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23 Best Day Trips From San Diego You Don’t Want to Miss

fun day trips from san diego california

Beautiful San Diego is an easy sell. The city has so much to do, from art galleries, street art, and museums in Downtown San Diego to its impressive portfolio of sandy beaches for the more laidback tourists. You can carve out spots for whale-watching cruises or wine tasting – and if you are staying for longer than a day or two, you should definitely plan some day trips. San Diego is ideally located on the southern California coast, ideal for venturing to some of the state’s prettiest destinations and most exciting attractions.

Best Day Trips from San Diego

Whether you are a nature lover or prefer contemporary art, San Diego has a trip that will be up your alley. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the top contenders, from hours spent in Los Angeles to afternoons wine tasting amidst rolling hills. It is safe to say that there’s plenty of variety. Grab a pen and paper because San Diego’s day trips do not disappoint.

Book your airport transfer to your downtown San Diego hotel in advance for a private worry-free journey.

1. Newport Beach

Newport beach shoreline California

Newport Beach is simply the place for a part-glitzy, part-cheesy seaside experience in California. As a day trip from San Diego, it is an ideal beach day destination. You can kick back on numerous sandy beaches, head surfing, or try some delicious ice cream. There are off-beach activities, too, like amusement park activities on Balboa Pier and at Balboa Fun Zone.

This is a light-hearted day trip to choose from San Diego. If you want a fun day out or are traveling with young children, it is a great bet. Check out 28 Best Beaches in California

  • Distance from San Diego: 1.5 hours
  • How to get there: Car

2. Salton Sea

Salton Sea ar sunset

The Salton Sea is something pretty special. The unusual natural lake is famous for its super high salt levels, home to only a handful of marine life species. Only the hardiest creatures and plant life can hack a life in the Salton Sea. The white sands around the lake are aesthetic enough to draw photographers, not just swimmers. Overall, Salton Sea is just the perfect unusual day trip to add to your San Diego itinerary.

Once you’ve admired the lake, there is a historic town around its perimeter to have a potter around. There’s also Rock Hill Trail if you fancy a leisurely 2-mile stroll with panoramic lake views and potential bird watching.

  • Distance from San Diego: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • How to get there: Car

3. Tijuana

Tijuana Cultural Center, Baja California Peninsula

A Tijuana day trip is the ultimate persuasion to head out of downtown…

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