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

Lovely 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 possibly can carve out spots for whale-watching cruises or wine tasting – and in case you are staying for longer than a day or two, it’s best to undoubtedly plan some day journeys. San Diego is ideally positioned on the southern California coast, very best for venturing to a number of the state’s prettiest locations and most enjoyable points of interest.

Finest Day Journeys from San Diego

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Whether or not you’re a nature lover or want modern artwork, San Diego has a visit that will probably 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 protected 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 lodge upfront for a personal worry-free journey.

1. Newport Seaside

Newport beach shoreline California

Newport Seaside 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 possibly can sit back on quite a few sandy seashores, head browsing, or strive 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. Take a look at 28 Finest Seashores in California

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

2. Salton Sea

Salton Sea ar sunset

The Salton Sea is one thing fairly particular. The weird pure lake is legendary for its tremendous excessive salt ranges, dwelling to solely a handful of marine life species. Solely the hardiest creatures and vegetation 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 proper 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 should you fancy a leisurely 2-mile stroll with panoramic lake views and potential hen watching.

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

3. Tijuana

Tijuana Cultural Center, Baja California Peninsula

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

You possibly can wander the previous city, watch wrestling occasions, or go to the Tijuana Cultural Heart. You possibly can go to independently or take a guided tour.

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

4. Borrego Springs

Fun Day Trips from San Diego Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is among the very best locations to go to for stargazing – completely surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a chosen Worldwide Darkish Sky Neighborhood. Because of this whereas we’re including it as a ‘day journey’, you would possibly need to go to at evening in a barely extra unconventional journey. For those who get there earlier than evening, although, it’s best to take a look at a number of the trails within the state park. The Slot Canyon Path is especially widespread. 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
  • Methods to 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 – scorching springs, that means you’ll discover tons of thermal swimming pools and luxurious vegetation. As a metropolis, it is usually action-packed in an opulent manner, with tennis courts, golf programs, horseback using, and nightlife galore. Palm Springs is basically an adults’ playground. It’s the very best place to let your hair down for a day. Learn extra: 16 Finest Cities in California

As a fast facet observe, Palm Springs is immediately between San Diego and Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. You possibly can mix the 2 with a fast stopover in Palm Springs en path to the nationwide park.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2.5 hours
  • Methods to 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 finest cities. From theme parks to the Stroll of Fame and Beverly Hills, Los Angeles is just about all people’s dream vacation spot in the case of visiting California. The mega-city acquired its status from A-listers and Hollywood films, and it has a number of the finest points of interest and excursions the whole state gives. That stated, Los Angeles is doable on a day journey from San Diego. You’ll simply must have a military-style itinerary. You may also put money into 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 may also guide this two-day personal 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
  • Methods to get there: Automobile, practice, or tour

7. Catalina Island

Catalina island overview in California

Catalina Island is among the most adventurous locations you possibly can 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, that 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 legendary 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
  • Methods to get there: Ferry

8. Rosarito Seaside

Best day trips from San Diego Rosarito Beach

If you’re searching for San Diego seashores, this sandy seaside is additional than you may need initially thought to look. Throughout the Mexican border, Rosarito Seaside is the perfect spot for a serene stroll on the sands. As a complete, the seaside city of Rosarito is superb enjoyable – finest identified for its footloose type 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 improbable 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
  • Methods to 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 nearly all 12 months spherical, one of the best interval is winter and early spring. Most tour operators supply a assure, too, the place should you don’t see a whale in your tour, you get a free tour the following day.

Even should you don’t spot whales, there are particular sweeteners. There are nearly assured sightings of sea lions and dolphins, which can allow you to crack a smile. This highly-rated tour is prone to promote out.

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

10. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is among the most lovely day journeys from San Diego. If you wish to go mountain climbing for a number of hours, the shaded oak woodland at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is irresistible, particularly within the morning of a scorching day. Many camp on this park and full in a single day hikes, nevertheless 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
  • Methods to 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 good 460,000 acres. Cleveland Nationwide Forest can also be dwelling to a few mountain ranges, together with Santa Ana, Palomar, and the Laguna Mountains – that means loads of summit hikes and difficult trails to get your tooth into.

To flee Downtown San Diego for a day, you possibly can’t beat the shaded trails in Cleveland Nationwide Forest. The forest has all kinds 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
  • Methods to get there: Automobile

12. San Clemente State Seaside

Day Trips From San Diego San Clemente State Beach

San Clemente State Seaside 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 Seaside has the area to beat the crowds on a busy day. It’s also simply an hour north of town. It takes you on a quite scenic miniature highway journey via a number of Californian seaside cities because the route hugs the shoreline. At San Clemente State Seaside, you possibly can get pleasure from many various water sports activities, picnic, or calm down with a guide. Bear in mind to go to the close by San Onofre State Seaside as effectively, which is a extra rocky seaside however backed by dramatic cliffs and a beloved surf spot.

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

13. Lake Poway Leisure Space

Lake Poway Recreational Area in California

Lake Poway is the place to go for an unbiased fishing journey from San Diego. You could want to rent gear within the metropolis should you didn’t convey yours, however the serenity if you arrive will make it price the additional organizing. The reservoir is about in opposition to a scenic backdrop of a number of small hills. While you aren’t fishing, you possibly can 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 automobile. Plus, you’ll very possible come again with trout.

  • Distance from San Diego: 40 minutes
  • Methods to 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 in regards to the tradition and historical past behind the mountain earlier than visiting simply to make your mountain climbing much more particular. The most effective 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 possibly can go for. Each have gorgeous views over the protect and are good for nature lovers and people wanting a health problem with lovely views.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • Methods to 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 town heart, making La Jolla Cove one of many shortest day journeys from San Diego. Nonetheless, La Jolla Cove is price allocating a number of hours or extra, as these animals can maintain you entertained for ages.

La Jolla Cove is a tiny stretch of seaside that sunbathers share with the massive 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
  • Methods to 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 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. Critically, in case you are a foodie, it’s effectively price a go to. You could possibly even fill up on takeaway pies as souvenirs. In your manner again, think about stopping at one of many scenic spots you drive previous. These embrace the wineries within the San Diego Nation Property area and Cedar Creek Falls.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1 hour quarter-hour
  • Methods to get there: automobile

17. Wine Tasting Tour

best day trips from san diego wine tasting

Going wine tasting is an interactive day journey selection to boost your San Diego itinerary. You possibly can really drive to a lot of the vineyards, that are positioned only a quick drive exterior of town heart. Nonetheless, for apparent causes, there are guided excursions that embrace shuttle companies – a significantly better concept and well-established service within the San Diego tourism trade.

One of many main wine locations close to San Diego is Temecula Valley. The valley has greater than 45 completely 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 personal wine tasting facet automobile tour is a novel strategy to discover San Diego whereas tasting wines at completely different places.

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

18. Disneyland

Day Trips from San Diego Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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

Embarking on a day journey from San Diego to Disneyland gives a magical escape right into a world of surprise and pleasure. Only a quick drive north, Disneyland, generally known as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” is the proper vacation spot for households, buddies, 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 determine to discover the enchanting realms of Disneyland for a day with out the necessity for intensive planning. It’s the perfect fast getaway that guarantees a lifetime of recollections and a much-needed dose of pleasure and leisure.

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

19. Laguna Seaside

best day trips from san diego laguna

Laguna Seaside is among the hottest day journeys from San Diego and – actually – wherever else close by in California. Laguna Seaside is famed for its boho vibe and exquisite shoreline. For glitzy individuals in a scenic setting, Laguna Seaside ticks each field. Visiting is an expertise in itself, even only for a day. You possibly can benefit from nice surf by renting a board, spending a day on a fantastic seaside, or mountain climbing whereas admiring Pacific Ocean views. Laguna Seaside is among the most well-known locations on the California shoreline, which is an unbelievable feat in itself. For a ‘taking place’ seaside day, it’s a excellent time out.

  • Distance from San Diego:
  • Methods to 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 can even see kangaroo rats all 12 months spherical should you look rigorously sufficient. Kangaroo rats seem like little gerbils and are a number of the cutest animals you possibly can see. They’re nocturnal and extremely savvy in the case of noticing could-be-predators close by. However should you dangle round Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve a bit of later, you can 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
  • Methods to get there: Automobile

21. Mission San Juan Capistrano

best day trips from san diego mission san juan capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is a captivating museum to go to and is about in an previous Spanish chapel. The San Juan Capistrano ‘mission’ was based in 1776 as a manner for Spanish settlers to succeed in out to the neighborhood and preach about Catholicism. You possibly can study extra about this early faith preaching via completely 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 all in favour of faith, the colonial affect within the US, and the historical past round San Diego’s area.

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • Methods to get there: Automobile or practice

22. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

best day trips from san diego joshua tree

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

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Except for its bushes, 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
  • Methods to get there: Automobile

23. San Jacinto Mountains

Best Day Trips San diego San Jacinto Mountains

Do you prefer to mountain bike or go mountaineering? The San Jacinto Mountains are the place to go 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 effectively 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 very best peak within the mountain vary and sits at 10,834 ft. It is just appropriate for essentially the most superior hikers however an excellent problem for these with sufficient expertise.

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

Day Journeys from San Diego: FAQs

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Are you able to evaluation the FAQs behind the proper day journeys from San Diego? That further insider info can rework your journey – so it’s effectively price scanning over these high 4 questions. Who is aware of what would possibly 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, that means you possibly can 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 possibly can simply arrange a day journey to Tijuana from San Diego. A number of excursions take vacationers throughout the border for a day, or you can head on an unbiased day journey by renting a automobile. Tijuana is superb enjoyable and the proper addition to a keep in San Diego. Speak about maximizing your time!

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

Positively, you possibly can take a day journey to Los Angeles from San Diego in simply 2 hours by automobile or 3 hours by practice. You may also guide organized excursions, which is superb if you wish to get taken round the primary sights with minimal effort. Los Angeles is clearly very iconic. It is among the finest day journeys from San Diego in order for you an inspiring getaway.

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

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

Why We Love These Day Journeys From San Diego

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As you possibly can see, you might be tremendous spoiled for selection in the case of 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 an excellent concept. And should you keep longer than two days, you undoubtedly have time for a minimum of one of many journeys on this record.

top day trips from san diego

Are you searching for extra San Diego inspiration? You’re in the appropriate place. Bear in mind to have a look at our The place to remain in San Diego information and final California highway journey itinerary. San Diego has a lot to study and is a perfect launchpad for much more adventures. Profit from your journey.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey To San Diego With These Assets

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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