Marka & Jamesha Manning
The Perfect Sunny San Diego Itinerary
San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in California. The city has many establishments for fine dining, luxury shopping, outdoor activities, and is a great family get away travel destination. Included in this full 4-day San Diego itinerary, you will have the chance to view many local businesses, fine dining, family adventures, and more.
Best time to visit:
San Diego is known for being quite sunny year-round. We planned our visit in March. March was the perfect time to visit San Diego if you’re trying to go during off season. The prices are typically lower & it’s not as crowded as in the summertime. It’s sunny all day long, however the weather ranges from low 60s to mid 70s. You can wear shorts & flip flops in the daytime & need a light sweater & jacket by night fall.
San Diego is a very large city. The city consists of 18 cities and smaller neighborhoods and communities. Therefore, we decided we would receive more value in renting a car. We rented a standard size car from Payless car rental at the San Diego International airport. Although, gas prices are currently significantly high right now especially on the West Coast, we only had to fill up twice during our 5 day stay & we traveled to many cities in the San Diego area.
Where to Stay:
We found an Airbnb in the beautiful city of La Mesa. La Mesa is about 10 miles of downtown San Diego. Our specific Airbnb was a newly built three level townhouses with a private garage. The home was quite spacious and located in a great neighborhood close to many stores.
Pink Rose Cafe
For our first day we went into the city of La Mesa to get breakfast. We went to Pink Rose Cafe. The cafe was located in downtown La Mesa. Pink Rose cafe has a creative beautiful pink aesthetic and serves breakfast, yummy treats, & of course coffee. You don’t need a reservation so this cafe is a must if you’re close to the La Mesa area.
After breakfast, we headed up to Carlsbad. We spent the day at Legoland. We purchased Legoland theme park plus the Sea Life Aquarium tickets. We purchased our tickets online through the Southern California City Pass. By purchasing through the city pass, we saved about 40 dollars on our tickets.
Pro Tip: We found it easier to download the Legoland app & put our son's age & height in. Once this information is placed in, the app will state what rides your child can ride based on their age and height. The app also provides a GPS system which helped us navigate through the park faster & told us the duration to each ride wait time. By going in the month of March & on a weekday, the duration of the ride times was very short. We waited no more than 5 minutes for each ride.
The Sea Life Aquarium was an add on that we wanted to experience. The aquarium is located right inside of the park & is a very nice size. The aquarium offers hands on encounters with different sea creatures for the children. The Sea Life Aquarium was definitely worth a few more dollars to add it on to our LEGOLAND package.
Day 2: New Cities & New adventures
Temecula & More
We booked a hot air balloon ride in Temecula, CA through the company Magical Adventure Ballon.
Pro Tip: Our balloon ride in Temecula was $139 per person for two adults & $109 for a child. In San Diego the same company offers $300 per person rides, however if you’re willing and able to drive an hour to Temecula you can save tremendously per person on your shared balloon experience. In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Temecula & check out all of the wineries in the area.
We met the company at a nearby shopping plaza at 5:30 am. The company gave instructions once we purchased our tickets. The representatives weighed us & we were allowed to run to Starbucks for a quick bathroom break & breakfast.
We left our cars at the shopping plaza & we rode in the shuttle vans to the destination. The ride was about 10 minutes, and we were able to view some the beautiful wineries in the area.
Once we arrived, we waited for the balloons to blow up & were instructed on which side of the balloon to get in on. We took our pictures & videos in Front of the hot air balloon. The company also takes photos and will post them on their Facebook page and send you a link to access them. You can also pay for a drone experience and have a drone follow you while on the hot air balloon flight and take your photos.
You will be in the basket, in the sky for an hour. The flight is very peaceful, and the instructor will provide information about the surrounding area. The scenery is breathtaking. If you have a child that is short, you will get a side of the basket that has small square shapes in the baskets for them to see out of.
After the flight, you will be provided with a small snack bag & mimosas. After your snack, you will be transported back to the shopping plaza & provided with a flight certificate.
Breakfast & Bubbles
We decided to go into the city of San Diego & try a beautiful brunch spot called Breakfast & Bubbles. The restaurant has a pink aesthetic & they offer breakfast & champagne all day. We ordered the Tower of Sweetness, which included a beautiful gold tower full of pastries, fruit, pancakes, & waffles. We also added on side dishes. This was more than enough to feed a family of three. If you’re going throughout the weekday, you will need a reservation. If you’re going on a weekend, it’s walk ins only, just be sure to arrive early. Breakfast & bubbles was the perfect brunch vibes & our son loved it.
For dinner, we ate at this really cool restaurant called Corvette Diner. The Diner theme was s based on the trendy 1950s. The waitress & waiters all wore 1950 clothing & hairstyles. There is a huge 1950s Corvette in the middle of the diner. The diner is located in the Liberty Station part of town. The diner does not take reservations and they are only open Wednesday-Sunday, so they are quite busy. To top it off, the diner has a huge arcade where your family can play games while you wait for a table to become available. The food is very reasonably priced & the diner was such a fun experience for our family.
Day 3: Outdoor Things
Flap Your Jacks
During breakfast we tried out this brunch spot called Flap Your Jacks. The restaurant is so cute and unique. They have a pancake griddle at each table & it allows you to order your own pancake mix, toppings, & flip your own pancakes. This is a great way to allow your child to be creative & keep them entertained. There is a full breakfast & brunch menu that you can order from as well. The restaurant also has a full bar so you can order mimosas with your breakfast.
A piece of Italy in San Diego
We drove up to San Marcos. It’s about 40 minutes from San Diego. We booked an hour gondola ride through Black Swan Gondola Company. The company allows you to add on extra amenities to your ride for an extra price. We added rose petals to our ride. You are also allowed to bring your own bottle of wine just remember to bring ice, glasses, & cork as the company does not provide that. The gondolier was very professional & had a great singing voice. He sang Happy Birthday to our son in Venetian & “You Should Let Me Love You” by Mario. It was beautiful. The scenery & view of the San Marcos location was beyond breathtaking. We highly recommend this for your San Diego trip.
You can’t visit San Diego and not go to view the sunset at Sunset Cliffs. It’s such a beautiful view. Since we were there in March, the sunset around 5:40pm. We would suggest to arrive around 5pm and grab your parking spot and set up your chairs, blankets, etc. It’s a very popular site, but it’s not too crowded. This is great place for your family to see some beautiful views.
Secret Swings and Things
Have you ever heard of the hidden swings in La Jolla? It’s been said that only locals can find the hidden swings. We wanted to challenge theory & find one of the hidden swings in La Jolla.
The directions to get to the hidden swing were pretty simple. We drove to the very back parking lot of the Birch Aquarium. There was a small dirt trail leading uphill in the parking lot. The trail is very steep so be sure to wear some good shoes with a grip. Once you get up the hill you will see the swing. The swing is often taken down so it’s always painted different once it’s repaired by the locals. The views of La Jolla are amazing while you’re swinging.
Pro Tip: We recommend arriving early as possible to the have the swing to yourself. We arrived at 7am and we were the only people at the location. If you wait until mid-day there could be other locals or tourists in the area.
San Diego was the perfect birthday/family trip for us. We utilize this trip to step outside of the norm & try many different experiences with our son. If you’re looking for a fun & beautiful place to try new things, San Diego is the perfect place whether it’s a girls trips, Baecation, or family getaway. You will love it here in sunny San Diego!