Controversy With San Diego’s “Secret Spots”

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All of us locals know of at least a few “secret spots” in San Diego. They’re the beautiful places off the beaten path that tourists don’t often know about. You know, the places with that palpable “if you aren’t from here, don’t come here” vibe. (Sometimes it’s more than a vibe.  Sometimes it’s a literal sign.) Chances are, if you’ve posted photos or shared the locations of these spots on social media, you’ve run into the controversy surrounding them. 

The debate: To share or not to share?

Living in a tourist destination like San Diego, there is a certain gratification that comes from being a “local.”  We love our city and take pride in living in such a beautiful place that offers so many things to do. We complain about parking and traffic during the summer months when tourists flood the streets. We are concerned when people from out of town completely disregard ocean safety. We have a special hatred for trash left on the beaches by day trippers. 

Our “secret spots” are sacred ground where these worries don’t exist.  Or at least that’s the way many think things should be.

There are some who feel that sharing these secret spots will ruin their charm and lead to their demise. Some people feel that keeping the locations of these places a secret and preserving their mystique is a part of being a local (especially at a time when information has become so easily shareable with the many different platforms of social media).  Many people think that the more a location is shared, the more people will show up and trash the place. We’ve all seen beautiful spots riddled with beer cans and marked with graffiti. Many believe that the key to avoiding this is keeping the spots hush-hush. No Instagram. No geotags. No shares.

However, there are some who feel that while these spots are beautiful and sacred, there is joy in sharing them. While some feel that keeping a secret is the duty of a local, others take pride in playing tour guide and offering local knowledge to travelers. After all, wouldn’t you love it if a local gave you the scoop on an epic spot during your travels? These secret spots are the difference between an ordinary trip to San Diego and a true experience of it. Besides, you get to show off your knowledge and love for your city when you tell a new person about your favorite spot. It’s an exchange that can connect two people from opposite sides of the world. 

In an age of geotags, shares, and likes, these combating views will continue to permeate local culture.  A good rule of thumb? Always leave our secret spots better than you left them and share them at your own risk.

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

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