There are some unique experiences awaiting travelers who seek independent retreats in Southern California, and a few days in San Diego will demonstrate many opportunities for those sightseeing solo. The laid-back vibe of this region is a sharp contrast to the more harried pace of Los Angeles and also seems a bit more relaxed than time spent up north in nearby San Francisco. The beach-front locale provides ample opportunity to soak up the sun and watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean without the pressure or trends of other Californian beach communities, and it is still possible to find a private niche shore-side with some privacy and space to unwind.
There are numerous inns and hotels found along the Pacific Highway, as well as in the business district of the city. An alternative to staying inside the city during stays is to seek out some of the smaller accommodations that may not be associated with a recognized hotelier or chain. For instance, The King’s Inn outside of the city, but within a five minute drive to the Old Town district of San Diego, offers a comfortable, casual approach to lodging. The rooms are clean, adequately-furnished, and staff are attentive to guest needs. In-room refrigerators are available on request, and rates are low which saves money for other aspects of the journey. The lagoon-style pool and attached restaurants offer on-site amenities that rival any others.
There is a distinctly Latin influence evident in San Diego which manifests in some of the most amazing and authentic Mexican food found. Seek out the vendors and restaurants that are simple, unassuming for the best tasting options at the best prices. Also, don’t leave the area without trying the regional favorite- an authentic Margarita. These popular drinks are elevated to an iconic experience when prepared in traditional fashion by those with experience and flair. Consider the open-air mall nearby the inn for a food court that offers a wide range of cultural foods and mealtime experiences; the open seating provides a comfortable venue for those traveling autonomously.
When laying on the beach and drinking margaritas becomes old, take the five minute drive to the Old Town district of San Diego. This village seems to take visitors away from the bustle of Southern California and transport them to an authentic Mexican village and marketplace. The shops, eateries, and homes are all very quaint and charming, with businesses, stores, and vendors offering a range of goods at competitive costs. Historical landmarks and sites occupy an easy walking tour throughout the district, and there are some picture-perfect spots along the way to capture the essence of this unique area of the city. Don’t forget to keep an eye out along the shore-line when traveling back to the room; the sea lions lounging on the rocks along the beach provide a sight that not many find elsewhere.
No trip to this area is complete without a visit to nearby Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers. Even during off-seasons, there are exhibitions and events to draw audiences and visitors to this accessible venue. Easy to find with ample parking, it is also possible to stop in and check out the on-site gift shop to grab a few must-have Chargers’ souvenirs to take home.
The eclectic mix of activities and attractions makes California a dream destination for many travelers, however there is something inherently reflective and restorative about a retreat in San Diego. The less-jammed highways, international flavors, and beach-bum attitude make San Diego the perfect spot to get away and recharge.