A weekend by the coast in San Diego

If you only have a few days to visit the San Diego area with your family, this article from Vacation Home Rentals will give you a taste of the beach, natural coastline and the experience of the San Diego zoo.

Last fall my daughter and I headed to San Diego for a short break and a friend’s wedding – although we only had 3 days in the area, we decided to make the most of the time and see as much as possible. Arriving at San Diego International Airport in the late afternoon, we got a rental car and headed straight to the beach. After a long and tiring flight, swimming in the Pacific was the first thing on our vacation checklist.

Mission Beach in San Diego Photo: Kevin H. on Flickr

Mission Beach in San Diego

Our first destination was a two-mile urban beach, the North Mission Beach. It has everything you would expect from a typical Southern California beach, but for someone coming from the east coast, the warmth of the water which was almost 70ºF was a surprise. The paved boardwalk allowed us to wander along, taking in the beach scene – from volleyball players on the sand, rollerbladers wearing next to nothing, to bicyclists and skateboarders showing off their moves. We shopped for souvenirs in the little stores until late in the afternoon and then watched the sun setting over the ocean.

Flamingo lagoon in San Diego Zoo Photo: r3v || cls on Flickr

Flamingo lagoon in San Diego Zoo

Tired out from the travel and sea air, we checked into our San Diego vacation rental that was close to everything we wanted to see with a full size kitchen so that we could have the flexibility to eat out or eat in. The next day, we woke up refreshed and ready to see more of what San Diego has to offer.

Elephant Odyssey in San Diego Zoo Photo: Cynr on Flickr

Elephant Odyssey in San Diego Zoo

My daughter had never been to a zoo, so I agreed that we could go to the San Diego zoo. Dubbed as one the world’s largest zoo, it would take more than a day to see everything. In the Flamingo lagoon, we were able to survey the flamboyant colors of the flamingos from the elevated walkway along the lagoon, enabling us welcomed to observe their behavior close-up. There was also a rainforest aviary housing a collection of more than 200 birds of different species with all the sights and sounds of a real Southeast Asian jungle environment. The best part of the zoo was Elephant Odyssey where my daughter enjoyed exploring the remnants of extinct animals and prehistoric fossil evidence. Nothing beats our experience being stepped down by an elephant as we went into a tunnel passage that goes under part of the elephant exhibit. Our first zoo experience was amazing – although I had my doubts about zoos, we both ended up loving it.

Wild flowers at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego Photo:  christopherallisonphotography.com on Flickr

Wild flowers at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego

While visiting San Diego, we also visited a nature-protected area of Torrey Pines State Park. Basically a bluff rising from the Pacific ocean, along the trail were sandstone canyons and there were arches and alcoves on the beach. The high road led us to the coastal wilderness of pine trees. Although a local hiker told us that the area is usually dry and brown, we found wild flowers covering the cliffs. We finally reached Yucca point where we were confronted by the magnificent view of the ocean. We had our share of relaxing feel, enjoyed the breeze and inviting smell of pine cones in the park. Of course, we should not miss our purpose of coming in San Diego.

Torrey Pines Reserve in San Diego Photo: Jason Pratt on Flickr

Torrey Pines Reserve in San Diego

After our adventure, we headed back to our rental and changed our clothes from nature-friendly to black-tie ready for my friend’s wedding at the Thursday Club. It was a beautiful ceremony; the perfect conclusion to a great weekend away. The next day we were heading back to the airport, but next time we hope to able to stay for longer than just a weekend.

Photo credits: Mission beach by Kevin H., Elephant Odyssey by Cynr, Flamingo lagoon by r3v|| cls, Wild flowers by christopherallisonphotography.com, and Torrey Pines reserve by Jason Pratt

This article was brought to you by  Vacation Home Rentals – for your vacation rental in the San Diego area.

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  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Your travels in San Diego looked extraordinary – i have been wanting to travel to the west coast for years now and specifically go to San Diego.
    BlondeBomber´s last blog post ..100 Things I Am Thankful For updated Wed Oct 19 2011 10:30 am CDT

    • Reply
      October 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      @ Blonde Bomber – It seems there’s plenty to enjoy in San Diego

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    The flamingos never seize to amaze me. I think they are the most amazing birds when they spread their wings and fly, showing off their beautiful under feathers.
    Laura´s last blog post ..RyanAir And The Cheap Flights Song – Video Of The Day

    • Reply
      October 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      @ Laura I’d love to see them in the wild too, although you probably wouldn’t get close enough to appreciate the colour

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