21 Best Day Trips from San Diego, California

21 Best Day Trips from San Diego, California

San Diego is a metropolis with lots to supply. It has great seashores, a buzzing nightlife scene, and spectacular historical past. The metropolis can also be identified for its variety. 

It is a metropolis of over 1 million folks and has greater than 100 miles of seashores. It’s a seashore bum’s dream vacation spot: good climate, plenty of enjoyable issues to do, and a laid-back vibe. It can also be a metropolis that’s bought all of it. From the seashores to the museums to the purchasing, you’ll have the ability to discover one thing for everybody on this beautiful city.

If you’re searching for one thing enjoyable however not too strenuous, think about taking a day journey out of city and return again residence within the night to relaxation. You’ll get to discover some new sights and chill out in a brand new setting. Here are a few of the finest day journeys from San Diego:

TLDR: Our Favorites in San Diego, CA

Best Day Trips from San Diego

1. Look into the artwork galleries within the Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum

Adgown: 307 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

In the center between San Diego and Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is a well-liked location for artwork lovers and fans. There is a celebration of the realm’s quite a few native artists throughout the city. Everywhere you look, you’ll see road artwork, murals in shops and lampposts, and several other artwork galleries and expositions.

Don’t miss the Laguna Work Museum whilst you’re in Laguna Beach, which homes a group of artwork by Californians and artwork that depicts the story of the state. Visitors who’re 12 years previous or youthful, in addition to museum members, usually are not charged admission to enter the Laguna Art Museum. And basic admission might be bought right here.

You can even embark on a treasure hunt throughout Laguna Beach with this guided virtual phone tour as a part of your journeys from San Diego. Solve puzzles and conquer duties along with your staff whereas additionally studying in regards to the historical past of the realm.

2. Treat your children to the Legoland Theme Park, Carlsbad

Legoland Theme Park

Address: 1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

At LEGOLAND California, a kids’s amusement park, households with younger kids are assured a fun-filled day of leisure. LEGOLAND has quite a lot of large-scale Lego fashions, sights, and exhibits as you roam around.

Additional sights embrace a Marine LIFE Aquarium with hands-on shows and close-up views of sea creatures, together with sharks, stingrays, and octopi; the LEGO CHIMA Water Park with aquatic-themed sights like Soak-N-Sail pirate vessel and a Splash Zoo for youngsters; and Legoland California Resort.

In addition to the LEGOLAND Hotel’s themed rooms, company can even keep on the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, which options an leisure courtyard and a kid-friendly pool space.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Orange County, CA

3. Ramp up your adrenaline on the San Diego SeaWorld Theme Park

San Diego SeaWorld Theme Park

Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109, United States

SeaWorld San Diego is a big amusement park and zoo located in the city of SD, California. The park first opened its doorways in 1964 and has since change into one of the vital well-liked parks in Southern California.

It’s not a lot a day journey from SD, however you want the entire day (or extra) to benefit from this magical place.

The park options many rides for youngsters and adults alike, together with roller coasters like Manta and Kraken Unleashed, in addition to water slides just like the wave pool. It additionally options animals from all over the world which you could observe while riding on boats or strolling by means of animal habitats.

If you’re taking tours with kids, they’ll benefit from the smaller rides and exhibits whereas mother and father benefit from the bigger, extra thrilling sights. The park additionally has a number of eating places that provide distinctive eating experiences when you are visiting SeaWorld San Diego with your loved ones or buddies.

4. Learn extra on the USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

Address: 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

The USS Midway Museum is among the finest things recommended for day trips inside the space. It can also be solely 5 minutes away from downtown San Diego. Again, it’s not a day journey from San Diego per se, however you want the entire day to benefit from this unbelievable museum ship!

The USS Midway Museum is situated on Coronado Island in San Diego, California. It was commissioned as a warship in 1945 and was decommissioned in 1992. The museum opened in 2012 and has been open ever since!

The USS Midway Museum has displays that inform tales in regards to the historical past of naval warfare by means of the ages, together with World War II and the Cold War. There are additionally interactive shows that permit guests to check out completely different duties like working a radar system or piloting an plane provider throughout an assault run on Pearl Harbor!

For simpler entry and a guided exploration inside the institution, you’ll be able to book your tickets to this San Diego day trip right here.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Calabasas, California

5. Go browsing at Mission Beach close to downtown San Diego

Mission Beach

Going browsing at Mission Beach is a enjoyable technique to spend a day away from the center of downtown San Diego with out straying too far. Mission Beach is situated about 5 miles south of downtown, which makes it a terrific place for a day or morning spent on the sand as you benefit from the solar, surf, and sandy seashores.

The neatest thing to do is to log on at Mission Beach close to downtown San Diego when the waves are large, and the wind isn’t too sturdy. The waves will likely be extra highly effective if there’s a robust wind blowing in from the east or west. The larger the waves are, the higher likelihood you’ll have of catching some good ones!

If you’re simply getting began with browsing, don’t fear—it’s not as tough because it seems! You can discover ways to surf by yourself by watching others’ movies (and even by shopping for books) or by researching native colleges that train browsing lessons.

Make a tour a part of your day journeys from San Diego and check out beginner-level waves and even catch a big wave your self when you’re feeling courageous! The space can also be very family-friendly, so it’s good for teenagers and adults alike.

6. Take a street journey from San Diego to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Take an early day journey. San Diego is one other place to take a 160-mile drive to Joshua Tree National Park, which takes round three hours.

Drives from San Diego to Joshua Tree National Park might be achieved by considered one of two principal routes. In the primary case, you’ll take Temecula all the way in which to Joshua Tree’s western entrance. The alternative option is to travel by means of Borrego Springs to the park’s south gate.

However, the Temecula route, which is nearer to Los Angeles, is extra prone to meet visitors than the Borrego Springs route, which is much less probably to take action at any time. This road trip is feasible at any time of yr. There is a definite benefit to touring throughout the off-peak season.

Within the 3-hour drive, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Salton Sea, and the San Bernardino National Forest, in addition to Escondido, Temecula, and Palm Springs, are all worthwhile relaxation breaks.

As for the park itself, spring and fall are the very best occasions to go to due to the good climate and exquisite panorama, rappelling, rock climbing, and the park is giant sufficient to forestall crowds on a median yr.

See Related: Best Things to do in Guerneville, California

7. Roam across the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

One of the very best day journeys within the space is a go to to the San Diego Zoo. Located in Balboa Park, the Zoo is residence to over 3,700 animals from all over the world. It is among the world’s finest zoos, and it’s not laborious to see why: it has an incredible assortment of animals, and the park is large.

This place is a good way to see nature up shut and private, and you’ll even stand up shut with a few of the animals your self! You’ll have the ability to see monkeys, tigers, large apes, giraffes, rhinos, and a variety of unique birds of their pure habitat.

There are many alternative displays that may hold your children entertained for hours on finish—from the sandy seashores to the rainforest, and there’s one thing for everybody at this terrific zoo!

There are a number of completely different ticket choices obtainable, starting from particular person tickets that value relying on inclusivities, membership playing cards you should utilize for a yr, and a present card. You can simply spend the complete day right here!

8. Enjoy a street journey from San Diego to Palm Springs

San Diego to Palm Springs

You can’t beat the California coast for day trips, and San Diego is among the finest locations to get began. If you’re searching for a day journey from San Diego, California, you’ll be able to’t go improper with a trip to Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is thought for its palm timber, and it’s simple to see why—town is surrounded by palm timber! While you’re there, you’ll be able to benefit from the pure fantastic thing about the desert panorama, in addition to all the thrilling things that make Palm Springs such a well-liked vacation spot (like {golfing} and purchasing).

The distance from San Diego to Palm Springs is 129 miles (207 km), and I n regular visitors, the journey ought to take round 2 hours and quarter-hour.

Between San Diego and Palm Springs are La Jolla, Carlsbad, Temecula, Escondido, Coronado, San Clemente, Riverside, Oceanside, and Encinitas. Greater Palm Springs, situated lower than an hour from Palm Springs and San Diego, is the most well-liked metropolis on the route. All the locations talked about, the truth is, have plenty of activities to get caught in.

See Related: Visiting Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs, California

9. Feel the solar in your pores and skin at La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove

Address: La Jolla Shores, San Diego, CA, 92037, USA

If you’re searching for a day journey, with out straying too removed from downtown, that’s as thrilling as it’s stress-free, La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove are it. The space is residence to a few of the most beautiful beaches in all of San Diego County, with dramatic cliffs, sandy paths, and views of the Pacific Ocean from a number of vantage factors.

You can select from an array of actions—from climbing to browsing to swimming, or simply lounging in your towel and taking within the sights. You’ll discover loads of locations to seize a chew to eat or sip on a refreshing drink at any time of day or night time.

10. Feel the Nature of San Diego Botanic Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden

Address: Quail Gardens Drive and Ecke Ranch Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA

A day trip to the San Diego Botanic Garden is a good way to spend your time. There aren’t any different kids’s gardens fairly like this one on the West Coast and you’ll spend the entire day right here with out getting too removed from town correct.

Discover the most important assortment of bamboo within the nation, in addition to 4 kilometers of backyard paths lined with blooming timber!

Here, the temperate local weather is good for all kinds of vegetation from all through the world. In simply 37 acres, our numerous surroundings transports company from a desert to a tropical rainforest.

An hour north of San Diego in Encinitas, California, the place you’ll be able to see distinctive bamboo groves and desert gardens in addition to a rainforest and California native flora. The San Diego Botanic Garden has quite a lot of landscapes for every kind of climates.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Long Beach, California

11. Learn by means of a Whale Watching cruise in San Diego County

Whale Watching

If you’re searching for a day journey that’s positive to maintain you in your toes, look no additional than whale-watching tours in San Diego.

Whale watching is an unbelievable expertise that permits you to stand up shut and private with whales as they swim by. You’ll even get to see them breach—that’s when a whale bursts water out of its blowhole!

This is what makes whale-watching excursions so particular: not solely will you get to see these superb creatures, however the tour guides will share their data about whales and the way they work together with one another and their atmosphere.

The better part a few whale-watching tour? It’s not nearly seeing the whales; it’s additionally about studying from them.

The guides will inform you all in regards to the historical past of whales, their diets, and what makes them tick. They’ll additionally give suggestions for what sort of gear or meals may be finest for various species. You’ll have an incredible time on this journey!

12. Travel throughout the border to Rosarito Beach

Rosarito Beach

Address: Blvd. Benito Juárez 31, Playas Rosarito, 22710 Rosarito, B.C., Mexico

The finest day journeys from San Diego, California, are all about getting out of the city and seeing a little bit of Mexico. One of essentially the most popular vacation spots in Rosarito Beach.

Rosarito Beach is situated on the southern tip of Baja California, simply off of Mexico’s Pacific Ocean coast. Situated between Ensenada and San Diego, this space is thought for its surfable waves and gorgeous views.

This seashore is situated about 60 minutes away from downtown San Diego and provides coastal views with clear blue water. Visitors can get pleasure from swimming, browsing, fishing, and different actions at this seashore.

See Related: Most Exotic Places in California to Visit

13. Start your day with espresso at Tijuana


If you’re in San Diego and searching for one thing to do, why not make the quick drive out of city and check out Tijuana City over the border in Mexico?

Tijuana City is among the most visited places in Baja California, which is why we determined to write down up this information on what to do there.

This space is stuffed with unbelievable meals, artwork, and historical past. You can discover every kind of issues right here—from museums to parks to monuments—and it’s a good way to spend a day.

You may need to begin your break day with coffee at one of the local coffee shops in Tijuana City, like Container Coffee Roaster. It’s an incredible place with plenty of completely different flavors and forms of espresso drinks obtainable. And when you’re searching for one thing to eat afterward, there are tons of choices from street food distributors and even sit-down eating places that serve up some scrumptious genuine Mexican delicacies.

14. Take a trek on the San Jacinto Mountains

San Jacinto Mountains

If you’re searching for a day journey that’s each enjoyable and academic, there’s no higher place than the San Jacinto Mountains.

The San Jacinto Mountains are situated about an hour south of San Diego, California, and supply a variety of actions to get pleasure from. There are loads of hiking trails and paths prepared for any customer.

Whether you need to hike and discover the forest or simply relax in the hot springs, there’s one thing for everybody right here.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Palm Desert, California

15. Relax on the Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs

The finest day journey to Borrego Springs is among the most enjoyable and adventurous methods to see the realm.

Borrego Springs is situated in San Diego County, about an hour and a half from San Diego. It’s a well-liked vacation spot for individuals who need to discover the desert and its many sights, together with golf programs, hiking trails, and tenting spots.

The town itself is small sufficient which you could stroll round it in lower than an hour. If you will have time to spare, there are many issues to do right here—from visiting museums or taking a tour of the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano to enjoying golf at considered one of a number of programs or using horses on horseback by means of the desert brush.

If you’re touring with kids (and even when you’re not), remember to take them out on some off-road trails in Borrego Springs to allow them to get some train whereas experiencing nature first-hand!

16. Hear the waves on the San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre State Beach

Address: San Onofre State Beach, San Clemente, CA, 92672, USA

This beautiful stretch of shoreline provides quite a lot of actions starting from climbing and biking to swimming, hen watching, and extra.

The better part? It’s all proper there waiting for you! All it’s a must to do is hop in your automotive and head north on Highway 101. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to cease on the Visitor Center to get your bearings and map out the place you need to go. Then it’s only a fast drive down the street till you get to the seashore itself.

There are tons of the way to spend your time right here—you’ll be able to wander round its gorgeous panorama whereas taking in some recent air or water views, or when you choose getting again into nature by your self—so long as it’s not too sizzling out—you’ll be able to hike up considered one of its many trails for some peaceable solitude.

See Related: Best Family Hotels in San Francisco, California

17. Join a Wine Tasting Tour on the Temecula Wine Country

Wine Tasting Tour

Address: 28475 Old Town Front St, Temecula, CA 92590, USA

The Wine Tasting Tour on the Temecula Wine nation is about 45 minutes from San Diego, California, and is among the finest wine-tasting excursions in Southern California.

The Wine Tasting Tour at the Temecula Wine Country is a enjoyable technique to get acquainted with a area that’s receiving increasingly consideration from wine lovers everywhere in the world. While you’re there, you’ll have the ability to pattern wines from all through California and even internationally, so there’s one thing for everybody.

Here, it’s not nearly tasting—the tour features a small tasting along with the guided tour itself. And second, it’s not nearly studying about wine—you’ll additionally get an opportunity to discover the attractive countryside round Temecula (and perhaps even decide up some drinkable souvenirs alongside the way in which!)

18. Have an journey on the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Address: 200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004, USA

If you’re searching for a day journey from San Diego, California, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park must be in your listing. It’s a desert stuffed with magnificence, historical past, and journey. It’s additionally residence to a few of the finest issues to do on a day journey from San Diego.

There’s a lot to do on this park that it’s laborious to know the place to begin! The choices vary from climbing by means of cactus-filled canyons to exploring historic ruins within the park. You can drive an off-road car and tour the place and even camp in a single day in one of many many campsites situated all through the park!

The better part about visiting this desert is that you are able to do all of it in at some point—supplied you will have sufficient power left in your physique after climbing by means of a few of its most difficult areas.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Malibu, California

19. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Address: 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a must-see for anybody visiting San Diego, California. It’s the right day journey from San Diego—and one you’ll always remember!

The reserve is residence to a various array of vegetation and animals, together with birds, lizards, geckos, cacti, and extra. You can discover the park on foot or by bike; when you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll be able to even hike as much as the highest of the Pinos Peak to get an superior view of the park.

If you’re searching for one thing extra energetic, there are many activities available at Torrey Pines State Park—from strolling on climbing trails and biking to horseback using and bird-watching.

There’s additionally a museum on-site with displays about Native American cultures that lived on this space earlier than Europeans arrived (together with artifacts from prehistoric Native Americans). With all these items to do within the park, there’s no purpose why you shouldn’t go at present!

20. Paddle across the Lake Poway

Lake Poway

Address: 14644 Lake Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92064, USA

Paddle boats are one of the best ways to discover the attractive Lake Poway in San Diego, California. The lake is situated simply off of I-15 and has quite a lot of public boat launch areas. There are additionally non-public boat launch areas obtainable for hire.

The better part about paddle boats is that they’re nice for folks of all ages. You can carry your children or grandkids with you in addition to any buddies or relations who need to be part of! They’re additionally an ideal technique to spend a day after getting off work or earlier than heading residence from work.

The solely draw back is that it may get fairly windy around Lake Poway, particularly throughout springtime when the climate begins warming up! If you need to be sure you get out in your paddle boat safely, we suggest maintaining a tally of the climate report earlier than heading out!

Besides the ample water actions, there are three climbing trails to pick out from on this San Diego day tour. Each of which can also be good for biking and horseback using. There’s additionally an archery vary when you’re searching for an actual change of tempo. Grassy locations for the children to run round, in addition to a playground for the youthful ones, can be found at Lake Poway.

21. Explore the outer house on the Mount Palomar Observatory

Mount Palomar Observatory

Address: 35899 Canfield Rd, Palomar Mountain, CA 92060, United States

Since its founding in 1928, Mount Palomar Observatory has been a middle for astronomical examine within the Cleveland National Forest in northern San Diego County. It is residence to the world’s largest functioning telescope, the 200-inch Hale Telescope. An audio tour of the exhibition can also be obtainable.

Visitors come from everywhere in the world to see the Observatory in Southern California, the place it has change into a significant vacationer attraction. You could carry a picnic and luxuriate in it on the grounds. The place additionally incorporates a guests heart, an intriguing museum, and a present store.

See Related: Best Things to do in East Bay, California

Best Thing to do With Kids on a Day Trip From San Diego

As you realize, San Diego is a superb place to go to with the children. There’s a lot to do and see on this metropolis which you could’t probably match all of it into one journey! Here are a couple of enjoyable issues to do with your loved ones on a day journey to San Diego:

Visit the zoo! You can take your children to see animals from everywhere in the world. The San Diego Zoo is all the time enjoyable for households and provides one thing for everybody.

You can make a journey to the SeaWorld San Diego Aquarium. There’s one thing for everybody right here—from sharks to penguins and the whole lot in between!

Go on a hike along with your children. There are loads of trails on this space, so yow will discover one which appeals to everybody in your group. They is probably not as large as mountains or as steep as mountains, however they’ll nonetheless be difficult sufficient to offer everybody an journey!

Alternatively, if you’re searching for issues to do exterior of San Diego along with your grownup children, you’ll be able to go to Temecula Wine Country for a calming atmosphere and a tasty drink.

Bike and Car Rentals for day journeys from San Diego

If you’re searching for a day journey from San Diego, California, you may be questioning what one of the best ways is to get round. Cross out gadgets in your locations to go to in San Diego bucket listing, by making a travel guide to the very best locations as a reference. While walking or biking can be great methods to discover town, generally it simply doesn’t work out.

You may attempt renting a automotive and benefiting from all of the sights and sights San Diego has to supply. But when you don’t know tips on how to drive, that gained’t be very useful! Fortunately, there are many corporations on the market who will enable you to discover a automotive rental that matches your wants.

One of the very best options is This web site provides each automobiles and bikes in order that its customers can discover no matter sort of car they want for his or her travels. They additionally present costs on the whole lot from rental automobiles to bikes so that everybody can discover one thing reasonably priced with out having to fret about value in any respect!


What are some enjoyable issues to do on day journeys from San Diego?

The very first thing it is best to do in your day journeys from San Diego is go to the seashore! You can drive or take the bus or practice and get there rapidly. There are loads of seashores within the space, together with Coronado, La Jolla, Del Mar, and Encinitas. Each one has its personal distinctive attraction and provides one thing particular for everybody.

Day excursions from San Diego additionally embrace venturing in direction of mountain peaks and day journeys taking you to a few of the most gorgeous viewpoints over downtown San Diego!

What are a few of the finest locations to go to exterior of San Diego?

If you’re searching for some issues to do exterior San Diego that gives a bit of little bit of the whole lot however exterior the county, we suggest testing Tijuana. It’s bought nice tradition, fascinating structure, and unbelievable meals.

What are day journeys from San Diego by practice?

The nearest railway station to Laguna Beach is in San Juan Capistrano. From San Diego, it’s potential to achieve Laguna Beach in a brief period of time through the use of the practice.

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