How to do San Diego in 2 Days

OKAY. I’m walking out of this FUN whirlwind of a work-trip turn vacation-trip, and I’m honestly so giddy about So-Cal/San Diego that I HAVE to share it with you.

We: explored So-Cal wine country, saw La Jolla, Mission Beach, Sunset Cliffs, USS Midway Museum, Downtown, Little Italy, Coronado Island, Oldtown and Pacific Beach.

Jordan and I photographed a wedding in Temecula, CA on Monday. We arrived Sunday, stayed at the resort Sunday, Monday night and hit the 1-hour-ish trek back to San Diego on Tuesday after we slept in and explored the winery shops. We entered San Diego around 2:00 Tuesday and departed Thursday about the same time, and it’s HARD to believe we covered all the ground we did in just 48 hours—AND feel rested.

So I’m going to do my best to share all the places we hit so WHEN you go to San Diego (or So-Cal), you can have as much fun as we surprisingly did! And I say surprisingly, because San Diego wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list to explore, but we did, because we were here.

So-Cal Wine Country

First, we learned that there’s ALSO a southern “wine country”, aside from the well-known Napa Valley wine country. Temecula houses a beautiful wine country just about an hour north of San Diego, and let me tell you, the rolling hills, wineries and weather were IDEAL. Highs of 70s with lows in the 50s (in October), and it was nothing short of marvelous. We learned that this can be a more affordable option for groups of people traveling, because there are more large air bnbs than in Napa. And guys, Napa may be “better”, but this spot was BEAUTIFUL, and with San Diego/the beach just an hour away, it makes it even more versatile!

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Okay to secondly, San Diego! We had tons of good recommendations of places to go and see while here, thanks to you ALL! So I’m going to share them with you AND the ones we did.

Like I said, we arrived to San Diego around 2:00 in the afternoon Tuesday and chose to go to La Jolla first. Partially because SO many people recommended it, I’ve heard tons about it AND it was on our way into SD from Temecula.

La Jolla

And La Jolla was everything we expected—gorgeous. Let me start off by saying that the weather in San Diego is hard to top. The entire two days here, it was highs of 70 with lows in the 50s. The breeze was brisk, and in the evenings, we needed sweatshirts, which I LOVED. I’m all about that life--especially coming from a hot fall in Dallas. From what it sounds like, this is pretty typical all year round, though if you drive just miles inland, it becomes much warmer.

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Ride Bird We immediately parked in free parking a ways from the beach and hopped on our first Bird ride—our first of literally 12 rides for a total of about 169 minutes and 14.7 miles. Baha Jordan and I literally just high-fived when we added all of this up. Seriously, such a GOOD way to see San Diego and cover the ground we did. We literally couldn’t have fit as much in or done it if it wasn’t for scootering all over this beautiful city!

First, we scootered up and down the coast of La Jolla, saw sea lions, a wedding that was happening on the beach, cute shops and rode through the swankiest beach neighborhood that had so much character. That’s always a favorite or ours when we travel—we like exploring the neighborhoods to get a feel for something different.

Although we didn’t eat in La Jolla, we got SO many recommendations that I wish we could’ve tried! One thing to note, Jordan and I have always been this way: we tend to sleep in on vacations, eat a hearty brunch (we love brunch), explore the day, maybe snack if we feel like it and eat a hearty dinner. That way we eat usually 2 meals a day, because it simply just works best for us that way—and is a little cheaper.

La Jolla recommendations for food: George’s (overlooking the beach), The Taco Stand, Puesto (filet mignon tacos)

Totally Recommended Air BNB

After about a couple hours, we headed to check in at our Air BNB, which we would highly recommend—if you haven’t used an Air BNB and want $40 off your first trip, use this link here. It wasn’t the “nicest” in the sense of being pampered, but we did that the first half of our trip. This was meant to be central, safe and inexpensive. We loved our hosts and would absolutely go back again. It was located on Burgener, which is super central for everything we did. We stayed 2 nights in a master suite with a lock on our door for $187 total, taxes, fees and cleaning included. THIS and the Bird were two positives to the quick trip.

Sunset Cliffs MUST-SEE

After checking in and getting settled, we headed out to Cannonball, a sushi restaurant, on Mission beach for dinner.  But Jordan missed the turn and we accidentally started heading to Sunset Cliffs which was a GOOD mistake. It was on our list of “to-sees”, but we hadn’t planned when to go. THANKFULLY, we made our way RIGHT at sunset, which is a literally MUST SEE! We Birded down from where we parked along the Oceanside until we got to the cliffs, and WOW. GO.

Cannonball YUM

After that, we Birded back and arrived at Cannoball, which was a hoppin’ place (expect a wait), but it’s got gorgeous views right alongside Mission Beach, and we had the best waiter Matt, while we sat at the bar. The sushi was amazing, and afterward, you guessed it, we Birded miles alongside Mission Beach at night, which was SO MUCH FUN. The breeze was almost cold, the condos along the beach were neat, and the beach obviously sounded amazing. If you go earlier, there’s a fun shopping area you can hit up before dinner, but we missed these!

Downtown, USS Midway Museum, Little Italy

The next day, our first full day in San Diego, we started with Brunch around 10:30 at Breakfast Republic, a recommendation from Matt. IT WAS WORTH IT. We chose the location that was downtown, accidentally, which ended up being perfect AGAIN. I ordered Chilaquiles, and Jordan had crabcake & crawfish benedict—both delish, but the atmosphere was legit. Again, we had a wait at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning. We parked in free parking prior brunch, Birded there, then Birded to the USS Midway Museum afterward—a quick 10 minute Bird ride.

Jordan was in heaven, and it was honestly pretty fascinating.

From there, we Birded to Little Italy, which was FUN! Birding through it was easy to get the feel for it and realize that we wish we’d planned a meal there, but it was midday for us, so we weren’t hungry. We stopped at a local shop and tried Cannoli and gelato, which was yummy and satisfying!

But seriously, there were TOO many restaurants that had cute outside covered patios where people were eating the most delicious-looking pastas, so I wish we could’ve planned this stop for dinner!

After Little Italy, we Birded back to our car where we parked that morning prior brunch and were pretty exhausted after 5 hours out and about. We headed back to our Air BNB to recharge and plan our evening.

Coronado Island

For that evening, we headed to Coronado Island where we parked and actually WALKED—Birds weren’t allowed on the island. We explored Hotel del Coronado and the beach it led to which were both pretty fascinating and beautiful. The beach here was pristine—very impressive. We caught this at sunset too which was so incredible—God totally is seriously unbelievable with his creations.

We walked back to a delicious restaurant recommended to us called Village Pizza. It totally hit the spot!

BUT if you go here, you should look into “Tour de Coronado”. People paid $30 to for a ticket to have access to several different eateries along the island. They could walk by, grab food from whoever was participating and keep walking. Village Pizza participated in this, so we kept seeing people stop by for a slice of pizza, and we were so confused. This would have been a fun option! We were also told that Miguel’s had delicious Mexican food.

That night we drove back to Mission Beach and Birded for about 20 more minutes up and down the coast along the shops after dark. You know, because we loved it. :)

Old Town

On Thursday, our last day, our flight took off at 4:25, so we had a pretty good chunk of the day to still explore. We went to Libre Lucha for “brunch”, because we were told by my mom that the burritos were killer. And she was RIGHT—whatever show they were on on the Food Network was right. We had the California Alambre burritos, and the homemade chips and various salsas were the BOMB. Highly recommend! Just know that it definitely feels like a hole in the wall restaurant in an interesting part of town. ;-)

We Birded from breakfast to Old Town which was about a 10 minute ride, and we walked around this area. It was good enough for us to stroll through for an hour or so and head back. I could definitely see where it would have had some DELISH Mexican food restaurants though! We would’ve enjoyed that!

Pacific Beach

After Old Town we headed to Pacific Beach, which was another area we’d been recommended. Not surprisingly, we Birded from a Better Buzz, a coffee shop we later came back to and were recommended. We headed toward the ocean and stopped to relax for a little—and watch a literal lifeguard rescue, which was pretty exciting—everyone fine.

It was definitely a pretty yet popular beach scene—probably similar to Mission Beach during the daytime with lots of shops and eateries around. Coronado beach seemed the most relaxed, pretty and nice.

After the beach, we Birded back up to the coffee shop which was what coffee shop dreams are made of. I finally got to try an Acai bowl (didn’t disappoint just wasn’t v hungry) and tried the Best Drink Ever—iced. It was tooootally bomb. We relaxed there until we needed to head to the airport and talked about how much we packed in—even some accidentally.

Spontaneity is Key

We loved the location of our Air BNB, because everything was within 15 minutes, with the exception of Coronado Island being closer to 30. This wasn’t as much of the “splurge” part of our trip, so we were totally happy with our investment—plus we were rarely there.

And we loved the work-time turned fun-time together. I honestly had lower expectations for the trip, simply because I San Diego wasn’t high on my list, and Jordan and I simply weren’t in the most comfortable place when we left for the trip.

But every time we leave our everyday routine, force time together and dive deeper into the heart of….us, it’s fruitful. While connection at home felt distant, we had hard but good conversations, thanks to The Brave Marriage podcast and simply knowing how to communicate well from past counseling, and the remainder of our trip was literal laughs, light-heartedness and so many fun new things experienced.

I’ve always felt like experiencing new things together is a sweet way to grow together and connect, and this trip was so that for us.

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I’m Actually A Worrier

I honestly don’t believe Jordan and I would travel as much as we do if it were for my job. 1) Jordan isn’t a travel-initiator and 2) I’m a worrier by nature. As I reflect on this, I realize more and more of God’s good plan—specifically for me to have a job that oftentimes requires travel.  It’s a blessing but at times a curse (if you’re afraid of flying). Those of you who know me, know that I lean on the side of worrying. I always have and will always have to remind myself of God’s sovereignty and goodness.

And if it weren’t for booking weddings outside the state (and country) and my love for traveling, I can completely say it’d be hard for me to leave Luke. Without this needing to be said, I LOVE traveling with Luke and letting him experience new things—almost nothing more fun for us! But every time the two of us leave, I’m reminded of how fruitful it is to leave the everyday behind, take a deep breath and try something new.

When Jordan and I left for the trip, connection wasn’t our high point. We felt jumbled into the everyday shuffle of busy life and struggled to really get to where we needed relationally and emotionally. And while escaping isn’t the answer, it helped us get to a more clear space for us to have heart-to-hearts, connect and then laugh our freaking heads off the remainder of the time.

We are so grateful for grandparents who eagerly love Luke and are loved by him so that we have opportunities like this and opportunities for him to grow in relationships with them.

So guys, I’m a fan. I know it’s hard, but it’s so fruitful to leave—whether it’s a date night, stay-cation in your city or a few nights away.  I will always support time like this! We cannot WAIT to get our hands on our sweet Bubba!!

And maybe someday you can enjoy San Diego like we did!