San Diego Daycation Ideas: Open your Mind, not your wallet

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When returning from a a month-long vacation in Paris it is common to have a lumpy, worn-out suitcase and a jumble of souvenirs, not to mention wearing the usual signs of relaxation: a glowing smile and an extra pound or two around the belly. Although trips to Paris are nice, it has become a rarity for Americans to indulge in such long, faraway travels.

Apart from the dilemma of money, there is also the problem of time, and when swirled together these two breed an unsurprisingly sour result. However, it needn’t be that vacations are either two weeks long or nonexistent. This notion produces a peculiar hybrid: Daycations. Like Panda Express and the Toyota Prius, Daycations are the result of stitching together the “bests” of two distinct worlds and designing a masterpiece. Daycations shrink the burden of packing, unpacking and packing again, so that it’s nearly microscopic. Daycations also dissolve stuffy airport lines and offer the clean simplicity of an hour-long car drive. This is all because Daycations require only one day of your devotion.

Lucky for us, San Diego is cuddled by a cluster of potential Daycation spots. San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach are an hour away, while Los Angeles and Montecito require a trickle more of time. While exploring San Juan Capistrano you can wander through the Mission grounds, enjoy a breezy lunch at the nearby Ramos House Café or greet guinea pigs while chomping sticky wads of taffy at the Zoomars Petting Zoo. The summer-long Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters offers an early evening spectacle while the vibrant neighboring restaurants will replenish your energy.

Santa Barbara is another promising Daycation spot for San Diegans. Though the drive there is a bit more complex than your journey to San Juan Capistrano, Santa Barbara itself reveals the beauty in simplicity—Lavender Lemon sorbet at Here’s the Scoop and Eucalyptus trees at the Botanical Gardens are enough to imbue your hours with a sweet dreaminess. So, if a lengthy vacation abroad cannot wriggle itself into your summer schedule, don’t neglect the unexplored beauty of nearby cities. Instead, open your mind to the idea that everything, even that which feels familiar, can inspire your mind and enliven your spirit.

Photos from miheco and Jon Sullivan via Flickr

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