Valerie Wilson Travel

San Diego

California’s second-largest city is an ideal domestic getaway: fine weather year-round, a world-famous zoo and parks, a magnificent coastline, and a unique beachy charm. Located minutes away from Mexico’s border, San Diego possesses the rich spirit and culture of its southern neighbor through its art, food and entertainment palpable everywhere you go. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly resort that requires no leaving or a city hotel to serve as the launching point for exploring all San Diego has to offer, let VWT plan a Southern Californian adventure you may not have previously considered, but will remember forever. 

What We’d Do 
Mexico’s Wine Country 

Depart from San Diego and head 90 miles south to the Valle de Guadalupe – Mexico’s top wine destination, a rustic Napa Valley if you will. As you drive down the Baja coast, stop and grab local tacos in the town of Rosarito, iconic for its fish and shrimp tacos, before tasting and eating your way through the Valle. Visit the boutique wineries along the famous “Ruta del Vino” and take in the magical atmosphere of the region before returning to your hotel by 8 pm.  

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is home to approximately 3,000 of the nation’s rarest pine trees – Pinus torreyana. The park preserves these unique trees (which only grow on Santa Rosa Island) along with one of the last salt marches and waterfowl refuges in Southern California. Home to eight miles of trails, guests can hike through wind sculpted pines to ocean overlooks, take in dramatic views of ravines and badlands, see abundant wildflowers in the spring, and gray whales migrating up and down the coastline in winter. 

Whale Watching 

San Diego is an ideal whale watching destination year-round. During the winter and spring months, more than 20,000 gray whales make a 10,000-mile round-trip journey from Alaska to Baja California so their young can grow strong before making the journey north again in spring. In the summer and fall months, the largest group of blue whales in the world, some 2,000 to 3,000, feed off the California coast and can be seen exhaling a 30-foot column of breath from miles away. While you can spot these magnificent creatures from the Cabrillo National Monument or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, let VWT arrange a viewing session on a yacht or sailboat with an experienced guide and refreshments. 

Where We’d Stay 
Hotel del Coronado 

Across the bay from downtown San Diego on one of the best beaches in America, Hotel del Coronado has been welcoming and charming guests for over 134 years. The sprawling 28-acre resort is home to classic Victorian Architecture, a modern So-Cal Cabana building, and the fully remodeled and adventurous Views Building – an accommodation for every type of traveler. Hotel del Coronado is a charming place to spend the holidays, take your first surf lesson, enjoy a spin class on the beach, or relax at a cabana before indulging in sea-to-table fare at one of The Del’s seven beachfront dining options.  

Pendry San Diego 

Pendry San Diego sits in the heart of the vibrant Historic Gaslamp Quarter, blocks from the San Diego Convention Center, Petco Park, dozens of eateries and nightlife. The bold building shouts new luxury from its rooftop pool lounge and upscale nightclub. Each of the 317 rooms and suites exude urban coastal California aesthetic mixed with a classic and modern feel. Pendry San Diego is home to six unique restaurants and bars – from the modern coastal cuisine at Lionfish to the Southern California-driven at Provisional, the hotel is known to highlight the city’s most talented chefs and concepts. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you are bound to be inspired by the creativity of the city at Pendry San Diego. 

The Lodge at Torrey Pines 

Located 15 miles outside of San Diego in the sunny city of La Jolla, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is surrounded by Pacific Ocean and fairway views bordering the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course. Awarded the AAA Five Diamond rating for 16 consecutive years and a spot on Travel + Leisure’s Top 50 Hotels in America and Canada, The Lodge is an icon of Southern California and one of the finest examples of early 1900s Craftsman-style architecture. Guests can embark on a self-guided hike of Torrey Pines State Reserve, golf on Torrey Pines Golf Course or relax at the world-class spa before returning to one of The Lodge’s 170 uniquely furnished and distinctly Californian rooms.