As befits the nation’s eight-largest city, San Diego, California is packed with things to see and do, both man-made and otherwise. Blessed with an agreeable year-round climate, a brief introductory tour of the area should make it clear why so many people are drawn to these parts permanently. And while you could stay busy just taking in the sights of Balboa Park or the Gaslamp Quarter for many a lazy day, this would be a serious oversight. Of Pacific proportions. Because really, it would be a crying shame to visit San Diego, California, and skip over one of its finest assets: the ocean.
Mission Bay is where the populous at large goes to play, a 4,000 acre park where all things aquatic dictate the pace. While SeaWorld San Diego is the most reliable source of ready-made entertainment around, there’s also good cause to spend time either side of the Shamu show wandering sandy Pacific Beach, people-watching on Ocean Front Walk, picnicking, kayaking, surfing, sunbathing or frequenting watering holes on Garnet Avenue.
It’s a little farther from downtown, but La Jolla, to the north, also offers an attractive beach bundle. Though La Jolla Children’s Pool has been effectively taken over by sea lions and seals (better to watch than swim with), La Jolla Cove offers a pleasant, sandy alternative. As part of the La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, this one is a top pick for the easy access it affords to good snorkeling and scuba diving. There are also life guards on duty (no surfers) and walking trails which make this a family-friendly option like La Jolla Shores, just up the coast.
For those who care less about sand castles and more about whale-watching or tide pools, the obvious solution is a trip to Cabrillo National Monument. From the vantage point by the Cabrillo Statue you can often spot spouting whales in season, but make your way down to Point Loma’s western shore and you’ll be treated at low tide to some of the best tidepooling this stretch of coast has to offer.