In September, my husband and I were able to sneak away to stay classy in San Diego for a quick 10-year anniversary trip (sans enfants! – Thank you Nanny and Grandpa!). I thought I would share a few photos and recommendations on places to grab a bite to eat. We stayed in Mission Beach and despite having a ton of options for touristy things to do, we opted to stay very close to our hotel and not bother renting a car. Mission Beach is a perfect spot to do this because everything is more or less within walking distance (bring your walking shoes!).
As I mentioned, we did not have our kids with us, but if you do plan to bring your children, there are SO MANY things to do in San Diego with kids: Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, tons of beaches, Old Town, Torrey Pines, Coronado, the Air and Space Museum, Balboa Park, La Jolla, and the list goes on!
We stayed at the Bahia Resort, which was a quick 15-20 minute ride from the airport and is located on beautiful Mission Bay. We had our own little bungalow (complete with ducks that visited us daily for a breakfast snack). The hotel has many amenities including a beautiful pool (I had prepped with my favorite self-tanner and wore my new favorite suit), a beach on the bay with plenty of lounge chairs and water sports rentals (or take a quick walk to Mission Beach for the oceanfront experience), a patio bar area, two Mississippi-style sternwheelers to take guests to the other side of the bay (and the Bahia’s sister hotel) which turns into an adult-only cruise after 9pm with live entertainment, and the hotel even has its own refuge area for injured seals (Gracie and Billy) that have made the Bahia their home as they are not able to return to the wild due to injury.
We managed to take in a local surf competition near Crystal Pier and I found the hotel that I stayed at with my parents almost 30 years ago. The Mission Beach boardwalk is a great place to run, walk, Rollerblade, bike, skateboard and generally take in the sights and check out the beautiful homes along the beach. You can rent bikes and other equipment to travel the boardwalk at many shops along the way.
Some of the restaurants we checked out include: Canonball (excellent sushi), The Mission Restaurant (brunch spot), Draft (grab a beer and a burger), Sandbar Grill (drinks on the upstairs patio), Fat Fish Cantina Grill (great fish), and my favorite Miss B’s Coconut Club (kombucha on tap and the best açai bowls and tiki drinks). One thing I love about beach towns in California is that you can walk around, take an alley, and you might find a small restaurant with the best food you’ve ever tasted! If you have kids or are on a budget, there is a Ralph’s grocery store towards the north end of Mission Beach where you can buy everything you need for your own meals to save the expense of eating out.
When we were checking out of our hotel, the concierge asked us what we got up to on our trip and our answer was a happy “nothing!”. Without kids, we took it easy and went to the pool, the beach, and ate. It sounds a little boring to some perhaps, but it was heaven. Even the plane rides were relaxing as there were no kids to entertain or worry about, and MUCH less luggage without cumbersome car seats to drag around. I love travelling with my girls and I wouldn’t trade our vacations together for the world, but a weekend with no itinerary or anyone else’s needs to attend to but my own is really something I hadn’t experienced for a very long time – and it was fantastic!