Denise

About Denise

How would you describe your ideal San Diego day?

I'm a native Southern Californian and grew up spending lots of time on the beach. Not much has changed. My ideal San Diego day involves spending time with my family, soaking in the sun and watching my kids boogie board at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. Afterward, we head down to Old Town for fish tacos!

If you were invisible, where would you go?

This would sort of be like having a Harry Potter invisibility cloak. I would probably head over to the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con, bypass the long lines and meander into the famed Hall H. Hall H is the place where the hottest stars talk about their new films and the most anticipated panels of the event usually occur. (Including a Harry Potter panel a few years ago.)

What's your favorite outdoor activity?

Hands down, hiking at Lake Poway. It's close to my home in North County and is surrounded by rolling hills and acres and acres of the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve. We usually do the 2.7 mile trail, and I somehow manage to keep up with my two teenagers knowing that each turn holds a spectacular view. We picnic, watch the ducks or sometimes take a spin around the lake on the pedal boats.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

I'm definitely a burgers and beer kind of girl. Karl Strauss is my favorite downtown place for craft brews, and their burgers aren't bad either.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are…

Island in the Sun, Weezer and Bennie and the Jets, Elton John
Denise

Discover What’s New at San Diego Attractions this Summer

SeaWorld Auqatica - San Diego Attractions
SeaWorld Auqatica - San Diego Attractions

Things are heating up…or should we say cooling off at SeaWorld Aquatica, one of the newest San Diego attractions

Whether you’ve visited San Diego one time or many, one thing’s for sure: There’s always something new and fun to do for the entire family. The only challenge you may have is deciding what to do first! Here are a few exciting summer happenings at world-class San Diego attractions you don’t want to miss.

San Diego Zoo

Experience the Land Down Under at the San Diego Zoo’s new Conrad Prebys Australian Outback exhibit.  Visitors can check out the largest koala colony outside of Australia, as well as wombats, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, kookaburras and other Aussie critters.  Guests can also see the adorable new Chinese Giant Panda cub Xiao Liwu, which translates to “Little Gift.” The cub is the sixth Giant Panda born at the San Diego Zoo and is on display, weather permitting, from 9:00 AM to noon daily.

> Find out more about San Diego Zoo’s Conrad Prebys Australian Outback

SeaWorld Aquatica

From the waters of SeaWorld sprouts a whole different kind of water park, SeaWorld Aquatica San Diego. Located in Chula Vista in San Diego’s South Bay, Aquatica combines up-close animal encounters, exciting waterslide action and a sandy beach for the ultimate water park experience. There’s something for all ages in this tropical oasis where you can go from extreme to serene and bask in San Diego’s sunshine.

> Find out more about SeaWorld Aquatica San Diego

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Want to get up close and personal with a lemur? Visit the new exhibit, Lemur Walk in Gorilla Forest at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. Lemur Walk is an immersive experience where guests walk on a pathway through the animals’ habitat and watch these endearing primates socializing, grooming, jumping, climbing, and even sunbathing, one of the lemur’s favorite pastimes. Native to Madagascar, lemurs are known for their trademark long, black-and-white ringed tails.

> Find out more about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Lemur Walk

SeaWorld San Diego

Stop by SeaWorld’s newest show, Madagascar Live: Operation Vacation, an original 20-minute live musical show featuring the characters from the Madagascar movie franchise. The show features rock/pop music performed by a live band and includes both classic and original songs. Get your camera ready – the characters will also conduct meet and greets with park guests.

> Find out more about SeaWorld San Diego’s Madagascar Live: Operation Vacation

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Meet La Jolla’s legendary leopard sharks at the new Elasmo Beach exhibit at the Birch Aquarium. You’ll see leopard sharks as well as other species of sharks, rays and marine life that make their home along San Diego’s coastline. See these amazing animals in action in a 13,000-gallon Shark Reef. One of the best times to watch them is feeding time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 AM.

> Find out more about Elasmo Beach at Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Living Coast Discovery Center

The Living Coast Discovery Center’s year-round animal exhibits typically focus on Southern California’s native animal species, but for the spring/summer season has been transformed to showcase dangerous animals from around the globe with one thing in common – they all make their homes in and around Deadly Waters. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to experience Red-bellied Piranha, California Barracuda, sharks and more up-close. Discover which ones really pose the biggest threat, which ones get a bad rap and which are just dangerously misunderstood.

> Find out more about Deadly Waters at the Living Coast Discovery Center

> Find out more about San Diego Attractions

Pick one of your favorite San Diego attractions and tell us about your experience!

Denise

4th of July Fireworks and Celebration in San Diego

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration
San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July extravaganza.

It’s not too late to make plans to be in San Diego on the 4th of July to celebrate the birth of our nation and to see one of the spectacular fireworks shows around town. Gather up the kids, or get together with your best travel buddies, and watch the San Diego skyline light up from San Diego Bay to Del Mar to South Bay and the inland communities. San Diego’s exciting pyrotechnic displays never disappoint and always go off with a bang!  Here are just a few:

Annual Big Bay Boom

San Diego Bay, also known as “The Big Bay,” is fittingly home to the West Coast’s biggest and most fabulous fireworks extravaganza. Honoring San Diego’s rich military past and present, the Big Bay Boom is billed as “A Salute to the Military Families of our Service Heroes.” Prime viewing locations include Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero and Seaport Village along the bay, as well as the Coronado Ferry Landing in Coronado. Spectators can also view the show on Broadway Pier and the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal on downtown’s waterfront.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

San Diego County Fair, “Game On”

The San Diego County Fair is themed “Game On” and runs mid-June through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The fair comes to a close on Independence Day with one of the summer’s best fireworks displays. The evening festivities begin at 7:00 PM with the “Hometown Heroes Parade,” followed by a special tribute to the victims of 9/11 and a fireworks finale. Because the fair is already outside, there’s no better place to watch the show than from the fairgrounds.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Summer Nights at Sea World

When the sun goes down, SeaWorld heats up at night with a fantastic fireworks display – not just on the 4th of July, but all summer long. The display is set to the orchestral music of the Blue Horizons attraction, and colorful fireworks fill up the sky all around Mission Bay. Spend the day in the park, and in the evening, settle in for an impressive display of sparkle and excitement Shamu-style.

Fireworks start time: 9:30 PM

Coronado

Coronado has a full lineup of activities on July 4th starting with an annual Independence Day 15K Run-5K Run/Walk, an “America the Beautiful” parade, a concert at Spreckels Park and fireworks over San Diego Bay. For the best views, stakeout a spot near Glorietta Bay or Tidelands Park along the waterfront.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s most laid-back beaches and the fireworks show is a favorite among locals. The fireworks are launched from the end of the pier, which is also one of the longest piers in Southern California extending a good ½ mile out to sea. Best viewing is from the beach.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

Imperial Beach Pier

Imperial Beach fireworks show is synchronized with the Big Bay Boom extravaganza at San Diego Bay. The day kicks-off with several bands playing country, jazz, the blues and other music, leading up to a spectacular fireworks display after dark. Best viewing is from the beach.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM 

The Imperial Beach Fireworks have been canceled for 2013.

El Cajon

Experience an old-fashioned 4th of July at Kennedy Park in El Cajon, which is located in San Diego’s East County. The day starts with a centennial-themed picnic with food, carnival games, crafts, kiddie train rides and musical entertainment. In the evening, grab a blanket and find a spot at the park to watch the fireworks.

Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM

> Browse more 4th of July activities in San Diego

What do you plan on doing for 4th of July in San Diego?

Denise

San Diego Summer Fun – “Teen Tested, Mother Approved!” Activities

Summer in San Diego
Summer in San Diego

Even teens will admit to their parent’s that summer in San Diego is awesome!

Alice Cooper said it best, “No more teachers, no more books…school’s out for summer!” When the final school bell rings and summer break begins, there’s no better place to bring your kids than San Diego, especially teenagers. San Diego has great teen activities known to cause many of them to happily lay down their smart phones and join in the fun. Here are a few “teen-tested, mother approved” San Diego activities that my own two teenagers enjoy every summer.

Boogie Boarding

The beach and boogie boarding go hand in hand, like San Diego and sunshine. With 70 miles of gorgeous beaches, there’s plenty of surf for everyone. The best thing about it, just about anyone can do it. Teens love boogie boarding, and smaller kiddos and adults can jump right in for unlimited wave action too. Boogie boards can be rented at any of the surf shacks close to the beach.

Surf Lessons

Surfs up! Surfing is a way of life in San Diego, but if your teens don’t know how, don’t fret. Try Surf Diva Surf School located in La Jolla Shores, which is recognized world-wide and offers surfing lessons year-round. There’s also Menehune Surf School in La Jolla, founded and staffed by local school teachers who will have your teens up on a board and riding waves in no time. Or, if you want to experience “sheet wave” technology, try The Wave House in Mission Beach, which harnesses the power and challenge of the ocean in a man-made, closed system that gives you non-stop action.

Gather Around the Fire Pit

Most Southern California teens (including my own) love hanging out at the beach around a roaring beach bonfire. The Hotel Del Coronado offers “S’Mores on the Beach” where you can sit around a crackling fire pit under the stars, toes in the sand, and snack on the classic combination of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. Other options for fire pits are Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores and Moonlight Beach in North County.

Bike Riding

The great thing about riding a bike is that most teens never outgrow it. San Diego has an abundance of biking trails for you and your teens to ride along paths with awesome views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the beach and boardwalk, there are ample places where bikes can be rented.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Petco Park

During baseball season, my teenage son loves watching the Padres at Petco Park, one of America’s newest ballparks. But in the off season, your teens can catch all the MLB action with a behind-the-scenes tour, offered seven days a week. Discover “writer’s row” in the press box or explore the Padres dugout. The crown jewel of downtown San Diego, Petco Park serves up baseball Southern California style-complete with swaying palm trees and a sandy beach beyond center field.

Shopping

Both guys and girls will find plenty to browse for at Seaport Village, Old Town, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, which are the usual suspects, but offer one-of-a-kind San Diego souvenirs. There are also major malls, boutiques, surf shops and incredible outlet stores throughout San Diego County that offer big brand names and big discounts for fashion-progressive teens.

> Find more to do this Summer in San Diego

Tell us where you and your teens like to spend time in San Diego!

Denise

5 Great Family Friendly Biking Trails in San Diego

Family Friendly Biking on Coronado
Family Friendly Biking on Coronado

There’s almost nothing like feeling the sunshine and a cool breeze while pedaling along these family friendly biking trails in San Diego

Riding a bike is one of those great activities that transcends age – it’s for the young and young at heart – plus, they say once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll never forget. Add that to San Diego’s year-round sunshine and biking rises to the top of the must-do activity list for outdoor family fun when exploring the best scenic terrain San Diego has to offer.

Here are a few family friendly biking trails you can choose, and cruise, for the ultimate San Diego family adventure.

Mission Bay Park

Besides incredible views of San Diego’s gorgeous shoreline, Mission Bay Park is an epicenter for biking enthusiasts of every age. There’s a wide paved path covering about 4 miles and Fiesta Island is nearby if you want to extend the ride another 2 to 5 miles depending on the path you choose. There are also other challenging options for advanced riders.

Mission Beach Boardwalk

This is the quintessential San Diego beach biking experience. Along the 3-mile oceanfront boardwalk, you’ll find funky surf shops, cool places to eat and the iconic Belmont Park amusement park. It can get crowded, however, making it tricky navigating around joggers and walkers, especially if you have little bikers in tow. If you’re bringing the family, the best time to ride is on a weekday or early morning.

Coronado

Coronado is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., if not the world. There are about 30 miles of dedicated bike, blading and running paths with awesome views around town and the beach. You can bike the island via Coronado’s beachfront boardwalk, ride under the Coronado Bridge, pedal to the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado or venture down the Silver Strand.

Lake Miramar

Lake Miramar is an absolute treasure for families. You’ll find great picnic areas, and bikers share a 5-mile paved path around the lake with walkers, joggers and nature lovers watching assorted ducks, geese and critters who also call the lake home. For more experienced bikers, the area offers unpaved and rugged trails as well.

Santee Lakes

A beautiful 194-acre park surrounds seven scenic lakes providing instant relaxation and more than 5 miles of trails for biking. This is a natural environment perfect for families and the locals refer to it as one of “the best backyards in San Diego!”

> Enjoy Even more Family Friendly Biking in San Diego

Please remember to ride safe and obey all the San Diego traffic and safety laws.

Tell us about your favorite family friendly biking trail in San Diego.

Denise

The Best Iconic Family Photo Spots in Sunny San Diego

Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Spring Break in San Diego
Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Iconic Family Photo Spots

Sunsets along La Jolla Shores are just one of the few recommended iconic family photo spots in San Diego

Sunglasses, check! Flip flops, check! Sunscreen, check! Camera, double check! Whether you’re bringing the family to San Diego for the first time, or returning for another round of fun, there are lots of iconic family photo spots to capture special moments and to enjoy for years to come. We’re talking one-of-kind San Diego-centric places you’ll want to remember forever – beautiful sandy white beaches, feeding the dolphins at SeaWorld, standing next to an F/A-18 Hornet on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, or getting up close to Mary, a 9,000 pound elephant also known as “the boss lady” at the San Diego Zoo.

With so many of the nation’s best photo ops in one place, how do you find them all? If you like walking tours, Snap Photo Tours can take you to some of San Diego’s top places to photograph including Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter and Coronado. Not only will you learn about the history of these places, but they’ll teach you how to get better shots with your camera. Or you can try San Diego Photography Tours. They offer walking and shuttle tours of hidden gems in San Diego with experienced professional photographers who know the best vantage points and best time of day for the best shots.

But sometimes, the most memorable family photos are captured when you strike out on your own, with kids in tow and a smart phone camera in hand.

A Few Recommended Iconic Family Photo Spots

Unconditional Surrender

Try taking a family photo next to a statue depicting a famous photo! “Unconditional Surrender” is a dramatic twenty-five foot tall bronze sculpture of World War II’s most-famous kiss. Sited next to the USS Midway Museum, it’s part of the “Greatest Generation” artwork collection located at the Embarcadero.

SeaWorld San Diego

Check the feeding schedules because meal time is the best time to meet playful sea lions and dolphins up close – get your camera ready! Shamu’s underwater viewing tank is also a great backdrop for a picture.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a magnificent 1,200-acre park with 15 museums, eight gardens and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The lily pond, the Botanical Building and several glorious fountains are iconic San Diego photo spots.

Cabrillo National Monument

Besides providing an incredible vantage point overlooking San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, there’s the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, tide pools and natural bayside trails, all fabulous photo ops.

San Diego Zoo

Spend the day monkeying around and taking photos next to amazing animal habitats — gorillas, tigers, pandas, flamingos, polar bears, giant tortoises, leopards, you name it, it’s here!

Coronado

Not only are Coronado’s beaches rated the best in the nation, it’s home to the historic Hotel Del Coronado. The resort is a living legend and celebrities, dignitaries, U.S. presidents and countless visitors have been photographed here.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is a mile long crescent of prime sandy beach favored by active beachgoers of all ages. This is the place to snap a photo of the kids building sandcastles, learning to surf or watching the sunset.

Old Town State Park

Old Town is the birthplace of California and teems with history. Try posing for a fun picture in front of the historic Whaley House, which tops the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted House list.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

With ocean views at every turn, there are plenty of opportunities for awesome photos among miles of unspoiled beaches, hiking trails and rare Torrey pine trees on this 1,800-acre reserve.

What are some of your favorite iconic family photo spots in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below.

Denise

Spring Break in San Diego – The Perfect Family Getaway

Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Spring Break in San Diego

San Diego is known as the place where summer never ends, so why wait until summer to visit? Pack up the kids and head to San Diego for spring break – and don’t forget your sunscreen because you’ll need it. From our sun-kissed beaches and family friendly attractions, to discovering San Diego’s history and the great outdoors, there are so many fun things to do in San Diego that your only problem will be deciding what to do first.

Hit the Beach this Spring Break

Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Spring Break in San Diego

Bring the family to San Diego for a Spring Break beach vacation

Get outdoors and visit San Diego’s 70 miles of awesome beaches where there’s plenty of room for the whole family to splash in the Pacific Ocean this spring break. Whether it’s catching a wave on a boogie board, building a magical sand castle, or playing a rousing game of beach volley ball, this is the place to make special family memories. And, for families on a budget, this is an economical way to spend a day that’s easy on your wallet.

Attraction Action

Checking out the Panda - San Diego Zoo

See many of the new baby animals at San Diego attractions.

Journey to the San Diego Zoo’s Lost Forest zone, and pass the time away hanging around the world’s rarest monkeys, gregarious hippos, and other exotic animals. You can also step into a real-life adventure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and immerse yourself in an active safari experience where herds of animals roam in a 1,800-acre reserve. Or come celebrate the wonders of the sea at SeaWorld San Diego and experience the amazing Shamu show, and thrilling rides like Journey to Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids and Wild Arctic. If the kids are more in the mood for a creative, interactive day, let them play at LEGOLAND California where there are more than 60 rides, shows, attractions and lots of Legos!

Live the Adventure of a Lifetime at the U.S.S. Midway Museum

USS Midway Flight Deck

Take off into excitement aboard the USS Midway Museum

Prepare yourself for a lifetime memory aboard the USS Midway Museum, one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in U.S. history. Experience 60 exhibits, get an up close look at 25 restored aircraft or hop into a simulator and feel what it’s like to be an aviator launching off a flight deck, engaging the enemy and then returning safely. This is an unforgettable adventure for the entire family.

Explore Balboa Park

Balboa Park Fountain

Explore many educational wonders or just relax next to a flowing fountain in Balboa Park

Besides being home to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West” because it offers 15 diverse museums, most of them very kid-friendly. Here are a few to get you started this spring break: the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center brings science to life with hands-on experiments; escape from the ordinary and step into the shockingly odd world of Ripley at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! special exhibition at the San Diego Air & Space Museum; and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum has an extensive, interactive Lionel layout that kids love.

Think, Play Create at The New Children’s Museum

New Children's Museum in Downtown San Diego

Think, Play and Create at the New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego

The New Children’s Museum is a dynamic, new museum model for kids with inventive and engaging art experiences. From toddler to teen, there are fun-filled exhibitions, hands-on art making activities, special artistic performances and fun, educational happenings.

Discover the Cabrillo National Monument

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument

Explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument is where Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first landed in San Diego in 1542. Now a U.S. National Park, the area offers dazzling views of San Diego Bay and tons of activities for kids. Families can hike a scenic two-mile trail, explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse first lit in 1855, check out the tide pools and more. But first things first, be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to learn how your child can become a Junior Park Ranger during your visit.

> Discover more Spring Break Family Fun in San Diego

Tell us where your favorite family friendly place is to hang out during spring break! 

Denise

St. Patrick’s Day Family Fun in San Diego – 2013

Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Balboa Park
Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Balboa Park

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Balboa Park

Ready for a little Irish reveling on St. Patrick’s Day? Luckily, you don’t have to set sail to Ireland to celebrate because the luck of the Irish can be found right here in San Diego. Spend the day basking in San Diego’s glorious sunshine and make some memories with your loved ones at one of these local outdoor family-friendly events.

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival

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Irish Festival

Dress the family in green and head out to the Irish Festival in Balboa Park. Held in conjunction with a grand St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the festival has something for the entire family including Irish faire, craft booths and live entertainment for you to clap, dance and sing-a-long with on two stages running. Kids can play in the Kids Zone complete with games, rides, llamas, face-painting and other fun. You can also step back in time at a Celtic Village where the year is 1582. A troupe of renaissance re-enactors will entertain you while portraying the daily drama of the soldiers of the House McFionn. Kids and adults alike will be amazed by authentic fighting demonstrations, as well as Irish dancing, songs and story-telling.

Parade

This annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will have more than 120 entries including marching bands, decorated floats, bagpipe contingents, the reigning Miss Colleen, the Smiling Irishman and much more. Get there early for best viewing of this popular, colorful parade.

Where: Parade – 5th & 6th Avenues, between Juniper and Upas
Date: March 16, 2013
Times:
Festival – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Parade starts at 10:30 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival

St. Patrick’s Day 10K Run, 4 & 2 Mile Fun Run

St. Patrick's Day 10K Run

“May the road rise to meet you” at this 33rd annual run/walk event in Mission Bay Park. The best Irish-themed running costume will be recognized, and the whole family can watch or participate, then spend the day playing at the park. Mission Bay’s cool breezes, tranquil waters and soft sand beaches welcome beach-goers to this beautiful area all year long. But if you do decide to come out for St. Paddy’s day, there are also abundant grassy areas for the kids to hunt for four-leaf clovers!

Where: Mission Bay Park – 1740 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Starting Time: 7:30 AM
> Find out more about St. Patrick’s Day 10K Run, 4 & 2 Mile Fun Run

> San Diego Blooms in Spring

Denise

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Sweetheart Spa Treatments in San Diego

Couples Spa Massage - Valentine's Day Sweetheart Spa Treatments
Couples Spa Massage - Valentine's Day Sweetheart Spa Treatments

Spoil each other with a Valentine’s Day sweetheart spa treatment in San Diego

After a busy day of sight-seeing and exploring San Diego, you may be ready to try a different kind of R&R. There’s no better way to relax and rejuvenate your body and your soul than at one of San Diego’s top hotel spas – especially if your sweetheart is by your side. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, why not surprise your significant other with a relaxing couple’s massage. From ginger-vanilla massages to chocolate and orange body wraps, here are just a few of the romantic offerings around town.

Hotel Del Coronado – Spa At the Del

How about a s’mores couple’s massage? The Hotel Del Coronado, with its spectacular oceanfront location, is serving up a classic campfire favorite with a soothing massage. Start with a side-by-side 50-minute Swedish massage in the couple’s suite. Then head out to the sand for a private beach bonfire complete with s’mores, champagne and spectacular Pacific views.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego – Kin Spa

If you want the ultimate poolside escape, try an outdoor couple’s massage under a private cabana overlooking sparkling San Diego Bay. Before and after your service, Kin Spa provides complimentary access to a relaxation lounge where you can spoil yourself with wine or champagne, and fruit and cheese snacks.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront – Spa Aquazul

For a limited time, Spa Aquazul is offering a Love Birds Retreat package. Decompress with an 80-minute Shea Butter Couples Scrub, followed by a warm shower and a 50-minute Couple Travelers Tonic Massage. Complete your bliss with a champagne toast.

Paradise Point – The Spa at Paradise Point

“Oh, baby!” For parents-to-be, how about a mommy-daddy romantic get-a-way before your little one arrives? The Spa at Paradise Point provides a tranquil, romantic setting for “babymooners,” including sparkling cider upon arrival, a prenatal massage and everything you would expect for the perfect pre-baby spa experience.

Rancho Bernardo Inn – The Spa

The Rancho Bernardo Inn offers an 80-minute warming body treatment with a delicious blend of ingredients that are undoubtedly good enough to eat. Specialties for two include a dark chocolate and orange body scrub and wrap, as well as a ginger-vanilla massage. Unwind even more in the spa garden, or poolside in a private cabana, savoring a delicious picnic-basket lunch prepared just for the two of you.

The Grand Del Mar – The Spa

Cupid has definitely arrived at The Grand Del Mar. You and your honey can experience a luxurious mineral-rich bath for two, along with a chilled bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Your package also includes a blissful moisture-intensive wrap and a therapeutic massage.

Tell us about your favorite San Diego hotel spa experience for two!

Denise

San Diego Museum Month – Discover Something New for Half Price all February

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

If you like saving money (and who doesn’t), then be sure to pick up a free San Diego Museum Month pass. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 42 San Diego Museum Council membership museums during the entire month of February. You can pick up a free pass beginning February 1, 2013, at any of Macy’s fourteen locations throughout the San Diego area, Temecula and Imperial Valley. With one pass, up to four visitors can gain admission and it’s good all month-long.

From the Oceanside Museum of Art to downtown’s USS Midway Museum to the Tijuana Estuary, there’s plenty to see and ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.

San Diego Museum Month Highlights

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Escape from the ordinary and step into the shockingly odd world of Ripley at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. This is the first time a Ripley’s exhibition is returning to San Diego since the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. (This special exhibition requires an additional entry fee)

San Diego Natural History Museum

Check out Chocolate the Exhibition. Where does chocolate come from? How is it made? And how has it sweet-talked its way into our hearts?  Get the complete story behind this crave-worthy treat in Chocolate.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

See the new exhibition Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Meteors, Asteroids. The threat of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet is a staple of popular culture. If there was a dinosaur killer in Earth’s past, is there a human killer in our future? What are the chances and how do we assess the risks? For that matter, what are asteroids, comets, and meteorites, and where do they come from? Find out more in this 3,000 square-foot interactive exhibition.

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Discover the Maritime Museum of San Diego and its world-class collection of historic vessels including sailing ships, steam-powered boats and submarines. You can board and explore the ships and, on some, even set sail.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Explore where the wonders of the ocean come alive! See more than 3,000 fish in 60+ habitats plus a museum on ocean and earth science.

Living Coast Discovery Center

Enter the fascinating world of sharks and rays at the Shark & Ray Experience. Touch the velvety backs of friendly rays as they glide through the interactive touch pool, and view four different local shark species in a 21,000 gallon exhibit with multiple underwater viewing areas.

> Full list of all 42 participating museums during San Diego Museum Month

Which museum do you plan on discovering or revisiting during San Diego Museum Month?

Denise

San Diego Beaches – The Perfect Setting for a Stroll

Coronado - Silver Strand Beach
San Diego Beaches - Silver Strand on Coronado

Silver Strand State Beach – a great place for a stroll.

Are you looking for an awe-inspiring stretch of beach for taking a leisurely stroll? San Diego beaches provide the perfect setting with 70 miles of pristine coastline, gentle rolling waves and sparkling blue water as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, relaxation or even a little romance, you’ll find it at one of our world-famous beaches. In fact, San Diego has so many amazing beaches for walking, it’s nearly impossible to list them all. But, here are a few good spots to get you started.

Coronado and the Silver Strand

Silver Strand in Coronado is just a short distance from downtown San Diego, but is a world away in terms of relaxation. The waves are soothing and the beach literally sparkles in the sunlight due to the mineral Mica in the sand. If you walk north, you’ll see great views of Point Loma, or if you head south, the Imperial Beach Pier is off in the distance. Coronado beaches are consistently voted America’s finest by the Travel Channel, so whether you go on a romantic stroll for two or a family walk, this is the perfect place to get inspired.

La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is the quintessential San Diego beach. With soft, white sand and gentle rolling waves, strolling on this beach instantly makes you feel carefree and happy. A relaxed vibe also makes this beach popular amongst families, joggers and surfers. Walk north for a nice view of the Scripp’s Institute of Oceanography pier and La Jolla’s picturesque bluffs.

Mission Beach

Fun and energetic is the best way to describe Mission Beach. Probably because Belmont Park, a midway-style amusement park opened in 1925 and home of the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster, is nestled just to the south. A long stretch of ample shoreline makes Mission Beach a good bet for long walks. For a more lively experience, try strolling along its boardwalk filled with a colorful hodgepodge of rollerbladers, bikers, joggers and other locals.

Moonlight Beach

Located in Encinitas, Moonlight Beach has a nice stretch of shoreline perfect for a romantic stroll at sunset. The beach got its name in the early 1900’s when locals had late night picnics here by “moonlight,” and the name stuck. Today, its supple, wide beach is ideal for walking, and surfers love it for the great waves.

Carlsbad State Beach

Carlsbad State Beach is one of North County’s best kept secrets and offers a gorgeous, sandy coastline. So when you’re done playing in the water, sunbathing or building sandcastles, soak in a little extra sunshine walking along the shore. There’s also a paved path to combine your walk with a little people watching.

> Explore more of San Diego’s Beaches

Where’s your favorite stretch of San Diego beach for strolling?