It was an unusually dreary and cold winter here in Middle Tennessee; I think we set an official record for the fewest days of sunshine! We decided that warm and sunny San Diego was the best place for a quick trip: Home of the Padres, Ron Burgundy, the Pacific fleet, and our favorite photographer, The Leo Loves.
We left the dark, cold wind behind in Nashville and flew non-stop on Southwest (the best) on a beautiful Thursday afternoon. As soon as we touched down, we only had one thing on our mind: food, and lots of it. We made a beeline for the nearest In-N-Out Burger, because is there a better way to be welcomed into sunny SoCal?
We then drove up the coast to La Jolla, probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. We stayed at a wonderful spot we had found on Airbnb, called Wind and Sea, named for the beach just down the street. Our hosts were two Swedish surfing brothers who had decided to make San Diego their home. You couldn’t ask for nicer (or honestly, cooler) hosts. They were very friendly and recommended the best beaches for each specific activity and great places to eat. Sam and Dave talked for a little over an hour about surfing and its unique, intricate culture, and the company Dave worked for, Diplomat surfboards. He had just returned from a surfing trip, and told us he enjoyed spending his time hanging out on the beach and sleeping in his sweet VW van. It was all very ‘California Dreams’-y.
La Jolla Cove: The best snorkeling beach in San Diego. It’s just off downtown, around the point from La Jolla Children’s Pool (now Seal Beach). Well-known for its clear, generally calm waters, you can see an abundance of sea life including schools of garibaldi fish, seals, leopard sharks, rays, and many more…all of which joined Sam on his swims. If you prefer open water, go for a dip with the La Jolla Swim Club. We loved listening them chat about their favorite activity while suiting up.
WindandSea Beach: It’s the haven for surfers in the area, and they are pretty much the only ones you will see in the water. If you are not into surfing, check it out anyway, but we were told it’s not the best beach to learn. For that, it’s better to head to La Jolla Shores or Tourmaline Surf Park (per our house host, Dave). However, it’s great for people watching and enjoying the sunsets, and those are always best together. Look for the old surfer’s shack, too.
Mission Beach: About 10 minutes south toward San Diego is the popular Mission Beach with the quintessential boardwalk atmosphere. It’s lined for miles with shops and restaurants, and even has its own wooden roller coaster. If you are looking for more family-friendly beaches, this is a great one. Try La Jolla Shores and Coronado Beach, too!
The Cottage in La Jolla: Definitely our favorite breakfast spot, especially since it had a nice outdoor patio. We ate there for a couple of our breakfasts, but wish we’d had time for more! You really can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu, and the portions are huge. The muffins are the size of your head, and don’t get me started on the french toast.
Juice Kaboose Juice Bar in La Jolla: What better way to start the day than with a fresh juice? While sitting outside at Juice Kaboose, we got to see the many, many tanned and toned residents of La Jolla heading to their favorite barre classes after grabbing a quick breakfast. We decided that 1) People look much younger in Cali than in Tennessee and 2) We need to work out more.
The Baked Bear in Mission Beach: We love cookies and brownies. We definitely love ice cream. Imagine them warmly pressed into a glorious sandwich of awesomeness = heaven. They give you the option of making your sandwich out of donuts, brownies, waffles, or a variety of cookies…and you can even mix and match them. We went every single night we were there, obvi.
El Pescadoro Fish Market in La Jolla: The best seafood! We also tried Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, which we had heard was the best in San Diego. For our money El Pescadoro was better in food quality, and at Blue Water you usually have to stand in line for an hour just to *order*. No bueno after a day of being in the sun and water.
Pizza on Pearl: Pizza on Pearl came highly recommended from our hosts, and it did not disappoint. We loved the option of ordering a pizza of various slices, and the pear, with ham, spinach, and gorgonzola was Molly’s favorite. Great for a picnic or as a last meal before boarding the cross county plane ride home.
Make time to check out the beaches + sunsets (we’ve stressed that enough, right?)
San Diego Zoo: We made a visit to the zoo on a Saturday of a holiday weekend, and…it probably wasn’t our best decision. The zoo was a bit of a disappointment, because we were there for four hours and saw maybe two animals who weren’t sleeping. Yeah. However, the highlight of the afternoon was a California Condor charging the glass at Molly (that was from Sam – totally not my highlight!) We had some friends who went more recently to San Diego and they really enjoyed Safari Park.
Balboa Park: We met our favorite photographer Erin Oveis Brant of the Leo Loves for a hangout, but she surprised us by taking some ‘anniversary’ pictures! It was wonderful to catch up with her, and we are thrilled to have a few pictures from our time together that weren’t selfies 😉 We didn’t take a lot of time to explore Balboa Park, but plan to do that on our next visit out.
San Diego was an incredibly relaxing trip we’ll reminisce on for years to come. We enjoyed the warm weather, sunny lifestyle, and radiant people. Glad we went when we did, because February brought the great snowpocolypse of 2015! Thanks for reading today!