23 Finest Day Journeys From San Diego You Do not Need to Miss

Stunning San Diego is a straightforward promote. Town has a lot to do, from artwork galleries, road artwork, and museums in Downtown San Diego to its spectacular portfolio of sandy seashores for the extra laidback vacationers. You’ll be able to carve out spots for whale-watching cruises or wine tasting – and in case you are staying for longer than a day or two, you must undoubtedly plan some day journeys. San Diego is ideally situated on the southern California coast, supreme for venturing to a number of the state’s prettiest locations and most fun points of interest.

Finest Day Journeys from San Diego

fun day trips from san diego california

Whether or not you’re a nature lover or want modern artwork, San Diego has a visit that will likely be up your alley. On this information, we’ll introduce you to the highest contenders, from hours spent in Los Angeles to afternoons wine tasting amidst rolling hills. It’s secure to say that there’s loads of selection. Seize a pen and paper as a result of San Diego’s day journeys don’t disappoint.

Guide your airport switch to your downtown San Diego resort prematurely for a non-public worry-free journey.

1. Newport Seashore

Newport beach shoreline California

Newport Seashore is just the place for a part-glitzy, part-cheesy seaside expertise in California. As a day journey from San Diego, it is a perfect seaside day vacation spot. You’ll be able to relax on quite a few sandy seashores, head browsing, or attempt some scrumptious ice cream. There are off-beach actions, too, like amusement park actions on Balboa Pier and at Balboa Enjoyable Zone.

It is a light-hearted day journey to select from San Diego. If you would like a enjoyable time out or are touring with younger youngsters, it’s a nice wager. Try 28 Finest Seashores in California

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • get there: Automobile

2. Salton Sea

Salton Sea ar sunset

The Salton Sea is one thing fairly particular. The bizarre pure lake is known for its tremendous excessive salt ranges, dwelling to solely a handful of marine life species. Solely the hardiest creatures and plants can hack a life within the Salton Sea. The white sands across the lake are aesthetic sufficient to attract photographers, not simply swimmers. Total, Salton Sea is simply the right uncommon day journey so as to add to your San Diego itinerary.

When you’ve admired the lake, there’s a historic city round its perimeter to have a potter round. There’s additionally Rock Hill Path if you happen to fancy a leisurely 2-mile stroll with panoramic lake views and potential fowl watching.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

3. Tijuana

Tijuana Cultural Center, Baja California Peninsula

A Tijuana day journey is the final word persuasion to move out of downtown San Diego for a day. The border metropolis has a status for being lively and tradition – essentially the most accessible level of Mexico to succeed in on a day journey from San Diego. It’s massively in style for these desirous to squeeze a glimpse of Mexico into their San Diego itinerary. If you would like an bold time out, Tijuana is right.

You’ll be able to wander the outdated city, watch wrestling occasions, or go to the Tijuana Cultural Middle. You’ll be able to go to independently or take a guided tour.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour and quarter-hour or 35 minutes by automotive
  • get there: Shuttle or automotive

4. Borrego Springs

Fun Day Trips from San Diego Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is among the best possible locations to go to for stargazing – solely surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a delegated Worldwide Darkish Sky Group. Which means that whereas we’re including it as a ‘day journey’, you may need to go to at evening in a barely extra unconventional journey. In case you get there earlier than evening, although, you must take a look at a number of the trails within the state park. The Slot Canyon Path is especially in style. Clark Dry Lake is a cool spot, too; it’s a cracked lake that appears like one thing straight out of a Hollywood movie.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • get there: Automobile

5. Palm Springs

palm springs california mountains

Likelihood is you’ve already heard of Palm Springs. This metropolis is sat on – unsurprisingly – sizzling springs, which means you’ll discover tons of thermal swimming pools and luxurious plants. As a metropolis, additionally it is action-packed in an expensive manner, with tennis courts, golf programs, horseback using, and nightlife galore. Palm Springs is actually an adults’ playground. It’s the supreme place to let your hair down for a day. Learn extra: 16 Finest Cities in California

As a fast aspect observe, Palm Springs is instantly between San Diego and Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. You’ll be able to mix the 2 with a fast stopover in Palm Springs en path to the nationwide park.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2.5 hours
  • get there: Automobile

6. Los Angeles

los angeles skyline at sunset

We received’t mince our phrases; ideally, you’d have greater than a day in Los Angeles; it’s simply certainly one of California’s greatest cities. From theme parks to the Stroll of Fame and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles is just about everyone’s dream vacation spot with regards to visiting California. The mega-city received its status from A-listers and Hollywood films, and it has a number of the greatest points of interest and excursions the complete state provides. That mentioned, Los Angeles is doable on a day journey from San Diego. You’ll simply must have a military-style itinerary. You can even spend money on a guided day journey. This fashion, the 2-hour drive every manner received’t tire you out an excessive amount of.

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You can even ebook this two-day non-public sightseeing tour combining Los Angeles and San Diego. Learn all of the issues you are able to do in Los Angeles in your day journey or weekend getaway at 37 Finest Issues to Do in Los Angeles – By A Native

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • get there: Automobile, prepare, or tour

7. Catalina Island

Catalina island overview in California

Catalina Island is among the most adventurous locations you’ll be able to go to from San Diego. The gorgeous island has a pure rugged attract, with shrub-covered mountain ridges and small villages hugging the beachfront at their base. Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast of California, which means you’ll be catching a ferry. The ferry leaves from Dana Level, roughly an hour’s drive north of San Diego.

When you attain the island, you’ll have mountain climbing, contemporary seafood eating places, and wildlife watching to entertain you. Catalina Island is known for its magnificence and nice hospitality. And in a day, you’ll undoubtedly be capable of get an actual expertise of the island.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours
  • get there: Ferry

8. Rosarito Seashore

Best day trips from San Diego Rosarito Beach

If you’re on the lookout for San Diego seashores, this sandy seaside is additional than you might need initially thought to look. Throughout the Mexican border, Rosarito Seashore is the perfect spot for a serene stroll on the sands. As a complete, the seaside city of Rosarito is great enjoyable – greatest identified for its footloose model of nightlife and passionate surf tradition. It doesn’t take a lot to elucidate why Rosarito is a well-liked getaway amongst US vacationers. However even simply on a day journey, it’s a nice seaside day vacation spot. It has implausible scuba diving alternatives, too, with a synthetic reef mendacity simply offshore.

Lower than a 50-minute drive from San Diego, what extra might you need? You’ll mix two international locations in a single journey and get a refreshing dose of Mexican tradition.

  • Distance from San Diego: 50 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

9. Go Whale Watching

best day trips from san diego whale watching

So far as animal encounters go, seeing a large humpback whale floor from the Pacific Ocean tops most experiences. For any wildlife lovers, going whale watching is among the very best day journeys from San Diego. And whereas you will get fortunate virtually all 12 months spherical, the most effective interval is winter and early spring. Most tour operators provide a assure, too, the place if you happen to don’t see a whale in your tour, you get a free tour the following day.

Even if you happen to don’t spot whales, there are particular sweeteners. There are virtually assured sightings of sea lions and dolphins, which can assist you to crack a smile. This highly-rated tour is more likely to promote out.

  • Distance from San Diego: N/A
  • get there: Tour

10. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is among the most stunning day journeys from San Diego. If you wish to go mountain climbing for a couple of hours, the shaded oak woodland at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is irresistible, particularly within the morning of a sizzling day. Many camp on this park and full in a single day hikes, however it’s equally well-suited to day trippers. It isn’t simply scenic; keep quiet, and you’ll spot something from cougars to coyotes and mule deer. The park is a magical place for wildlife fanatics.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour
  • get there: Automobile

11. Cleveland Nationwide Forest

Day Trips From San Diego Cleveland National Forest

Cleveland Nationwide Forest is a dream for hikers and mountain bikers; it even has horseback using trails. This spot is the southernmost nationwide forest in California and sprawls over a decent 460,000 acres. Cleveland Nationwide Forest can be dwelling to a few mountain ranges, together with Santa Ana, Palomar, and the Laguna Mountains – which means loads of summit hikes and difficult trails to get your tooth into.

To flee Downtown San Diego for a day, you’ll be able to’t beat the shaded trails in Cleveland Nationwide Forest. The forest has all types of wildlife, too, together with mountain lions, coyotes, and mule deer. It’s a good suggestion to convey binoculars. Learn extra: 15 Finest Hikes in California – Inspiration to Get Open air

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • get there: Automobile

12. San Clemente State Seashore

Day Trips From San Diego San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Seashore stretches a mile lengthy, with spacious sands and dramatic views that pack a particular wow issue. If you would like a seaside day, San Clemente State Seashore has the area to beat the crowds on a busy day. It’s also simply an hour north of the town. It takes you on a moderately scenic miniature highway journey by way of a number of Californian seaside cities because the route hugs the shoreline. At San Clemente State Seashore, you’ll be able to take pleasure in many alternative water sports activities, picnic, or calm down with a ebook. Keep in mind to go to the close by San Onofre State Seashore as properly, which is a extra rocky seaside however backed by dramatic cliffs and a beloved surf spot.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour
  • get there: Automobile

13. Lake Poway Leisure Space

Lake Poway Recreational Area in California

Lake Poway is the place to move for an unbiased fishing journey from San Diego. You might want to rent gear within the metropolis if you happen to didn’t convey yours, however the serenity while you arrive will make it value the additional organizing. The reservoir is about towards a scenic backdrop of a number of small hills. Whenever you aren’t fishing, you’ll be able to full a straightforward perimeter hike of underneath 3 miles. Lake Poway is a small slice of peacefulness solely half-hour away from San Diego’s metropolis heart by automotive. Plus, you’ll very seemingly come again with trout.

  • Distance from San Diego: 40 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

14. Volcan Mountain Wilderness Protect

Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve outside of San diego California

Volcan Mountain Wilderness Protect is a shocking 2,900 acres of conifer woodland with a mountain peak. Volcan Mountain has nice indigenous significance, and it’s worthwhile studying concerning the tradition and historical past behind the mountain earlier than visiting simply to make your mountain climbing much more particular. The perfect hike is a 5-mile spherical journey that takes you proper to Volcan Mountain’s summit. But when that sounds a bit a lot, there’s additionally a 3.2-mile mid-summit hike you’ll be able to go for. Each have gorgeous views over the protect and are good for nature lovers and people wanting a health problem with stunning views.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • get there: Automobile

15. La Jolla Cove

best day trips from san diego la jolla

La Jolla Cove is sea lion heaven. This rocky outcrop is located simply north of the town heart, making La Jolla Cove one of many shortest day journeys from San Diego. Nonetheless, La Jolla Cove is value allocating a couple of hours or extra, as these animals can hold you entertained for ages.

La Jolla Cove is a tiny stretch of seaside that sunbathers share with the large animals – sunbathing or walloping their manner alongside the sands. You mustn’t contact them, and the resident lifeguards are tremendous strict on imposing respect for the animals. At La Jolla Cove, sea lions reign supreme. What’s to not love about this tremendous enjoyable setup?

  • Distance from San Diego: 20 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

16. Julian Pie Firm

Julian Pie Company in California San Diego Day Trips

This is among the whackiest day journeys from San Diego. The Julian Pie Firm is simply over an hour’s drive inland from the town and is most identified for its scrumptious apple pie. For good old style American delicacies, this spot is well worth the mini highway journey. You’ll be having fun with your pie in a diner-style café. Significantly, in case you are a foodie, it’s properly value a go to. You may even fill up on takeaway pies as souvenirs. In your manner again, take into account stopping at one of many scenic spots you drive previous. These embody the wineries within the San Diego Nation Property area and Cedar Creek Falls.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour quarter-hour
  • get there: automotive

17. Wine Tasting Tour

best day trips from san diego wine tasting

Going wine tasting is an interactive day journey alternative to boost your San Diego itinerary. You’ll be able to really drive to many of the vineyards, that are situated only a brief drive outdoors of the town heart. Nonetheless, for apparent causes, there are guided excursions that embody shuttle providers – a a lot better thought and well-established service within the San Diego tourism business.

One of many main wine locations close to San Diego is Temecula Valley. The valley has greater than 45 totally different wineries to decide on between, and it’s identified for its Rhone and cabernet sauvignons. Its heat local weather calls for these better-adapted grape varieties. Nonetheless, Temecula Valley nonetheless has greater than 24 grape varieties thriving in its hills.

This non-public wine tasting aspect automotive tour is a novel strategy to discover San Diego whereas tasting wines at totally different places.

  • Distance from San Diego: Roughly 1 hour
  • get there: Tour

18. Disneyland

Day Trips from San Diego Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Are you prepared for one of the enjoyable actions close to San Diego? Disneyland is simply 1.5 hours north of San Diego and is a good day journey for the entire household.

Embarking on a day journey from San Diego to Disneyland provides a magical escape right into a world of surprise and pleasure. Only a brief drive north, Disneyland, often known as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” is the right vacation spot for households, pals, and Disney aficionados alike. From the thrilling adventures in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Large Thunder Mountain Railroad to the whimsical rides in Fantasyland, there’s one thing for everybody.

Plus, with year-round sunshine and the comfort of proximity, San Diego residents can spontaneously resolve to discover the enchanting realms of Disneyland for a day with out the necessity for in depth planning. It’s the perfect fast getaway that guarantees a lifetime of reminiscences and a much-needed dose of pleasure and leisure.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

19. Laguna Seashore

best day trips from san diego laguna

Laguna Seashore is among the hottest day journeys from San Diego and – truthfully – wherever else close by in California. Laguna Seashore is famed for its boho vibe and exquisite shoreline. For glitzy folks in a scenic setting, Laguna Seashore ticks each field. Visiting is an expertise in itself, even only for a day. You’ll be able to benefit from nice surf by renting a board, spending a day on a lovely seaside, or mountain climbing whereas admiring Pacific Ocean views. Laguna Seashore is among the most well-known locations on the California shoreline, which is an unimaginable feat in itself. For a ‘occurring’ seaside day, it’s a excellent time out.

  • Distance from San Diego:
  • get there:

20. Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve

Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve is a scenic reservoir surrounded by roughly 13,000 acres of protected land. Nature lovers will adore this reserve, particularly with all of the bird-watching alternatives. In winter, you will get fortunate and spot bald and golden eagles. Whereas, as a barely extra uncommon animal encounter, you may as well see kangaroo rats all 12 months spherical if you happen to look fastidiously sufficient. Kangaroo rats seem like little gerbils and are a number of the cutest animals you’ll be able to see. They’re nocturnal and extremely savvy with regards to noticing could-be-predators close by. However if you happen to grasp round Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve slightly later, you may get fortunate with sightings. In any other case, simply lap up the waterfront views and produce some bird-watching binoculars.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • get there: Automobile

21. Mission San Juan Capistrano

best day trips from san diego mission san juan capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is an enchanting museum to go to and is about in an outdated Spanish chapel. The San Juan Capistrano ‘mission’ was based in 1776 as a manner for Spanish settlers to succeed in out to the group and preach about Catholicism. You’ll be able to be taught extra about this early faith preaching by way of totally different displays, in addition to catch the bell ringing, which happens every day in honor of Saint Junipero Serra. Mission San Juan Capistrano is ideal for anybody involved in faith, the colonial impression within the US, and the historical past round San Diego’s area.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • get there: Automobile or prepare

22. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

best day trips from san diego joshua tree

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is among the most basic day journeys from San Diego. There may be nothing unsuitable with leaping on the vacationer path sometimes. And that’s particularly the case with regards to Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. The park covers almost 800,000 acres and attracts over 3 million guests yearly, principally due to its weird namesake timber. The Joshua Tree is a twisted, bristly tree with inexperienced spiky shoots on the finish of its branches. It seems like an outsized cactus, an absolute novelty that draws photographers and non-photographers alike to elevate their cameras.

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Apart from its timber, the nationwide park has many nice mountain climbing trails. Hidden Valley Nature Path and Mastodon Peak are agency favorites.

  • Distance from San Diego: 3 hours and quarter-hour
  • get there: Automobile

23. San Jacinto Mountains

Best Day Trips San diego San Jacinto Mountains

Do you prefer to mountain bike or go mountain climbing? The San Jacinto Mountains are the place to move in your chosen one-day tour from San Diego. The mountain vary is simply east of Los Angeles – northeast of San Diego. A fast Google brings up dozens of motorbike trails on-line, and you’ll both convey your individual or rent one in San Diego. The mountains are additionally dreamy for climbers. The granite peaks overlook gorgeous meadows and forested valleys. You’ll be properly rewarded with any summit climbs, and there are many technical challenges for extra skilled climbers.

After all, there’s additionally San Jacinto State Park itself. That is the best peak within the mountain vary and sits at 10,834 toes. It is just appropriate for essentially the most superior hikers however a superb problem for these with satisfactory expertise.

  • Distance from San Diego: 3 hours
  • get there: Automobile

Day Journeys from San Diego: FAQs

best day trips from san diego faqs

Are you able to evaluation the FAQs behind the right day journeys from San Diego? That further insider data can rework your journey – so it’s properly value scanning over these prime 4 questions. Who is aware of what may simply provide you with that further little bit of inspiration? Listed below are the highest FAQs for planning day journeys in San Diego.

Are you able to do a day journey from San Diego to Mexico?

Sure, you completely can. San Diego is located proper on the US/Mexico border, close to the border metropolis of Tijuana. Tijuana is well accessible on a day journey from San Diego, which means you’ll be able to nip throughout a special nation for a day. Tijuana is nice for seashores, Mexican delicacies, and cultural experiences like watching wrestling.

Are you able to do a day journey to Tijuana from San Diego?

Sure, you’ll be able to simply set up a day journey to Tijuana from San Diego. A number of excursions take vacationers throughout the border for a day, or you may head on an unbiased day journey by renting a automotive. Tijuana is great enjoyable and the right addition to a keep in San Diego. Discuss maximizing your time!

Are you able to do a day journey from San Diego to Los Angeles?

Positively, you’ll be able to take a day journey to Los Angeles from San Diego in simply 2 hours by automotive or 3 hours by prepare. You can even ebook organized excursions, which is great if you wish to get taken round the principle sights with minimal effort. Los Angeles is clearly very iconic. It is among the greatest day journeys from San Diego if you would like an inspiring getaway.

What’s the greatest Mexican city close to San Diego?

Tijuana is essentially the most generally visited Mexican vacation spot from San Diego. Nonetheless, we recommend visiting Rosarito. Rosarito is a sunny resort city on the Baja Californian peninsula with a lovely seaside and intense sufficient nightlife to attract common US guests. It’s a browsing hotspot and can be good for scuba diving, with a former Navy ship creating an unimaginable synthetic reef simply offshore.

Why We Love These Day Journeys From San Diego

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As you’ll be able to see, you’re tremendous spoiled for alternative with regards to day journeys from San Diego. Town is ideal for spreading your wings and experiencing extra of California, and what higher strategy to benefit from your vacation? San Diego day journeys are a superb thought. And if you happen to keep longer than two days, you undoubtedly have time for not less than one of many journeys on this listing.

top day trips from san diego

Are you on the lookout for extra San Diego inspiration? You’re in the appropriate place. Keep in mind to take a look at our The place to remain in San Diego information and final California highway journey itinerary. San Diego has a lot to find out about and is a perfect launchpad for much more adventures. Benefit from your journey.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey To San Diego With These Sources

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