There is nothing more electrifying than the start of summer in Del Mar, San Diego! Adventures await in this tiny coastal town nicknamed “where the turf meets the surf”, the summertime stomping grounds of Old Hollywood. We’ll set you off on a thrilling journey through an ultimate bucket list where you’ll experience fast horses, pretty beaches, and cool summer treats.
Opening Day at the Del Mar Races
Ladies get your hats on and gentlemen let your dapperness shine, this is Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track, easily one of San Diego’s most highly anticipated events of the year! With its already amazing location adjacent to Del Mar beaches, this year’s races promise to be even more spectacular with upgrades made to the track last fall for Breeders Cup. Bring your A-game to an adrenaline packed day full of high stakes wages, celebrity spottings and boozy cocktails. And when the races wind down, the party continues on with concerts and events throughout the city.
North County Craft Brew
If you won’t be in town for the San Diego International Beer Festival at the San Diego Fair June 15-17, the largest beerfest on the West Coast, that’s okay – we’ve got some great local craft brews for you. Start at Viewpoint Brewery, Del Mar’s premiere brewery headed by brewmaster Moe Katomski. Not only partake in one of the 20 brews offered on tap but enjoy views of San Dieguito Lagoon with outdoor fire pits and retro games. Then head over to Culture Brewery tap room on Cedros Avenue or in Encinitas. Check their schedule for art shows, lunch trucks, and special events. This list isn’t complete without North County staple, Pizza Port in Solana Beach, featuring cult favorite Swami’s IPA named for the famous surf break nearby.
Cruise Along the Historic Highway 101
Rent a Pedego Electric bike in Solana Beach. Starting at Cedros Avenue, turn north and cruise your way up the Historic Highway 101, through the Cardiff coastline all the way to Moonlight Beach in the surf town of Encinitas. The beach is a perfect spot to chill and watch the surf. The main street is packed with local restaurants, coffee shops and hippie boutiques. Once you’re done exploring the local scene, make your way back to Solana Beach and past the Del Mar Fairgrounds to the European-style villas that line the streets of downtown Del Mar. At 15th Street, turn toward the coast and cross the train tracks to watch the surf from Seagrove Park. Feeling extra adventurous? Make the extra 2 mile trek to Torrey Pines State Park where the highway bends for breathtaking views of the bluffs. And when you’re ready to return, explore all the unique eclectic shops along Cedros Avenue or catch a concert at the famed music venue Belly Up.
Ride a Hot Air Balloon
The rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe, one of the most expensive zip codes in the country, is perfect backdrop for a hot balloon ride adventure. Fly through luxury estates, golf courses, and San Elijo natural reserve dotted with wildlife to experience stunning views of the San Diego skyline. Even better, take a sunset tour for the most magical views ever with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides.
Place a Bet at the Pacific Classic
Fancy hats are all the rage on Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track, but the real thrill of the season comes on August 19, where the cream of the crop horses come out to play for a million dollar purse. Fan favorites American Pharoah and Arrogate have made recent appearances. Don’t forget to stick around for the summer concert series immediately following the last race.
Ride the Ferris Wheel at Sunset
When its ferris wheel is perched up the beach with panoramic views of the North County coastline, it’s no wonder the San Diego County Fair is one of the top 10 fairs in North America. Indulge in this year’s theme, “How Sweet It Is”, where you’ll find yourself a kid in a candy store.
If goats are your obsession but don’t want to deal with the crowds at the fair, goat yoga is a perfect way to get your bliss on! Sugar Sweet Farms in Encinitas, just north of Del Mar, offers sessions with certified yoga instructors, followed by extra time for goat cuddles and selfies. The farm itself is an experience on its own, stroll through the orchards where you can pick your own organic oranges and tangerines.
The swoon-worthy Instagram photos of brightly colored milk-shakes, cakes, and sundaes are all the rage at Crème and Sugar. It’s original outpost in OC just expanded to Del Mar and already has a cult following.