Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway at the California Welcome Center in Alpine

Mount Laguna Sunrise - East County

Find Nature's Outdoor Play Ground in San Diego's East County

Interested in going on a cruise? Here is your chance! The public is invited to enter to win 4 tickets for a harbor or whale watching cruise aboard Hornblower Cruises and Events simply by stopping by the California Welcome Center-Alpine. Visit over Memorial Day weekend and enter for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. Just come by and say hi!

The Welcome Center offers loads of free brochures, guidebooks, maps and friendly suggestions. This free resource is available to anyone when planning either a San Diego “staycation” or a California vacation! The Welcome Center also offers up to 20% off most San Diego major attractions including LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, The San Diego Zoo, The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Old Town Trolley Tours, harbor tours, museums and even Disneyland.

Visit the Alpine California Welcome Center at 5005 Willows Road, Suite H110 in the Viejas Outlet Center. The Welcome Center is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Robert Arends

Just Beachy: Coronado Named #1 Beach in America!

Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf
Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf

We're #1 - Coronado Beach! Photo courtesy of Brett Shoaf

Shhh… can you keep a secret? I almost couldn’t. I’ve known for weeks that postcard-perfect Coronado Beach was going to be crowned America’s Best Beach by “Dr. Beach.” However, I couldn’t tell a soul. I promised coastal expert Stephen Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), that mums the word until May 25.

And today’s the day! I’m shouting it from the highest sand dunes on the island that Coronado is the #1 stretch of sand in the United States!

Coronado Beach -

A Beautiful Coronado Sunset. Photo courtesy of

The timing is perfect. Memorial Day weekend is here and AAA ranked San Diego the top Memorial Day destination! The official summer season has begun. Pack the beach towel, sunblock and boogie board and head to the sunny shores of Coronado!

(photo credit: Hotel del Coronado)

A few fun facts about Coronado Beach:

  • The 1.5 mile long beach has a silvery white sheen because of the presence of mica.
  • The northernmost section is known as Dog Beach (woof!), where four-legged visitors are permitted off leash!
  • The giant sand dunes along Ocean Blvd. spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O

If you’re heading to Coronado this summer, I’ve got the inside scoop on a couple more “must-sees” in the area.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition!

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition, America’s original surf dog competition, is June 16 at Imperial Beach – just south of Coronado’s Silver Strand. See hounds hang 10 solo (!) or with their owners. Tune in to ABC’s Good Morning America that weekend. Their crew will be filming the whole tail-wagging event with TV star Cameron Mathison!

Coronado - Silver Strand Beach

Silver Strand State Beach

Visitors are also welcome to join in the fun on the Explore & Restore Silver Strand State Beach interactive nature tours of the beach’s rare plants, animals and birds. Tours depart every Saturday and Sunday morning from the lobby of Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Sign up by calling the Loews concierge at 619-424-4000.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend everyone and I’ll see you in sun-kissed Coronado!

Benjamin Eastman

Memorial Day Parties in San Diego

Intervention at the Hard Rock Hotel

Summer is just around the corner and San Diego will be celebrating its launch over Memorial Day weekend with tons of fun pool parties, events, shows and headliners! Whether you want to lounge by the pool with hundreds of your closest friends, dance to your favorite DJ or get out on the Bay, this weekend is your opportunity to start this summer off right!

Le Diner a San Diego

Le Diner a San Diego

 Le Diner a San Diego @ ???

We know you love Flash Mobs, right? And you like to eat, yes? And what’s Memorial Day weekend without a White Party, huh? Well throw all those things together and you get San Diego’s Le Diner a San Diego on Friday night. Buy your seats to the event and you’ll get a message Friday morning with the details on where the event will be held that night. Tables and entertainment are provided, but you bring your food, friends and a good time! This concept was launched in Europe years ago and has finally made its way to San Diego. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

Intervention at the Hard Rock Hotel

Intervention at the Hard Rock Hotel

Intervention @ The Hard Rock Hotel

Memorial Day weekend Intervention is twice as big as usual with headliners Lil John performing on Saturday and renowned DJ Steve Aoki spinning on Sunday. The Hard Rock’s weekly pool party extravaganza will be rocking Downtown all weekend long with these two huge acts – and you know Hard Rock likes to go BIG!

Fortune Industry’s Pool Party @ Ivy Rooftop

The Ivy Rooftop is Fortune Industry’s summer spot for Sunday pool parties, and Memorial Day weekend kicks off the festivities with house music, dancing, fashion and an adult beverage or two! So pull out this season’s latest gear and party with Fortune at the Ivy Rooftop!

I Love This City San Diego Music Festival @ Cricket Wireless

For those fleeing downtown for the weekend, why not head to Cricket Wireless Amphitheater for the I Love This City San Diego Music Festival happening Sunday. With 21 musical acts performing – including well known artists Skrillex and Crystal Method – you know Chula Vista will be jumping on Sunday! The show is 16 and over and tickets start at $25.

Pier Pressure Yacht Party @ Hornblower Cruises & Events

The Hornblower Inspiration will play host to the ultimate Yacht Party on Sunday starting at 3:30 pm. 6 DJs will be rocking the boat all evening long while revelers enjoy the sights of San Diego’s amazing evening skyline. The 3.5 hour long party cruise will be sure to delight but make sure to buy your tickets soon. Golden Ticket prices start at $40 with special Platinum VIP tickets (which include access to the private Platinum VIP deck) starting at $85.

The beauty of holiday weekends is that you can have your own backyard BBQ and still have the opportunity to hit up a giant pool party, watch your favorite DJ or musical act perform and still have a day to recover! So don’t let this weekend go to waste folks…get out there and party!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Roadside Wonders of San Diego’s East County

Cosmic car at Unarius Academy in El Cajon

You might recall my blog awhile back on Quirky Roadside Attractions in San Diego’s East County region. With Memorial Day around the bend, now is the perfect time to map out another adventure to discover some wonderfully fascinating finds in our backcountry. Following are 5 to Try:

Dino-sized greeting at Creation & Earth History Museum

1. Creation and Earth History Museum

Let there be light! The Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee is a showcase of the literal six-day creation of earth, according to the Bible’s book of Genesis. Highlights include stellar displays of planetary development (Day 1), a jungle-like Garden Room with live animal terrariums (Day 6), model of Noah’s Ark (great photo opp), an Ice Age Room and Ancient Civilizations Room with replicas of the Tower of Babel and Rosetta Stone. Admission is free.

Model of UFO spiritual tower at Unarius Academy

2. Unarius Academy of Science

Out of this world! The Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon is a garden-like teaching center featuring cosmic art, a “Power Tower,” Future City Model and Star Center room with murals of Atlantis – illustrating Unariun beliefs in past lives, Tesla technology, lost civilizations and UFOs. The group is known for its 2001 prophecy of spaceships landing in nearby Jamul to form a spiritual tower. Call 619-444-7062 or e-mail to arrange a visit. Did you know: Unarius stands for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science.

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge in Anza-Borrego Dessert State Park

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

3. Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

Make tracks… to the world’s tallest curved timber railroad trestle, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge traversing the steep-walled Carrizo Gorge near Jacumba. It spans 200 feet high and 750 feet long! It’s a hearty hike to the vista point, but well worth it. For those who may not have the hiking boots (or stamina) to make the trek, there’s a 10-foot high model at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (the world’s largest operating model railroad museum) in Balboa Park.

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

4 and 5. California’s Two Largest Labyrinths

A-MAZE-ing! Check out California’s two largest labyrinths at Labyrinth in the Oaks, a private riverfront retreat along the San Diego River headwaters in Julian, and Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard. Both claim to have the largest labyrinths in the state, but technically LITO is biggest at 105 feet in diameter. Sacred Rocks’ maze is still an impressive 100 feet, modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France(!). Cost is $8 for a day pass to explore the grounds of Sacred Rocks. Labyrinth in the Oaks is open to overnight guests only.

Happy exploring! 🙂

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. 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…

Robert Arends

5 to Try in the Sun, Surf and Sand

Spring Break has come and gone, but to ensure those postcard images of San Diego linger on through Memorial Day – and to put folks in a summertime frame of mind – following are five fun activities to try in Coronado that are just “beachy”!

BTW, forecast for this weekend: clear skies and warm!

Let’s soak up the sun:

What SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding)!

  1. Take a stand… Stand up paddle boarding! This popular past time is often seen in the calm waters of San Diego Bay or just beyond the surf line of Silver Strand Beach and Coronado Beach. For first-timers, lessons are available from Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s on-site Coronado Surfing Academy and Gnarly Neal’s at the Hotel del Coronado.

    Silver Strand walk on the wild side.

  2. Go wild… On a ranger-led nature walk at Silver Strand State Beach – one of the top 10 beaches in the world and home to some amazing tideland and shoreline creatures, including sand dollars, crabs, snowy plovers, pelicans and the mysterious grunion fish. You may even spot a dolphin hanging 10! Tours depart every Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 – 11:30 am, from the lobby of Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

    Bicycle built for... four!

  3. Wheel fun… Surrey biking! Bicycles built for two to four people, are a great way to sightsee around the island. The beach and bay boardwalks are the most scenic routes. Rentals available throughout the island, including Bikes & Beyond at the Coronado Ferry Landing, Wheel Fun Rentals at Coronado Island Marriott Resort, Loews Coroando Bay Resort, PeDels at the Hotel del Coronado and Holland’s Bicycles on Orange Ave.

    Finding Zen in the sand.

  4. Chill out… with yoga on the beach. Visitors can find some serious Zen on the sands of Coronado Beach during a session with the Hotel del Coronado’s Hatha Yoga instructor. Altogether now, “Ommmm…”

    S'mores on Coronado Beach - sweet!

  5. S’more fun… Roasting marshmallows around a bonfire on Coronado Beach, Tidelands Park or Silver Strand State Beach is a sweet way to end a perfect beach day in Coronado. Guests at The Del can indulge in their very own s’mores on the beach experience with a cozy fire pit and all the fixins (marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate) provided!