— San Diego: 7-Day Coast, Mountains, and Wine Country Loop —
400 miles, 7 days, 9 hours driving Best Time to Go: anytime
Day 1: Arrive in San Diego, tour the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, lunch at Seaport Village, check out museums and other attractions in Balboa Park, then head to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego for shopping, dinner, and night life.
Day 2: Scenic drive to Borrego Springs, and go for a hike up ____canyon
Day 3: Go for hike through desert canyon, go four-wheeling on sand dunes, hike through badlands, etc.
Day 4: Scenic drive to Temecula, visit wineries & shop
Day 5: Drive to Carlsbad, go to Legoland California, drive down coast to La Jolla, beaches, Mission Bay, Ocean Beach surf, boardwalk, shop
Day 6: Stay in Coronado, see tidal pools at Cabrillo National Monument, Pt. Loma lighthouse, living coast discovery center in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, ...
Day 7: See anything else in San Diego you want to see, fly out.
— Trip Details by Day —
Arrive in San Diego. Head to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and take a tour. It's pretty amazing and it'll immediately make you feel better about your cramped quarters on the airplane ride to San Diego.
Then head to Seaport Village for lunch along the San Diego Bay.
After lunch, get back in the car for a few minutes to explore the museums and other attractions in Balboa Park. There are more than a dozen, so choose wisely with the limited time you have. Some of the options are:
- Spanish Village Art Center
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- San Diego Air & Space Museum
- Automotive Museum
- San Diego Museum of Man
- San Diego Museum of Art
- Timken Museum of Art
- Veterans Museum & Memorial Center
- San Diego Zoo (Note: We walked 7 miles just in the zoo and didn't see it all, so be warned! You might want to hit the zoo on Day 7 if your flight leaves late in the day.)
Balboa Park will be getting a new attraction soon—the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture. No opening date had been set yet as of January 2019. It should be interesting though...
There is a special pass called the Balboa Park Explorer Pass that will get you into 16 different museums in the city (for an extra fee it'll also get you in the zoo). This wouldn't be worth it unless you plan to go to several museums today, Day 6, and Day 7.
After exploring what Balboa Park has to offer, head to the Gaslamp Quarter (San Diego's premiere entertainment district) for some shopping, dinner, and night life.
Camping: The Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is rather civilized and pleasant.