Daytime Activities Around San Diego
Whether in town for Mardi Gras, or for client meetings, San Diego is packed with things to do during the day and during the “off” hours. This is in no way a complete list of things to do, but should be enough to get most visitors started.
San Diego Beaches and Beach Communities
San Diego is sun, sea, and surf territory. And where those things exist, there are beaches, beachcombers, and in So Cal, surfers. From Imperial Beach, just north of Tijuana to Encintas, Oceanside, Carlsbad,Leucadia and the gem of them all, Moonlight Beach, the San Diego area is riddled with beaches and beach towns. These small communities are the classic Southern California (So Cal) communities that have supported beach culture and surfing since the heyday of woodies and longboards. These are the kind of places where the surf gear moguls of today got started making their own boards in the family garage back in the 1950s.
Each community is different, and has a vibe all its own. Some are surf beaches while others are great for boogie boarding and body surfing, and most, if not all, are perfect for just kicking back in the sand and catching a few rays.
Mission Beach & Mission Bay
In general, Mission Beach/Bay is a good “catch all” beach community for visitors. Located relatively close to downtown, Mission Beach offers a well-maintained strand (walkway) along a broad, clean, beach. Two blocks off the beach on Mission Blvd., restaurants, shops and beach bars abound. In particular Guava Beach is a relaxed and laid back place to escape the sun, wind, and sand for a cold drink.
As boisterous as the beach side can be, Mission Bay is the place to take a walk on the mild side. Here, the water is calm, and there isn’t a great deal to do except find a quiet eatery with a deck overlooking the bay, or rent a boat from Mission Bay Sports Center.
A partial list of San Diego Beaches & Beach Communities includes:
- Del Mar
- Imperial Beach
- La Jolla
- Mission Beach
- Moonlight Beach
- Ocean Beach
- Pacific Beach
- Point Loma
- San Diego
- Solana Beach
California Surf Museum
When in the land of surfing and beach culture, there’s no better place to learn about the history and development of the surfboard (and all of the gear related to riding waves) than this unique little museum.
312 Pier View Way in Oceanside, CA 760-721-6876
For visitors in town specifically for Mardi Gras, the Gaslamp neighborhood is where they’ll spend their nights. And, home to numerous festivals, it’s a pretty lively place during the rest of the year as well. Filled with restaurants, shops, and bars, The Gaslamp Quarter is downtown San Diego’s premier nightlife center.
Southern California is unmistakably mission territory. And the influence of Father Junipero Serra and his followers can be seen in and around San Diego. Much of the history of So Cal can be found in the communities and culture surrounding these institutions that proved to be so much more than just churches and places of worship. For the communities around them, thy were a place to trade, to learn, and, in a very real sense, they were the earliest tender roots of community that grew into the San Diego of today.
Mission San Diego de Alcala
This mission was founded in 1769, and, as the first of California’s 21 missions is considered to be the “Mother of the Missions”. It is still an active Catholic parish in the Diocese of San Diego.
10818 San Diego Mission Rd. in San Diego; 619-281-8449
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Founded in 1798, this is the largest of California’s 21 missions, and, as such, is considered to be the “King of the Missions”.
4050 Mission Ave in Oceanside, CA 760-757-3651
Junipero Serra Museum
Located on the site of the original San Diego mission, this museum is named for the tireless Father Serra who founded the earliest California missions. The museum’s collections include a fascinating collection of everyday objects that include, clothing, furniture, and tools, as well as a few military artifacts.
2727 Presidio Dr in Presidio Park (San Diego) 619-232-6203
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
A 27,000 square foot museum dedicated to depicting California railroads, and to the preservation of model railroading.
1649 El Prado in San Diego 619-696-0199
SeaWorld San Diego
This venerable institution is exactly what it claims to be. This is the place to see and interact with all manner of sea creatures, as well as birds, reptiles, and other animals associated with the ocean.
500 Sea World Dr. in San Diego 800-257-4268
San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park
The San Diego Zoo was one of the first major zoological institutions to develop and deploy species-specific natural habitats and exhibition venues for the animals under its care. Happily that practice has taken hold in zoos and animal parks around the world.
But here in the zoo where it all began, and particularly in the San Diego Wild Animal Park, visitors have the opportunity to see animals in meticulously created surroundings that conform to the creatures' preferred environs.
Be aware that though they share the same website, these two attractions are about a 45 min. (30 mile) drive from one another.
Zoo: 2920 Zoo Drive in San Diego
Wild Animal Park: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road in Escondido
San Diego Feature Stories
Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp - A Brief History of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter
I have visited San Diego, but not for Mardi Gras. As a result some of this information has been taken from the Gaslamp Quarter Association, the San Diego Convention & Visitors Burreau, and other sources.