What to Do in San Diego with Teens/Adult Children and featuring the Best Athleisure Wear for Travel

lifestyle travel Jan 11, 2022
what to do in San Diego with Teens/Adult Children

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.

 The 26 feet tall "Forever Marilyn" statue in downtown Palm Springs

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. 

Jill and her daughters (Jill's outfit linked here)At the top of Ryan Mountain, elevation 5,456 ft.

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!

So much to see at Cactus Mart and a fun stop to "Dig Your Own Cactus" for 79 cents!

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.

We explored downtown San Diego for two days walking the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, taking a Taco Tour (highly recommend!), eating ice cream, and hiking.  

Started our first full day in San Deigo at Gaslamp Breakfast Company
 Exploring Seaport Village
Mitch's was the first stop on the Taco Tour
Shop Jill's beanie, jacket, purse, sweater, necklace
If you're in San Diego, stop at Salt & Straw. We loved the ice cream and the unique flavors!
Cowles Mountain is a rigorous uphill hike with beautiful views at the top! 

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!

Two of the highlights of our trip included a last-minute decision to rent roller skates to skate along the Mission Beach Ocean Front boardwalk  (right outside our front door) and the gorgeous sunsets every night: The "kids" were much more coordinated than the adults when it came to skating. We all had a good laugh and enjoyed trying to fit in with the locals.
A perfect way to round out the day
Our crew in Little Italy after dinner at Civico 1845 and ice cream (second visit to Salt & Straw).

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.


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