Candice

Beachside Eats: Where to Grab a Quick Bite near the Water

Surfer in front of Imperial Beach Pier in San Diego's South Bay

As the days are getting longer and warmer, it’s hard to escape the allure of San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline. Of course, when you’re enjoying a day along San Diego’s sparkling shore, dressed in your finest flip-flops and swimsuit, the last thing you want to do is pack up your towels and beach lounger in search of quick beachside eats. Fortunately, a tasty meal is only steps away from the sand at these casual beachside restaurants and snack shops.

San Elijo State Beach – Bull Taco

The view of San Elijo from Bull Taco

The view of San Elijo from Bull Taco

Located just steps from the sand, Bull Taco is a favorite stop for hungry visitors to San Elijo State Beach. This small joint features a big menu that includes a wide variety of fish and exotic meats like alligator and kangaroo.

Pacific Beach – Taco Surf

Pacific Beach is the epitome of the SoCal beach experience, with wide stretches of sand packed with good-looking locals and a boardwalk teeming with rollerbladers, bicyclists and skateboarders. For the perfect SoCal snack, head over to Taco Surf. The classic beachfront taco shop has been serving up San Diego staple since 1988.

Imperial Beach – The Tin Fish

The Tin Fish - San Diego Beachside Eats

The Tin Fish has several locations in San Diego – see what USA Today’s Larry Olmstead had to say about them.

No need to head inland to find a snack in Imperial Beach – to find the Tin Fish, just head out into the Pacific Ocean…via the Imperial Beach pier, of course. Nestled out on the end of the pier, the Tin Fish serves up more than fish, with plenty of burger and chicken options.

Pacific Beach – The Baked Bear

Ice cream sandwiched between two red velvet cookies? Yes, please!

Ice cream sandwiched between two red velvet cookies? Yes, please!

 

What could possibly complement a day at the beach better than a cool, creamy ice cream sandwich? Beachgoers with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss the Baked Bear, where you can choose your own combination of ice cream flavors sandwiched between freshly baked cookies, brownies or waffles.

> Find more beachside eats in San Diego

Where’s your favorite place to grab a quick bite when you’re at the beach? Let us know in the comments below.

Maren

5 to try in San Diego in 2013

Happy New Year! Have you made your resolution yet? I resolve to learn Spanish, make time for travel, and enjoy the variety of activities San Diego has to offer. Maybe this year you’ll resolve to take a trip to San Diego’s 70 miles of beach, near perfect weather, and laid-back vibe. If so, here are 5 great things you should resolve to experience on your next trip to San Diego:

Enjoy a family ride along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Photo courtesy Brett Shoaf Artistic Visuals

Enjoy a family ride along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Photo courtesy Brett Shoaf Artistic Visuals

Bike the Boardwalk: Biking, skating, or strolling the 3 ½ mile boardwalk running from North Pacific Beach to South Mission Beach is a quintessential San Diego activity, and a great way to enjoy the ubiquitous New Year’s “I will exercise more!” resolution. At the north end, the boardwalk runs along a 75-foot bluff until Crystal Pier/Palisades Park.  The park supplies a natural resting point, looking out over the ocean, with great places to brunch and shops to explore. Continuing south from Crystal Pier, the boardwalk becomes level with the beach as it moves by charming beach rentals, Hamel’s Surf Shop, and Belmont Park, featuring the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Wave House. From Belmont Park to the end of South Mission Beach, the boardwalk becomes more peaceful and subdued, eventually ending in a park with some excellent beach volleyball courts.

Make Stone Brewery and Bistro one of the stops on your San Diego Craft Brew Tour. Photo courtesy StudioSchulz.com

Make Stone Brewery and Bistro one of the stops on your San Diego Craft Brew Tour. Photo courtesy StudioSchulz.com

Take a Craft Beer Tour: With over 60 breweries in the area and having recently been cited as a “sunny heaven for suds lovers” by the New York Times, San Diego is quickly gaining recognition as one of the hottest craft beer destinations. It looks like 2013 is the perfect year to see what all of the fuss is about by joining one of the brewery tours offered by companies such as Brew Hop, Brewery Tours of San Diego and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours. Best part of joining a tour? They provide the designated driver, insuring a safe and fun time for everyone.

Enjoy the fresh air and clear skies sailing Coronado Bay.

Enjoy the fresh air and clear skies sailing Coronado Bay.

Enjoy a Sailing Excursion: From winter whale watching to America’s Cup race simulations, companies such as Next Level Sailing, Sail San Diego, America’s Cup Sailing San Diego, and San Diego Sailing Tours provide the perfect sailing experience for everyone, from the novice to those with the most stable sea legs.

See the very first Mariachi Opera with the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

See the very first Mariachi Opera with the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

Mariachi Opera: Never heard of a Mariachi Opera? You aren’t the only one! The renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, known as the World’s Best Mariachi, take the Civic Theatre stage on March 16, 2013 for the first mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon). This bi-lingual work follows three generations of a single family, spanning countries, cultures and customs, presented by San Diego Opera.

Rubio's is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of San Diego's famous fish taco.

Rubio’s is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of San Diego’s famous fish taco.

The Best Fish Taco: Although it originally hails from Mexico, the fish taco has found a happy home in San Diego as a Taco Tuesday mascot and everyday local favorite. Ralph Rubio helped make it an institution when he opened his chain, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, in 1983, but the San Diego fish taco has more reinventions than Madonna. From taco truck to fine dining, everyone has their prefrence and finding your favorite  is more about savoring the journey (so many tacos!) than arriving at the destination. To start you on your journey, here are some key jumping off points: South Beach Bar and Grille in Ocean Beach, El Zarape in University Heights, Brigantine Seafood in Coronado, Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill in Mission Hills, Tin Fish in Downtown.

Do you resolve to visit San Diego in 2013? We hope so! In the comments below, tell us what you’ll be doing once you’re here.

Robert Arends

Family Fun in San Diego! Beaches, Boardwalks, Insider Tips

San Diego continues to put itself on the map as the place to play this Memorial Day – and all summer long! According to AAA, our sun-kissed city ranks second among its top 5 destinations for Southern California travelers. With 70 miles of coastline and a perpetually warm sunny climate, it’s easy to see why we’re such an enticing summer getaway.

Surf's up at Coronado Beach!

Speaking of sun, surf and sand, the June issue of Parents Magazine just hit newsstands with a feature story: 10 Best Family Beaches in America.” Coronado Beach nabbed the #4 spot! The mag said it ”has everything families could want: perfect weather…spotless white sand (the town even invented an environmentally friendly rake to clean up the kelp), and warm, gentle water.”

Sand dunes of Coronado Beach.

FamilyVacationCritic.com also rated Coronado Beach as its #5 pick for 10 Best Beaches for Families.” They called the sparkling stretch of sand “memorable” for its “long sandbar and fantastic waves to stoke any one of your little surfers.” They set their sights on San Diego’s bustling boardwalks too, calling Pacific and Mission Beach – home of Belmont Park and the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster – the #8 best boardwalk in their 11 Best Beach Boardwalks for Families.”

Walk this way... to the Mission Beach boardwalk!

NBC Los Angeles even touted San Diego’s “beach bliss” (Thanks for the shout out, Alysia – you’re “rad!”).

For families planning a summer trip to San Diego, following are some insider tips, courtesy of Eileen Ogintz, author of Taking the Kids To Sunny Southern California.” Her San Diego chapter is full of fun facts and recommended activities, from animal encounters (“San Diego may be the best place in the country to meet and greet all kinds of animals”) and ship tours (“You can visit an aircraft carrier to see what it’s like to live and work on a floating city…At the Maritime Museum, climb aboard the century-old windjammer the Star of India… “) to Balboa Park’s bounty of cultural delights (“It’s got everything from the zoo to a merry-go-round, a miniature train and model train museum, a puppet theater—even an outdoor pipe organ” offering free Sunday concerts.).

Eileen also shows parents how to travel “smarter and saner with kids this summer,” including money-saving and theme park tips.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Wishing you safe travels…

Brent Bernasconi

Mission Beach Boardwalk is a Top 10

Mission Beach/Bay is getting a lot of attention lately. I am guessing it is the upcoming beach weather. Recently Family Vacation Critic ranked Mission Beach’s Boardwalks as one of the top ten in the nation. Below is what they had to say:

Ride on the Mission Beach Boardwalk

Mission Beach — Pacific Boardwalk, San Diego
Like the city of San Diego, Ocean Front caters to outdoorsy people with Hamel’s Surf Shop offering kayaks, surfboards, bikes and beach toys. Surfers have an alternative at FlowRider, a man-made wave generator machine that is easier for beginners to learn on. FlowBarrel also creates 10-foot waves for pros. A few minutes from the boardwalk, Belmont Park is an amusement park with The Giant Dipper roller coaster, a carousel and arcades. Sometimes, after most of the day at the beach, you just want to get out of the sun! This is where The Plunge, an Olympic-size indoor pool, comes in handy.

You can see the complete list here.

Suzzanne

Escape To San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary

Do you love visiting San Diego? Really love it? Then enter to win our sweepstakes and you could win a 5 night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and airfare for two! And as the big winner, you’ll have five whole days to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Never been to San Diego or interested in trying something new? Here’s how I would spend my five days highlighting the outdoors and our amazing beaches.

Waking up each morning at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel will provide inspiration as you plan your day. The hotel, located on the waterfront, features sun and sea inspired design and a casually sophisticated design.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Day 1: Explore trails while overlooking the ocean
Hike Torrey Pines State Reserve or take a guided tour. Among the eight miles of trails, guests can encounter native chaparral plants, wildflowers, birds, reptiles and butterflies. My favorite trail is the beach trail. During low tide, you can take the stairs down to the ocean and walk between the ocean and cliffs.

Sail on the Bay

Day 2: Set sail on the San Diego Bay
Strap on your sea legs and rent a sailboat in Coronado from Seaforth Rentals. Choose from over 200 rental boats, including boats for sailing, cruising, skiing and fishing, jetskis, speedboats, fishing charters, sunset sails.

Mission Beach

Day 3: Cruise the boardwalk in Pacific and Mission Beach
The favorite hangouts of active young sun-worshipers, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are connected by a three-mile boardwalk crowded with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners and bikers – and beachgoers just wanting “to be seen.” End your stroll by walking to the end of the Crystal Pier for a beautiful coastline view.

Sunset Kayak Cruise

Day 4: Take a sunset kayaking trip and witness the sun dip into the Pacific
Try Hike Bike Kayak’s popular Sunset Paddle Tour, where you’ll kayak along the La Jolla sea caves and ecological reserve during a beautiful sunset on the Pacific Ocean. Expert naturalist guides provide insights and fun facts about the amazing environment.

Ocean Beach

Day 5: Hang out in Ocean Beach – doggies included!
Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s prime surf spots. The neighborhood is also popular for its kid-friendly tide pools, long wooden pier that is perfect for fishing and Dog Beach, where even the tail-wagging members of the family can play Frisbee and romp in the surf.

Enter to Win a 5-night hotel stay and two round trip airfare tickets here!