3 Perfect Day trips near San Diego

Well hello there, August. The slow easiness of summer is finally starting to sink in. While the first few months of the season were packed with over-stimulating, big-buzz events like Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack and Comic-Con International, August is relatively quiet, a prime time to appreciate long days at the beach, nights dining al fresco and my personal favorite, a weekend getaway or two.

San Diego certainly has enough to offer us every weekend until the end of the year. But we also have a handful of must-see destinations that can be accessed in an hour.

Here are the top three day-trip destinations to navigate from San Diego.


The Drive: Allow about an hour one-way from San Diego, taking the I-15 North. Temecula is across the county line in Riverside County.

To-Do: It’s Southern California’s very own wine country, so your top priority here should be tastings, bottles and tours from some of the best wineries. Everyone has their favorite out of the 30-plus that welcome visitors here, but my votes go to Danza del Sol, Leoness Cellars, Miramonte Winery and Ponte Family Estate Winery. For a bite that won’t disappoint, dine at Meritage restaurant, located at Callaway Winery. If you have the time, Old Town Temecula also offers a lovely selection of restaurants and shopping.


The Drive: Just over an hour from San Diego, the route to Julian is equal parts scenic and exhilarating.

To-Do: First things first, grab some apple pie at Julian Pie Company and thank me later. There’s just one main street here, filled with charming shops and eateries with small-town allure. If you’re looking for a little more thrill, this mountain town also offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding and fishing.

Stay in one of the many adorable bed-and-breakfast accommodations, and take advantage of the Blue Door Winery tasting room, located at 2608 B Street in Julian.

Catalina Island

The Drive: You’ll need to voyage through water to make it to Catalina, and the closest ferry departs from Dana Point, one hour north of San Diego. Catch the Catalina Express Ferry. Total travel time will cost you about two hours.

To-Do: Throughout the small town of Avalon, visitors can have their pick from a wealth of activities like biking, snorkeling, scuba diving and hiking. Catalina offers a mix of romantic beach moments and family-oriented fun. The abundant marine life also attracts snorkelers to the island’s blue waters. In two of the most popular spots – Casino Point and Lover’s Cover – snorkelers will see bright orange garibaldi, blue-banded goby and kelp bass beneath underwater cliffs and caves.

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