One of our Member Hollee shares her best tips and tricks for her latest trip in San Diego, CA.

Whenever I travel to a new town, I look for two types of activities: (1) big attractions (they’re big for a reason!) and (2) unique things and places to go that the only locals know. I also look for affordable ways to do them!During a recent home exchange in San Diego, I happily achieved my goal, thanks to local hosts who recommended the best places to eat, visit and experience (plus the best deals). So here’s…
Homes in San Diego

Hollee and her family on a home exchange in San Diego

My top 13 things to do in San Diego.

I was shooting for 10, but there are just too many great things to do!

Bike and Kayak La Jolla

Hollee kayaking in La Jolla beach during her home exchange

Explore the coastal hillsides and exotic marine life of La Jolla via guided bicycle tours (or solo cycling), kayaking past sea lions and sea cliffs (or through La Jolla’s seven caves!) and up-close snorkeling with leopard sharks, dolphins and shovelnose guitarfish.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Mission Bay

Enjoy some of the San Diego sunshine under your own power. Just rent an SUP, carry it out to the water and let your spirit and strength take you where you like!

Painting Class for the Kiddos

Lengthy scientific studies and alarming statistics offer convincing confirmation of the benefits of an art education. Put them to a test at San Diego Loft, where maybe mom and dad can join an art course too!

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hollee took a hot air balloon ride during her home exchange

Breathtaking tours over the rolling hills and vineyards of Perris-Temecula Valley. These trips are leisurely affairs, with pre-flight snacks and a celebratory post-flight champagne toasts along with breakfast at the airport cafe. Try Sunrise Balloons (or check Groupon and LivingSocial for great discounts, which appear to run often).

San Diego Zoo

Hollee visited the San Diego Zoo during her home exchange

The San Diego Zoo is the sixth largest in the whole world! Located in Balboa Park, the 100-acre zoo houses over 3,700 animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies.

Beaches of La Jolla

Hollee walked the beach of La Jolla during her home exchange in San Diego 
  • La Jolla Cove has a famous view with access to a sandy beach for swimming.
  • La Jolla Children Beach isn’t really for children. But it’s a favorite spot for watching seals lie in the sun.
  • La Jolla Shores is the best sandy, family beach with calmer currents and easy parking.

Painting Plein-Air at La Jolla Cove

Hollee painted in plein-air in La Jolla beach during her home exchange in San Diego 

You don’t need a class to enjoy a little creativity yourself. The sidewalks and grassy areas right next to the cliffs of La Jolla Cove are great for parking a canvas and a stool. Or keep it simple and just sketch the horizon.

Favorite Fish Taco Joints

Hollee's favorite fish taco discovered during her home exchange in San Diego

Fish tacos are on every corner in Southern California, but I love the inexpensive offerings at Rubios, while other people swear by Wahoo’s. Wherever you decide to eat in San Diego, make sure you order fish tacos!

Sunday Brunch at Snooze (in Hillcrest)

Hollee's favorite brunch place discovered during her home exchange in San Diego

Snooze is a little treasure that’s no secret to the locals or tourists. Try the trio of gluten-free pancakes, which included the OMG French toast, sweet potato pancake and the blueberry danish pancake. They are worth the hour-long wait in line.

Old Town San Diego

Hollee's had fun in Old Town San Diego to during her home exchange

Old Town San Diego is a fun place to stroll and dig into some Mexican food. Mariachi bands made us feel like we were south of the border.

Sunset Picnic

Hollee's tasted delicious sandwiches at Board and Brew during her home exchange

Board and Brew is a local sandwich shop that has been around since the 70s. Their secret sauce is a highly guarded secret and will have you coming back for more. For dessert I recommend sprinkles cupcakes – our favorite. Sprinkles offers daily creative flavors, in mini sizes too. They will pack it to go.

Beauty Treatments

Hollee got a nice massage during her home exchange in San Diego

Beauty treatments are offered everywhere. Certified experts perform specialized treatments, so they are safe. Often you will find coupons and deals offered through Groupon and LivingSocial, and there are even coupons on Yelp.

Eat a Burger

Do not forget to taste a burger from In & Out Burgers during your home exchange

Don’t forget to try a burger and buy a t-shirt at In & Out Burgers! This fast-food chain is only found on the west coast and has a cult following.

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