Overdue for a nostalgic and fun-filled excursion to San Diego? Its Mediterranean-esque climate ensures the weather will be delightful all year long. San Diego is world-renowned for its zoo and countless other landlocked attractions, but we’re going to take a different tack and explore this community by sea.
Getting around: A rental car is a must. Payless Car Rental of San Diego has rates as low as $6.95 a day, but may attempt to nickel and dime you at every opportunity on the rental agreement. Just stick to your guns; the counter agent will reluctantly meet the promised original online rate. Parking throughout San Diego is reasonable and plentiful.
The Catamaran Resort & Spa, Mission Bay: This vintage hotel, an easy drive from the airport, comes complete with delightful views of the bay as well as a calming breeze off the ocean. With secluded lagoons that are meticulously manicured, birds of paradise and ducks that freely roam the grounds of this resort, you’ll soon feel relaxed and stress-free. Take full advantage of all the on-site water sports, from sailboats to paddle boards – or simply stick your toes into the soft white ocean sand. Only two blocks from the Pacific, you will be hard pressed to find better value for this prime Mission Beach location. (www.catamaranresort.com)
Old Town: Discover the slower pace of the 1800s at Old Town, an early version of San Diego. Its streets are cordoned off for foot traffic, which allows for strolling its shops, historical buildings and nearby restaurants. Old Town (www.oldtownsandiego.org) is minutes from the downtown area and a fun day trip for the entire family.
Need for speed: San Diego Speedboat Adventures (www.speedboatadventures.com), owned by UNC grad Chris Boone, offers an exhilarating and unique water experience – a two-seater mini speedboat racing around San Diego Bay at breakneck speeds. It’s a thrilling way to explore everything from the famous Coronado bridge to the edge of downtown. On this guided tour, the kids will love getting close views of sea lions and other marine life. The boats, designed in the Lake Norman area, stand up flawlessly to the tumultuous San Diego Bay. The tours are based at Cabrillo Isle Marina on Harbor Isle, directly across from the airport.
Island Prime and C-level Lounge: San Diego Bay is the backdrop for one of the best all-around restaurants in the area. Island Prime (www.islandprime.com) has a striking, romantic atmosphere, and the menu ranges from prime cut beef to succulent lobster tail, as well as fresh-caught seafood. Island Prime’s decor mirrors the presentation of the food, crisp and modern. There’s an impressive wine list so you can relax sipping a nice pinot noir as you watch boats drift by.