When the autumn leaves have dropped from the trees and the mercury begins to plummet, many travelers start dreaming of a warmer, sunnier place to escape the cold, snow and ice.
San Diego is known for its beautiful weather, world-famous attractions and sunshine.
With its rich history, cultural treasures, award-winning beaches and Pacific Ocean views, "America's Finest City" is an ideal winter travel destination.
San Diego is as gorgeous as California gets. With its sunny, almost picture-perfect year-round Mediterranean-like weather, 265 average days of sunshine, ocean breezes coming off the coast of Baja and incredible beaches, any time is a good time for a San Diego adventure.
Average winter temperatures range from the mid-60s to 70s Fahrenheit, so it’s extremely rare when visitors need anything heavier than a sweatshirt or light jacket. When our grandchildren visited for a week in January a few years back, we had several fun, frolicking beach days with the thermometer reading 80 every time.
Beaches and Coastline
Speaking of beaches, San Diego boasts 70 miles of pristine sand along its stunningly beautiful coastline. Whether it’s relaxing, sunning, surfing, kayaking or body-boarding, there are some great beaches to choose from.
San Diego Zoo
This world-renowned zoological park is home to more than 3,700 animals, many not seen in other zoos around the world. The San Diego Zoo is dedicated to protecting and breeding endangered species. The guided bus tour is a great way to get oriented to the different parts of this enormous animal park.
We love to ride the Skyfari Aerial Tram for a bird's eye views of the lush and varied landscape (and animals) below. It’s so easy to fall in love with the giant pandas and their adorable babies in Panda Canyon!
Cute, cuddly koalas perch in eucalyptus trees in the Australian Outback, and every day's an Arctic day at Polar Bear Plunge. Elephant Odyssey pays homage to prehistoric life in southern California while showcasing some of their modern-day descendants.
As the nation's largest urban recreational area, Balboa Park was built for the 1915 International Exposition. This majestic park, with its impressively ornate Spanish structures, hosts 17 museums on its more than 1,200 acres.
The museums' offerings range from air and space to automobiles, model railroads and sports, including one of the largest planetariums in the U.S.
For an impressive panoramic view of San Diego, we climbed seven stories and 125 stairs to a spiral staircase leading to an outdoor viewing deck at the Museum of Man. With Balboa Park below and the harbor, mountains and city beyond, San Diego appeared as an inspiring canvas of sight and color. We were able to see all the way to Mexico on the clear day we visited.
Architecture is quite stunning here. It’s guaranteed that something will always be blooming in its impressive gardens that range from a Japanese Friendship Garden, a Botanical Building filled with rare flowers and orchids, and even a Lily Pond.
Hotel Del Coronado
The magnificent 126-year-old Hotel Del Coronado is located across the bay from downtown San Diego. It oozes with history and elegance. The Victorian beachside resort—built in 1888 with its iconic bright red-shingled roof—has hosted 14 presidents and other famous dignitaries. This iconic resort resides on a wide, pristine, white sand beach, considered one of the best in the world.
Skating by the Sea is one of our most memorable San Diego experiences. Each year from Thanksgiving Day through January 1, a spectacular outdoor ice rink is set up on the grounds of “The Del” (as the locals call it).
With stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado Beach ahead and the backdrop of its Victorian Building adorned with thousands of glimmering lights, skaters glide to holiday music underneath swaying palms in a truly magical setting.
Just 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, La Jolla, means "the jewel." It fascinates visitors with its stunning coastline featuring sea caves and an underwater ecological reserve perfect for snorkelers and divers.
Ocean kayaking here was an incredible experience while gliding through the La Jolla Ecological Reserve filled with a multitude of marine life. Barking sea lions, basking harbor seals and leopard sharks swimming near the caves were our companions as we paddled the cool Pacific waters.
A green cypress tree park along the shoreline is the perfect place to frolic and enjoy a stunning sunset. The town, filled with boutique shops and dining venues, beckons locals and vacationers alike to experience a savory slice of Southern California living.
Old Town San Diego
Considered the "birthplace" of California, Old Town State Historic Park shows California as it was in the 1830s when it belonged to Mexico. Old Town features restored adobe homes, historic hotel and vintage shops with a true flair of the old Southwest. Docents dressed in period attire provide museum tours.
The Bazaar Del Mundo and Fiesta De Reyes areas feature colorfully festive displays, Mexican crafts, outdoor entertainment and sumptuous restaurants.
Casa De Reyes is always our favorite place to dine due to its outdoor courtyard seating surrounding the lush tropical plaza in the heart of Old Town. Food is fresh and piping hot, the service is excellent and who can resist the sound of a joyous Mariachi band?
Ansel Adams once wrote “It is all very beautiful and magical here—a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake into you.”
He must have been sitting in San Diego at the time, as he certainly describes this magnificent Southern California destination to a tee.< New text box >>
North 33 Travel, LLC
2810 W. Gold Dust Ave
Queen Creek AZ 85142
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