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Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Minneapolis, MN
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Trip Report 3/12-3/19

We had a great trip to San Diego! Thanks for all of your great advice.

We arrived on Sun Country Airlines last Friday at about 6pm, grabbed our bags and rental car and headed up to our rental house in La Jolla.

We rented a cute beach cottage a block off of Windansea Beach. It was in a great location on a quiet street. We could hear the ocean crashing at night and could smell the sea air. It was also nice to have the separate bedrooms and kitchen for the week. I got up early every morning to walk on the beach and in the neighborhoods and didn't have to worry about waking everyone else up. At $115 a night, you could hardly beat the price, especially in the La Jolla area. I also have to say that staying in the La Jolla area really made the trip enjoyable for me. We really enjoyed having Windansea, the Cove, the Shores and the Village within walking distance or a 5 minute drive. Yes, things are expensive there, but there are also a lot of things to do that are free.

The first day we walked around La Jolla. I was amazed that the sea life is so close to the people. We loved the seals and went back to see them 4 times. I don't want to get political, but it seems like La Jolla has a unique treasure in those seals. I think that there are lots of opportunities for the area because of them. I think that a lot of people would pay for a good, informative lecture by a marine biologist from Scripps about the seals. There were activists out there watching the seals, but they were really good about answering our questions about the seals. Also, the sea lions were very entertaining and we also saw a group of dolphins swim through the cove (right between a group of surprised kayakers). We also went tide pooling with biologists from Scripps on Saturday afternoon. That was a lot of fun. Although our kids were a little older than the others in the group, we had a guide who went more with us and really explained things at more of a middle/ high school level for them. That was a very nice touch.

On Sunday we went to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and climbed Stonewall Peak. We at our lunch at the top and enjoyed the views. This was a very nice climb and was long enough to make us feel like we accomplished something, but not too difficult for novice climbers. I would say that anyone over the age of 7 or 8 could do the climb without many problems. After we got to the bottom, we went to Julian and had pie at Mom's. Everything was good, but I liked my daughter's apple dumpling the best. We drove the Sunrise Highway back down to I-8 and stopped at the roadside to see some incredible views of Anza- Borrego and the desert floor. We got back to La Jolla and drove to the top of Mt. Soledad and watched the sun set. So it was a day of awesome views for us.

On Monday, we went into downtown San Diego and toured the USS Midway. There are a lot of reviews of that on here and all I can say is that it is really as good as they all say it is. It was very well done and the tour guides give the presentations really make it special. We then walked up to our boat for a whale watching tour. We chose to do the San Diego Harbor Excursions because they had docents from Scripps Institute giving the tour. We had dolphins swimming in our wake, 'escorting' us out of the harbor. We ended up seeing a group of 3 gray whales (I think they said we were 12 miles out, but I could be wrong) and 1 juvenile gray whale just outside the harbor. We also saw a group of Risso's Dolphins, which the guide said was very rare to see. It was rush hour at that time, so we decided to walk to Seaport Village to eat. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I'd go back either-- the food was overpriced for what it was and it was too touristy in a bad way.

Tuesday was in the 80s and sunny, so we decided to make it a beach day. We went down to the La Jolla Shores beach and played in the surf and boogie boarded. The water was cold, but 5 minutes on the warm sand and we were good to go back in. We spent most of the day at the beach. When we got back to the house, my daughter wanted to try boogie boarding at Windansea Beach. So we walked down there and got beat up by the waves for a while. The surf at that beach is no joke!! We were told to be careful and that it is a step up from La Jolla Shores, but WOW!! Still, it was fun, just in an intense, I might die, sort of way.

We drove down to Mission Beach on Wednesday. We stopped at the beach and walked through Belmont Park and people watched for a while. We then drove through Ocean Beach and went down to Cabrillo Monumnet and Point Loma lighthouse. We went down to the ocean and the tide pools and spent some time down there. On our way back, we stopped at Hodad's and got a bite (!) to eat. Crazy amounts of food. We then drove over to Coronado and saw the sights there. We drove the Silver Strand out to I-5 and back to the house.

On Thursday, we went to Scripps Aquarium and really enjoyed the artificial tide pool, shark feeding and kelp forest feeding. It isn't a big Aquarium, but it I think it was very well done. We had no problem spending 3 hours there. We then went to Torrey Pines State Park and hiked up and down the bluffs. The beach was beautiful and the desert plants were really interesting to us (living in what is the opposite of a desert). We went to the gliderport and watched the people flying for a while and headed back to the house.

On Friday we checked out of the house and spent the day at Balboa Park. We walked around and saw the sights, but we were tired and more than a little sad at having to leave. To all of you who are fortunate enough to live in SD, thanks for having such a wonderful city. You are very lucky. We can't wait to get back.

For food, we loved Burger Lounge and Cottage. We were glad we went to Hodad's, but the burgers were so huge that we should have only gotten that. We got takeout from Porkyland in La Jolla, and that was also really good. I had to try In-N-Out Burger, which I though was fine for cheap fast food. Elijah's Deli was only ok. As I said before, the Greek place at Seaport Village was only ok, very slow and overpriced for the food quality, but we should've known better.

I really wanted to go to the Farmer's Market in La Jolla, but we got a late start and there was just no place to park by the time we got up there. I also wanted to go up the coast to Del Mar, Encinitas and Carlsbad, but we didn't get a chance for that either. We didn't get to the Zoo, but we saw so much marine life that we didn't feel like we missed out. Also, we have to save something for our next trip out!

Edited: 21 March 2010, 01:48
Las Vegas, Nevada
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1. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Thank you for the wonderful trip report. Sounds like a great trip. I am so glad you enjoyed Wind n Sea and the La Jolla area. My family always gives thanks for being able to enjoy this beautiful area.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Wow, you did a lot and saw the best sights San Diego has to offer. What a great trip you had. Thanks for the report.

San Diego
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3. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Thank you for writing!! I am glad you had such a good time. I think other families would be interested to know where you found your rental as it seems like it was VERY reasonably priced!!

Minneapolis, MN
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4. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Thanks to all of the destination experts and Norgetroll and bw92116 (who both should be honorary experts) for all of your great advice. Most of our trip was planned off of Tripadvisor reviews, lurking in this forum and asking a few questions of you all. Also, the weather couldn't have been better last week, so that helped make a great trip.

We got our house off of vrbo (thanks to ElleLaJolla's blog) and did a little haggling to get that $800 rate (which included tax). They were just finishing some remodeling, but that didn't affect us as it was 99% done and they stopped working once we arrived and weren't there during our stay. Once the remodeling is done, it will sleep 4 more people, so they have now raised the price. Still, we found quite a few houses in the $1000-1100 range in the area, which is still less expensive than most hotels in the area.

La Jolla, California
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5. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Thank you for the wonderful trip report. So glad to see the vrbo worked out well for you : ) And yes, the weather was spectacular!

WindanSea waves are definitely different from those at La Jolla Shores, so any beginning surfer, boogie boarder, or swimmer should probably be discouraged from attempting to go out at WindanSea.

Come back soon!

Galveston, Texas
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6. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Love to read TRs -- thank you! Sounds like you had fun in SD

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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7. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Enjoyed very much reading your trip report - wonderful "mental vacation" for myself.

And I am sure so much better in person - glad you had a wonderful time.

Thanks for sharing!

Australia
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8. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

thanks for the your lovely trip report. We are arriving on Wednesday looks like we might get a couple days of rain by the weather report.

Caerphilly, United...
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9. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Really enjoyed your trip report and it certainly gave me some ideas for when we visit San Diego this summer

Minneapolis, MN
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10. Re: Trip Report 3/12-3/19

Thanks everyone for the nice compliments. Jules, feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions, but you won't go wrong following the advice of the destination experts on here. They were right on with all of their advice and very generous with their time.