San Diego Day Trips to Enjoy This Summer

Hey, we’re big fans of San Diego around here. There’s no end of incredible ways to spend your time in “America’s Finest City.” Still, one of the things that makes this city so special are the vibrant destinations all around it, all of which have something special to offer in their own right. While visiting us, why not extend your vacation with a day trip? With plenty of options nearby, this is the perfect hub for exploring Southern California. Take a look at our picks for must-try San Diego day trips to enjoy this summer.

La Jolla (13 miles from the hotel)

When you close your eyes and think of a charming seaside village, you probably imagine lots of ocean, endless sunshine, and breathtaking views. You might picture quiet streets dotted with boutique shopping, upscale cafés, and elegant art. And — though you may not realize it yet — you’re thinking of La Jolla. Visitors will discover top-rated restaurants, boutique shopping, and outdoor adventures (ranging from exploring sea caves on a kayak to watching seals and sea lions frolic in the surf to hiking at the Torrey Pines Reserve). Simply put, it’s an experience not to be missed.


Tijuana (24 miles away)

The vibrant Mexican city of Tijuana makes for an exciting excursion. Incredible music, fantastic food, and dynamic culture await those who seek a south-of-the-border experience. Whether you’re interested in checking out the stunning Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the public park at Plaza Santa Cecilia, or the colorful markets, world-class souvenir hunting, and dining at Avenida Revolución, be sure to bring your passport — and your sense of adventure.

Carlsbad (34 miles away)

Looking for an adventure that’s close by? Venture up the coast to Carlsbad for scenic ocean views and a fun day at LEGOLAND California. Enjoy a Walk the City Tour and check out Carlsbad’s charming beach community. Or escape the big city buzz and enjoy one of Carlsbad’s many breweries. Whatever you decide, this stretch of California coastline is not only one of its most scenic, but also one of the most chock-full of amazing things to do.

Temecula (61 miles away)

Nestled in a valley right outside San Diego County lies the ideal wine lover’s destination. Known as the “new Napa,” Temecula features a number of noteworthy wineries scattered throughout the area. Tour a vineyard or two and sip on award-winning vintages bottled just over an hour from our hotel. Go for a round of golf on one of Temecula’s many courses, sample the latest hit restaurant, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, take a hot air balloon ride and admire the scenic valley from new heights.

San Juan Capistrano (65 miles away)

One of the loveliest areas in Southern California lies just 65 miles north of us. As one of the oldest cities in the state, San Juan Capistrano is known for some truly marvelous scenery and architecture. The most famous — the Catholic Mission San Juan Capistrano — was founded in the same year as America itself: 1776. In addition to an abundance of both human-crafted and natural beauty, the city is also renowned for its eponymous flock of swallows — a migratory flock that returns to its home in the rocky cliff faces of the region every year in mid-March. This event is commemorated with an annual parade.

Julian (65 miles away)

Go for the hikes, stay for the pies. A mountainside destination about an hour outside the city, Julian has become famous for delicious handmade pies, thanks to the Julian Pie Company. Treat yourself to a slice of your favorite pie and a hot apple cider, before walking off the calories on one of the area’s popular hikes. We recommend grabbing a few extra pies to take home — just throw them in the freezer and save them for special occasions!

Anaheim (96 miles away)

Located just an hour and a half north of San Diego, Anaheim is another great day-trip destination, especially for families. Park hop between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, try new rides, snap selfies with your favorite characters, and enjoy your fair share of Dole Whip, Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzels, and more!

Idyllwild-Pine Cove (114 miles away)

San Diego is a glittering city filled with soaring architecture, urban bustle, and metropolitan energy, and Idyllwild…isn’t. At just over 100 miles from San Diego, this breathtaking hideaway, tucked away in the San Jacinto Mountains, offers not just vast natural beauty, but no end of ways to enjoy it. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, and some of the best rock climbing in the state all await intrepid explorers here. And when you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventure, you’ll also discover some exceptional dining and shopping options back at base camp.

Palm Springs (142 miles away)

Travel to Palm Springs for the day to find a retro desert oasis waiting to be explored. Stop into various vintage shops around the area, have drinks at a posh bar in the valley, and check out the Palm Springs Art Museum to see the latest exhibitions. A popular vacation destination for the stars during Hollywood’s Golden Age, Palm Springs is a little over two hours away by car, so get on the road early to make the most of your day.