Who Needs Paris When You’ve Got San Diego?
I admit. Springtime in Paris has always been celebrated in song. But that was then. San Diego is very much now. Spring for a San Diego villa vacation and you get a city literally blooming with wildflowers. Flowering with art, theater, and sports events. Sprouting all kinds of music and cultural festivals, zoos and theme parks, picnic- and campgrounds. A whole menu of spring offerings with a side order of a very delightful 55 degrees F (or higher) weather. Not to mention your choice of luxury vacation rentals to relax in and put your feet up after an amazing day. Who can resist?
Count the ways San Diego helps you beat the winter blues — and add spring to your step. (And Paris, eat your heart out.)
Spring into great weather
While the rest of America still has to cope with the detritus of winter weather, San Diego in spring is blessed with temperatures that average in the mid-60s (with an average low of 53 degrees F). Yes, it’s a bit too cold for swimming — but perfect and comfortable for strolling on the beach, exploring the city, and enjoying a host of outdoor activities the city offers.
TIP: Consider average temperatures, but always check the San Diego weather forecast before you leave. Also, pack shorts and short-sleeve shirts, but also bring medium-weight jackets and sweaters to layer over your spring clothes. Just in case.
Spring into travel deals
Because there probably won’t be a throng of tourists (or conventioneers) at this time, you’re likely to find some great airfare deals. Great, go get ‘em. On the other hand, you’ll also be lured by slashed hotel rates during this non-peak season.
TIP: Beware. Some of these so-called budget deals could include hidden costs, too many restrictions, or sacrificing cleanliness and comfort.
Spring into uncrowded beaches
If you like beaches, but peace and quiet as well, check out coastal Carlsbad in northern San Diego county. Occupying a 7-mile stretch of the Pacific coastline, it was a famous 19th century spa town and today and one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets today. Its small uncrowded beaches (it draws fewer partiers on spring break) — with their attractive walkways and seawalls and tons of facilities — make it a great beach option for beach lovers.
TIP: Taking the family along? Make a side trip to Legoland or visit the Flower Fields that start blooming in March.
Spring into fun festivals
March brings the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival with marching bands, floats, bagpipe contingents, live entertainment, history reenacted in a Celtic Village, and an Irish Festival in Balboa Park. Join the revelers in the annual shamROCK block party at the Gaslamp Quarter. April ushers in annual Earth Fair in Balboa Park — the world’s largest free environmental fair. Enjoy a whole range of green, clean, and quality-of-life exhibits, as well as kids’ activities and vegetarian food pavilion. Finally, May heralds Cinco de Mayo (a 30 years+ San Diego tradition with food specials, street festivals, and family entertainment); and Gator by the Bay (a 4-day Louisiana-themed gumbo of blues and Cajun music, crawfish-eating and a French Quarter food court, and overall joie de vivre.
TIP: San Diego is a sprawling city. To fully explore it (especially with kids), best to rent a car.
Spring into colorful blooms
We mentioned the Carlsbad Flower Fields — a 50-acre swath of orange, yellow, red, and purple blossoms. So beautiful that it’s a springtime tourist draw, although it’s actually a commercial enterprise (selling giant Ranunculus bulbs), not a botanical garden. But San Diego has other offerings for flower lovers. This includes April’s Coronado Flower Show — the nation’s largest tented flower show that takes up an entire city block; wildflowers blooming in the desert at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; and the Balboa park Rose Garden — a stunning display of 1,600 roses of over 130 varieties.
TIP: Enjoy the flowers, but bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. If you can, go during less crowded weekdays.
Spring into exciting cuisine
Thanks to its ethnic and cultural mix, San Diego offers a wide range of international cuisines — from Mexican and Vietnamese to Greek and Middle Eastern. And due to its coastal location, its seafood offerings are also a source of pride. Expect an extensive variety of authentic Mexican fare and restaurants — the result of the city’s close connection and proximity to this Latin nation. But aside from its food, San Diego is also known for its thriving craft brewing culture. The city’s brewers have created a number of specialty beer styles and its breweries are consistently rated among the top in the world.
TIP: Head for the source — Little Italy for Italian eats, the Fish Market Restaurant for seafood prepared the way you like. Combine Mexican and seafood influences by trying out the traditional fish taco.
Spring into sports and outdoor adventure
Thanks to the mild spring weather, you can enjoy a host of outdoor and sporting events during your San Diego vacation. Take in a San Diego Padres baseball game. Watch 4,000 regatta participants during the San Diego Crew Classic. Witness steer wrestling and bull riding at colorful rodeos. Savor Coronado Bay Bridge views while you do your morning run. Ride your bike in a backcountry (and scenic) Tour of Borrego. Like equestrian events? See more than 3,000 of the finest horses in the land at the Annual Del Mar National Horse Show.
TIP: Plan your trip. San Diego is chock-ful of events and attractions that you won’t be able to see them all. Make a list of your must-sees and must-dos and plan your trip around them.
Spring into the wild
Traveling with kids? NOT traveling with kids, but an animal lover? Don’t miss a date with our animal friends at the San Diego Zoo (see over 4,000 rare and endangered animals and 700,000+ exotic plants); the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (choose your kind of safari and animal-encounter activities); and SeaWorld San Diego (enjoy rides, shows, exhibits, and experiences with your favorite marine creatures).
TIP: Visit early, especially during peak season. If you’re seeing a show that’s not part of the basic entrance fee, make reservations in advance.
Spring into history
Visit the USS Midway, the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Relive almost 50 years of world history with the Battle of Midway Experience, aircraft cockpit tours, flight simulators. ejection seat theater, and other interactive activities. Be inspired as you explore this floating city at sea. On an equally historical note, check out the Hotel Del Coronado — a legendary seaside resort with a magical past, a symbol of grandeur and refinement for over 120 years.
TIP: Plan to spend at least 3 to 4 hours on the USS Midway tour. (Bring plenty of snacks to re-energize.) At least stroll the grounds of the Hotel Del Coronado (even if you don’t have time to explore the interiors, or the budget to treat yourself) for a feel of how luxurious it must be to be a guest.