About JoAnna H
Lives in Las Vegas, Nevada
Since Sep 2009
I am a full-time freelance writer based in Las Vegas. When I'm not sleeping in hotels, eating out at restaurants and enjoying new attractions, you can often find me writing about them. Beyond Las Vegas, I travel and write frequently about destinations throughout the Southwest United States, especially those in Arizona, Southern California and Utah. I'm an outdoorsy person and enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking in the United States' national parks.
Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Hiking Trails
Playgrounds, Gardens, Parks
Historic Walking Areas, Jogging Paths & Tracks, Biking Trails
Historic Walking Areas, Geologic Formations
State Parks, Historic Walking Areas
Piers & Boardwalks, Shopping Malls, Points of Interest & Landmarks
The San Diego Zoo is among the most famous in the world, and if the weather is agreeable, it is an excellent use of a free day during your vacation. The park, while large, is walkable and very family friendly, with lots of places to stop and rest, if needed. If you happen to come across a bit of inclement weather, pop into one of the indoor exhibits until the sun reappears.
With eight miles of trails and guided nature walks, the Torrey Pines State Reserve feels like it could be a thousand miles away from the busy, bustling activity of San Diego. With lots of pine trees and unspoiled beaches, this park is popular with both locals and visitors coming in from out of town.
Home to more than a dozen museums, an array of gardens, several performing arts venues and other attractions, you could set up shop in Balboa Park and have a thorough experience just in this one location. With a good mix of indoor and outdoor entertainment, this massive park is wonderful place to spend a couple hours or an entire day in San Diego.
Anyone who loves the water should make a trip to the 4,200-acre Mission Bay Park, which contains approximately 27 miles of shoreline. On any given day, you'll find people surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, boogie boarding and kite boarding ... as well as just enjoying a walk along the beach.
La Jolla's coastline varies from rocky outcroppings to smooth sand beaches, and it's known as one of the best places to catch a sunset in Southern California. The sheltered cove is ideal for swimming and the snorkeling is particularly spectacular, though surfboards, rafts and boogie boards are not allowed.
Combining the beach life with an old-school boardwalk vibe found almost exclusively on the East Coast, the Mission Beach Boardwalk is sometimes rowdy and crowded, but it's also a worthwhile stop, especially for those who have never been to a boardwalk before. Lots of people just find a place on the beach, but you can also wander through the small amusement park or rent a bike to ride along the beach.
Though Point Loma isn't suggested for swimming, it is a great place to enjoy the coastline's natural, rugged beauty. Tide pools teem with marine life, and Sunset Cliffs is the place to go for – you guessed it – catching a brilliant sunset.
Only eight miles from downtown San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States at 5,800 acres. The San Diego River meanders through the park, and there are two lakes along with lots of bird life. Hikers will enjoy the 40 miles of trails throughout Mission Trails, and several camping spots mean visitors don't have to vacate the grounds at dusk.
This park marks the site of the first West Coast Spanish settlement and features several museums, shops and sites that reflect its historic theme. It's easy to walk around, popping in and out of storefronts selling handicrafts and wares. If the weather is ideal (as it often is in San Diego), consider enjoying a meal outdoors, and stay for live music entertainment.
This open-air, waterfront shopping area has more than 50 shops, a dozen eateries and lots of room to spread out without tripping over other visitors. Beyond shopping, there are free concerts on most weekends and sometimes during the week as well, and the walk along the shore has great views of Coronado Island.