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Guide: San Diego’s Best Weekend Getaways

Vibrant culture, sweeping vistas and an epic food scene: all San Diego has to offer *and* these unique weekend getaways.

California is great for road trips – long stretches of scenic highway dotted with spectacular views and a ton of fun stops along the way ranging from popular hotspots to smaller, lesser-known rough diamonds with a much-needed CA charm. their.

And setting up camp in a bustling big city is a great way to maximize your Cali vacation. mix it up by spending some time soaking up the city, then hit the road for two or three days to see what adventures await – and anyone visiting quaint San Diego is sure to have their share of places distinctly fun to explore that are only a short walk from town. The following trips will inspire any intrepid traveler visiting San Diego to get out and explore; from weekend warriors looking for a two (or three!) day getaway away from the city, to vacationers just looking for an excuse to hit the road and head for sunny California, these super fun and eclectics have plenty to spice up any West Coast vacation.


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Sip wine and relax in Temecula

Small-town atmosphere and charm dominate the SoCal gem that is Temecula. Famous for its abundance of vineyards, the town (also known as the Temecula Valley) has plenty to offer anyone looking to kick back and sip some wine while soaking up the scenery and cozy ambience. and welcoming. But there are also plenty of outdoor activities here, the perfect mix of relaxation and recreation just an hour’s drive from San Diego.

  • Home to over 90 miles of bike paths, Temecula is a great place to explore on two wheels– let it be a pleasant and relaxing walk through the picturesque town; difficult mountain biking; or scenic and easy trails through wine country, travelers will love exploring this beautiful area by bike See a map of Temecula’s bike trails here
  • Visit a wine estate (or three!) and take a tour: there are more than 40 wineries in the Temecula Valley wine country that make it easy to explore this region famous for its vino


  • To explore Old Town Temecula and take a step back in time; stroll the boardwalks, visit one of the many boutiques and antique shops; or just bask in the golden 1880s western aura of rustic buildings and storefronts
  • Make it a night at Casino in the seaside resort of Pechanga while enjoying live entertainment, games and great dining; or kick back and play a quick nine while staying on the Temecula Creek Inn

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Soak up the coastal vibes at Dana Point

Beachgoers will delight in the scenic beauty and coastal ambience of the delightful Dana Point, known as one of the best beaches in the state for swimming and surfing and just 65 miles north of San Diego. Hit the beach, explore the harbor, enjoy the ocean breezes – Dana Point is the perfect place to soak up the sun on a weekend away from San Diego.


  • Surf the waves at beautiful Doheny State Beacha spot known for its stellar surf, or head to Capistrano Beach to swim, sit back and relax with picturesque ocean views
  • Dana Point Harbor has it all: great shopping, delicious restaurants, charming accommodations, and great activities like sailing, paddleboarding, diving, fishing, and more.
  • Dana Point is known as the dolphin and whale watching capital of the world – so book a tour, hire a boat or explore from shore in this famous spot all year round for the best whale and dolphin watching in California
  • Treat yourself to a luxury weekend by staying at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort and soak up the ocean views or partake in one of the resort’s many activities and amenities


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Small Town Stargazing in Borrego Springs

Sources of Borrego is only 90 miles from San Diego, but it might as well be a world apart. The only town in Cali completely surrounded by a state park, this quaint little gem is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of San Diego and a great place to relax and bask in the rugged beauty of California.

  • Ideal for stargazingBorrego Springs has even been designated an International Dark Sky Community – so pitch a tent in the beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and soak up views of the starry sky or join a local stargazing party
  • Learn about the local art scene at one of the many galleries in town, stop by the Institute of Arts of Borrego for a pottery or watercolor class, or explore the 130 full-size metal pieces sky art sculptures scattered in the meadows of Galleta


  • Spend the night at La Casa Del Zorro Desert Resort & Spa and soak up the natural, yet luxurious ambience, right on the park’s doorstep; or stay for a taste of the wild west at Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort
  • Explore the many sites of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, such as the slot canyon or take a hike on the Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail

A mountain retreat in Idyllic WildIdyll

Just over 100 miles north of San Diego in the San Jacinto Mountains lies the quaint hamlet of Idyllic where small town, friendly vibes are right behind breathtaking mountain scenery. An ideal location for hikers, cyclists and mountaineers, Idyllwild also offers a tranquil escape for those who just want to sit back, relax and recharge in the pine-scented mountain air.

  • A plethora of wilderness hikes for all skill levels await outdoor enthusiasts and visitors to Idyllwild in the Mount Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Areamany of which are accessible from the town itself
  • Lake Fulmor is another scenic spot; perfect for packing a picnic, snapping great photos, and hiking the loop trail around the beautiful lake
  • Camping, hiking and climbing in idyllic parka fun place to unplug and relax
  • Take a break from the great outdoors and relax with a glass of wine at Middleridge Wine Estate, then stroll through the charming town and visit the local shops. You might even be lucky enough to meet Mayor Max, the town’s beloved canine mayor; then end the day with a delicious meal at Gourmet Restaurant


San Diego is one of the best places to visit in California – it’s hip, it’s lively, the weather is great, and there’s a ton of things to see and do. However, those looking to mix their time in San Diego with a quick road trip will find plenty to satisfy their taste for adventure when they hit the road on one of the getaways above, the perfect way to experience the beauty from California.

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