San Diego Travel Diary: Pacific Beach, La Jolla, & More

Following on from our Los Angeles trip, we drove down to San Diego for the weekend, where we planned to spend most of our time in Pacific Beach.

Fun fact, I lived in San Diego during the summer of 2015, when I did a J1 visa, so it was great to finally go back, even if it was just for a weekend. It was fun seeing what places were still around and what has changed in the last 7 years (not much, which is good!)

Pacific Beach

We stayed in Pacific Beach (which is also where I lived many moons ago) at the Blue Sea Beach Hotel, which is literally on the beach; it was awesome! Perfect spot to catch the gorgeous sunrise and sunset. Aside from being steps away from the beach, the hotel has an outdoor pool and is close to many great restaurants and bars, like Woody’s Breakfast and Burgers. They do amazing breakfasts right next to the beach – a great spot for people watching!

Be sure to catch a sunset on Pacific Beach, they are beautiful!

sunset on pacific beach san diego
Sunset on Pacific Beach

The hotel had bikes available to rent for the day for only $10USD. Definitely rent a bike when you’re there; the boardwalk is about 5km long, and there’s just so much to see (including cycling around Mission Bay), so it’s definitely worth having.

While in Pacific Beach, we went surfing with Pacific Beach Surf Shop (another fun fact: in 2015, I worked as a photographer there, photographing the surf lessons).

I had been surfing with them years ago, and it was so much fun, but unfortunately, on this day (during Spring Break), the sea was not on our side – the waves were rough, and it made getting up on the board near impossible for us amateurs. I ended up having a panic attack,, as I’m not the strongest swimmer, and deep water freaks me out (just picture 6ft waves coming at you over and over with no break in-between), but our surf instructor was so nice and understanding. But don’t let that put you off! Pacific Beach is the perfect surf spot for beginners and PB Surf Shop is great. Maybe just keep an eye out on the weather forecast and surf conditions before you go surfing..!

Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach
Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

La Jolla Cove

If you visit La Jolla, you HAVE to make a pit stop at La Jolla Cove, which is full of seals and sea lions who like to lay out on the rocks and bask in the sun. Make sure to be respectful of the signs that tell you how close you can get to them!

La Jolla Cove Seals & Sea Lions
La Jolla Cove Seals & Sea Lions

La Jolla has a beautiful beach and lots of nice restaurants and cafes, and it’s a great place to spend a morning or afternoon.

Balboa Park

If you appreciate architecture like I do, then visiting Balboa Park is a must! Stroll down El Prado and enjoy the stunning Spanish-Renaissance Architecture. I was in awe the entire time and couldn’t believe I’d never been before!

Balboa Park is also home to the San Diego Zoo, so you could easily spend a day out there between checking out the architecture and the animals!

The Lily Pond at Balboa Park
The Lily Pond at Balboa Park

Old Town

Old Town contains many historic buildings from the 1800s – it feels like you’re stepping into a Western!

It’s a small enough area, but there are lots of restaurants and cute shops that you can also check out.

The Cosmopolitan, Old Town, San Diego
The Cosmopolitan, Old Town, San Diego

Wrapping Up

San Diego (and especially Pacific Beach) is a great city with lots to do – check out this quick recap video from the trip! Keep an eye out for my next post on where to eat in San Diego, or check out where to eat in L.A.

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