Looking for a great get-away with kids ages 17-23? I (Jill) have some great recommendations for San Diego and the surrounding area. My family and I spent the first nine days of 2022 enjoying sunshine and blue skies, hiking, exploring, and even roller skating! We loved our trip (this was our second time visiting the San Diego area and there is SO much to do) and would highly recommend for families, a girls' trip, or a couples' get-away.
Several people inquired as to what we did while we were there, so I thought it'd be best to put everything right here for an easy reference. Considering we have adult-children and our main goal was to be outside enjoying the weather and sunshine, our itinerary leans heavily towards outdoor activities. For this trip, we skipped museums and entertainment parks, but we have done those in the past and enjoyed them very much!
We booked our flights in/out of LA because originally my husband and son were going to an NFL game at SoFi stadium. We changed plans at the last minute and they did not go, however we kept our flight reservations and once we landed, we drove to Palm Springs to check it out for the night.
We arrived on New Year's Day (which was also a Saturday night) and hotels were really pricey AND we needed two rooms. So, after a spin around downtown Palm Springs and a yummy dinner at Tommy Bahama restaurant, we headed to Palm Desert so we would be a little closer to Joshua Tree National Park, which was our destination for the next day.
We planned to spend most of the day at Joshua Tree National Park, so we arrived around 11 am and did two hikes (Hidden Valley & Ryan Mountain) and stopped by two "exhibits" (Skull Rock & Split Rock). Even though it was an extra effort to drive to the Joshua Tree for the day, it was totally worth it! We really enjoyed the beautiful hikes and all there is to see. I wish we would have thought to pack a picnic lunch, as there are so many beautiful areas to stop and enjoy the scenery.
After we left Joshua Tree, we started our 3-hour drive to San Diego, but made a quick detour at the quirky Cactus Mart so my daughter could "dig her own cactus" for 79 cents. Annie had seen the interesting shop on our way to Joshua Tree and we promised that we would stop by on our way to San Diego. It was a fun and entertaining place with so much to see and definitely NOT something you'll find in the Chicago-land area!
We continued our drive to San Diego and had dinner at Filippi's Pizza Grotto in Little Italy before we headed to our hotel downtown on the Bayfront, which was a great location for our home base in San Diego.
After our two days in downtown San Diego, our middle sister (Cindy) and her daughter Mattie came to join us! One of the main reasons we all converged on San Deigo is because Cindy's son, Brett, moved to San Diego this past Fall. Brett lives in Pacific Beach (or PB as the locals call it), so we decided to rent an AirBNB closer to his location. It was a last-minute rental (we didn't want to do anything too far ahead for fear of having to cancel) and we were happy with the location and the home we rented. It suited the 7 of us perfectly. With Mission Beach as our base, we explored La Jolla (loved the sea lions and seals), hiked Torrey Pines, and visited Old Town. Some of the restaurants we visited included: Mr. Moto, Cafe Coyote, Hodad's, Sushi Ota, Civico 1845, and Farmer & the Seahorse (after Torrey Pines). I would recommend all of these as solid choices if you're in the area!
We found San Diego to be an ideal get-away for our extended family. The weather was perfect, there was so much to do (almost all of which was outside, including dining), and we loved being able to explore so many different areas - all within close proximity to each other.
I would have been able to pack in a carry-on bag, however with all family members bringing hiking shoes, I opted for my larger suitcase. For the majority of this trip, I wore athleisurewear. My go-to pieces for this trip were: these pants, these leggings, these joggers, this top, and this sweatshirt. I also wore this jacket and these shoes every day (even for hiking).
In addition to my athleisurewear mix-and-match capsule, I packed two pairs of jeans (grey and ivory) and two sweaters (an older light pink sweater and this one). For casual shoes, I packed these sneakers (I have last year's version) and these booties. My whole family received these packing cubes for Christmas and we were happy to have them for this trip!
If you have questions about San Diego or would like to know any more about our trip, please reach out! I'd be happy to help.