Southern California has several fabulous counties to explore. We recently returned from one of my favorite cities, San Diego. I love the beachy/surfer/laid-back vibe that San Diego exudes. SD is so fabulous because the city, and its surrounding regions, offer just so much to do. Fantastic restaurants, terrific shopping, and of course - BEACHES! There's really something for everyone in San Diego.
We enjoyed touring around La Jolla, an upscale resort community in the northern limits of San Diego. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, a gorgeous hotel and is close to everything. We discovered that if you rent a car, most attractions are a mere 10 minute drive.
I loved La Jolla Cove - an intimate beach, great for scuba diving and snorkeling as it's a protected underwater park. You'll easily encounter seals and sealions, and when waters are calm, the area is wonderful for kayaking and exploring sea caves. If you're experienced, just down from the cove is a sublime location for body surfing - bring your flippers.
When you get hungry from all your beach activities, dine at El Pescador Fish Market & Restaurant - a favorite of locals. Order their delicious tiger prawn platter with avocado, you will not be disappointed. Award-winning Brockton Villa Restaurant has famous soufflé style French toast that should not be missed for breakfast. The villa has outdoor seating with stunning panoramic views of La Jolla Cove.
Follow the California coast south, and you'll find Mission & Pacific Beaches. They are equally great spots for surfing, people watching, sun bathing and long walks on soft sand. Rent bikes or Segways and ride along the boardwalk. There are loads of quaint shops and cafes to stop in along your way.
Decided it's time to fulfill your life-long dream of becoming a world famous surfer and being BFFs with Jack Johnson? Take the first step with surf lessons at Pacific Beach Surf Shop, or Surf Diva Surf School at La Jolla Shores.
Looking for a night out on the town? San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter is the place for nightlife in the city, including premier dinning and entertainment. I enjoyed this district for picking up souvenirs, snacking on Pinkberry frozen yogurt and grabbing brunch at the Broken Yolk Cafe.
Do not miss the world famous San Diego Zoo: a non-profit organization emphasizing conservation and education. The zoo is a massive (100-acre) home to over 4,000 rare and endangered animals, with more than 700,000 exotic plants. It's daunting to see all attractions in one day - although possible. Baby pandas were a highlight for me! Check out Craigslist for locals selling inexpensive tickets ($10 vs. regular $30+).
Visit Balboa Park - the USA's largest urban cultural park. Marvel at the intricate Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, wander through rose & exotic cactus gardens, and spend hours at numerous monumental museums. Looking forward to our next trip to SoCal.