Polar Bears at The San Diego Zoo
Being my first trip to San Diego, I was excited to recently be hosted by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. I had it heard it all before: Sandy beaches, the most comfortable climate in the U.S., and a plethora of outdoor activities. It was just my kind of place. However, I had to just experience it for myself. If you like being outdoors as much as I do, then don't miss this round-up of San Diego's best outdoor things to do the next time you've book a cheap flight to San Diego.
Beach hopping: San Diego arguably has some of the best beaches on the West Coast, if not in all of America. With so many beaches up and down the Southern California coast, there are tons to choose from, depending on your interests and style. If you want a bustling beach where you can lie out in the sun and take on water sports, like surfing, then drive just north of San Diego to Mission Beach. If you want something more low key, then you'll have to drive a little further north, such as Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
SeaWorld: While not all parks like this cater to all genders and ages, SeaWorld is one that does. SeaWorld offers the opportunity to see your favorite wildlife that you may not typically have the chance to see, including dolphins, whales, sharks, seals, and polar bears. I recommend scheduling your visit around some of the different shows that take place throughout the day. However, don't miss the Shamu Killer Whale Show. Make sure you find a seat well before the show starts, as the stadium fills up quickly.
Trolley tour of San Diego: A hop-on/hop-off tour is one of the best ways to see a city. Many destinations around the U.S., including Savannah and Key West, offer these trolley tours that take visitors to some of the best areas of the city, allowing them to hop on and off as they please. The San Diego tour included stops in Coronado, Old Town, and Balboa Park. I recommend starting first thing in the day, as you may want to stop at several different places along the tour. However, pay attention to the schedule and when the last trolley leaves, because you don't want to be taking a taxi back to your hotel.
Balboa Park: Balboa Park is one of the stops on the San Diego trolley tour and is worth a full-day visit alone. The national historic landmark, which dates back to the 1800s, has a little bit of everything. It features many green spaces for enjoying a picnic or sports, along with some of San Diego's best attractions, including several gardens, scenic promenade, and the San Diego Zoo.
San Diego Zoo: Also in Balboa Park is the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the most famous zoos in America. The zoo is coming up soon on its 100-year anniversary, making it a great time to visit one of the nation's oldest zoos. The zoo houses over 4,000 animals and nearly 1,000 species. The San Diego Zoo also holds the distinction of one of only a few zoos in the world with a giant panda.