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

Make Waves on Mission Bay During Kids Free Month!

Have you heard? It’s Kids Free month in San Diego! Nope, that doesn’t mean San Diego is free from kids. But rather, just about everything for a kid’s visit (with their family) to San Diego is Free – as in free admission to all the major attractions, museums and so much more.

Kids Free month deals abound in Mission Bay!

Kids Free month deals abound in Mission Bay!

One area that was made for play is Mission Bay, a 4,600-acre aquatic wonderland of beaches, walking/bicycling trails, family-friendly resorts, water activities and famous attractions like SeaWorld.

Following are some of the coolest free offerings I scoped out around Mission Bay:

Play!

SeaWorld San Diego

Dolphin Encounter - SeaWorld San Diego in Mission Bay

Kids can enjoy the Dolphin Interaction Program at SeaWorld for free!

SeaWorld San Diego offers kids 3-9 years old free admission (1 child per paid adult), free Dine With Shamu (1 child per paid adult) and free Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs (1 child 10-13 years old per paid adult).

Belmont Park

Free kids rides on the Giant Dipper roller coaster by Mission Bay!

Free kids rides on the Giant Dipper roller coaster by Mission Bay!

At nearby Belmont Park, home of the thrilling Giant Dipper roller coaster, kids can enjoy unlimited free rides and laser tag (1 child per paid adult). They also ride for free (1 child per 2 paid riders) on FlowRider or FlowBarrel.

Paradise Point Resort

The tropical Paradise Point Resort offers kids free bike rentals to cruise the bayside plus free kayak and standup paddleboard rentals.

Bahia Belle Sternwheeler

Bahia Belle on Mission Bay

Kids ride free on the Bahia Belle sternwheeler!

Ahoy! Kids ride for free (1 child per paid adult) on the Bahia Belle sternwheeler cruise at the Bahia Resort Hotel.

Eat!

Kids eat free (with each adult purchase) at the Bahia Resort, Catamaran Resort (The Atoll restaurant) and The Dana on Mission Bay (Blue Pearl restaurant). They also get free breakfast at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay.

At Belmont Park, get your grub on with free kids’ meals (1 kids meal per paid adult meal) at Wavehouse Beach Club, South Mission Draft and North Shore Café.

Gifts!

Upon check in, Hilton San Diego Resort is giving out a free welcome gift to kids who check in. At the hip Tower 23 Hotel, each kids receives free milk and cookies plus a movie rental!

Free Animal Encounters in Mission Bay

Meet a parrot named Cornell at Catamaran Resort!

Meet a parrot named Cornell at Catamaran Resort!

You’ll also want to check out these awesome free animal encounters on Mission Bay!

> Browse even more Kids Free Offers in San Diego

Who knew there was so much to see and do for free?! 🙂

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

Amazing Animal Encounters on San Diego’s Mission Bay!

Located just minutes from downtown San Diego, Mission Bay Park is the largest park of its kind in the world, spread out over 4,200 sparkling acres. Something you may not know about this aquatic playground is that there are some really cool and surprising animal encounters along its 27 miles of beaches.

A recent visit to the Bahia Resort piqued my interest in Mission Bay’s wildlife when I spotted a friendly seal named Gracie frolicking in a pool out front of the resort. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What a fun and memorable way to welcome visitors!

I soon discovered that other creatures great and small call Mission Bay home and make for some great photo opps, if you know where to look. And the best part: viewing is free.

Here’s the inside scoop on Mission Bay’s amazing menagerie of animal encounters and where to find them:

Gracie the Seal at the Bahia Resort

Gracie the seal basking in the sun at Bahia Resort

Gracie the seal basking in the sun at Bahia Resort

Gracie the seal, a rescue from La Jolla Cove, first called Bahia Resort home in 2006. She’s curious, outgoing and well-loved by all. When she’s not swimming around her spacious pool with her best friend Billy, she can be found sunbathing on the rocks. A great time to visit is during feeding time: 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM daily.

Parrots, Macaws and Cockatoos at the Catamaran

A talkative parrot named Cornell and more animal encounters at Catamaran Resort

Meet the the talkative parrot named Cornell and enjoy even more animal encounters at Catamaran Resort

Colorful parrots, macaws and cockatoos can be found at the Catamaran Resort, located outside behind the main lobby. The bright – and talkative! – birds are on display daily from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Check out the cool Bird Cam. You can call each of them by name; feathered pics of who’s who (including Cornell the parrot, above) can be found on the resort’s exotic wildlife page.

Catamaran also has two ponds with koi fish, ducks and turtles that love to bask in the sun.

Animal Encounters at Paradise Point

...leopard sharks!

…leopard sharks!

When it comes to fascinating fauna on land, sea and air, Paradise Point Resort has it all! Swimming beneath the surface of the large lagoon next to Barefoot Bar & Grill are spotted leopard sharks, stingrays and guitar fish! The resort’s network of gardens and lagoons is also home to ducks, red-eared slider turtles, frogs, hummingbirds, herons and egrets…oh my!

See you in Mission Bay for some close encounters of the animal kind! 🙂

Candice

Enjoy San Diego Spa Week at the Catamaran Resort

Catamaran Spa relaxation room

If you need an excuse for a little rest and relaxation, you’re in luck: San Diego Spa Week returns April 15-21, 2013. San Diego is a treasure trove of incredible spas, with spas to suit all visitors. Whether you’re looking for a weeklong wellness getaway to restore your inner balance or you just feel like being pampered, you’re sure to find a spa to fit your style in San Diego.

San Diego Spa Week Highlight – Catamaran Spa

Catamaran Spa relaxation room

Relax at the Catamaran Spa

In need of both an inner balancing and a bit of indulgence, I recently found the perfect blend reflective peace with a touch of luxury at the Catamaran Spa. If you’re staying at the Catamaran Resort, or just want to check into the spa for the day, spend some time decompressing in the Catamaran Resort’s beachside fitness center before your spa treatment. With elliptical machines set on an open air patio facing out towards the white sands and sparkling waters of Mission Bay, the fitness center has all perks of jogging on the beach without the risk of getting sand in your shoes.

Catamaran Resort & Spa fitness center

Who needs a tv on mute when you have beautiful views of the water?

The spa’s signature Tropical Catamaran Ritual is a two-hour mini-vacation in its own right. Your therapist guides you from the tranquil, Polynesian-inspired relaxation room to a spacious suite complete with a massage table, jetted tub and 13-head shower. The journey begins with a brisk head-to-toe coconut sugar scrub that smells good enough to eat. After a thorough scrubbing, the suite’s indulgent shower washes away the impurities with an invigorating massage from the stream of 13 shower heads.

Once good and clean, it’s time to be wrapped. After being gently brushed with a delightfully tingly antioxidant mask, you’re tucked up burrito-style in a warm, comforting wrap. But you’re not done yet – after your wrap, it’s time to slip into the jetted tub for a soak in coconut milk, followed by a soothing massage.

Catamaran Resort & Spa Whirlpool

Sooth your weary body in the outdoor whirlpool.

Still not relaxed? Slip on your bathing suit and head outside to the beachside whirlpool. As you watch the suns bounce off of the gentle waves of Mission Bay, you can’t help but enjoy the moment.

The Tropical Catamaran Ritual is just one of many varieties of treatments available at the Catamaran Spa.

Catamaran Spa’s San Diego Spa Week Offerings

During San Diego Spa Week the Catamaran Spa will be offering the a 50 Min Coconut Pineapple Body Balm Wrap, choice of 50 Min Catamaran Island Facial or 50 Min Coconut Scrub, or a 50 Min Tropical Pedicure for only $50 each!

> Find more San Diego Spa Week Offers

Where will you relax during San Diego Spa Week? Tell us below!

Brent Bernasconi

A Taste of the South Pacific at the Catamaran in San Diego

No need to spend hours traveling to explore the atmosphere and culture of the South Pacific when you can visit San Diego’s beaches during the day and enjoy the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa’s Summer Sunset Luau at night!

The Catamaran’s tropical decor and waterfront setting are enough to make you say “Alooooooha!”, but add to it a traditional lei and delicious mai tai welcome(for those of legal drinking age :-)) accompanied by live Hawaiian music and your hips will hula in no time.

The feast and festivities begin with the grand arrival of the Kalua Pig. The mouth-watering buffet includes tropical delights of fresh fruit, green salads, miso glazed salmon with ginger lime cream, guava chicken with grilled pineapple and shredded coconut, and much more. It may be a challenge, but remember to leave room for a slice of pineapple upside-down cake or coconut cream cake.

As the sun begins to set, all eyes turn to the stage as the Pride of Polynesia Dance Revue takes you on a visual and interactive journey through the South Pacific with traditional music and dances from the Polynesian Islands. The evening is capped off with a mesmerizing Samoan fire dance.

Don’t miss out! Enjoy the wonderful traditions of the South Pacific in San Diego!

Summer Sunset Luau Information

Location: Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa
Address: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (map)
Dates: Tuesdays and Fridays from Late June through August
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Website: www.catamaranluau.com

Pictures

Robert Arends

Coronado Sets Its Sights on America’s Cup World Series!

Ahoy! The America’s Cup World Series is just around the corner, sailing into San Diego Bay – and into the history books – starting this Saturday, November 12 through the 20th.What makes these races so exciting is that it’ll be the first time the incredibly swift, state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans will be seen in the United States! They were specially designed to slice through the water at speeds up to 30 knots, promising spectators some serious thrills as the world’s top sailors push their boats to the limit (Translation: Yes, a few of these fast boats might capsize.).

Since the Coast Guard is enforcing a Safety Zone taking up a large portion of the bay, viewing the races from the water will be limited. Organizers recommend fans catch the action from the shore.

America's Cup Word Series will race off Coronado.

Coronado, situated on San Diego Bay just across the bridge from downtown San Diego, is a perfect spot! The island offers the following scenic vantage points:

Coronado Ferry Landing.

  • Coronado Ferry Landing, a charming outdoor shopping and entertainment complex located within binocular view of the southernmost part of the race route, is a great way to start the racing day. Grab a quick bite to eat at one of the seven restaurants and do a little shopping before the races ramp up at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    Ferry departs for downtown from Coronado Ferry Landing.

  • After lunch, head out to the Ferry Landing dock to catch a roundtrip ferry ride (just $8.50 per person) to the Broadway Pier or 5th Avenue Landing in downtown San Diego. This may be one of the best ways to see the races from the water! Check out the ferry schedule. Bring a pair of binoculars to zoom in on the boats as they race for the finish line.

Terrific bay views from Centennial Park.

  • Upon your return to the Coronado Ferry Landing, head north up First Street to one of three beautiful bay front parks: Centennial Park, SDG&E Park or Shoreline Park. From here you can continue to catch the boats racing round the route’s southern loop.
  • The bayside of Coronado’s NAS North Island, open only to active duty military personnel and their families, will also be a prime spot to see the sailing action up close.

Five days and counting until the America’s Cup World Series… “Isle” be seeing you in Coronado! 😉