Staycation in San Diego

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We are lucky enough to live in a city that is a vacation destination. This means that when we have a few extra days off of work, we don’t need to go far to escape to paradise — because paradise is right outside our door. If you have a few free days, take a staycation and leisurely explore your own city. 

A staycation is an escape right in your backyard. You have the opportunity to run away for a relaxing weekend without spending hundreds on flights and hotels. Many people live in these beautiful cities, but don’t truly discover what they have to offer. A staycation is a way to explore your city, relax and have fun without the commitment of a full vacation.

The best vacations (and the best staycations) have a balance of activities ranging from complete relaxation to total adventure. We’ve compiled a list of the best places to get some rest as well as some thrills all without leaving our city.  These destinations are all less than a 45 minute drive from central San Diego, but they will bring you the same joy and satisfaction as if you had traveled the globe.

Where to Stay:

If you don’t want to sleep in your own bed during your staycation, there are a lot of unique, local hotels that offer all the amenities and comfort of home but with the luxurious feel of travel. We recommend the 60’s pool party feel of The Pearl Hotel. Located in Point Loma, The Pearl is close to beaches, breweries, and other local gems (not that you would ever have to leave the premises of the hotel to have a good time). The Pearl. They also host “Dive-In Movies” near the pool: Cult classics are projected onto a screen above the vintage, oyster-shaped pool all summer, so you can enjoy a movie while relaxing in the water.

Where to Eat:

A swanky meal is a must when planning a staycation. There is no better way to appreciate your city than to eat a tasty meal while overlooking its glory. We suggest Island Prime/C-Level for the best view from the San Diego Bay and the best food on the water. Whether you’re dining during the afternoon or in the evening, the view of downtown is unforgettable and the food never disappoints.

Where to Drink:

A few drinks are a part of any good staycation. Since San Diego is known for its craft breweries, it’s not very difficult to find a good place to throw a few back. We recommend Modern Times Brewery in Point Loma. This brewery offers 32 taps of brews that are unique and delicious, as well as ambitious, eclectic decor.

Or, head up to Temecula Wine Country to Carter Estate Winery & Resort, where you can enjoy a relaxing night of good food, wine tasting, and amazing scenery. Carter sits on a lot of 119 acres and specializes in sparkling wines. For those who live in San Diego, Temecula is not much of a commitment to get away and with its art, wine, and great food, it’s worth it. You can’t go wrong starting a vacation with Vino.


Where to Relax:

A staycation wouldn’t be complete without a little (or a lot) of R&R. Eco Chateau in Mission Valley is a luxury wellness spa that will help you unwind and destress. Since staycations don’t offer the distance and the general feeling of “out of sight, out of mind”, a day at a spa could be just what you need to get your mind off of any worries that are close by. Sometimes all you need is a good massage and a sauna to keep you calm and help you slow down your pace. Eco Chateau offers body wraps, massage, sauna, and more. 

And nothing says romance and relaxation like a trip to Coronado. With the quaint houses and the dainty shops, Coronado provides the ultimate staycation experience. Explore the shopping, hang out at the beach, and head back to the Hotel del Coronado to wrap up each day. Spending a night or a weekend on Coronado feels like spending a week in the tropics.

Where to Adventure:

People sign up for some crazy things when they are on vacations in foreign places. But why not sign up to do something a little crazy and adventurous here at home? Skydive San Diego offers tandem jumps and memories that will last a lifetime. There’s no need to wait to mark this one off of your bucket list, Skydive San Diego is located just 25 minutes from downtown. The sky is calling!

Looking for a more low-key adventure, one of the best zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo is a must-stop. For more of a romantic, relaxing adventure, San Diegan’s can hop onto a Hot Air Balloon to watch the sunset from the sky. Sky’s The Limit Ballooning Adventures offers different locations and times for you to choose to float off into the sky.


These establishments and activities will fill your staycation with relaxation and excitement. You will feel the same sense of adventure that you would if you had vacationed in an exotic location, with the added bonus of falling in love all over again with the city you call home.

Lauren lives in OB with her French bulldog, Elvis Presley. She loves laughter and the great outdoors. You can contact her at

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