Cory

Skydiving in San Diego – Strap on Your Parachute and Get Ready for Breathtaking Views!

Skydiving over San Diego's Oceanside
Skydiving over San Diego's Oceanside

Take in views from the mountains of San Diego to the Pacific Ocean by skydiving with Tsunami Skydivers of Oceanside

Some of the most scenic views of San Diego can only be seen from the sky…So, what better way to take in these incredible views than by jumping from a perfectly good airplane at one of San Diego’s most popular skydiving facilities!

From an altitude of more than 2.5 miles high in the sky, you’ll get to see spectacular views of Downtown San Diego, the Pacific Ocean and its beautiful beaches stretching the coastline, the Coronado and Catalina Islands and even Mexico!

Regarded as one of the top locations to skydive in the world, San Diego’s perfect year-round climate offers thrill-seekers the opportunity of a lifetime with a refreshing view 365 days a year.

The Experience with Tsunami Skydivers Inc.

Skydiving Prep - Tsunami Skydivers of Oceanside

Getting pumped up and prepped for the jump!

As you begin your life-changing day of adventure, butterflies in your stomach will surely be buzzing! But once you arrive to the airport (commonly referred to as a Drop Zone), those feelings of nervousness quickly fade to feelings of excitement.

Owner Rich Grimm and his awesome staff at Tsunami Skydivers Inc. will greet you with smiling faces, eager to help you fill out your paperwork and schedule your jump. Once the boring stuff is complete, you’ll meet your tandem skydiving instructor who will chat with you while they get you all geared up for your jump. The instructions are pretty easy to follow and the instructors here are all very friendly and engaging. Next comes the worst part…the wait!

Wave goodbye to your friends and family (and people who were too scared to come along) as you walk to the awaiting aircraft with your instructor and other jumpers. Once onboard, enjoy the amazing views from your climb to 13,000 feet! Experienced skydivers usually exit first, so you’ll get to watch other jumpers exit the plane as you wait for your turn!

Since you’ll be tightly secured to your instructor, both of you will inch your way to the open door as you watch other jumpers exit the plane. Next up…You! Take a deep breath and follow your instructor’s commands to relax and arch your body.

The Thrill

Flying Pig - Tsunami Skydivers of Oceanside

Some people say they will only jump when pigs fly. Well, now you have no choice!

Ready. Set. GO!

To your pleasant surprise, jumping from an aircraft is not as scary as it may seem. There is no “roller coaster” feeling when you skydive. Instead, imagine standing up in a convertible car that is traveling at 120 mph on a cool day and that’s exactly what it feels like!

Before you know it, the 60 second freefall is over and there is a huge parachute flying over your head. If you are willing, your instructor will be happy to offer you full control of the ‘chute as you guys fly your way back to the airport via a relaxing 3-5 minute parachute flight down to the ground.

Touchdown! Congratulations, you’ve made it! You are now part of an elite club of people brave enough to take this amazing leap of faith. Time to high-five your instructor and smile for a couple of celebratory photos.

Skydiving Tips

  • Tandem skydiving appointments can be made online or over the phone, although they do accept walk-ins depending on how busy it is. (I highly recommend making the appointment before you get there to guarantee your spot in case they are really booked that day)
  • It’s best to arrive early to make sure you will be ready in time for your jump. The entire experience will take about 1-2 hours from your scheduled time, depending on how busy it is that day.
  • Dress for the occasion. The air is cool and refreshing when you skydive, but in the winter months it can feel a bit chilly so I recommend wearing pants and a long shirt if you get cold easily.
  • Bring a friend! If you are on the edge about making a tandem skydive, convince a friend, family member or even co-worker to share the awesome adventure with you. If you’ve ever heard someone say they’d like to skydive, now’s the perfect time to hold them to it!
  • Get a video of your jump. For an additional fee, you can have a cameraman jump with you and your tandem instructor and film the whole experience. This is a great idea because with everything happening so fast and your adrenaline pumping, it’ll be hard to remember some parts of your jump. Also, an outside cameraman will give you a unique perspective of skydiving since you will see the cameraman skydiving right in front of you! Surely, a video you will want to watch over and over for years to come.
  • But most importantly – Relax, Smile and Have Fun!

Warning: Skydiving is highly addictive.

Once you discover how much fun skydiving is, you can sign up to jump by yourself! All it takes is a couple of hours of training for your first solo jump and you’ll be ready to go for skydive #2! And #3. And #4. And #5! In fact, I loved it so much I’ve gone over 200 times!

Blue Skies!

Tsunami Skydivers Inc. Details

[youtube http://youtu.be/61IRvFDJSzE]

Location: 480 Airport Road, Oceanside, California 92058
Phone: 760.390.5867
> Find out more about Tsunami Skydivers
> Save $20 on a Tandem Skydive!

Photos courtesy of Tsunami Skydivers of Oceanside

Chelsea

Rent an Adventure: Great San Diego Family Bike, Board and Boat Rentals Spots

Family Kayaking in San Diego
Family Kayaking in San Diego

Rent a kayak or two and the whole family can explore the waters of San Diego

With all that a family needs to pack these days, the more that you can leave home, the better. Yet, there are so many fun ways to explore San Diego, that it’s tempting to try and “check” your boat at the airport luggage counter…kidding…kind of. Thankfully, instead of paying that fee, there are plenty of spots around town to rent transportation that can lead to some fun exploring with the family.

Water Fun in Mission Bay

Visit the Aquatic Center in Mission Bay and arm yourself with everything you could possibly want to do in the water! From wakeboarding to windsurfing and so much more in between, make this a destination stop for water sports fun.

Where: 1001 Santa Clara Pl, San Diego, CA 92109 > Find out more about the Mission Bay Aquatic Center

Boating in the Harbor

Visit Harbor Sailboats to pick up your rental or take a guided tour. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Coronado Bay Bridge and sail past the aircraft carriers as you relax on the water. And keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and seals! Where: 2040 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 > Find out more about Harbor Sailing

Bikes in Pacific Beach

Serious cyclists should visit San Diego’s biking page, but for some casual exploring on beach cruisers, head to PB. Check out Pacific Beach Bikes for for the whole family. Hop aboard your two wheelers and cruise the boardwalk to Mission Beach on the bike paths while you enjoy watching the waves. Where: 1852 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach, CA 92109 > Find out more about Pacific Beach Bikes

Kayak Exploring in La Jolla

Don’t miss out on the kayak rentals at La Jolla Shores! Paddle your way over to take in the breathtaking cliffs and caves. Keep your eyes peeled as you are likely to see a seal or two along the way! And if you want more sea creature fun, rent a snorkel to bring along and swim with the (harmless) leopard sharks in spring. Where: 2199 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about La Jolla Kayak

And Learn to Surf in La Jolla

It would almost be remiss to visit Southern California in general and not attempt to surf! Surf Diva and Menehune Surf Camp are both great options for getting use to the waves.  If you are already a seasoned pro and just didn’t want to bring along your board, check out their rentals, too! Surf Diva Where: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about Surf Diva Menehune Surf Camp Where: 2216 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about Menehune Surf Camp

Hot Air Balloons in Del Mar

Book a bird’s eye view of San Diego while floating around in a hot air balloon! A big thrill for my kids is just seeing them in the sky so imagine getting to ride in one! > Find out more about Another Side Tours

WaveRunners in Carlsbad

For some north county fun, visit the Carlsbad Lagoon! Fly through the water in your WaveRunner, or casually float along in an aqua cycle, kayak or stand up paddleboard. Boat rentals are available, too! Where: 4215 Harrison Street, Carlsbad, California 92008 > Find out more about Carlsbad Lagoon

> Plan your trip with more San Diego Family vacation itineraries

Edna Gutierrez

Soak Up the Sun with your Four-Legged Friend at San Diego’s Dog Beaches

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Let your four-legged best friend run free at one of the dog beaches in San Diego

If you are a dog owner like me, you know the heart-breaking sad look your pup gives you when you are about to leave him home alone. Luckily, San Diego is a city that loves our furry friends and offers many dog friendly places to enjoy the city. Among those you can find many great dog beaches to play on the sand and swim in the ocean.

Dog Beach – Ocean Beach

Off Leash 24 hours

Located in laidback community of Ocean Beach, you can find the Original Dog Beach. This is the mother of all dog beaches, considered one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States. Frequented by surfers and boogie boarders, this popular dog beach offers free parking, nearby restrooms, showers and a dual-level drinking fountain for canines and humans. The dog beach area is not only easy to find, but it’s set between a marina and jetty, which prevents adventuresome dogs from sprinting into the sunset. You can find shallow waters, ideal for smaller pups, and sturdier waves, for intrepid ones. If your dog loves mingling with other pooches, playing with the waves, then this is the place to go.

North Beach – Coronado

Off Leash 24 hours

Just a few miles north from the legendary Hotel del Coronado and adjacent to the Naval Air Station, Coronado North Beach is a little piece of doggie paradise. This white sandy dog beach offers strong waves, nearby amenities and a beautiful view. Driving there will give you and your companion the opportunity to dribble at the sight of Coronado’s elegant homes and mansions. Parking is off-street and might be difficult to find during weekends, so unless you get there early or in the evening you might have to walk a couple of blocks. Be ready to bump into many happy wet noses, this is definitely the perfect place if your dog likes to socialize and you don’t mind being randomly greeted by curious pups. A few of the perks that I personally enjoy are the nearby bathrooms, free dog littler bags and showers for canines.

Jeremy Loves San Diego's Dog Beaches

Jeremy loves to play fetch in the waves at San Diego’s Dog Beaches

Fiesta Island’s Dog Run – Mission Beach

Off Leash 24 hours

If your four-legged friend prefers calmer waters and less crowded areas, this is the place for you. Located in Mission Bay, facing SeaWorld, Fiesta Island is home to the San Diego Youth Aquatic Center and a popular location for recreational water sports. Driving towards the end of the island, recognizable by the fenced area, you will find Dog Run. This is one of San Diego’s largest off-leash areas for dogs with lots of greenery areas, very calm waters and plenty of sand. There are no restrooms available, except for the occasional scattered port-a -potties. Visiting the island you will encounter many families that spend the whole day there either camping or on their jet skis. The dog area is calmer, bliss for the doggies who love to swim and play fletch.

Dog Beach in Del Mar – Del Mar

Off Leash from September 15 – June 15

North Beach, affectionately called Dog Beach, is the middle point between stunning million dollar houses and the Pacific Coastline. The off-leash season is September 15 through June 15, otherwise leashes are required. You can find the dog beach area on the border of Del Mar and Solana Beach, adjacent to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Parking might be challenging, since most parking spots are metered, so make sure to bring plenty of change if you don’t want to get a ticket. Free parking can be found south of the river, but that area can get crowded on the weekends. Just like in Fiesta Island, port-a-potties are provided along the beach area. When the tides are low, Fido or Fifí can find plenty of room to run about. One of the pluses is the beautiful scenery, which you can enjoy while your pal splashes along the water chasing the waves.

Other Available Dog Beaches

  • Cardiff State Beach – Located one mile south of Cardiff on Old Highway 101
    Dogs are allowed here on leash only
  • Imperial Beach – Located north of Palm Avenue and south of Imperial Beach Blvd
    Dogs are allowed here on leash only
  •  La Jolla Shores Beach – Located along Camino Del Oro
    Dogs are allowed on leash here and at the adjacent Kellogg Park from 6:00 PM to 9:00 AM

> Find more tips on traveling to San Diego with your pets

Robert Arends

Affordable Mission Valley – Where to Play and Stay!

View From Cowles Mountain

I’m on a “mission” (pun intended 😉 ) to find the most affordable sights, bites and places to stay in Mission Valley and share them with you for when you visit San Diego.

Find out how to win a stay in San Diego when you finish reading this post!

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Did You Know - Mission San Diego Alcala is one of four missions in San Diego County

Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley

Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first in a chain of 21 Alta California missions, is our first stop. For only $3 you can visit a small museum brimming with artifacts from the mission’s early years. It’s pretty cool and surreal being able to step back into time to the 1770s – especially with so much modern development in the valley now. Also be sure to check out the quaint chapel, padre’s quarters and stroll through the beautiful gardens, including a cool archeological dig!

Where: 10818 San Diego Mission Rd., San Diego, CA 92108
> Find out more about the Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park

Just down the road is Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the nation’s largest urban natural parks covering over 6,005 acres and featuring 42 miles of scenic trails for hiking, mountain biking, birding and rock climbing. Best of all: it’s Free – everything! – including free guided nature walks every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 AM. Stop by the Visitor Center to get the lay of the land.

View From Cowles Mountain

A fantastic view from the top of Cowles Mountain

My favorite spots are the historic Old Mission Dam on the San Diego River and Cowles Mountain where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views of all of San Diego from its 1,592 foot peak!

The San Diego River

San Diego River flowing through Mission Vallley

San Diego River flowing through Mission Valley

Running through Mission Valley is the picturesque San Diego River. It’s sometimes hard to find through all the condos and shopping centers, but it’s there. Pedestrian/bicycling paths can be found along the Mission Valley Greenway between Texas Street and Hazard Center. There’s also urban kayaking, for the more adventuresome!

Mission Valley Eats

If you’ve worked up an appetite, at Mission Valley Center the popular new Broken Yolk Café is perfect for breakfast or brunch (recommend the eggs benedict and hash browns). Nearby Pho’ Cali serves up some of the tastiest Vietnamese beef noodle soups. And for dinner, local favorite Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is yummy, as is Oki Ton Japanese Bistro, one of the best sushi bars in town!

Tiki Oasis in the Heart of San Diego

Tiki Oasis art at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley

Tiki Oasis art at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mission Valley

If you’re looking for a place to rest your head at night, look no further than Hotel Circle North and South dotted with numerous affordable motels, hotels and resorts. My personal fav is the tiki oasis known as Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly the Hanalei).

Back in the day it was much more tiki-fied, but remnants remain and it’s a hoot to spot Polynesian artifacts in the lobby and pool areas. The Crowne Plaza, BTW, is the site of 14th annual Tiki Oasis festival on August 14-17. I’ll be there! 🙂

Getting Around

Tip: To see all of Mission Valley in one fell swoop, catch a ride on the San Diego Trolley’s scenic Green Line which hugs the San Diego River. It only costs $2.50 ($5 for a day pass), with convenient stops at Mission Valley Center and Mission San Diego.

See you in Mission Valley – in the middle of it all!

Mission Possible: Stay and Play in San Diego Sweepstakes

Mission Possible: Stay and Play in San Diego Sweepstakes

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stay and play in the heart of San Diego.

Enter for the chance to complete this mission with two nights at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, two tickets to a San Diego Padres game, meals at DEN restaurant, and two San Diego Trolley passes.

Just steps from the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley’s central location, the Rio Vista Trolley Station makes it a breeze to visit some of the best of San Diego offerings including Petco Park, Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter and the Embarcadero.

The entry page will self destruct on Monday, 9 June 2014, at 10:00 AM.

> Enter Now

Candice

Tina Mickelson: San Diego’s Guide to Golf and More

Tina Mickelson - San Diego's Guide to Golf
Tina Mickelson - San Diego's Guide to Golf

Tina Mickelson – San Diego’s Guide to Golf

Callaway Golf Ambassador Tina Mickelson knows a thing or two about San Diego. Not only has she spent lots of time on the region’s many golf courses (just like her brother, Phil Mickelson), but she also loves to get out and explore the region with family and friends.

In San Diego, “everyone is very welcoming,” says Tina. We welcome you to join Tina Mickelson, one of  San Diego’s Guides to the Good Stuff, in exploring what makes San Diego a great place for golf-lovers and non-golfers alike.

Tina Mickelson’s Favorite Golf Courses

With more than 90 courses in the San Diego area, it can be hard to pick a favorite. However, Tina guarantees you’ll love the game on these courses.

  • Coronado Municipal Golf Course: For Tina, this course embodies the feeling of being in San Diego. “You really get to enjoy the view of downtown, and the ocean,” says Tina. “It’s just a lot of fun and a very laid-back vibe.”
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course: You get to see the wonderful views of the ocean,” she says, “and hear the waves crash.” Tina insists that these will help take the edge off any bad day on the course!
  • The Grand Golf Club at the Grand Del Mar: Tina loves how each hole is arranged so that you can’t see any other hole while you’re teed up. Plus, “you can’t beat the amenities here,” she adds.
  • Maderas Golf Club: Even though the beautiful course is only 20 minutes from downtown San  Diego, Tina shares that “you feel like you are far removed.”
  • Steele Canyon Golf Club: Tina loves the variety of the holes as well as the scenery you get out in San Diego’s diverse East County landscape.

Tina’s Perfect Day in San Diego

How would Tina spend a day in San Diego? Besides golfing, of course, she’d relax by the beach or at a spa, do some shopping and enjoy some of San Diego’s great cuisine.

  • Start your day by the sea: Tina suggests enjoying a big breakfast surf-side, then “take a nice long walk either on the beach or through the neighborhood of Del Mar.”
  • Shopping: Tina loves Mission Beach for boutiques and sidewalk cafes, and also recommends shopping Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District. “You find not only great clothing boutiques but a lot of great little shops for your home.”
  • Spa day: Relaxing with a massage is one of Tina’s favorite activities. “I love the spa at Estancia in La Jolla,” she says, but she also notes that with so many great spas in San Diego, you don’t have to look far to find a good one.
  • Dinner with a view: “It’s very common to be able to accommodate a great dinner with a great view, especially at sunset,” shares Tina. She recommends the ocean and bay views from restaurants in Coronado or downtown.

Check out more recommendations from Tina Mickelson, including tips for the perfect date night, at sandiego.org/goodstuff.

Robert Arends

San Diego’s East County is Music to Our Ears!

Taylor Guitar Factory in San Diego's East County

See music in the making on a tour of Taylor Guitars’ factory floor

Bet you didn’t know that three of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies are headquartered in San Diego’s picturesque East County – in the cities of El Cajon and Spring Valley and small town of Mount Laguna.

Join me for a fine tuned tour of East County to discover where world-class guitars, banjos and harps are made:

Taylor Guitar Company

Rockin'! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour

Rockin’! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour in El Cajon

Our first stop is Taylor Guitar Company in El Cajon, a world-famous designer of top-line acoustic and electric guitars celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Taylor Guitars are played by some of the top musicians in rock and country music, including Neil Young and San Diego’s very own Jason Mraz. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the Taylor factory Monday through Friday at 1:00 PM.

Did you know: Taylor made 130,000 guitars in 2013!

Where: 1980 Gillespie Way, El Cajon, CA 92020
> Find out more about the Taylor Guitar Company Factory

Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Nearby Spring Valley is home to Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, played by contemporary musicians like Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Mumford & Sons and even Steve Martin (who’s collaborating with Edie Brickell BTW on the world-premiere musical “Bright Star” at  The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park). Deering is the largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S., producing 10,000 of the sweet twanged musical instruments last year. Visitors can take a free Deering factory tour Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 PM. Call/email in advance to schedule a tour date: 1.800.845.7791, carolinabridges@deeringbanjos.com.

Did you know: Deering produces more than 80 banjo models, including their basic Goodtime banjo that sells for $499.

Where: 3733 Kenora Dr., Spring Valley, CA 91977
> Find out more about Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, founders of Deering Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, owners of Deering Banjo Company

(American Profile magazine recently featured Deering in their March issue.)

Robinson’s Harp Shop

Tucked away, high atop East County’s Mount Laguna – popular for hiking, camping and frolicking in the snow during the winter – is a world-renowned music marvel most San Diegans don’t know about: Robinson’s Harp Shop. Since 1967 this harp string manufacturer, housed in a cabin near the town’s general store, has been sending custom-made strings to loyal customers around the world. There aren’t any visitor tours, as it’s a low-profile, five-person operation that makes the most of its time to produce 150,000 handmade harp strings per year. But Laguna is lovely to visit any time of year…Check out my camping blog, featuring Laguna’s pristine alpine wilderness.

Did you know: Robinson’s is one of only four such harp shops in the U.S., and three of those are related to each other!

> Find out more about Robinson’s Harp Shop

See you in East County where wonders like these never cease!

Candice

Find Art in Unexpected Places throughout San Diego County

Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art

With all the beautiful beaches and great hiking trails, it can be easy for visitors to San Diego to forget that the city is also home to incredible art museums and up-and-coming galleries. Fortunately, for locals and visitors alike, you don’t have to head indoors to find great art – it’s all around you in San Diego!

Murals of La Jolla

TOMASELLI_3347-55-81AA_860

A mural by Fred Tomaselli is just one of the Murals of La Jolla

Since 2010, more than a dozen artists have transformed the coastal seaside village of La Jolla into an outdoor contemporary art gallery. The Murals of La Jolla feature massive painted and photographic works by local artists as well as international contemporary art stars.

Writerz Blok

writerz blok graffit art

Writerz Blok, a project of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Started as a community initiative to prevent vandalism, Writerz Blok in southeast San Diego offers one of the most unexpected and extraordinary art experiences in San Diego. Young San Diego street artists continually make over the park’s 10,000 sq. ft., which is covered inch for inch with graffiti art.

Galleta Meadows

Galleta Meadows Dragon art sculpture

Galleta Meadows Dragon sculpture!

Surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and citrus groves, Galleta Meadows features 40 fantastic metal sculptures of dinosaurs, mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, sloths and other ancient former residents, as well as life-size animals of the non-prehistoric kind: camels, tortoises and wild stallions. Created by artist Ricardo Breceda, his “Sky Art” project tells the tale of San Diego’s fascinating and fossilized past one free standing, steel-welded sculpture at a time.

Outdoor Art Comes Indoors: Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art's Art Alive 2013

Bella Meyer’s moss angel for Art Alive 2013. What will this year’s design look like?

In April, the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park blossoms during Art Alive, an enchanting spring exhibition. Transforming the museum into a colorful display of art and flowers, 120 floral designers take inspiration from the museum’s renowned art collection and create floral renditions of famous paintings and sculptures.

However, the most spectacular part of Art Alive is always the museum’s atrium. Each year, one designer is picked to create and enormous floral design that fills the rotunda from top to bottom. This year’s designer, Carlos Franco of Green Fresh Florals, was inspired by the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. Expect to see a design composed of 175 hanging pots, 120 bunches of roses, 300 boxwood bunches, 200 bunches of yellow china and white china mums, 8 date palms, 16 conical cypress trees, and 10 rose trees.

san diego museum of art art alive 2014

Volunteers prep hundreds of plants and flowers for Art Alive at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Still looking for more places to find art in unexpected places? Check out the Los Angeles Times‘ suggestions for finding outdoor art in San Diego, or watch our video tour or art in usual places:

[youtube http://youtu.be/bl7tHQE23L0]
Robert Arends

5 to Try for Big Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay
San Diego's Big Bay

Pick your adventure on San Diego’s Big Bay

Spring is here and there’s no better time to make a splash on San Diego Bay – also called the “Big Bay” –  with its treasure trove of attractions, tours, events and cool points of interest.

Following are my top 5 to Try:

1. The Port of San Diego’s Annual Day at the Docks

Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

The Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks celebration in April is the West Coast’s largest public sportfishing celebration – and the official start of Southern California’s popular spring saltwater fishing season. Festivities at American’s Cup Harbor include over 200 maritime exhibits, live entertainment, a casting competition, captains’ dunk tank, free fishing and kids art areas. It’s fun and free!

2. The San Salvador

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Did you know: in 1542 European explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed aboard his ship, the San Salvador, and reached “a very good enclosed port” naming it “San Miguel.” Today we call it San Diego Bay and visitors can step back in time to check out the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s building of a full-sized, fully functional, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, the San Salvador. The framing is nearly complete and it’s easy to imagine the ship that she will become. Ahoy!

3. The Living Coast Discovery Center

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

The South Bay city of Chula Vista is home to one of my favorite attractions for up-close animal encounters: the Living Coast Discovery Center. You can see endangered green sea turtles (tip: go during feeding time!), leopard sharks, friendly stingrays (minus the stingers so you can pet them!) and magnificent birds like falcons and burrowing owls. The observation tower and hiking trails afford picturesque views of the surrounding wetlands and bay.

4. Seeing the Big Bay…While on the Big Bay

Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

Speed across San Diego’s Big Bay aboard a jet powered boat like Flagship’s Patriot

Water activities abound on the bay, from the affordable Coronado Ferry ride, to narrated harbor tours (on Flagship and Hornblower), SEAL Tours, whale watching excursions, kayak tours (including San Diego’s only urban kayak adventure), Jetpack America rides (you too can fly like a superhero!) and two new thrilling, turbo-charged boat rides (the Sea Rocket and Flagship Patriot). Let’s make some waves!

5. Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District. on San Diego's Big Bay

The stylish new Headquarters at Seaport District

Foodies and shoppers are in for a treat at the new Headquarters at Seaport District, located in San Diego’s former Spanish-style police headquarters (pose for pix in an actual jail cell). Nosh on gourmet tacos at Puesto or grab a slice at Pizzeria Mozza, Chef Mario Batali’s first foray into San Diego’s dining scene. Shop-portunties include local surf photographer Aaron Chang’s Ocean Art Gallery and Kitson, a celebrity hot spot and go-to fashion boutique dedicated to pop culture.

Pick your own adventure and discover the many wonders of San Diego’s Big Bay this spring! 🙂

Candice

Enter to Win the Ultimate Baseball Getaway to San Diego

Hilton Bayfront pedestrian bridge Petco Park

With Opening Day behind us, baseball season is in full swing. And if you’re a baseball fan, San Diego is calling your name! From a state-of-the-art stadium in the heart of downtown to memorabilia collections and sports bars galore, San Diego is the perfect baseball getaway for any fan of America’s favorite pastime.

Petco Park – Home to the San Diego Padres

Petco Park - Baseball Getaway

Petco Park is always the perfect destination for a baseball getaway

Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, offers baseball fans the chance to catch a game in a remarkable downtown stadium featuring stunning architecture and landscaping, superb sight lines and convenient public transportation access. When it comes to dining, the park also offers much more than your standard stadium hot dogs and brews. Local favorites like Phil’s BBQHodad’s Burgers, Ballast Point Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co. and Lucha Libre Taco Shop offer authentic tastes of San Diego while you take in a game.

Baseball Memorabilia Collections

sullivan family baseball research center

The San Diego Central Library is home to the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center.

Opened in September 2013, San Diego’s new central library next door to Petco Park features a permanent exhibition that no baseball lover should miss: the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center. Displaying photos, memorabilia and more, this is the largest and most comprehensive baseball research center in the U.S. outside the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

After checking out the library’s collection, head over to the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. The nation’s largest multi-sport museum boasts three levels of memorabilia spanning 68,000 square feet.

East Village Tavern & Bowl

Lanes - East Village Tavern & Bowl

A different kind of strike: the East Village Tavern and Bowl

If you’re looking to get active after a ballgame, East Village Tavern & Bowl near the ballpark offers will quench all your thirsts with a full-bar and restaurant adjacent to its bowling lanes. With lanes open until 2:00 AM, East Village Tavern & Bowl is a favorite nightlife hangout for locals and visitors alike.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel

Hilton Bayfront pedestrian bridge Petco Park

Take the pedestrian bridge to get directly from the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel to Petco Park in no time at all.

After all that sporting excitement, you don’t have to travel far from the stadium to rest your head. The 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront nestled along the waterfront connects to Petco Park via a beautiful skybridge. In addition to views of the ballpark, the 30-story hotel features panoramic views of the bay and downtown San Diego.

Enter to Win a Baseball Getaway to San Diego

Want a chance to experience all this in San Diego? Enter our San Diego Double Play Sweepstakes, and you could win round-trip airfare for two, tickets to a San Diego Padres game, a three-night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, a round of bowling and dinner at the East Village Tavern & Bowl, and passes to Balboa Park. Enter before April 7, 2014 for a chance to win!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 1-6, 2014

Goodguys Meguiar's Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

From butterflies to beaches to beers to bodacious hot rods, there is a lot going on in San Diego this weekend with these top things to do.

San Diego Crew & Brew Classic

Rowers - San Diego Crew Classic

Don’t miss the excitement as it rows on by at the San Diego Crew Classic

With the excitement of rowing races complemented by sunny skies and warm temperatures, the San Diego Crew Classic provides a perfect backdrop for a spring getaway to San Diego.

> Read all about the San Diego Crew Classic

Butterfly Jungle

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Meet a few of the over 10,000 butterflies in the Butterfly Jungle

Each spring the Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle exhibit is filled with amazing and delightful exotic butterflies of all colors and sizes, and guests can walk among them, take photos, and enjoy pointing out different species using a butterfly identification guide provided by the park. There’s something for everyone, from fun kids’ activities to special presentations to fascinating facts about these wonderful winged insects.

Where: San Diego Zoo Safari Park – 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
When: April 5-27, 2014
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Butterfly Jungle

VinDiego Wine and Food Festival

VinDiego Wine and Food Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Swirl and savor more than 200 handcrafted wines at VinDiego

VinDiego is about people coming together to celebrate a shared passion; a passion for great wine and mouth-watering gourmet food. Come sip, swirl and savor a selection of over 200 handcrafted wines from top-tier wineries. There will also be a fantastic variety of wonderful local restaurants offering delicious culinary samples.

Where: NTC Liberty Station – 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA 92106
When: April 4-5, 2014
Cost: Varies by event
> Find out more about the VinDiego Wine and Food Festival

Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

Goodguys Meguiar's Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

It’s a full weekend of roddin’ at the beach in ol’ Del Mar.

It’s a full weekend of roddin’ at the beach in ol’ Del Mar featuring a giant show and shine with 1972 and earlier, rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks. Watch the crowning of the Goodguys March Performance Street Rod d’Elegance and a Super Sunday Get-Together for late-model American made or powered cars on Sunday. See more than 3,000 cars, indoor and outdoor car shows, plus vendor exhibits, swap meet and car corral, Goodguys AutoCross, nightly parties, special woody exhibit, live music, model car show and much more!

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
When: April 4-6, 2014
Cost: $6-$18
> Find out more about the Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Rod & Custom Nationals

San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

In the magical world of Don Quixote’s Spain, the eccentric knight pursues his impossible dream of capturing the heart of Dulcinea, his idealized woman, who sends him on a quest to recover her stolen necklace. With his loyal sidekick Sancho, he tilts at giant windmills, confronts bandits, and is nearly killed, but achieves his goal. However, when he returns with the prize, he is mocked, scorned and rejected. In one of the most emotional scenes in opera, the delirious Quixote dies believing he hears Dulcinea’s voice calling to him from a distant star.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 3rd Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
When: April 5-13, 2014
Cost: $35-$225
> Find out more about San Diego Opera Presents Don Quixote

Craft Beer + Bites

Craft Beer + Bites - SILO in Makers Quarter

Enjoy craft beer from 10 local breweries paired with small bites from 10 local restaurants, including Green Flash Brewing, Lost Abbey, Societe Brewing, Urbn Street and Alchemy Cultural Fare. In addition to local craft beer and delicious food, SILO will host a variety of interactive games including bocce ball, ping-pong, beanbag toss and life-sized Jenga. Local makers will also be on-hand displaying and talking with guests about custom menswear, murals, silk-screening and home brewing.

Where: SILO at Makers Quarter – 753 15th St, San Diego, CA 92101
When: April 5, 2014
Time: 4:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $30-$35
> Find out more about Craft Beer + Bites

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.