Best Day Trips from San Diego

Best Day Trips from San Diego

Best Day Trips from San Diego

day trips from San Diego, Blue Eyed Compass

San Diego is so wonderfully located that it’s a perfect place to head out for various day trip excursions. The city is truly surrounded by beautiful destinations such as national parks, beach towns, wineries and islands. So not only is San Diego an incredible vacation destination, but for those who live here, it’s a great place to venture away from and explore other parts of Southern California and Baja Mexico.

The following best day trips from San Diego are organized by area via north, south, east and west of San Diego.

San Diego Day Trips that are WITHIN San Diego County

– San Diego Safari Park –

Distance from San Diego: 45 minute drive north of central San Diego

The San Diego Safari Park is the sister zoo to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Located in the northern area of Escondido, this refuge away from the bustle of Balboa park (where the San Diego Zoo is located) provides much more open space and traditional landscapes for the animals here.

It is well worth the drive for a day trip to the San Diego Safari Park, especially when you arrive at the exhibit that hosts their giraffes, rhinos, antelope and other animals, all in one large open space (larger than I have ever seen in a zoo before).

As a sustainable travel blogger, I am often not a big fan of zoo’s, as they often feature small enclosures and unnatural breeding habits for the sake of making money, but the San Diego Safari Park is no such place. It has become a haven for animals from downtrodden zoo’s and is focused on conservation of their animal species.

– Carlsbad, California –

Distance from San Diego: 45 minute drive north of central San Diego

While I consider Carlsbad to be a part of San Diego, its distance north of the main parts of the city leaves many to assume it is its own entity (and it’s possible the residents of Carlsbad prefer it that way too). Carlsbad’s downtown area is quaint yet modern, with plenty of delicious eateries (including one of my favorite San Diego local breakfast chains Swami’s cafe!).

Carlsbad is host to many hiking trails & beautiful beaches with its most popular & easiest to access beach being the Tamarack Beach. The city has also become well known for its Carlsbad Flower Fields that bloom every spring. And while yes, the blooms can bring with them a flock of instagrammers capturing their perfect shot, it’s nonetheless a beautiful place to explore. And for families in the area, Carlsbad is also home to Legoland.

For anyone who loves a good spa escape, Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort will be perfect for you. I’ve walked throughout the property of this resort and it is absolutely stunning.

– Palomar Observatory –

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour & 30 minute drive from central San Diego

Located at the top of Palomar mountain lies the astronomical research center, Palomar Observatory. It hosts visitors year round to visit & learn about the Hale Telescope. Another reason to visit this area is to camp and hike the Palomar Observatory hiking trail. The drive to the hike is curvy, but well worth it as there is a great chance hikers can see wildlife while they hike to the top of the mountain.

San Diego Day Trips that are EAST of San Diego County

– Salvation Mountain –

Distance from San Diego: 2-2.5 hour drive from central San Diego

Salvation Mountain has become a trendy destination for road trippers and San Diegans to take photos of. Salvation Mountain is not actually a mountain, it’s a man made, colorful monument located in the middle of the desert.

The ‘mountain’ was created by Leonard Knight who built it with natural materials and then painted over it with vibrant colors, bible verses & christian phrases. While it may not be the most exciting place to visit in the world, it is a sight to see the bright colors against the beige desert backdrop.

If you chose to visit Salvation Mountain, you are also close enough to explore the Salton Sea. I don’t have it listed here as it’s own day trip destination, as I don’t feel it warrants it’s own trip. Salton Sea has quite a sad tale – the area was once being built out to be a resort destination as the area had become a large lake. But due to agricultural runoff & other issues, the sea/lake became polluted and its salinity levels were too high for animal life. If you drive out to Salton Sea you will see abandoned homes, cars, and more. Imagine an eerie ghost town but with fish skeletons included.

Stay with me here, the remaining day trips from San Diego are much more exciting than Salton Sea…

girl in front of Salvation Mountain California | Day Trips from San Diego

San Diego Day Trips that are NORTH of San Diego

– Laguna Beach –

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour & 15 minute drive from San Diego

If you grew up watching MTV’s ‘Laguna Beach’ then you may already know that Laguna Beach is a stunningly gorgeous destination. The area is like something out of a postcard. The downtown area has adorable shops and is known for its art galleries, but if we’re being honest, you need to visit Laguna for its beaches.

Yes, traveling from San Diego beaches to Laguna beaches sounds redundant, but trust me, it’s worth it. Here are a few of the beaches in Laguna that are well worth the day trip drive from San Diego:

  • 1,000 Steps beach (it’s easy to get down to, and a workout to get back up)
  • Crystal Cove State Park
  • Victoria Beach – known for its Disney princess-like tower
  • Crescent Bay Beach (which may be my favorite beach in Laguna!)
Laguna Beach cove | Day Trips from San Diego

– Catalina Island –

Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hour drive to Dana Point harbor, then a 1 hour boat ride on the Catalina Express

Catalina Island is a romantic escape for many Southern Californians. This rocky island reminds visitors of vacations to the coastal towns of the Mediterranean. Santa Catalina island is the main island of a cluster of small islands known as the Channel Islands of California.

This place is a car-free destination, so visitors can rent bikes, golf carts or boats to explore. There is snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and groups that will take you to find the island bison. The main area of Catalina island hosts quite a few bars & restaurants that are perfect for ending your day before hopping on the ferry boat back to Dana Point harbor. While Catalina Island can be better for overnight stays, it’s close location to San Diego makes it a very doable day trip destination.

Catalina Island | Day Trips from San Diego

– Temecula Wineries –

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour drive from central San Diego (more or less depending on which winery you choose to visit)

Temecula is Southern California’s Napa Valley, it’s our wine country (as is Valle de Guadalupe, discussed below!). The Temecula area has over 40 delicious and beautiful wineries to enjoy. You can also spend time walking around Temecula’s Old Town or finish your day with a hot air balloon ride that Temecula has also somehow become known for… could either be a really fun or potentially dangerous way to end a day of wine tasting, but regardless, a hot air balloon ride would definitely be a beautiful way to catch the sunset.

– Julian –

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour drive NorthWest from central San Diego

Julian is a town known for apples and it’s homemade apple pies. You can start your day picking apples at one of the many apple orchards, and then spend your afternoon exploring the quaint town of Julian. It almost feels like a step back in time with 1960 themed soda shoppes and boutique stores. A day trip to Julian from San Diego wouldn’t be complete without stopping at Mom’s Pies. I suggest you enjoy a fresh slice while there and then bring home a pie to enjoy for later.

Julian is also near Cuyamaca State Park which is a great area for hiking too.

– Disneyland –

Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hour drive north of San Diego

Disney is a household name around the world, so I won’t dive too far into what Disneyland is. However I will share that there are two parks that Disney hosts in Anaheim – Disneyland and California Adventure Park. If you are looking for a traditional Disney experience, then visit Disneyland. If you prefer more rollercoaster-type attractions, then check out the California Adventure Park. As with any major theme park, visiting on a weekday will mean smaller crowds.

Disneyland day trip from San Diego

– San Juan Capistrano –

Distance from San Diego: 1 hour drive from San Diego

San Juan Capistrano is a small historic California city. There is the old town area or Los Rios Historic District to explore, which has small shops & cafes. The main attraction here is the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission is an 18th century Spanish chapel that is still beautifully maintained.

San Diego Day Trips that are  SOUTH of San Diego in MEXICO

– Tijuana, Mexico –

Distance from San Diego: 20 minute drive south of central San Diego

With a quick drive south, you can be across the border in Tijuana, Mexico and enjoy mouthwatering food for a fraction of the price in San Diego. Tijuana is a vibrant city that San Diego locals enjoy visiting for delicious lunches and dinners. The main street is Avenida Revolucion, but it’s been suggested that visitors explore areas outside of this main tourist street. My suggestion – enjoy a beer and lunch at Telefonico, a food truck destination that offers vegan options and it’s own brewery!

– Rosarito, Mexico –

Distance from San Diego: 50 minute drive south from San Diego

Drive a bit farther south from Tijuana and you will be in Rosarito, a popular Baja coastal town. Visitors to Rosarito can easily walk around town and walk to the beach. However, I don’t believe Rosarito to be a great place for everyone. It seems to be home to a big party scene and I’ve witnessed horses being used for tourists on the beach, which I strongly disagree with.

If you drive a little outside of the main area of Rosarito you can find some beautiful & quaint resorts to stop at for margaritas and delicious meals.

– Ensenada, Mexico –

Distance from San Diego: 2 hour drive south into Baja Mexico

Ensenada is a seaport town further south from Rosartio, but with a lesser party scene. Ensenada is great for outdoor activities like kayaking and mountain biking, as well as plenty of restaurants to enjoy delicious mexican cuisine.

– Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico –

Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hour drive south east from central San Diego (more or less depending on which winery you choose to visit)

San Diego is happily book-ended with two wine areas, Temecula & Valle de Guadalupe in Baja Mexico. This area of Baja Mexico has over 100 wineries to enjoy (compared to Temecula’s 40+ wineries). You can book a wine tour company to pick you up in San Diego & chauffeur you around to their favorite wineries in Valle de Guadalupe or book a nights stay at a boutique hotel for two days of wine tastings & delicious Mexican food.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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day trips from San Diego, Blue Eyed Compass
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San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass

San Diego is a hub for entrepreneurs and exciting new businesses, so it’s no wonder that with our laidback, outdoor lifestyles that San Diegans love to support new and unique sustainable and holistic businesses.

You’ll want to save this post, because I have a feeling that this list will continue to grow as San Diegans continue to outshine the nation in sustainable businesses.

Check out these holistic San Diego businesses to support local, environmental and health conscious groups!

San Diego Holistic & Sustainable Businesses:

– Saffron & Sage –

Saffron and Sage is a holistic health club. They have a holistic wellness practice, multi-sensory wellness classes and offer a variety of in-house and highly vetted lines of clean beauty and body products. It’s like walking into a yoga studio combined with your Sephora and doctors office, but with the most calming and zen atmosphere that you could think of. The owner, Cristin has created a beautiful synchrony of modern medicine with holistic wellness.

Saffron & Sage offers a monthly membership that includes access to all of their services or you can drop in for appointments and classes. They also offer seasonal educational workshops throughout the year.

You can find Saffron & Sage at 2555 State Street San Diego, CA 92101

– Remedy Pharmacy –

Located in Little Italy, Remedy Pharmacy is exactly that – a pharmacy! But with a unique and holistic twist. They provide a holistic and personalized approach to medicine. Remedy Rx offers consultations for pharmacogenetic analysis, medication analysis, birth control consultations and more! You can pay a small fee to meet with a trained professional who will actually tell you how your medicines will react to your individual body because they evaluate you as a whole entity, and not just another customer. They also offer herbalist consultations, vaccines, and over the counter items such as skincare items and supplements. And trust me when I tell you that you’ll want to go in and explore this space. Their interior is beautifully done and is so well organized. Remedy Rx is female run and owned too!

You can find Remedy Rx at 320 West Cedar Street Suite 103 San Diego, CA 92101

– Eco Chic Salon –

Eco Chic Salon is San Dieos’ first full service vegan, eco-friendly,  and toxic free hair & nail salon. For anyone who enjoys treating themselves to a good manicure and likes to maintain beautiful hair care, Eco Chic Salon needs to become your go-to spot. If you didn’t already know, salons can be extremely toxic for your body and very wasteful. From the chemicals used in nail polish to the hair dyes used, and the amount of single use items being tossed daily. Eco Chic has completely transformed what a salon can be. They offer eco-friendly, 100% vegan products inside of a colorful yet relaxing environment.

Every step of the salon process has been meticulously groomed for their customers, as they believe that beauty and wellness are synonymous. From proper recycling of ALL materials at the end of each day, to minimal water use, and so much more, Eco Chic truly cares about their carbon footprint and having a sanctuary for toxic-free care.

Most importantly they care about their customers beauty and well-being (because the two don’t have to be exclusive!). The salon is certified sustainable through Green Circle Salons(GCS). Which to you as a customer means that GCS collects, recycles and repurposes their salong waste, and diverts it from landfills and waterways. Eco Chic Salon is also ammonia, PPD and resorcinol free (all three of these are incredibly toxic chemicals typically found in hair color), and their retail products contain high quality organic ingredients that are made ethically.

I can’t speak highly enough about Eco Chic, quite possibly because I’ve seen and met the owners on multiple occasions at local events in San Diego (which has shown that they immerse themselves into our community!).

You can find Eco Chic Salon at 1727 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92103

Eco Chic Salon, San Diego Sustainable businesses
Eco Chic Salon, San Diego CA Sustainable Businesses
Eco Chic Salon, San Diego Sustainable businesses 1

– Shop Good –

Shop Good is a clean beauty skincare shop and spa. Owner, Leah, is an expert in non-toxic beauty and all natural skincare. Each product sold in this store is carefully vetted by its ingredients and tested by the staff. Shop Good is also a spa and offers 100% customizable, holistic facials, known as the Shop Good Facial. Their other spa options include brow waxing, sugaring and beauty & wellness consultations.

You can find Shop Good at  3665 Paseo Place, Suite 960 San Diego CA 92130

– Tribe Medicine –

Within one of San Diego’s best vegan cafes and yoga studios is Tribe Medicine, a naturopathic and functional medicine practice, with a focus on women’s hormonal health and fertility. While I haven’t personally utilized Dr. Leah Gordon (at least not yet), I have only ever heard raving reviews about her services as a naturopathic doctor.
You can find Tribe Medicine at 7650 Girard Avenue Suite 401 La Jolla CA

– Organifi –

Organifi is a superfood supplement retailer that provides some of THE best tasting & best for you products on the market. The level of scrutiny that they put behind any of the ingredients in their products is incredible and comforting. While they may be an online marketplace, their office is located in San Diego and they embody what so many San Diegans stand for – community, empowerment and being healthy. I can personally recommend their Green Juice, Red Juice, Pure, Immunity and Chocolate Gold (in fact, I may have an obsession with their Chocolate Gold and I drink their Green Juice every morning).

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass

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Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

It’s no wonder that there is no shortage of unique & delicious craft cocktail bars in San Diego. As one of the best vacation destinations in the United States, the city has become known for its incredible bar and restaurant industry, keeping locals and visitors excited to try the best quality & most ambient-filled places.

Below is a list of the best cocktails bars in San Diego. And don’t worry, in San Diego our bars don’t choose between ambiance and amazing quality. Here we pride ourselves on outdoing both. So no matter which location you choose to frequent, know that you’ll be getting a feast for the eyes & your taste buds.

Here are the:

San Diego’s Top Craft Cocktails Bars

Starlite

Starlite calls itself a hidden gem, and is true to its word. Few non-locals would happen to wander past their front doors, as it’s not central to the Gaslamp district or Pacific Beach’s beachside bars. And honestly, I’m more than okay with that. Starlite has an incredible architecture design starting with a hexagonal hallway and a sunken bar, and embedded lights throughout to create a truly ethereal experience. Their bar staff craft amazing cocktails & they keep an incredible menu of spirits. Another perk is that they serve drinks until 1am and food until midnight. It’s by far one of the best places to get a late night meal paired with a beautiful cocktail.

Trust

Located in Hillcrest, Trust Restaurant is community forward, with a focus on a fine dining experience that feels approachable. This may be the spot to round out a date night before heading out for the evening in Hillcrest, North Park or University Heights. Come in for fresh, local food fare and order yourself a craft cocktail here… and maybe one of their beautiful desserts as well.

Ironside

Ironside is part of a restaurant group called Consortium Holdings, who creates “public gathering spaces that help cultivate our neighborhoods through the fostering of creativity, dialogue, questions and conversations”. I don’t often put entire quotes in these posts, but their dedication to the San Diego community is felt throughout their spaces. Ironside is well known for their oyster & seafood menu, but as a vegetarian I go for the cocktails & interior design. With their large, open spaced warehouse-like interior that hosts soft teals and the perfect lighting, you’ll feel like you’re under the sea here.

Lion’s Share

Lion’s Share is known for serving uncommon meat options on their charcuterie boards, but more importantly for their deliciously fresh cocktails. Their staff prides themselves on giving customers their undivided attention. When you visit Lion’s Share be sure to keep an eye out for their unique artwork that will be sure to spark up conversation.

Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange has become a San Diego must visit due to their beautiful rooftop lounge, that is elegant, yet approachable. The ambiance adds an air of austerity that effortlessly pairs with their refreshing cocktail menu. Seasonal libations and views of Little Italy make Kettner Exchange perfect for an evening out.

The Grass Skirt

The name may give it away, but The Grass Skirt is a Pacific Beach tiki bar staple. This place has some of the best cocktails in San Diego that are perfect for celebratory occasions. It’s also one of the city’s speakeasies, so guests can enjoy the element of finding their way into the restaurant and reward themselves with a tropical cocktail.

Born & Raised

for table side cocktails

Born & Raised is praised as being the best steakhouse in San Diego, but I prefer the title of best cocktails in San Diego instead. Considered to be both swanky and elegant, I feel it’s best to enjoy your craft cocktail on their rooftop with panoramic views of Little Italy. Born & Raised may possibly have the largest scotch menu, but if you prefer a classic martini with your meal you can have it prepared on a rolling cart right at your table.

Tanuki

best saki list

A bit outside of the typical tourist area of San Diego in the Kensington neighborhood lies Tanuki Sake Bar. Tanuki is a great cocktail bar in San Diego, and you can feel confident with that as the owner was once the chef at San Diego’s upscale restaurant, Nobu. Tankui offers over 100 different saki’s, and is also a coffee bar by day!

False Idol

fun cocktails

False Idol hosts a fully immersed environment that celebrates the tiki lifestyle. Their cocktails are beautifully made and range from classic to tiki-eccentric. And better yet, False Idol is another speakeasy bar for you to explore in San Diego.

Craft & Commerce

Another Little Italy top cocktail bar is Craft & Commerce. Craft & Commerce embodies that feeling of ‘enjoying a craft cocktail while lounging in your library staring deep into your taxidermy work’. And not to reveal too much, you could visit both Craft & Commerce and False Idol in one afternoon.

Kindred

Kindred boasts its incredible cocktail menu alongside a delicious vegan menu. Their food menu often reflects their cocktail menu and aligns with seasonal availability, giving patrons a seasonally exciting menu to choose from. Located in South Park, Kindred has some of the most bold and eye-catching interior design in San Diego.

You & Yours

vodka & gin tasting

Personally, I love You & Yours as it’s a female run business that has masterfully intertwined delicious spirits with a beautifully designed tasting room. The tasting room is located in East Village and offers the city’s best vodka and gin tasting.

Sycamore Den

late night

Sycamore Den is a neighborhood staple in Normal Heights that serves classic craft cocktails while embracing a ‘feel at home’ atmosphere.. This place is loved for its 1970’s interior design that pays homage to the living room style of our grandparents, offering a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy your drink.

The Guild Bar

The Guild Bar lays inside the lobby of one of San Diego’s newer boutique hotels, The Guild. The entire hotel was previously a YMCA that’s been completely transformed into one of San Diego’s top hotels, while maintaining its historic 1920’s exterior. Visitors can enjoy their craft cocktails at the chic lobby Guild bar or at Luca, their outdoor Mediterranean restaurant.

Rendezvous

Located within the historic US Grant hotel, lies Rendezvous, a vintage French cocktail bar in San Diego’s Gaslamp district. This hotel bar offers a historic feeling as it was opened just after Prohibition was repealed and continues to offer the quality of service and cocktails that many feel has been left in the past.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

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San Diego Speakeasies

San Diego Speakeasies

San Diego Speakeasies

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

There’s something to be said about the air of mystery & excitement behind visiting a speakeasy. And San Diego has its handful of hidden gem speakeasy’s to enjoy. While a traditional 1920’s speakeasy was for providing a space to consume alcohol when it was outlawed, our SD local joints are all about atmosphere, experience & most importantly specialty cocktails.

*Some of these San Diego Speakeasy’s would prefer to keep their location a mystery – part of the fun is finding them yourselves! – so, this list has the speakeasy’s listed but not their exact location. But ask around while you’re here & someone will happily oblige you.

*Almost every one of these speakeasy’s requires a reservation & even if it’s not required, I suggest making one to guarantee you’ll have a seat when you want to visit.

San Diego’s Speakeasies & Secret Bars

RAISED BY WOLVES

One of our newer speakeasy’s, Raised by Wolves is a gorgeous & traditionally designed spot located in one of the San Diego malls. Find the fireplace mantle as the hidden door to enter here.

REALM OF 52 REMEDIES

Realm of 52 Remedies is located in the Kearny Mesa/Convoy Street area of San Diego (I cannot wait to dive more into this area of San Diego & write about it here!). Hidden within a restaurant, this place is adding some serious cocktail envy to an already excellent dining neighborhood. Visitors with reservations will enjoy a mix of Chinese & Koren heritage within the interior design, and possibly their own ‘Emperor’s Bar’ experience.

Discover San Diego like a local – San Diego Attractions at Night

NOBLE EXPERIMENT

Known for its hidden door at the back of a downtown restaurant, Noble Experiment is a true homage to traditional speakeasies. Order the dealers choice & tell your server what your favorite cocktail ingredients are for a one of a kind drink just for you.

PROHIBITION

You can find Prohibition by entering through an unambiguous lawyer office door somewhere in the Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego. While there are many reasons to enjoy Prohibition, it’s unique for enforcing a 1920’s dress code on the weekends. Step back in time & enjoy it for yourself.

ROOM 56

Room 56 is a speakeasy in San Diego that is known to be ‘hush-hush’. It’s hidden within a downtown hotel & accessed through the library (how very Game of Clue of them). After descending down, guests are received in a 24-seat cocktail sanctum. A reservation to Room 56 will give you an intriguingly sophisticated experience.

OCULTO 477

Oculto 477 loves to maintain its hidden entrance, but I will give you the hint of its location being in Old Town & near a cemetery. It’s known for its candlelit interior that marks the resting places of each tombstone in the graveyard. With a cozy seating space & limited time (2 hours max allowed inside), guests will truly enjoy Oculto 477’s accurate, albeit spooky, prohibition-era atmosphere.

THE GRASS SKIRT

The Grass Skirt is fronted with a daytime poke restaurant in Pacific Beach. But inside maintains a traditional tiki atmosphere, with equally tropical drinks. Find the poke, find the tiki!

VIN DE SYRAH

So, technically, Vin de Syrah isn’t a speakeasy, however it is found through a hidden door beneath a popular chain restaurant downtown. I’ve included Vin de Syrah on this list because of its unique Alice in Wonderland ‘come to life’ interior & vibe. Come for drinks & appetizers in the afternoon and stay through the evening for its late night club (which feels more like a fun lounge).

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

BAR THREE PIECE

Located within a well known North Park establishment, Bar Three Piece was inspired by Japan’s whiskey bars. Meaning, you’ll be able to sample some of THE best whiskeys you can find in San Diego. And if you’re a whiskey fan AND an SD local, you should take advantage of their locker program that allows you to purchase a bottle & keep it at the bar for your following visit.

FALSE IDOL

Imagine a hidden Polynesian tiki bar & tropical cocktails all at your fingertips. False Idol, in Little Italy, doesn’t require reservations, but I recommend one so you don’t have to worry about enjoying your tiki drink. In order to find this speakeasy just know that when you’re getting warmer, you’re actually getting colder (If you’re a fan of The Office, I dare you to tell me which episode this is from)

I love how San Diego is such a foodie & cocktail city, so I hope you can enjoy its unique speakeasy’s.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Valentine’s Day in San Diego, CA

Valentine’s Day in San Diego, CA

Valentine’s Day in San Diego, CA

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

Ladies, fellas, whoever you’re planning for, I’ve got your back for how to best celebrate Valentine’s day in San Diego – and for those looking to celebrate single-hood, I have a stellar recommendation for you as well, don’t go anywhere.

If  you’re lucky enough to live in or be visiting this beautiful, coastal city then I suggest we all take advantage of the many opportunities we have around us in San Diego for a wonderfully romantic evening (or day) out in the city.

Keep scrolling for the best creative ideas for Valentine’s day in San Diego

Valentine’s Date Ideas in San Diego :

If you’re on a budget:

Who’s to say you have to dip into your savings to make your girlfriend/boyfriend feel special on this holiday? You can set the mood just as well as any fine dining experience with these budget ideas for Valentines day.

Have a picnic at Balboa park 

Pack up a delicious spread & a blanket and head over to beautiful & historic Balboa Park. There is plenty of open grassy area throughout the main area of the park where couples can lay out to enjoy Valentine’s. Bonus is the parking is free, and when the sun sets there are twinkling lights that come on to help set the mood. 😉

Watch sunset at the famous Sunset Cliffs

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a default sunset beach walk, but Valentine’s day is about the ambiance so take it up a notch and head to Sunset Cliffs. Better yet, bring your own charcuterie board fixings and blankets (or be low-key like I did once and pack peanut butter sandwiches, with no drinks, and watch everyone who clearly put more effort in their celebration as you sit in the dirt haha).

Go on a hike 

Get those endorphins going and take your significant other on a hike. There are plenty of hikes within and surrounding San Diego, but for this holiday I would recommend  hiking Torrey Pines for the views or Los Penasquitos Canyon for a more rugged scene.

For the New Couple:

Only been seeing your significant other for a few months or weeks? And the timing is borderline between wanting to do something special without going over with name writing in the sky, but still show that you care? The following are unique ideas for any new couple looking for something exciting to do in San Diego for Valentine’s day.

Visit a winery in Temecula

San Diego is close to its own version of Napa Valley, and it’s called Temecula. There are a whole host of wineries that you can drive up to in less than an hour from San Diego.

Go out for the classic, drinks & dinner

San Diego is a foodie city, so there is no shortage of excellent dining options throughout the city. Here are my picks for where to go based on the neighborhoods they’re located in:

Liberty Station (plenty of restaurant options here) & then a movie at The Lot

-in Little Italy: Starlite, Bencotto Italian Kitchen, Barbusa or Cafe Gratitude

-Downtown/Gaslamp district: US Grant Hotel ($$$), Provisional or Biga

-La Jolla- Catania or Cusp

-North Park- Siamo Napoli

-Point Loma- Cesarina

Skip dinner & go for dessert, Extraordinary Desserts

Known for its show stopping pastries and cakes, Extraordinary Desserts is a must visit for Valentine’s day if your significant other is a fan of sweets. Bonus! They have an entire vegan & gluten free menu too!

Cozy up at a Drive-In Movie Theatre

There are two drive in movie theatres near San Diego that are a perfect way to spend the holiday together. And you can make the evening romantic by stuffing your car with fluffy blankets and yummy snacks (maybe even some wine for the one who won’t be driving!)

South Bay Drive In

Santee Drive In

Here are San Diego’s best coffee shops to work remote in 

Unique/Off the beaten path:

See the city from above, take a private helicopter tour of San Diego

What’s more unique than flying above the major sights of San Diego in a helicopter? Best part is, this company linked here offers a few different romantic packages to choose from!

Go off to sea on a sunset cruise

Hornblower Cruises offers the best harbor cruises in San Diego. And the way the sunset colors the downtown skyline will leave you speechless. They offer Valentine’s themed cruises that come with champagne, a multi-course dinner and live music.

Sneak your way into a speakeasy

San Diego is home to a handful of speakeasy’s. I can attest that discovering them and enjoying a specialty cocktail made just for you and your date is a really fun way to spend the evening, especially for Valentine’s day.

Don’t fret, I’m working on a list of San Diego’s speakeasies as you read this!

Test your dance skills at Cafe Sevilla

Cafe Sevilla has live music and dancing lessons throughout the weekdays. Even if you’re not a skilled dancer, salsa dancing close to your date is an exciting way to celebrate Valentine’s… and also a good laugh!

Galentine’s:

Any working guy or gal should be sure to celebrate Galentine’s day. As Leslie Knope put it, Galentine’s is a day to celebrate the women in your life. But for my interpretation I’m going for either celebrating your friends or yourself!

Whether it be with friends or for some much needed self-care time, you can’t go wrong with a massage or facial appointment at Saffron & Sage. Saffron & Sage is a unique holistic health club that offers yoga classes, acupuncture, massages and so much more. Do yourself a favor and book you (and your friends!) an appointment for a self-care treatment ASAP. You deserve it!

Don't Forget to Pack:

click image to find out more!

Insulated Wine Tumblers

Vintage Salsa Dress

Wicker Picnic Backet

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

The TOP 11 Places to Stand up Paddle Board in San Diego

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!

San Diego is known for its miles of public beaches and is becoming well established as a haven for stand up paddle boarding (aka SUP). And with warm weather year round and a diverse coastline it’s easy to understand why.

Stand up Paddle Boarding is a sport fit for anyone who is looking to get out on the water, but may be hesitant to try out surfing (like me!). With that in mind, I’ve put together a guide on the best places to SUP in San Diego.

Gear Needed:

Like any water based sport, there is gear needed for a fun & safe venture out on the water. Here is the gear needed for paddle boarding in San Diego:

  • SUP: you can either purchase your own if you live locally, or rent one. If you decide to purchase I would suggest an inflatable SUP, as it’s easier to travel with (especially if you have a small car like I do), however it’s a workout to pump up for every session.
  • Paddle
  • PFD, aka a personal flotation device
  • Leash
  • Sun blocking attire

Top 11 places to stand up paddle board in San Diego

FOR BEGINNGERS

1.) Ventura Cove at Bahia Hotel, Mission Bay

✔ Lots of free parking

✔ Calm waters, great for SUP yoga

✔ Paddle up to the Barefoot Bar & Grill for drink & appetizer mid-paddle session

2.) Shelter Island Bay

✔ Neighborhood parking

✔ Secluded small bay area with great views

3.) Fiesta Island

✔ Lots of places to park on the island or near Mission Bay Playground

✔ Calm waters

✔ Public restrooms near the Mission Bay Playground

4.) Mariners Basin/Bonita Cove, Mission Bay

✔ Lots of free parking

✔ Parking lot is walking distance to local restaurants & Belmont Park

✔ Calm waters

5.) Sail Bay, Mission Bay

✔ Large bay area with plenty of places to take off from

✔ Calm waters where you’ll see other paddlers

FOR EXPERIENCED & SEASONED PADDLERS

6.) La Jolla cove Marine Sanctuary

✔ Great for seeing marine wildlife

✔ Parking can be difficult depending on the day of the week & time of day

 

7.) Del Mar Dog beach

✔ Huge perk being there are dogs on the beach, duh!

✔ Convenient parking

 

8.) Tideland Parks, Coronado Island

✔ Great views of San Diego skyline

✔ Parking lot in the park

 

9.) Harbor Island

✔ Great views of San Diego skyline & Point Loma area

✔ Option to have lunch or drinks at Coasterra afterwards

FOR ADVANCED PADDLERS

10.) Coronado Island, the Shores

✔ View of the famous Coronado Hotel

✔ Parking is farther away

 

11.) Tourmaline, Pacific Beach

✔ Good for SUP surfing

✔ A local favorite, especially at sunset

✔ Rocky beach

✔ Parking lot fills up fast

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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