Growing up in San Diego we were told we live in “America’s Finest City”. Being at the southern part of California, bordering Mexico, with a huge population, it covers coastal and mountainous areas. Locals know there is absolutely no better place to eat a burrito or enjoy sunny days all year long.
San Diego vibe
The beaches are beautiful and tropical, resembling an island vibe, and people are friendly just about wherever you go. It gets busy when you go downtown and has heaps of fun bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and vintage stores that are scattered around the city.
You can always find a wave in San Diego, each season brings excitement to the ocean!
Fall (September – November) is generally the best, after summer temperatures have warmed the water up and school is back in session, the crowds have disappeared, you can enjoy the lingering south swells and the building of north swells.
Winter (December – February) gets cold here (although not to other Californians), but the waves start to pump and leave surfers extremely happy for bearing the wetsuit season.
Spring (March – May) is beautiful, it’s a time with lots of change. This does not leave you empty handed in the search for waves. In fact, it allows you to adventure to find the best ones and hope you might catch a tease of warmth as summer starts to move in.
Summer (June – August) is known to begin with grey skies and unpredictable weather. It’s a fickle time of year but still provides magical days.
– La Jolla Shores: beginner (mellow beach break) crowded
– Scripps Pier: beginner – advanced (peaky beach break that can barrel on a good swell)
– Horseshoe: intermediate – advanced (reef break with rocky inside)
– Blacks: intermediate – advanced (San Diego’s biggest wave)
– Tourmaline, Pacific Beach: beginner – advanced (right hand point break, long board heaven) crowded
– Ocean Beach Pier: beginner – advanced (good swell can bring varying conditions to this beach break for all levels)
– Cardiff: beginner – advanced (long right hand reef break, good place to watch long boarders with beautiful style) crowded
– Pipes, Encinitas: beginner – advanced (really fun reef break for any board)
My surfing hit another level when I started to surf here growing up, definitely my favorite wave in San Diego and such good vibes!
Katie B Happyy, the founder of b_inspired, is one of San Diego’s most well known Yoga Teachers and Motivator’s. She teaches at Core Power in Pacific Beach, is a private coach, leads retreats around the world and much more. Check out her Instagram to see what fun events are going on when you’re there or head to Core Power PB for a class.
There are many places to pick when visiting San Diego. Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, and La Jolla are the most popular places for beach goers to stay. Air BnB offers the best deals and locations.
As I mentioned above San Diego has the best Mexican food. If you don’t find yourself stopping at a taco shop, you are missing out! There is also a lot of nice sushi restaurants and healthy cafes.
Taco Surf is another place to grab a burrito after surfing in Pacific Beach.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and Better Buzz are popular spots to get a coffee or breakfast treat.
In N Out, California’s infamous burger, ask for animal style (not on the menu).
Sushi Ota, ranked top 30 in all of the US, is a place you would drive past and not even notice but it is a MUST if you are a sushi lover. Ototo Sushi Co. also has a beautiful menu and good prices.
Sprouts and Trader Joe’s are fun and healthy supermarkets to explore if you want to grocery shop.
My favorite beaches to visit when I go to SD are Scripps Pier in La Jolla, to watch the sunset and walk along the shore. Windansea Beach, an iconic spot in local surf history and a great place to layout on a summer day. Just around the corner from there is Marine Street, another favorite. Head up to North County and visit Cardiff in Encinitas or camp at San Elijo State Beach.
There are lots of great parks to hang out if you are traveling with a family or enjoy having a picnic under the trees. Fanuel Street Park or Kate O Sessions are amazing and offer nice views of San Diego.
It’s easy to find nightlife in San Diego. The Local, Firehouse, Water Bar, and Pacific Beach Alehouse are popular spots in PB with a young and fun crowd. North Park, Ocean Beach, and Encinitas have great venues and laid back vibes for a more chilled night.
Things to do
Walk or bike down the three-mile boardwalk that runs from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach.
Visit Sunset Cliffs and park your car at the beginning and walk at the top of the cliffs admiring the multi-million dollar homes and beautiful ocean view.
Head to La Jolla Kayak for a tour of La Jolla Cove from the water, you may see the seals that bath on the rocks and lots of bright orange fish, Garibaldi, California’s state fish.
Hang glide from Torrey Pines Gliderport or walk down the cliffs to the ocean.
Go to the Del Mar Fair if you are in San Diego from late spring to summer months. Lots of rides, shows, food, crafts, animals and events to explore!
Uber and Lyft are always a good choice. Rent a car from the airport or other provider like Turo. A public bus is available but not ideal. The city is also in process of building a trolley that will run south to north in San Diego.
Money & Visa
You must obtain a visa before arriving to the US. As far as I know it is easy to get (depending on where you are from) and you can do it online. Good for 90 days.
USD or popular credit/ debit cards. Prices have started to increase in Southern California so budget accordingly.
WALK MORE! Especially places that have enjoyable weather in the winter seasons.
Ask for no straw or plastic utensils when offered eating out and bring your own recyclable bags!
Bring your own medicine incase of illness and daily cleaning products in reusable containers so you don’t have to buy them while you are traveling.
Remember less is more, pack lightly, one of everything will be fine!