San Diego County Destination Overview
Perched in the southwest corner of California, San Diego County is a hot spot in all senses of the term. San Diego County boasts 70 miles of coastline. With San Diego as its star, the county extends from the southern borders of Orange County and Riverside County to the Mexico-U.S. border and Baja, California. Bask in Golden State sun at these top draws:
Beaches, Mountains and Stars
Get back to nature in a place abounding with beaches, mountains and stars. A trip to San Diego doesn’t have to break the bank, this gorgeous landscape is so vivid and enlivening you might have your suspicions that it was touched up by Photoshop
No trip to San Diego County is complete without a day at the beach. La Jolla Cove is the crowd favorite, offering gentle surf and tide pools. Go snorkeling and diving or head to Imperial Beach for coveted surfing. Del Mar Beaches are perfect for families, while Carlsbad Beaches remain one of the county's best-kept secrets.
Bike paths flank much of the coastline, with difficulty levels ranging from rigorous uphill climbs to laid-back cruising. All beaches are free to the public. After a day spent bronzing your skin, put the cherry on top at La Jolla Cove, famous for its breathtaking sunsets over the ocean.
Star gaze at Reuben H. Fleet Science Center:
Located in Balboa Park - which is a 1,200-acre multi-attraction park that's fun day or night - the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is an ideal place to see the stars. On the first Wednesday of every month, the San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes and offers guests a glimpse of the night sky.
Hike at State Parks:
There is a wealth of state parks in San Diego County, with vast desert terrain that lures hikers as well as nature lovers who crave a more leisurely vacation attitude. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park covers 600,000 acres and is the largest state park in California. From Font's Point, you can see miles of mountains fading into the distance. Trek the 5.3-mile-long South Fortuna via Jackson or test your stamina on San Miguel Mountain, full of great views of San Diego. Other popular parks nearby include Torrey Pines State Reserve and Palomar Mountain State Park.
Visit the U.S. Olympic Training Center:
Have you always wondered what it takes to become Olympic athlete? The training center in Chula Vista will give you an inside view, with its training fields and tracks, athlete dorms and the Otay Lake Reservoir. Take a free tour of the 150-acre facility on Saturdays, otherwise self-guided tours are available daily between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Get creative at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego:
Unleash your right brain at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Between the La Jolla and downtown locations, the collection includes more than 4,000 works created after 1950, representing a variety of genres and mediums. The climax of the collection is the Pop Art from the 1960s and 1970s that lends itself to national and international developments. Both locations offer free admission on the third Thursday of each month.
Explore the USS Midway Museum:
Bring your kids to the USS Midway, a real naval aircraft carrier that served the U.S. for over four decades. Visitors can discover more than 60 exhibits with a collection of a 29 restored aircraft. There is a self-guided audio tour, narrated by Midway sailors, that allows you to re-live the carrier's golden years.
Fish tacos, farm-fresh salads and accompanying beachside views are staples in San Diego County. As a crossroads between American and Mexican cultures, you get the best flavors of both cuisines.
George's At the Cove:
At this modern fine-dining establishment, you can indulge in impressively presented entrees like the local albacore and roasted jidori chicken, whose aesthetic is as impressive as its flavors. To sample several entrees, order the four-course tasting menu. Sit outside on the terrace for beach views.
Voted "Best Happy Hour" by San Diego Magazine, Monello is an Italian eatery located in heart of downtown San Diego. While its drink specials are a coveted afternoon antidote - try the agrodolce or bijou - this restaurant's food menu is nothing to scoff at, either. Carbonara is a local favorite. Breakfast is another hit, with an Italian and American blend that's locally sourced from the Little Italy Mercato.
Board & Brew:
Despite the name's boozy implications, Board & Brew is a top-ranked kid-friendly restaurant. Its sandwiches and wraps are palatable even for the pickiest of eaters. Stick with the basics with a turkey sub or branch out with the roast beef spicy sub. And yes, the place has some tasty craft beer concocted by local microbrewers.