Imagine a life where you are surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes, ocean blue waters, and palm trees galore. You might say this is all a dream. Well, we call this California Dreaming and our hope is to shed light onto one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.A. San Diego is known as ‘America’s Finest City’ and you will soon learn how it lives up to its name! Enjoy these fun things to do in San Diego | America’s finest city.

San Diego downtown

Welcome to San Diego, California

Although you might know the San Diego area for tourist spots such as SeaWorld and Legoland, there is certainly so much more here to indulge yourself in! When you explore this stunning city, the options are endless. Soak in the coastal cliff side beaches, beautiful city parks, and the amazing comfortable weather. There is something to enjoy for everyone!

Enjoy the Animals at San Diego Zoo

One of the more popular attractions that San Diego is known for is the infamous San Diego Zoo, and many other adventurous activities. The primary purpose of the zoo in recent years is their efforts in conservation and education. Of course, caring for the animals and educating you about them is the other primary goal.

Entrance at San Diego Zoo. FitlifeandTravel.com

The San Diego Zoo is great for families to enjoy a day learning about many different animals and ways we can respect them as well as conservation. It is now known the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance which offers an array of opportunities to explore and learn. The education program offers wildlife experiences as well as summer camps for anyone of all ages.

San Diego Zoo polar bear habitat
San Diego Zoo polar bear habitat

San Diego offers so much more than just the average everyday tourist hot spots. Here are a few other unique things to discover and see in the less traveled areas of San Diego.

Hiking Adventures in San Diego

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Discover how truly beautiful San Diego really is with a nature walk and hike around Torrey Pines State Preserve. This peaceful, beautiful trail is perfect for visitors to enjoy in a clean, natural environment with stunning landscapes and views. And believe me, these views do not disappoint. Please note, that Torrey Pines is a reserve; so a reserve is not a park. This reserve is a targeted area protected for conservation and also has other restrictions different than a park. Read more here:

Torrey Pines State Beach

You will find Torrey Pines State Beach at the bottom of 300 foot sandstone cliffs of white and golden stone, with a greenish layer sometimes visible at the very bottom. At the north end of the beach the cliffs ends and Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a salt marsh estuary, empties into the ocean. A county highway crosses the entrance, with limited free parking along the beach.
Learn more here:

Torrey Pines Beach

Exploring Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego

In historical records, it is said that the San Diego bay was claimed by some sailors on the ships to have seen the harbor from some 39 miles away during the middle years of the 1800s. However, this has been unclaimed. The lighthouse lamps played a critical role in the history of San Diego during the first and second World Wars. This is the beautiful Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego!

The lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument

You can enjoy the short nature path of Bayside Trail which is approximately 2.5 miles round trip. Along this smooth walking trail you will see some the areas lovely foliage and native coastal sage brush.

Unique Hiking Trails near San Diego

It’s time to step outdoors and start exploring! You will find some of the best hikes in San Diego to be plentiful indeed.

Santa Fe Trail FitlifeandTravel.com
Santa Fe Trail

The Sante Fe and Del Dio Gorge Trails are both segments of the San Dieguito River Park area and the Coast to Crest trails. Three pre-historic cultural periods describe parts of this region and portrays a peak at how Native Americans explored through this valley. The Harris Site is noted as one of the most significant archaeological sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

Del Dios Gorge Trail. San Diego Hiking. California. FitlifeandTravel.com
Del Dios Gorge Trail

Hiking to the Iconic Potato Chip Rock

A highly visited hiking trail in San Diego county, Mt. Woodson is a challenging trail that leads you to amazing views. It’s not uncommon that you could see a Mountain Lion and cubs roaming around these parts. The last one spotted was in the area near Mt. Woodson golf course. (Date: Oct 4, 2018). There are numerous adventures all throughout San Diego’s nature and other hiking trails in the area.

San Diego’s Beautiful Beaches

La Jolla Cove

The charming small community of La Jolla is surrounded by carved cliffs and stunning coastlines. When I have visitors in town, I always take them here to browse the beach and boutiques. It’s a perfect place to enjoy something at minimal cost or mostly free. This is the perfect area to see whales as they migrate through these ocean waters.

La Jolla Cove

It is home to several species of sea life including seagulls, seals, and an occasional spotting of Orca killer whales. The sea lions are known to put on quite a show as they roam around some parts of the lower coastal beach areas.

Occasionally, the local news will report sightings of various whales gracing the coastal regions in Southern California. This beach area is one of the most photographed areas in San Diego.

La jolla Cove in San Diego
La Jolla Cove

Now, you can not visit California without spending at least one day at one of San Diego’s stunning beaches. You will find numerous beaches to choose from in the San Diego area. I have listed here a few of the less traveled beaches that are amazingly beautiful. You will find these beaches in North County of San Diego.

Carlsbad State Beach

Fun Things To Do In San Diego | America's Finest City. California. FitlifeandTravel.com
Carlsbad State Beach, California

Carlsbad State Beach is unique in its own right. Take notice of how this beach has a massive amount of rocks. There are also several visitors other than people at this beach. You will also share the shore with seagulls and other sealife in this area. Then take a look at Moonlight Beach located in Encinitas just a short distance south of Carlsbad.

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is one of California’s hottest places for surfers. One must be extremely careful as there have also been other visitors in the area recently. A visitor that entails a great white shark. Caution must always be considered when going into these waters.

Other local popular beaches include the following:

  • Pacific Beach
  • Mission Beach
  • Ocean Beach
  • Sunset Cliffs

Fun Things To Do in San Diego

Miramar Air Show

The annual Miramar Air Show is a spectacular display of America’s military force along with highlighting its members skills and talents. In 2018, the air show theme consisted of honoring 100 years of women in the Marine Corps. Also feature highlights include new and impressive aircraft such as the F-35 Lightening II, F/A -18 Hornet, MV-22 Osprey, AH-1Z Super Cobra/Viper, and of course, the infamous Blue Angels! Miramar Air Show is an annual event usually scheduled for some time in late September or early October.

USS Midway Museum

Enjoy one of the most rare opportunities to walk in the same footsteps of thousands of military sailors of years past. This unique museum will open your eyes to what it was like living on this small city on the sea. Offering options of self or guided tours, you will surely be engaged when learning about some of the toughest military campaign battles in history.

Petco Park and San Diego Padres

America’s favorite past time to spend with family and loved ones. It’s a time to reflect on the good old days of the past and also create new memories! Experience an exciting game of baseball in a beautiful setting at the same time of enjoying the city views as the backdrop.

Petco Park - San Diego Padres Baseball Stadium
Petco Park – San Diego Padres Baseball Stadium

If you visit San Diego, you must experience a baseball game at Petco Park with an unbelievable backdrop of the city surrounded by the ocean and spectacular sunsets! You can see airplanes arriving for landing in the distance behind the city buildings as you watch the game.

Balboa Park

One of San Diego’s iconic parks offers a setting that combines culture, science, and nature in one sort of snapshot experience. From several recreational attractions to science museums, you will be certain to be enlightened.

Balboa Park Fun Things To Do In San Diego
Balboa Park Fun Things To Do In San Diego

Stunning sunsets to see in San Diego

If you haven’t noticed by now, San Diego is one of the most prettiest cities you will ever see. America’s finest city has a population of 1,386,932, as of the year 2020. I am amazed at the growth of my former hometown of San Diego coming in as the eighth most populated city in the United States. There are so many reasons why this many people call this city home. The city is best known for its desirable climate, outdoor adventures, and its extensive beaches and parks.

Petco Park views of San Diego Bay. FitlifeandTravel.com
Views from Petco Park Stadium San Diego

California Dreaming

San Diego is an exquisite city to visit and experience. It’s a vacation and travel destination for millions of visitors. And yes, there are the popular tourist attractions that visitors love to see but there are also the less traveled amazing spots that will leave you speechless.

SUNRISE San Diego, California. Fitlifeandtravel.com
San Diego sunrise

So when you make your trip to San Diego, be sure to explore one or two of the hidden gems that will make your dream vacation more complete. In the meantime, keep on California dreaming!

If you are planning a trip to beautiful San Diego, I am including a few resources to help you coordinate your trip.

Hotels and Lodging in San Diego:

Choice Hotels
Double Tree Hilton Hotel
Town and Country Resort
Sheraton Hotel and Marina
Omni San Diego Hotel

Dining Options around San Diego:

According to the 10 Best Restaurants on Tripadvisor, here are a few options to choose from.

Smallgoods Cheese Shop & Cafe
Ambrogio15
Dockside 1953
Oceana Coastal Kitchen
Parma Cucina Italiana
Harney Sushi
The Mission East Village
Sushi Ota
A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines
Enoteca Adriano


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Potato Chip Rock hike. San Diego. California. FitlifeandTravel.com
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Thank you for being here. I'm Shannon, founder of Fitlifeandtravel bringing you inspiration to everyday life. Helping you adventure better, no matter where you are. Hoping to inspire an active lifestyle through adventure!

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62 Comments

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