San Diego combines California cool with family attractions, and nightlife with wildlife.

California’s second-biggest city has all the urban attractions you’d expect, like top restaurants and museums, but being on the coast also has a fresh-air feel, with beaches, ports, and marinas, and it’s one of the best places in Southern California for whale-watching trips. There are no fewer than 16 museums in Balboa Park alone, where you’ll also find the impressive San Diego Zoo. It’s a cliché to say it, but San Diego really does have something for everyone.

Things to know before you go

  • San Diego has inexpensive trolley tours which will take you along the waterfront, to the Old Town, out to Coronado Island, and to Balboa Park, so you can easily spend several days here without needing a car.
  • Consider renting a car for a few days, to take in California’s beach towns, just up the coast, and even attractions like Joshua Tree National Park, less than three hours away.
  • San Diego has a justifiable reputation for year-round sunshine… but it can rain, and in winter be cold. Rain is minimal from about May to October, but take some wet weather gear, just in case.

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About the author

Mike Gerrard

Green Valley, Arizona

Mike Gerrard is an award-winning travel writer specialising in European and US destinations. He writes for numerous websites as well as publishing several of his own travel sites.