With it’s endless balmy weather, San Diego is an RVer’s dream destination for both snowbirds and family roadtrippers alike. Whether you are looking for rest and relaxation, or you’re ferreting out fun, California’s southern-most metropolis offers a plethora of experiences for a variety of tastes.
Its 70 miles of coastline, world class attractions, and easy access to undeveloped lands make the appeal overwhelming.
For those visiting San Diego via RV, choosing a campground that is in a convenient location (in addition to great amenities), will be an important step in getting the most out of your visit. Fortunately, there are several quality resorts in the vicinity:
- The San Diego KOA is located just 20 minutes south of most attractions. With a fulltime activities director, two jumping pillows, climbing wall, and impressive playground, this is a great choice for families visiting the area. http://koa.com/campgrounds/san-diego/
- Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve is nestled in the foothills of nearby Santee, Calif. This 310 site eco-friendly preserve is a good choice for those wanting more of a “camping” experience without giving up the conveniences of full hookups and an activity center. http://www.santeelakes.com/campground/
- For a more adult atmosphere, check out Bernardo Shores RV Park. While it does lack a pool and public bathhouses, it makes up for it with spacious sites and easy access to both golfing activities, and a popular biking path to Coronado. http://www.bernardoshoresrvpark.com/
When visiting San Diego, the diverse and plentiful recreational opportunities can be overwhelming. Because there are so many great destinations, prioritizing stops can help you get the most out of your visit.
The USS Midway is a great place to spend an afternoon; the carrier displays 29 jets, multiple levels of the aircraft carrier are open to explore, and there are many docents onsite to answer any questions you may have. Parking is $10. Be sure to look for coupons in the brochure rack or in the ‘101 things to do in SD’ magazines found at your campground. http://ussmidway.com/
Extensive bike paths snake through and around the city. One of the most popular paths is the La Jolla Trail. Stop by one of the numerous bike rental companies in the La Jolla area to pick up a guided map. The 10-mile long Silver Strand section of the Bayshore Bikeway between Coronado and Imperial is a stunningly beautiful ride. If you are looking for biking outside of the city, try Mission Trails in the Mission Trails Regional Park.
The world acclaimed San Diego Zoo is a hit with all ages! You can easily spend an entire day there and still not see it all (ask me how I know); be sure to take a double decker tour of the grounds, which is included free with your ticket purchase. If The Zoo Man is giving tours that day, try to get on his bus — he’s a hoot! Some $5 off the daily rate coupons can be found in the brochure racks in your park or a San Diego visitor’s center. If the zoo is your kind of fun, be sure to check out Sea World and the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park (hint: it’s even better than the zoo!). http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/
Balboa Park is the United State’s largest cultural park. It is home to 15 different museums in addition to the zoo and other extensive park grounds. February is, arguably, the best month to visit San Diego if you are into perusing museums. It is Half Off Museums Month, and each February you can stop by any San Diego Macy’s and pick up a free museum pass that will give you and up to three others in your group half off fees to 45 different SD museums — including the Midway! http://www.balboapark.org/
Visit the Beach! San Diego has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, and they are all free (though parking is often not). La Jolla Cove and Mission Bay are two of the most popular beaches, and for good reason. La Jolla has some of the clearest waters on the west coast while the nearby La Jolla Caves draw snorkelers, paddlers, and kayakers from all over the world. Mission Bay is equally popular with swimmers and is the place to be if you’d like to fly kites on an ocean beach. http://www.lajollabythesea.com/la-jolla-shores-beach
Cabrillo National Monument is a definite must see. This national park is unique in that it offers so many diverse experiences. Learn what happened here in 1542, then hike or bike the park’s well maintained trails. You can spy migrating whales from special observation decks, tour an 1800’s lighthouse, walk through a World War II radio station building, and explore a tide pool on the grounds. Admission is just $5 per carload or RV, and is good for seven days. If you have the National Park Service’s America the Beautiful Pass or a Senior Access pass, then your admission is free. http://www.nps.gov/cabr/index.htm
Be sure to check out some of San Diego’s unique dining fare while you are in town.
If you are craving succulent seafood , try Anthony’s Fish Market, which was voted San Diego’s best seafood restaurant for 13 years in a row. Lunch will run you about $15, and dinner $30 per person. It is located at 1360 N. Harbor Dr. http://www.gofishanthonys.com/
Maybe THE place to eat for families who are looking for a memorable experience, as well as fabulous food, would be more up your alley. Then, bebop over to the fun and festive, not to mention insanely popular, Corvette Diner. Showcasing the 1950’s, this pink and black bedecked eatery is sure to be a hit whether you are reminiscing about ordering from a soda jerk, or experiencing the 50’s atmosphere for the first time. Don’t forget to pack along a roll of quarters and visit their Gamer’s Garage! http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/corvettediner
With its seemingly incessant balmy weather and it’s vast recreational opportunities, San Diego is an ideal destination for those of us on the road. You can find even more ideas on where to go and what to see while in the area at http://www.sandiego.org/.