museums all located in the same park plus some excellent restaurants and a pretty remarkable sculpture garden, checking out Balboa Park might be worth tearing yourself away from the beaches (we promise).
The exhibits at the museums in the park run the gamut from the natural wonders of the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum to ones that showcase man-made creativity like the San Diego Museum of Art and the WorldBeat Center.
There's really something that will make everyone happy, from space nerds to audiophiles to history buffs. Plus the park itself has outdoor entertainment, the San Diego Zoo, and plenty of room for run around - perfect if you have rambunctious kids who need a lot of hands-on excitement.
Shopping At Seaport Village And Old Town Market
What's a vacation without a few souvenirs? Some of the best shopping in California can be found at Seaport Village, a massive waterfront shopping and dining complex located right on San Diego Bay. But this isn't your standard mall - there are dozens of unique shops with merchandise that you can't find anywhere else in the world, including a Kite Shop, a Magic Shop, and a shop filled with magnets and only magnets - and so much more.
And Seaport Village is far from the only shopping option. Do you enjoy a little touristy kitschiness? So do we, and for unabashed fans of that kind of thing, San Diego has Old Town Market, which is a historic marketplace in the heart of Old Town San Diego with live entertainment, shops selling locally made and themed merchandise, and much more.
You really can't take a trip to southern California without visiting the beach and dipping your toes in the Pacific Ocean. And you might want to try your hand at surfing or other water sports while you're there. Or perhaps taking a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoying an ocean-side snack is more your thing. No matter what you're looking for, the San Diego area has some excellent options that include Mission Beach (which features Belmont Beach Park and the amazing Giant Dipper Roller Coaster), La Jolla Beach Cove, South Mission Beach, the dog-friendly Dog Beach, and Silver Strand State Beach. Really, the hardest part might be choosing which beach you want to hit first.
Torrey Pines Natural Reserve
A family hike along a gorgeous coastline makes for some great photographs - and some great memories to go with them! This 2000 acre state park consists of a plateau that ends in dramatic cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines State Beach, along with a lagoon and eight miles of hiking trails filled with local flora and fauna, including the local sea birds. Adrenaline junkies can go paragliding or rock-climbing, but there are also some one mile hikes that are easily doable for pretty much everyone.
And during the whale migrations you can even see whales from the Torrey Pines cliffs! It might be one of the most Instagrammable places in San Diego - and in such a stunning city, that's really saying something.
There's so much to do in San Diego that you won't be satisfied with just one trip, and you certainly won't be bored. In fact, you might want to go back every year for another Southern California experience.