Immaculately landscaped parks, white-sand coves, upscale boutiques, top restaurants, and cliffs above deep, clear-blue waters make it easy to understand why ‘La Jolla’ translates from Spanish as ‘The Jewel.’ Pronounced la-hoy-yah, the name may actually date from Native Americans who inhabited the area from 10,000 years ago to the mid-19th century, and called the place ‘mut la hoya, la hoya’ – the place of many caves.
Northward from La Jolla, North County’s coast evokes the San Diego of 40 years ago. Pretty Del Mar continues through low-key Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad (home of Legoland), before hitting Oceanside, home to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. All the beaches are terrific, and the small seaside towns are great for days of soaking up the laid-back SoCal scene and working on your tan.
All that, and only about a half-hour’s drive from Downtown San Diego.