Our family recently took a trip to San Diego, just because. I’ve had people ask why we chose that city because it’s really not an obvious vacation destination. But we love beaches and we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. We chose well.
Not having been there before, I wasn’t really sure where to stay, but I kept coming back to a particular condo on a beach (literally!) I had never heard of, Imperial Beach. We took a chance and booked it. It payed off in spades…we loved this town. It’s a small beach town south of Coronado, just four miles from the Mexican border. It’s beachy in a sandy, surfer kind of way with surf shops, taco stands, a pier with countless fishermen on it, a beautiful sandy beach, and Hawaii-like surf.
Our first hour there we saw dolphins cresting the waves and watched a guy pull a stingray out of the water onto the pier (this was about 45 minutes worth of entertainment). In the following days, we played in the warm surf on boogie boards for hours, got a little burnt in the not-too-hot-but-just-right sunshine, ate way too many fish tacos, marveled at wide-open sunsets, and enjoyed people watching from the beach and from our condo’s deck.
The city of San Diego has so much to offer. We did a day at the Zoo which was maybe our favorite destination, and the beautiful pandas were our favorite habitat. We spent a day at Sea World which was a bit touristy-feeling, but worth it once. An evening in the Gaslamp District led us to find a charming Italian restaurant, Panevino, where the servers were the real deal as was the food. Father’s Day was spent on the USS Midway where we all received multiple history lessons and enjoyed exploring the fascinating aircraft carrier. We spent some time in Old Town, one of the first settlements in California, and liked it so much we went back again for some amazing Mexican food. One of my favorite afternoons was spent strolling around the Hotel del Coronado and the town of Coronado itself. It’s every bit as glamorous and charming as the novels I’ve read depicted.
But we began and ended our trip at the beach, along with a day or two in between all the other activities. If we only had the beach, we would be happy. The other things are just bonuses. And now we can add another happy place to the list. We hope to return again someday, but maybe there are more happy places to discover first.