Recently I had the pleasure of traveling to San Diego to explore all of the fabulous food, sights and attractions that the city has to offer and I could not have had a better time!
Home to a plethora of attractions like the famous San Diego Zoo, Lego Land and SeaWorld (just to name a few), San Diego is one of those perfect destinations for families with kids or even couples who are still kids at heart looking for a fun weekend getaway. Here is the rundown on how to recreate my amazing San Diego experience.
Where to Stay in San Diego
Hands down, the San Diego Hilton Resort and Spa at Mission Bay is the place to be. This resort has everything: great accommodations, lots of on-property activities and a location that cannot be beat. Located on the gorgeous Mission Bay, the Hilton Resort is 15 minutes from the airport, 10 minutes from the San Diego Zoo, 5 minutes from the beach, 10 minutes from the Gas Lamp nightlife district and across the water from Sea World. There is even a shuttle from the hotel to SeaWorld that lets you skip parking fees and the long hike back to your car at the end of the day.
In addition to shuttle service to and from the airport and SeaWorld, the Hilton Resort can also assit with discounted tickets to SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and other attractions. Call the Hilton Resort and Spa at Mission Bay directly for current promotions.
The pool at the Hilton is beyond gorgeous and also offers cabana which is a great option for parents of small children who may need a midday nap.
In addition to lounging poolside, the Hilton Resort has no shortage of water activities encompassing everything from sailboats, jet skis, windsurfing and kayaks, volley ball, tennis courts and beachfront sand to build sand castles. The property also has a large bike rental service that includes not only individual bicycles, but also multiperson bikes. The numersous fantastic on property options coupled with the boardwalk along the water makes for a great (and inexpensive) day of fun in the sun!
The rooms at the Hilton Resort were wonderful, and I loved the in-room kitchenette but without a doubt, the fire pits have to be one of my favorite features of the entire resort. After a long and wonderful day at the San Diego Zoo and Sea World (more on that tomorrow!) there was nothing more magical than curling up next to a fire, sipping a glass of wine by the water and roasting some s’mores. The on-property market sells wonderful kits with firewood and everything you need to make s’mores (pictured above). On the first night, we got a wonderful surprise — from our cozy seat by the fire pit we could see the SeaWorld fireworks show across the water. On the second night, there were no fireworks but even more amazing, we saw dolphins frolicking in the water 100 feet from our room.
Where to Eat in San Diego: My Top Recommendations
Located on the Hilton Resort property, Acqua is a must visit for a great meal with an unbeatable view.
I started every morning with the breakfast buffet at Acqua. The buffet offered a delicious and varied selection, and the staff at Acqua was wonderful and friendly. Combined with the gorgeous ocean view, Acqua is the perfect way to start a beautiful San Diego day.
In addition to their great breakfast fare, Acqua is the place to be for dinner. Serving contemporary New American cuisine, Acqua gives diners the opportunity to dine al fresco on the terrace or next to lovely fire pits for a delicious and cozy end to the perfect San Diego day.
For a relaxed, affordable and delicious lunch or dinner, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza has got your covered.
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza has several locations around San Diego which makes it a convenient option no matter which corner of San Diego you explored that day. This is a wonderful option for anyone traveling with small children looking for a restaurant that will easily accommodate the kids in your party without sacrificing the dining experience for the adults. The restaurant has a little something for everyone including healthier fare like quinoa salads and a multitude of gluten-free options. True to their name, the wood fired pizzas are all fantastic and the mini duck tacos (pictured above) are a must order!
Finally, my favorite meal of the trip, and my cannot be missed recommendation: Barra Barra Saloon located in Old Town on Fiesta de Reyes.
When in California, I expect to have great Mexican food and Barra Barra Saloon did not disappoint. From the moment you arrive, the atmosphere at Barra Barra draws you in, and the fire pits in the outdoor dining room give the whole restaurant a warm cozy ambiance. To start out your meal, the guacamole is a must as is the heavenly mango and sea bass ceviche. The chicken mole and tamales are not to be missed, but it is hard to go wrong on the Barra Barra menu.
Between the Best $5 Margaritas in San Diego and the Kids Eat Free promotion, Barra Barra Saloon knows how to please its guests. After experiencing a wonderful evening and a memorable dinner there, I recommend you put Barra Barra Saloon on your must visit list during your San Diego adventure.
Overall, San Diego is the ultimate destination for an affordable and memorable family vacation whether you have kids, or even for a couple who are still kids at heart. Follow @visitSanDiego on twitter to stay updated on the latest and greatest deals on San Diego’s best attractions including their #KidsFreeSD October with huge savings on attractions, hotels restaurants and more!
Click to learn about my adventures at the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.
Click to learn about my adventures at SeaWorld and Old Town San Diego.
Transportation, accommodations and meals provided for review.