"San Diego, amongst other pleasantries, boasts some of the most temperate weather conditions in the continental U.S."
Road trips are about as American as apple pie. There’s something spellbinding about cruising along Route 66 with miles and miles of nothingness in all directions. So being the travel enthusiast I am, I leaped at an invitation from my sister and brother-in-law to accompany them and their two toddler-aged daughters (my nieces) on a traditional family vacay through the rugged hinterlands of the Southwestern United States in their ever trusty minivan.
Some may scoff at my naivety in regards to such an undertaking—riding in the backseat alongside a three year old and a one-and-a-half year old in a van for 1800 miles. Sure, such people do have a point. I certainly didn’t know the full extent of what I was getting myself into.
I like to think of myself as a rather intrepid traveler, willing to rough it in the most meager of circumstances. In fact, mere days had passed since my return to the States from a month long jaunt through the wilds of Southeast Asia on a backpacking escapade. After surviving bloody political protests in Bangkok, sketchy border crossings in Cambodia, and pirate-infested waters in Indonesia, I was pretty sure I could handle a summer family vacation to Southern California. However, I quickly learned the futility of making such hasty assumptions.
To be fair, the trip went exceptionally smoothly. Sure, there was an occasional tantrum and a bout or two of carsickness. Luckily, the minivan was blessed with a DVD player which became a heavenly perk during such periods of unrest. And with a seemingly unlimited supply of storybooks, dolls, kid’s sing-along CDs, and gummy bears there was no time for boredom. Yet it was still a welcome relief when, after many hours on the road and with our trusty TomTom to guide us straight and true, we descended into the blissful paradise of San Diego.
San Diego, amongst other pleasantries, boasts some of the most temperate weather conditions in the continental U.S. Consequently, some critics accuse San Diego of being “seasonless” and drab. And yet ironically, its climate is probably its biggest draw. As such, I’d always heard that San Diego was for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness gurus. So I was rather pleased to see such sentiments ring true as we crossed the two-mile long Coronado Bay Bridge from the mainland to the idyllic resort town of Coronado Island. Throngs of runners, some well-trained and others giving a valiant effort, were, with some exertion, running across the bridge as part of the annual Silver-Strand Marathon.
"Travel is about discovery and I, for one, most certainly discovered a lot on that trip."
While the climate and outdoor lifestyle are definite bonuses for visitors, the main draw for many is San Diego’s reputation as a family friendly locale. It’s regularly recognized by travel magazines as a top pick for family vacations. Thus, it’s no small surprise that this was the perfect destination for our legendary road trip.
And what better place to stay in San Diego than at an oceanfront condo mere feet from Coronado Beach, revered by many travelers as the best family beach in the country?
So went the family vacation. We boogie boarded. We napped. We ate. We built sand castles. We traversed the island in an electric car. All the tell-tale signs of a traditional family holiday were firmly set in place. This caused an epiphany, of sorts, to maneuver its way into my hard head.
Perhaps traveling was about more than just cramming a day full of must-dos and gotta-sees. And as a relatively self-regulating travel buff, I discovered that traveling with kids wasn’t quite the hindrance I had initially deemed it to be. On the contrary, it brought an added dimension of glee and humor to the entire escapade. And so what if we had to make a few extra pit stops along the way and didn’t stick to a set itinerary? Travel is about discovery and I, for one, most certainly discovered a lot on that trip.
Places to Stay
470 Heritage Park Row
San Diego, CA 92110
“The secluded Victorian Park, above the historic Old Town of San Diego, is the setting for the romantic Heritage Park Inn. The historical park includes seven Victorian houses of different architectural styles, set among cobblestone walkways and gardens on 7.8 acres. The inn is an enchanting Queen Anne mansion characterized by a variety of chimneys, a two-story corner turret, and a wrap-around veranda - perfect for relaxing on warm evenings or lazy afternoon.”
Beach Bed & Breakfast
5054 Narragansett Avenue
San Diego, CA 92107
“You can come home after a long hard day at the convention and relax with a glass of wine and watch the sunset or go out for a leisurely dinner in one of 36 little restaurants, pubs, deli and coffee shops. We have some great eateries within a 5 minute walk from the B&B.
Whatever you decide, just be sure to enjoy your time in Ocean Beach/San Diego to the max. Take home positive memories and we'll be waiting for your next visit.”
Coronado Island Inn
301 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
“A sister hotel to the Coronado Inn, The Coronado Island Inn offers access to the beautiful Coronado Island without sacrificing affordability. The Island Inn prides itself on being the most affordable hotel on Coronado Island and never compromises quality.
A short walk from Coronado's multitude of shops, restaurants and bars, the Island Inn is an affordable opportunity to explore all that the island has to offer. The Island Inn is positioned on the corner of 3rd Street and Orange Avenue, diagonally across from the Coronado Inn, and offers accessibility without sacrificing affordability.
If you consider yourself ready to embark on a new vacation adventure or are interested in experiencing all that the Coronado Island has to offer, book online today! Do not allow yourself to miss out on the opportunities and adventures that await you in this Southern California getaway.”
Things to Do
This exclusive town just five miles from downtown San Diego was recently listed by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the priciest places to live in the United States. But don’t let that deter you from spending a night or two on this tranquil island. It’s got outstanding beaches, a quaint downtown complex of eateries and shops, and attractive examples of art deco architecture around every corner. It is also home to the Hotel del Coronado of Some Like it Hot and Marilyn Monroe fame.
Step back in time and amble through old-fashioned San Diego. A highlight of Old Town is the recently renovated San Diego Mormon Battalion Site. This pro bono museum allows visitors to discover authentic replicas of 1800s San Diego from a pioneer’s perspective on an interactive tour. There’s even an opportunity to pan for gold and make a homemade brick! Also, check out the Bazaar Del Mundo, a festive place to shop, people-watch, and feast on appetizing Mexican cuisine.
So, technically Tijuana isn’t part of San Diego…or the United States, for that matter. But for those adventurous souls, it’s an exotic way to spend a day. Sure, in recent years Tijuana has earned a rather notorious reputation. However, established tour companies offer effortless daily excursions from San Diego. Don’t miss Revolucion Avenue, a hectic, boisterous market with a whole slew of Mexican souvenirs and trinkets. NOTE: A passport is required to re-enter the United States.