As promised on my Instagram Stories a few days ago, today I’m sharing my travel guide for San Diego. I just returned from a family trip on Monday night, and SoCal served as the perfect destination for a warm(er) winter getaway. I have plenty of details for where to stay and what to do if you’re traveling to San Diego soon, so read on!
Where to Stay
The Pacific Terrace Hotel was located right on the greenbelt and beach, and it was within walking distance of tons of restaurants. All three nights we stayed there, we simply walked to dinner, which made everything super convenient. The hotel offered “resort commodities” for $15 a day per person, but I’m pretty sure you had to pay the resort fee whether you used the services or not. It included use of beach chairs, boogie boards, beach umbrellas, games, and bicycles. We never got around to using the bikes, but my brother and I made good use of the games they offered (such as Uno, Clue, and Farkle). We did spend an afternoon on the beach and used the chairs and umbrella. I planned to try the boogie board, but the weather was pretty cold that day…probably for the best because I most likely would have hurt myself. 😉
Our room was very nice with a full view of the ocean and a deck, on which we ate breakfast each morning. The shower and toilet were separated from the sinks in the bathroom, which I always appreciate (makes it easier for a family to share). They had a small dining/hang-out area called the Caribbean Room. They did not offer any complimentary breakfast, but each day at 4 o’clock there were cookies, and they always had water, lemonade, and ice tea to drink. Upon checking in, the hotel gave a coupon for complimentary wine, and food and drink were always available for purchase in the Caribbean Room (we never bought any). We spent lots of time chatting and relaxing out by the pool while listening to the waves crash in. 🙂 They had a great outdoor area with small fire pits and chairs.
Our only complaint for this hotel was that they really screwed up our reservations. However, other than that, it was a very nice place to stay and super convenient being in the heart of Pacific Beach.
We stayed at the 1906 Lodge on Coronado Island for the second half of our vacation. Lately, we’ve been staying at more boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts rather than big-name hotels. In my experience thus far, these smaller hotels offer a cozier and more intimate feel. The 1906 Lodge was no exception, and the innkeepers were so friendly and helpful. When we first arrived at the inn, the innkeeper on sight, Debra, gave us a tour of the property. Inside, there was a great lounging area with playing cards, coloring books, and reading material. There was also a cute dining area that offered complimentary drinks and snacks each night. Outside, the property had a beautiful courtyard with a water feature and lots of tables for outdoor snacking/relaxing. We spent one of our nights playing cards out there!
Our room left plenty of space for a family of five to sleep, with two queen beds and a pull-out bed. There was also a table, a mini kitchen area with water bottles for our use, and a large bathroom. We even had our own patio space outside our room.
This hotel also had bikes for rent, of which we took advantage. Riding the colorful bikes through Coronado was one of my favorite parts of the trip! Each morning, the hotel offered a yummy, homemade complimentary breakfast (with gluten-free toast!). I really loved staying here and would do it again. The only complaint that I had was the spotty Internet connection. Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem because I like to unplug for vacation. However, I needed to publish one blog post while there (I forgot to schedule it beforehand), which ended up being kind of a hassle. Nonetheless, 1906 Lodge was the perfect home-away-from-home, and I give it two thumbs-up. 🙂
Where to Eat
Obviously, we ate quite a few places while on vacation—we’re not the type to try and cook while away from home. However, of the places we went, only a few were worthy of mentioning here.
The Breakfast Republic in Pacific Beach: We ate a late breakfast here after landing in San Diego on our first day. The service was good, and the food was even better! They had lots of great gluten-free items, all of which were marked with a symbol on the menu. I ordered the GF French toast with sautéed bananas on top. SO delicious. I also asked for a side of “Jurassic Pork” because a) I loved the name and b) I love bacon. It was thick-cut bacon with cayenne pepper and brown sugar, and it did not disappoint. This restaurant had a unique personality and lots of spunk in the décor. I really enjoyed it! (The picture with the egg furniture was taken out front of The Breakfast Republic.) By the way, the serving sizes here are pretty large—you definitely get what you pay for, and I could’ve shared with my mom. 🙂
Fat Fish in Pacific Beach: We walked here for dinner one night from the Pacific Terrace Hotel. The service was good—nothing special—but the vibe was really cool. My dad and I both enjoyed the décor and lights, and they had great outdoor seating (the location is super convenient in relation to the hotel). I ordered the nachos, which was a huge plate, and I shared them with my mom.
Il Fornaio in Coronado: My family as well as some extended family and friends attended this Italian restaurant for our fancy night out. While it was on the pricier end of the spectrum, the food and service was great. They had a gluten-free menu and GF pasta, which I was very excited about. I couldn’t pronounce most of the items on the menu, but I ordered a pasta dish that had vodka in the name and bacon bits in the description. Have you noticed a theme yet?? Possibly the best part of the restaurant was the fantastic view of the San Diego skyline at night. We saw a large cargo ship pass by, and the pretty lights of the city lit up the water, which was just outside our window. It was a lovely night!
Miguel’s Cocina in Coronado: We ate here for a late lunch after walking around downtown Coronado with some friends. While this restaurant didn’t feel very fancy, the food was delicious, and they offered massive servings. I ordered enchiladas and couldn’t finish them—I can’t remember the last time I didn’t finish a meal! Our server was really great and very accommodating for my wheat allergy. He gave me a gluten-free menu and asked if I wanted extra beans instead of rice, which apparently had flour in them. My favorite part of this restaurant, though, was the virgin Pina Colada drink I ordered. For some reason, I had been craving one all trip and I finally took the plunge at this Mexican restaurant the day before heading home. It was so dang good; my mouth waters just thinking about it.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in the Gaslamp District: Of course, I can’t forget dessert. But really, the cherry chip hot fudge sundae I ordered was my *lunch* on our last day in San Diego. Upon entering the shop, a woman gave us a free sample of the new Ghirardelli Square flavor, which was some sort of strawberry something. Of course, this made a good impression on me because who doesn’t like free samples?! Anyway, I ordered my amazing super yummy sundae (I can’t remember the actual name), and it was not cheap. However, it was unbelievably delicious (and large) so it seemed worth it to me. They are certainly good at what they do over at Ghirardelli. 😉
Thanks for stopping by to read this post! I know it’s going up super late on Wednesday night, but I decided it was better to spend some extra time on this detailed itinerary rather than rush through it. Part 2 of my San Diego travel guide, which will include what to do, what to pack, and fashion trends I saw while there, will go live at noon on Friday. Stay tuned for more SoCal fun!
Also, I am praying for all the terrible weather and mudslides in California right now. We really lucked out on the timing of our trip, and I hope everyone there is safe and getting through it.
See you Friday, and have a great rest of your day (or night, if you’re reading this right after it publishes, wink wink)!
Miles of smiles,