smaller Southern California communities
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jul 20, 2012 11:11 AM Last Post By: dasubergeek
Jul 16, 2012 6:28 PM
smaller Southern California communitiesHello,
I'll be in San Diego for work next week. After the work is done my wife is flying out for the weekend. We're not really "big city people" so we were hoping to rent a car or hop on a bus and spend most of the weekend somewhere along the coast that's a bit smaller. Not wanting to spend all of our time on the road, I'd like to limit it to a two-hour commute or less from the SAN airport. I could use some help in narrowing down my search. We're interested in finding a community with a beach (or at least nearby access to one) and a smaller feel than San Diego. Does such a place still exist in Southern California? I had naturally assumed we would head north from San Diego, but I'm open to suggestions to the south into Baja as well.
Jul 16, 2012 6:31 PM
1You need to rent a car. Doing this by bus is just silly and not going to be very pleasant.
Carlsbad is interesting.
Don't bother going into Mexico.
Jul 16, 2012 6:49 PM
22 hours to the North brings you into the LA area. So your choices are really limited to Del Mar, Solano beach, Cardif, Encinitas and Carlsbad. You can reach them easily with the Coaster train, so you dont have to rent a car if you dont want to.
Other options include Ocean Beach, a funky, old school beachside community within San Diego itself, (though its not to everyones liking) . Check out the inn at sunset cliffs http://innatsunsetcliffs.com/ . Or you can try Julian, a quait touristy town in the mountains east of San Diego known for their apple pies
Jul 16, 2012 7:02 PM
3La Jolla, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Del Mar, Solano Beach. I'm pretty sure the Coaster or another train runs up and down the coast from San Diego regularly.
This might help: http://www.sandiegocoastlife.com/san-diego-beaches.html
Jul 16, 2012 7:23 PM
Jul 17, 2012 7:15 AM
5Hmm, so what do you mean by a "community with a smaller feel than San Diego"? No sky scrappers behind you? Less tourists? Easy parking? Natural surroundings?
All the cities mentioned on the coast are nice, worthy of a visit and most are easy to get to on the train, most train stations are just a couple blocks from the beach-no need for a car. The train ride along the coast is spectacular.
However, none of these have a "small beach town feel."
You can do Mexico, once you get past the party town of Rosarito Beach there are beautiful beaches. But then you have the issues of Mexican buses or getting a rental car south of the border-which could be more trouble than it's worth for a weekend trip.
Jul 17, 2012 7:49 AM
Jul 17, 2012 10:52 AM
7Although its right across the bay from downtown San Diego, I would lobby for Corondo.
Despite its proximity to San Diego, it really does have a small town feel. Orange Ave, has the look for a small town Main Street, and it's quiet leaffy streets and old houses gives it the look of a traditional small town.
And, of course, it has the beach that was rated tops in the nation this year in Dr. Beach's annual rankings.
And, you are just a ferry, car ride away from central San Diego and still close to the Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park etc..., if you want to see some of San Diego's top sights.
Jul 17, 2012 2:47 PM
9Lemon Grove is inland a bit but:
Welcome to Lemon Grove!
We hope you enjoy our small town charm in the midst of metropolitan San Diego County. A city with unique historic roots, Lemon Grove still exhibits community pride and spirit in our modern era, boasting about having the "Best Climate on Earth", its motto for more than 100 years. Centrally located in the southwest portion of San Diego County, Lemon Grove is only nine miles from downtown San Diego, and only 12 miles from the airport.
Jul 17, 2012 6:48 PM
10With all due respect to clarkcoan, there is nothing much to see or do in Lemon Grove. It is just urban community of San Diego. I would vote for the Encinitias area for a smaller beach town (though not isolated in any way) in San Diego. Maybe San Clemente just north of San Diego - it will be similar to Encinitas in size/activities. If you like Pizza and microbrews, check our Pizza Port in Solana Beach or Carlsbad. Their beers win medals at the North American Beer Festival every year. Enjoy it. San Diego is not really a "big city" so any of the beach towns might suit you.
Jul 17, 2012 10:47 PM
11I'm with Bowneline, Coronado is delightful. There's the gorgeous beach, museums, galleries, parks and marketplaces. You really can't go wrong and could easily spend your whole weekend there and still want more.
Jul 19, 2012 3:24 PM
12Thank you all for your thoughtful and helpful replies. Many of you suggested doing things that are either in or very near to San Diego itself instead of traveling up or down the coast. After giving it some thought, that's exactly what we'll do. I've booked a room near Balboa Park and we're just going to make day trips to several of the spots that you suggested. Thanks for the help. Buen viaje!
Jul 20, 2012 11:11 AM
13I'd say Carlsbad or Oceanside, or perhaps Solana Beach. If you want to go south, there aren't very many beach towns with lots of places to stay, but they are all (with the exception of Rosarito, which is a party town, and Ensenada, which isn't a beach town despite being on the coast) very small-feel places. You could stay in the Valle de Guadalupe, east of Ensenada, which is a lovely wine country. I'd suggest a car for Valle de Guadalupe, though.
Be aware that if you go south, you need to plan for the border crossing, which normally involves a 1-2 hour wait northbound (no wait normally southbound except in evening commute times).
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