Sarah Weinberg

Mommies Go Glamping at San Diego KOA Resort

I’m not a camper, my parents were not campers, but I want my kids to experience more than I did, so when I was invited by a friend for a Mother-Daughters “glamping” trip (Glamorous Camping), I thought it was the perfect way to ease into the rustic outdoor life.

Cabin Glamping – Home for the Weekend

Glamping with a San Diego KOA Cabin

Home for the weekend! The cutest luxury cabin, all ready to go for our glamping weekend.

It turns out glamping at KOA San Diego Metro is far from rustic. Our two-bedroom-plus-sleeping-loft deluxe cabin housed us six glamping girls beautifully. Everything was provided to make us comfortable in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and outdoors.

No need to roll up your sleeping bag: bedding, pillows and towels are provided inside this luxury escape.

Enjoying The Comforortable Great Outdoors

As for outdoors, yes! It was great making s’mores at our own personal fire pit using the cooking utensils, firewood and starter provided by the campground.

Outdoors in January in San Diego, no problem! This campground heats its pool to 80 degrees and the external temp was in the mid-70s for our visit, so we roughed it poolside with towels provided.

A heated pool and jacuzzi added to the glamour of our January camping weekend.

A heated pool and jacuzzi added to the glamour of our January camping weekend.

Outdoor Exercise?

You bet! Even our dog had a dog park and canine obstacle course onsite to romp around. For human guests, there’s a rock climbing wall and playground with play structure. The most exciting outdoor activity for our girls was an inflated jump hump that puzzled us all as we scouted the camp the evening we arrived. Since it is deflated at night; we wondered, “what could it be?”

An outdoor bouncing area was the highlight of the girls' afternoon.

An outdoor bouncing area was the highlight of these glamping girls’ afternoon.

By morning the girls discovered the joys of an alfresco bounce house.

The camp also provides bike, surrey bike and other wacky pedal equipment for rental, so our kids enjoyed trying out a variety of contraptions.

Ready to race around the KOA Metro San Diego campground.

Ready to race around the KOA Metro San Diego campground.

A tip from a friend who stores her RV at this park and regularly escapes here for a hassle-free weekend: Have your kids bring their skates, skateboards and scooters, as this is a kid-friendly, low-traffic paved campground and at dusk there were groups of newly-made friends scooting through the campsite working up an appetite for BBQ and s’mores.

Outdoor Dining?

You betcha! We dined at our own picnic table on the front “patio” area, using the propane BBQ outside the cabin to grill our own food the first night. The second night we were treated to The Sandcastle Café, KOAs new locally sourced onsite café with outdoor seating area. This little kitchen can do it all, serving delicious, reasonably priced options grown from an onsite garden and neighboring organic farm housed on land owned by the campground. The kale salad was delightful and healthy, the sweet potato fries and pulled pork sandwiches disappeared too quickly, and the hamburger pizza was a hit with the kids. Note: The café’s freshly brewed lattes made our morning constitution along the river all the more civilized.

After an evening stroll, we left the great outdoors to play board games inside the cabin and enjoyed a good night’s sleep on fresh sheets (that I did not have to take home and launder)!

About the San Diego KOA Campground

Located only minutes from downtown, this KOA campsite was founded by a local family and continues to be run by three generations of the Bell family. When Ted and Carol Bell purchased beautiful land next to the San Diego River in 1968 and decided to make it a campground, they could not have anticipated the phenomenal urban growth that would eventually extend to their rustic site and result with a property smack dab in the center of it all. For visitors, day trips to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld or the nearby Aquatica SeaWorld’s Water Park take only 20 minutes because the freeway is so close.

Mature trees, tidy landscaping and well paved paths make biking around the KOA Metro San Diego campground a joy.

Mature trees, tidy landscaping and well paved paths make biking around the KOA Metro San Diego campground a joy.

The trees planted on the site in the 1960s make for mature foliage and there are many regulars who park their RVs in the lots and stay for an extended time. In addition to the deluxe cabins with all mod cons, standard cabins and tents that sleep up to six are available to rent, so the campground really does provide for all types of camping experiences. While it turns out my daughter was not introduced to “camping” on this trip, it was a delightful getaway from city within the city.

> Find out more about Camping in San Diego

Robert Arends

Jolly Good Times in La Jolla this Holiday Season!

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Happy Holidays from La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most magical winter getaways. Sparkling beaches, warm sun shiny days and a welcoming Village vibe await holiday visitors to this enticing seaside enclave.

Christmas Celebration

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Festivities kick off this Sunday during the popular annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival. This year’s theme is “Spirit of Christmas – Peace on Earth.” Parade begins at 1:30 PM along Girard Ave. and Prospect Street. There will be marching bands, vintage cars, equestrians and floats. Arrive early for prime viewing spots.

Afterward, head to the La Jolla Recreation Center (615 Prospect Street) for a fun festival featuring local businesses like Birch Aquarium and Surf Diva, photos with Santa Claus, a live entertainment stage and Christmas tree lighting at 5:00 PM.

Did you know: One of the parade sponsors is Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was one of La Jolla’s most famous residents!

> Dr. Seuss on the Loose in La Jolla

Where: Girard Avenue & Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 7, 2014
Time: 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

Curtain Call

“Fa la la la la!” at the La Jolla Theatre Ensemble’s briskly-moving adaptation of the holiday classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Where: La Jolla Community Center – 6811 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 13 and 15, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: $10 suggested donation
> Find out more about Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Shop Till You Drop

La Valencia Hotel's 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

La Valencia Hotel’s 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

Shop for everyone on your holiday list – and yourself! – at the shops in La Jolla Village, particularly along Prospect St. and Girard Ave. The La Jolla Festival of Lights is sure to bring a twinkle to your eye as storefronts and hotels glow with colorful lights, Christmas trees, menorahs and other eye-catching holiday décor.

This Friday, the Allied Artists Association of San Diego (aaaSD) presents an Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar at the La Jolla Community Center; a great chance to meet and mingle with local artists and shop for one-of-kind handmade holiday gifts including crafts, glass creations and paintings.

When: December 5, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost:  Free
> Find out more about the aaaSD Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar

La Jolla Hotel Holiday Deals

Chef's yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Chef’s yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Some wrapped and ready packages to make your La Jolla visit merrier include:

See you in La Jolla for the holidays! 🙂

Robert Arends

Merry Mission Bay for the Holidays!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

The holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better place to be than San Diego’s sparkling Mission Bay where distinctly California festivities await!

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay lights up December 13 during the Parade of Lights

Everybody loves a holiday parade. But in San Diego, they don’t just happen in the streets. A unique maritime way to make some merry this holiday season is the popular Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 13, featuring dozens of boats festooned with holiday lights and décor sailing around Mission Bay.

All are welcome to this free aquatic pageant which attracts tens of thousands of spectators to the shoreline.

The boat parade begins at 7:00 PM from the Quivira Basin. The best viewing spots are from Crown Point, Santa Clara Point Park (by Sail Bay), the east side of Vacation Island and west side of Fiesta Island. Check out this map of Mission Bay to scope out the area beforehand.

When: December 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Also on Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego makes a big splash with its annual Christmas Celebration, beginning this Saturday. Festivities include Christmas-themed animal shows, holiday décor throughout the park, Santa’s Cottage for the kids, the 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights and SnowWorld, a winter wonderland with hills of snow for kids to sled down and practice making snowballs. Yep, it snows in San Diego! (we just have to make it 😉

SnoWorld at SeaWorld!

SnowWorld at SeaWorld San Diego!

When: November 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration

Mission Bay Hotel Holiday Deals

After a jolly day on the bay, rest your head at one of these top 5 tropical waterfront resorts that dot the shoreline:

See you this holiday season in Mission Bay! 🙂

Robert Arends

Mission Valley is Full of Family Fun During October’s Kids Free in San Diego

Kids rule during Kids Free San Diego month!

Kids rule during Kids Free San Diego month!

The Kidvasion has begun! The 3rd annual Kids Free San Diego month kicks off today and continues through Halloween. Kids are sure to get a kick out of being VIPs (or should we say, VIKs – Very Important Kids 😉 ) all month long.

As you and your family are in town exploring the sights or planning a fun-filled fall visit to San Diego, be sure to check out these kids free deals in Mission Valley, conveniently located in the middle of it all just minutes from many major attractions.

Play!

Mission Trails Regional Park

Old Mission Dam - Mission Trails Regional Park

Enjoy the sound of the San Diego river rushing through the Old Mission Dam with a free hike through Mission Trails

Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the nation’s largest urban natural parks, is free for the whole family to explore, bike and hike 42 miles of scenic trails, including paths to the historic Old Mission Dam/San Diego River and to the top of Cowles Mountain, famous for its spectacular 360-degre views. The interactive Visitor Center is cool too, as are free guided nature walks every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 AM.

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Take a trip back in time at Mission San Diego

Take a trip back in time at Mission San Diego

Take a trip back to the time of the Spanish explorers and Franciscan friars who discovered San Diego at Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in California (founded in 1769 and relocated to its present site in 1774). Children under 6 are free to tour the little museum (kids 6 to 12 are only $2). The Mission church and grounds, including a cool excavation site out back, are free for all to explore.

Junipero Serra Museum

Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill

Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill

Kids under 6 are also free at Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill overlooking Mission Valley and Old Town. It was here in 1769 that the Spanish friar Junípero Serra and a group of soldiers built California’s first mission and a fort (called “presidio” in Spanish). The original buildings are gone, but an impressive Spanish-style museum sits on the site today.

Eat!

Lots of restaurants in Mission Valley’s hotels and resorts are rolling out the red carpet for children 12 and under. Kids eat free (with purchase of an adult entrée) at:

Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley

Kids eat free at the tiki-tastic Crowne Plaza Hotel!

At Doubletree by Hilton-Mission Valley, kids (up to two per room) can choose a free entrée from the children’s menu at the Fountain Café and Windows Lounge. Kids’ breakfasts are free at Ramada Conference Center plus free eats for kids at Sheraton Mission Valley!

Gifts!

Upon check in, Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel Circle is giving out a free welcome gift to each kid who checks in. WAY cool!

> Discover more of San Diego’s Mission Valley

As you can see, there are money-saving deals galore! See you in Mission Valley 🙂

Robert Arends

Escape to the Tropics of San Diego’s Mission Bay

Mission Bay Aquatic Park, a tropical escape!

Tropical Mission Bay Aquatic Park

You don’t have to fly hours to the South Pacific to feel warm ocean breezes, see swaying palm trees and wiggle your toes in soft white sand beaches while enjoying spectacular crimson sunsets.

Mission Bay, a 4,600-acre aquatic playground just north of downtown San Diego, features all that and much more: SeaWorld San Diego (celebrating its 50th anniversary), beachside resorts and restaurants, boating and recreational facilities…even luaus!

Mission Bay was first discovered in 1542 by explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who named it “False Bay” because of its shallow lagoons and saltwater marshes. Dredging in the late 1940s through the ’60s created what we see today: the largest man-made aquatic park in the United States!

An early historian envisioned Mission Bay would become the Venice of America. Well, it didn’t quite become a gondolier’s dream, but rather a tropical retreat better suited to its sparkling location on the Pacific.

[Tweet “Experience a little slice of vacation paradise in #SanDiego at these scenic spots on #MissionBay:”]

To experience a little slice of vacation paradise, look no further than these scenic spots on Mission Bay:

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Paradise Point Resort, a tropical oasis on Mission Bay!

Paradise Point Resort, a tropical oasis on Mission Bay!

The name says it all! For over half a century this oasis on a private peninsula has lured travelers looking for a dreamy island escape.

> Find out more about the Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa

Fun summer luau at Catamaran Resort, Mission Bay

Fun summer luau at Catamaran Resort, Mission Bay

The Catamaran Resort is as Hawaiian as it gets, with lava-like fountains, tropical landscaping, live parrots and entertaining summer luaus!

> Find out more about the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa

Bahia Resort Hotel

Bahia Resort Hotel

Live like your own your own island at the Bahia Resort Hotel

The Brazilian-themed Bahia Resort, located on a secluded 14-acre peninsula, surrounds guests with island-inspired beauty from exotic palms and a rainbow of colorful flowers to splashing streams.

> Find out more about the Bahia Resort Hotel

Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Poolside at the tropical Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Poolside at the tropical Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

The luxe and lovely Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is a romantic paradise of lush, tropical surroundings.

> Find out more about the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

The Dana on Mission Bay

Cool tiki at The Dana on Mission Bay!

Cool tiki at The Dana on Mission Bay!

The Dana on Mission Bay is also pretty as a postcard with its 10 tropically landscaped acres – tikis and all! (for tiki fans, check out my list of fun San Diego tiki finds)

> Find out more about The Dana on Mission Bay

> Discover even more Tropical Fun in Mission Bay

Bring your leis and grass skirts and ease into the island vibe you’ll find on Mission Bay! 🙂

Robert Arends

Resort to Fun with Outdoor Activities in Coronado this Spring!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Spring over to Coronado Beach, the #1 beach in America

Spring is just around the corner (March 20) and with the weather warming up, now is a perfect time to plan your Spring Break and discover the great outdoors of Coronado Island!

With miles of beaches and coastline on the sparkling Pacific and San Diego Bay, there are countless options for fun in the water including surfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more.  On land, the “Crown City” has just as much to offer: bicycling, inline skating, golf, tennis… and the list goes on.

Here are my top picks of things to do at Coronado’s big four fab resorts and hotels where outdoor activities abound:

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort was made for play and enjoys the best of both watery worlds, situated on a peninsula on San Diego Bay just steps from Silver Strand State Beach and the ocean. Fun ways to soak in the sun include swimming in three pools (including one for adults only), surfing, sailing, kayaking, bicycling, rollerblading, cool interactive nature tours of the Silver Strand (a pristine preserve of rare plants, animals and birds) and tours of the resort’s herb garden.

Did you know: Just down the road from Loews, The Gondola Company offers enchanting cruises on authentic Venetian gondolas!

Flamingos, finches and ducks - oh my! - at the Coronado Island Marriott

Flamingos, finches and ducks – oh my! – at the Coronado Island Marriott

I recently stayed at Coronado Island Marriott Resort where surprising outdoor finds made for quite a memorable visit, especially the aviary of finches, a flock of pink flamingos and families of ducks wading in ponds; photo opps galore! There’s also bicycling along beautiful bay-side paths, tennis and swimming/sunbathing in three pools. The resort even has its own private pier where you can take a water taxi across the bay to downtown San Diego.

Kayak Under the Coronado Bridge

Coronado Kayak Tour

Did you know: At the nearby Coronado Ferry Landing, the new Coronado Kayak Tour is San Diego’s only urban kayaking adventure, and glides under the iconic blue arch of the Coronado Bridge!

The landmark Hotel del Coronado is a grand playground to explore with recreational options that take full advantage of its location on the #1 beach in America.  There’s yoga on the beach, beach volleyball and beach rentals including boogie boards, surfboards and beach cruisers from PeDels (gotta love the name!). At night, s’mores on the beach is a sweet way to end the day.

Did you know: The Del’s tide break of giant boulders is a great spot to explore tidepools teeming with marine life.

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

Fore! at Coronado Golf Course

The charming Glorietta Bay Inn is in a prime location overlooking Glorietta Bay, home to the Coronado Boathouse where sailboat, speedboat, water ski, jet ski, paddleboat and kayak rentals are available. The Inn is also just down the street from the Coronado Tennis Center (8 courts) and scenic Coronado Golf Course. Golfers will love Glorietta Bay Inn’s new Golf Play & Stay package which includes one round of golf and a golf cart.

Did you know: On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Coronado Touring offers fascinating historic walking tours of downtown Coronado, departing from the Glorietta Bay Inn.

Happy Spring (almost)…See you in Coronado!

Guest Blogger

A Day of La Bella Vita in San Diego’s Little Italy

La Pensione Hotel in Little Italy

Little Italy is San Diego’s charismatic slice of Italy’s modern style and old-world sensibility. Most importantly, it’s a place that holds a special place in the hearts of most San Diegans.

Just ask any local and they’ll sigh and say how much they love to love Little Italy.

Little wonder. Hours spent in Little Italy are the closest you can get to the nonchalant la bella vita that Italians are masters in.

Walk past a circle of old men conversing in rapid Italian, stroll past mom’n’pop shops while nibbling a cup of gelato, sip your espresso at an outdoor café, duck into an Italian wine bar lit up by candlelight, or simply eat your way silly through the seemingly endless options of Italian and fusion restaurants.

In Little Italy, you can act as if there are no deadlines to meet, no schedule to abide by. Little Italy is the cosmopolitan side of San Diego’s famed easy-going lifestyle.

What makes this neighborhood even better? It’s literally steps from the glistening waters of San Diego Bay, for even more strolling and sweet living.

What’s my dream day exploring Little Italy and San Diego Bay?

Read on:

Rise and Shine, Italian-style

Caffe Italia - San Diego Food Finds

Start off the morning in Little Italy with some caffeine from Caffe Italia. Photo courtesy of San Diego Food Finds

Do as the Italians do and make a beeline from your bed to the neighborhood café to get your morning cappuccino. Locals start off their morning at Caffé Italia, directly underneath the blazing ‘Little Italy’ sign that arches over the neighborhood. Here you’ll find an espresso bar with a robust collection of coffee, cappuccino, espresso, as well as paninis, salads, and desserts. One side of their intimate café space is full of windows, which tempts you to lose hours just people-watching. Trust me, I’ve done it before. One tip: For now, they only accept cash, so be prepared.

Set Sail

Whalewatching from The America Yacht, San Diego

Explore the waters of San Diego aboard the America from Next Level Sailing

Next, get into the water. While the closest beach to downtown San Diego and Little Italy is about a 15 minute drive away, no one here seems to care because the stunning San Diego Bay is just three blocks down.

Besides, there are bigger adventures to be had in the bay. One of the coolest of them are the sails or sailboat races with Next Level Sailing, San Diego’s only outfitter boasting two racing yachts used in the America’s Cup races. In other words, they do more than sails and tours. They do thrills. Right now, they’re running whale watching adventures aboard the AMERICA, a gorgeous 139-foot replica of the 1851 champion sailing vessel that inspired the America’s Cup. Just sailing with them will be enough to write home about.

Ciao Down in Little Italy

Davanti Enoteca - TheRepublika.com

Sample the rustic cuisine of the Italian countryside at Davanti Enoteca

The biggest draw of Little Italy is also its tastiest. This quaint neighborhood is packed corner to corner with restaurants serving up everything from pasta, pizza, gourmet cheese, paninis, gelato, steak, seafood…and even more pasta and pizza. Not up for Italian?

A marvelous mix of global cuisines have made its way here, too. You’ll find trendy Japanese ramen, out-of-this-world Oaxacan entrées, and modern, home-cooked New Zealand food in between wine bars and brew pubs. Choosing a restaurant is probably the biggest decision you’ll have to make when you’re in Little Italy, so here’s one recommendation. One of my personal favorites is Davanti Enoteca, where you’ll dish on rustic cuisine you’d expect to have in the Italian countryside. The interiors are just as delicious as their food. With exposed rustic brick walls, re-purposed wood, and an expansive tree-shaded patio, you’ll feel like you’re eating out of a rural cottage in Italy – albeit a lively one.

Sleep Over

La Pensione Hotel in Little Italy

Stay in the heart of Little Italy at La Pensione Hotel

If, and when, you contently fall into a food coma, sink into the sumptuous beds at Little Italy’s La Pensione Hotel. This boutique hotel is this area’s hard-to-miss icon, right in the middle of the neighborhood. Perfect for urban explorers who love being in the center of it all (which I do), this hotel is brimming with rich character and a chic, modern design.

La Pensione is a triple threat – with a lovely look, impeccable location, and near-perfect pricetag, with rates that are consistently some of the best in town. The hotel has been likened to the treasure trove of affordable European hotels dotting cosmopolitan cities like Milan, Rome and Paris. After spending a blissful night here, you’ll wake up surrounded by the bustling streets of Little Italy, with the smell of espresso and no deadline to rush up for, feeling more Italian than ever.

What’s your favorite part/thing/place in Little Italy?

Junvi OlaJunvi Ola is a well-traveled globetrekker. Her luggage wheels have tracked their way from the cobblestone streets of Ljubljana, Slovenia to the pristine mountains of Whistler, B.C and is lucky enough to make San Diego her home base. You can follower her on Twitter at @DiegoOnADime.

Sarah Weinberg

Fall in Love with San Diego’s Valentine’s Day Hotel Deals and Packages

Couple Walking on Ocean Beach Pier
Couple Walking on Ocean Beach Pier

Bring your Valentine to San Diego for the perfect romantic sunset.

With spectacular scenery, sun-kissed beaches, world-class restaurants and luxury resorts, San Diego calls to all lovebirds looking for a romantic getaway. This February, special Valentine’s Day offerings from San Diego hotels and resorts make it the perfect time to let Cupid’s arrow fly and treat a special friend or loved one to a relaxing retreat or fun-filled adventure in romantic San Diego.

Modern Day Romance

Log-in and tweet for the Twitter-Patter package at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa with a Valentine’s deal that includes overnight accommodations at this lush, garden estate and a $150 credit that can be used for spa treatments or dinner at Adobe El Restaurant. Guests also receive chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of private label sparkling wine, Twitter-themed cookie welcome amenity and two plush monogrammed robes with guest’s personalized Twitter handle. For reservations, tweet “My heart wants to go #TwitterPatter with my sweetie at @estancialajolla.” The hotel will then tweet back details on how to book.

Package Dates: February 8-24, 2014
Cost: Rates start at $499
> Find out more about the Twitter-Patter Package at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Take the Plunge on Valentine’s Day

Not just any couple can be swept away by the Hotel Del Coronado’s Drop the Question Package. The landmark hotel offers the ultimate in luxury including three nights in a Beach Village cottage suite, rose petals, Taittinger champagne and caviar welcome amenities, private butler and engagement concierge service throughout the stay, private candlelight dinner prepared by the Chef de Cuisine, private sailing brunch cruise, exotic car rental, and just before sunset, two sky divers will drop from the sky and parachute onto the beach with a banner asking, “Will you marry me?” Afterward, enjoy a private romantic dinner for two on the beach with a violinist, and later a couple’s massage in your cottage, a $1,000 shopping spree at the Shops at The Del, dinner for two at 1500 OCEAN and breakfast in bed daily.

Package Dates: Available beginning February 14, 2014
Cost: $50,000 (subject to change)
> Find out more about the Hotel Del Coronado’s Drop the Question Package

The Way to a Lover’s Heart

If you can’t be in Paris this Valentine’s Day, look no further than downtown San Diego’s Westgate Hotel, where a stunning lobby reflects the anterooms at Versailles and classic décor emulates the palaces of Europe. The Westgate offers several romance packages; the most luxurious is the Etre Amoureux package (English translation: “to make you fall in love all over again”). This package includes one-night accommodation in the Presidential suite or Governor suite along with a five-course dinner with wine pairing prepared by a private chef, butler service, a dozen red roses, love quotes, a bottle of Champagne and chocolate truffles, breakfast in bed and parking.

Package Dates: February 14-15, 2014
Cost: $3100
> Find out more about Westgate Hotel’s Etre Amoureux Package

During the month of February, the historic Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows in the hip uptown neighborhood of North Park offers the Some Like It Hot Valentine’s package. First choose either dinner and bottomless champagne for two or breakfast and bottomless mimosas for two, then enjoy a special Lafayette intimacy kit and additional nights at 20% off best available rate.

Package Dates: February 1-28, 2014
Cost: Rates start at $159 per night
> Find out more about the Lafayette Hotel’s Some Like it Hot Package

Romance and Relaxation

Fell the sand of Mission Bay under your toes at the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa. The Catamaran’s Sweetheart package includes a two-night stay in a standard room, California sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries on arrival, two 50-minute spa treatments and spa gifts, and breakfast for two.

Package Dates: February 1-28, 2014
Cost: Rates start at $730
> Find out more about The Catamaran’s Sweetheart Package

> Spoil Your Sweetheart with a Valentine’s Day in San Diego

What’s your favorite San Diego Valentine’s Day tradition or idea?

Robert Arends

Coronado November Events: A Cornucopia of Fun!

Skating by the Sea-Coronado Beach

With sunny skies, glistening crowd-free beaches and temperatures averaging 70 degrees, November is the perfect time to visit Coronado, located a bridge or ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego. There’s so much to do, from craft beer tastings and lavish Thanksgiving feasts to ice skating by the beach, that you won’t know where to start!

The following are my Top 5 to Try in Coronado this November.

Good Times on Tap: San Diego Beer Week in Coronado

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

During San Diego Beer Week, Nov. 1-10, visit the award-winning Coronado Brewing Company to sample tasty ales like Orange Avenue Wit. Also, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge on Orange Ave. features a “Local Tap Takeover,” pouring only San Diego beer on all 16 of their taps!

Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Dinner

san diego hotel del coronado crown room thanksgiving 2013

The luxurious Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado will host this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

Let the Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay Resort do all the cooking this Thanksgiving Nov. 28 as they serve up turkey with all the fixings in festive elegant style. The Del presents a lavish buffet spread in the Crown Room and Ballroom, with live entertainment. Loews hosts a fab champagne brunch buffet in its main dining room, plus a prix fixe family-style dinner in Mistral.

Ice Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Lace up your skates and head to the Hotel del Coronado on Nov. 27 for the launch of Skating by the Sea, a magically surreal SoCal experience like no other where guests can practice their axel jumps just steps away from Coronado Beach. A portion of ice skate rental proceeds benefit San Diego’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K

Rollerblading the Silver strand Half Marathon

Rollerblading the Silver Strand Half Marathon

Hightail it to the scenic Silver Strand for the popular annual Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K on Nov. 17. Participants can run, walk, even rollerblade or rollerskate  from Coronado to Imperial Beach; handcyclists and wheel chair participants are welcome too!

Rock n’ Roll: “Suds” at the Coronado Playhouse

Suds Coronado Playhouse San Diego Theater

Suds hits the stage at the Coronado Playhouse this November.

Audiences are in for a rocking good time at the Coronado Playhouse– a 100-seat, cabaret-style theatre on lovely Glorietta Bay – presenting the 1960s musical soap opera “Suds” through the end of the month.

Want to win your own getaway to Coronado? Visit Authentic Luxury Travel to win a romantic Coronado stay!

Robert Arends

Family Fun for Free in San Diego’s Coronado!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org

The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:

The Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America - Coronado Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach

Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!

Coronado Museum of History & Art

US Navy's aircraft carriers at NAS North Island

Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island

Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

The whimsical "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" at Stephen Clayton Galleries

The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries

Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat greets kids at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including:

Coronado’s fun and free playground of activities awaits! 🙂