Offering a number of exciting attractions for tourists, San Diego is also strategically located close to a wide range of other attractions in Southern California. For this reason, the city serves as a great home base for people who want to get a sense of everything that Southern California has to offer. From San Diego, there are an incredible variety of day trips that individuals can take to explore mountains, deserts, beaches, vineyards, and even another the countryside altogether. Some of the top day trips from San Diego that visitors should consider include:
1. Joshua Tree National Park
One of the most iconic landscapes in all of California, Joshua Tree National Park is a quick drive from San Diego. Here, individuals can spend the whole day exploring massive boulders and investigating unique cactus formations. People who want a considerable challenge can head to the Hidden Valley for a rewarding, if challenging, hike. Heading up to Keys View provides visitors with a great view of the Coachella Valley below. Due to the terrain and heat, individuals should make sure they bring appropriate hiking shoes and a lot of water before they head to the park.
2. Borrego Springs
A destination that is not as well known outside of Southern California, Borrego Springs provides an experience that tourists will not soon forget. The area is a stark desert landscape with a large number of massive artistic sculptures installed. These sculptures range from a horse-drawn carriage to an African elephant. Visitors will even find a terrifying dragon that looks like it is snaking through the sand. Photo opportunities abound at Borrego Springs, so photographers should definitely bring their cameras. People who like to stargaze may also want to stay past nightfall to get one of the clearest views of the sky available. A large community of stargazers congregates at the spot nightly to study the sky.
San Diego is the closest major city to the border in California, so tourists have easy access to Mexico. One of the most popular day trips is to Tijuana, which is located just south of the border and has bustling streets with great shops and bars. While there, you should not miss the Tijuana Cultural Centre, which serves as an art museum and offers varied cultural exhibitions. The main tourist hub in the city is Avenida Revolucion, which is worthwhile to visit a little off the beaten track. Tourists who love a good novelty should check out the Tijuana Wax Museum, which also features IMAX shows.
4. Palm Springs
Located in the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs is part bustling city and part sleepy getaway. The city itself has a number of attractions, such as the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which guides people through the canyon, and the zoo. Plus, there are countless spas and golf courses scattered throughout the city, in addition to a wonderful shopping district with exclusive brands. Just outside of the city are various hiking routes through the Coachella Valley that are definitely worth visiting.
5. Puerto Nuevo
Visitors who want to get a better sense of Mexico than Tijuana can offer should head to Puerto Nuevo for a unique day trip from San Diego. This small village has earned an international reputation for its incredible lobster hauls, and visitors can take advantage of this reputation by trying one of the many seafood restaurants that dot the street. Much of the seafood is served deep fried and accompanied by rice, beans, and a Margarita if a diner wants one. To burn off the meal, individuals can head to Los Arenales to rent a quad bike. While there, individuals should not miss the statue of Christ the Sacred Heart, which is located 75 feet above the ground.
6. Mount Laguna
The ideal spot to reconnect with nature, Mount Laguna features a wide range of different hiking trails that tourists can use to explore the gorgeous landscape and catch awesome views of the mountains. People who want less of a challenge should take the Wooded Hill Nature Trails, while Foster Point offers a steeper climb time to the top. In the winter months, this area actually gets a considerable amount of snow, so tourists can sled or even ski on local hills. Also, Mount Laguna has its own observatory for checking out the stars.
7. Laguna Beach
Perhaps the most iconic spot to sunbathe in Southern California, Laguna Beach is located only a short drive from San Diego. Here, individuals will find golden sands that stretch for 7 miles. Various companies along the beach offer rentals for kayaking and paddle boarding, both of which are a great way to explore the various coves and canyons along the way. Some companies even offer guided kayak tours so that people can learn about the unique history of the beach and the overall geography of the area. Of course, it is also relaxing to just to lay out and enjoy the sun and the gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.