How to Have a Great San Diego Summer
Aaah, San Diego in the summertime. Sure, we may be famous for our mild weather year round, but let’s be frank — there’s a reason why Southern California summers have long been rhapsodized in song, immortalized in film, and celebrated by travelers in the know. Summer truly is the finest season in “America’s Finest City.”
Planning to visit San Diego this summer? First of all, that’s an excellent decision. Second, be prepared for a fantastic trip. And if you’re looking for things to do, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here are some of our picks for how to make the most of your Summer travel in San Diego.
Hit the Beach
Of course our famous beaches were going to have to be at the top of any rundown of why San Diego summers are so spectacular. With more than 70 miles of coastline, San Diego County offers bountiful, beautiful beaches that are some of the most amazing you’ll find in the United States. What’s even better is that each has its own vibe, character, and personality. If you’re wondering which one you might like to explore, check out this handy guide from our sister property, Humphreys Half Moon Inn: Which San Diego Beach is Perfect For You? Then get out there and surf, swim, or scuba to your heart’s content.
Enjoy the Outdoors
We simply can’t overstate how wonderful the weather is here this time of year, nor the amount of ways we have to get out and enjoy it. Sun, sand, surf, and amazing things to do are everywhere. We recommend hitting up the world-class museums, restaurants, picnic areas, public art, and green space at Balboa Park. We also suggest picking a trail and hiking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, where you can catch a glimpse of one of the rarest trees in existence. You can even rent a kayak and explore the sandstone caves at La Jolla. There’s no wrong way to explore the outdoors here!
San Diego is home to many incredible attractions — places where visitors can enjoy the sunshine while taking in some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Generations have been delighted by the unique marine life encounters at famous SeaWorld San Diego, less than five miles from our front door. The San Diego Zoo is rightly regarded as one of the finest in the world, with more than 4,000 animals to say hello to. And the amazing LEGOLand California theme park has been a top family destination for years, delighting kids of all ages with fun rides and larger-than-life displays of brick-based art.
After a disappointing 2020, which saw the cancellation of many large-scale events, 2021 is poised to be the year when the “things to do” calendar comes roaring back in style. The 2021 San Diego County Fair — the biggest and best of its kind in the state — makes its triumphant return from June 11 to July 4. San Diego Comic-Con is back with a partially virtual event from July 23-25. And you won’t want to miss Southern California’s biggest fireworks display when the Big Bay Boom returns to San Diego Bay on July 4. Watch from a boat, lawn chair, or your car at various locations across the bay.
Alfresco dining has always been popular here (thanks to our average of 270 days a year with clear skies and sunshine), but it became even more essential over the last year. There are countless areas in town where you can indulge your inner foodie in the great outdoors, including:
- The Embarcadero: Try the seafood specials at Pier Café, the contemporary Mexican at Coasterra, or choice steaks at Island Prime.
- Little Italy: This neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best Italian restaurants, including Herb & Wood, Buon Appetito, and Nonna and Zucchero.
- Liberty Station: Breakfast fans will find lots to love at Fig Tree Café, and the pepperoni flatbread is a must at The Presley.
- Mission Valley/Old Town: This is the place to go for authentic Mexican. Café Coyote, Casa Guadalajara and Casa de Reyes are all standouts.
- North/South Park: Start with an omelette at Café Madelaine, try traditional ramen at Underbelly for lunch, and head to The Mission for dinner.
- Coronado: Coronado Island is full of favorites like Peohe’s (seafood), The Tavern (classic comfort food), and Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge (seasonal).
Take a Road Trip
San Diego is the perfect home base from which to launch some of the most spectacular road trips the West Coast has to offer. Hop on Highway 5 and head north through La Jolla, Encinitas, and Carlsbad, and you’ll experience one of the most spectacularly scenic coastal drives in the world. Navigating historic Highway 80 allows you to take in sights like the Cabrillo National Monument, Jacumba Hot Springs, and the Desert View Tower. Or take a trek on Highway 94 and enjoy a tour that includes the Sweetwater River Bridge, the Motor Transport Museum, and several fantastic wineries.