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9 Best Day Trips From San Diego To Explore America’s Finest City

San Diego is the best and most charming destination with the California lifestyle. The deep blue Pacific Ocean around San Diego charm visitors with 70 miles of the sandy shoreline and a pristine natural environment. But you can explore more locations by day trips from San Diego.

Day trips from San Diego are the option for those who seek a taste of another culture. This is the most famous and visited the place, or you can say the base of travellers for day trips around San Diego.

So after combining all the information, we listed nine top places for a day trip from San Diego. This place is always ready to amaze every age group traveller. 

List of 9 Top Places For a Day Trip From San Diego

  1. Spectacular Beaches in La Jolla
  2. Whale Watching Tours
  3. Mission San Juan Capistrano
  4. Tijuana
  5. Gold Rush Days and Apple Pie in Julian
  6. Ensenada: A Picturesque Seaport in Mexico
  7. Beautiful Mountain Scenery in Idyllwild
  8. Legoland California
  9. Temecula’s Historic Old Town and Pennypickle’s Children’s Museum

1. Spectacular Beaches in La Jolla

Day Trips From San Diego a Lovely Coastal Scenery;La Jolla Beach
La Jolla Beach

Breathtaking ocean scenery, pristine beaches, make La Jolla a perfect location for a day trips from San Diego. La Jolla coastline has many beautiful beaches in natural environments. 

The downtown of La Jolla has many amazing places to explore. In particular, Prospect Street, Pearl Street. 

La Jolla Boulevard has a great variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, while Girard Avenue has many interesting antique shops.

List of Beaches in La Jolla

  1. Black’s Beach
  2. La Jolla Shores Beach
  3. La Jolla Cove Beach
  4. Boomer Beach
  5. Shell Beach
  6. Children’s Pool
  7. Wipeout Beach
  8. Marine Street Beach
  9. Windansea Beach

2. Whale Watching Tours

Day Trips From San Diego a Lovely Coastal Scenery;Whale-Watching Tours
Whale-Watching Tours

For a wonderful experience, take a cruise and enjoy the whale watching the show during the migration. The blue whale migration season is normally from May or June through September or October. The grey whale migration season is approximately from December until April and peaks in mid-January. 

So you just need to reach there and enjoy the fun whale watching on day trips from San Diego.

3. Mission San Juan Capistrano

Day Trips From San Diego a Lovely Coastal Scenery;Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano

One of the most interesting missions in California, San Juan Capistrano lies in an attractive setting 66 miles north of San Diego. The historic landmark is surrounded by a sun-drenched Mediterranean view of rolling hills and palm trees.

Top Attractions near Mission San Juan Capistrano

  1. Mission San Juan Capistrano
  2. ZOOMARS Petting Zoo
  3. Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano
  4. Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
  5. O’Neill Museum
  6. Los Rios Historic District
  7. Los Rios Park
  8. Capistrano Depot
  9. Montanez Adobe

4. Tijuana

Day Trips From San Diego a Lovely Coastal Scenery;Tijuana

For the taste of another country, Tijuana is the best place. This city is known as a corner of Mexico. It is just 32km away from San Diego. 

Tijuana has historical places like Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Plaza Santa Cecilia and the Palacio de Fronton Jai Alai, to discover modern-day Tijuana, visit the Centro Cultural Tijuana.

This place is best and easy to reach for a day trip from San Diego.

Top Attractions in Tijuana

  1. Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT)
  2. Museo de las Californias
  3. Avenida Revolucion
  4. El Trompo
  5. Nightlife
  6. Playas de Tijuana
  7. Bullfighting
  8. Rosarito Beach
  9. Ensenada

5. Gold Rush Days and Apple Pie in Julian

Day Trips From San Diego a Lovely Coastal Scenery;Apple Pie in Julian
Apple Pie in Julian

In Cuyamaca mountains, this historic Gold Rush town is an engaging destination, just 62 miles from San Diego. Julian has maintained its historic nature, and the town’s lovingly restored old buildings have been changed into shops, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts.

Julian is also famous for its apple pie and apple orchards. At the end of September, you can enjoy the Julian Apple Days Festival.

Things to do 

  1. Raven Hill Orchard
  2. Pan for Gold at the Julian Mining Company
  3. Take A Lama Trek from Wikiup B&B
  4. Fresh Apple Pies
  5. Spooky Tour of the Julian Cemetery

6. Ensenada: A Picturesque Seaport in Mexico

Ensenada's seaport
Ensenada’s seaport

In Ensenada, Just 80 miles from San Diego, visitors can enjoy the taste of Mexican food, culture and nightlife. This place is known for luxury spas, golf courses, and great restaurants. Nature lovers are thrilled by the sight of grey whales and the underwater cave that randomly squirts water at observers.

Ensenada offers outdoor adventures, like rock climbing, kayaking, and scuba diving. That’s why this place is the best option for a day trips from San Diego.

Popular Tourist Attractions near Ensenada

  1. La Bufadora
  2. First Street
  3. Riviera del Pacifico
  4. Bahia de Los Angeles
  5. Plaza Civica
  6. El Mirador
  7. Monte Xanic
  8. Avenida Lopez Mateos
  9. Museo de la Vida y el Vino

7. Beautiful Mountain Scenery in Idyllwild


Idyllwild is a beautiful mountain village and just a two-hour drive from San Diego. In an awesome scenic view, Idyllwild is a perfect place to begin hikes and nature walks. 

The town itself is a charming location with many shops, restaurants, and cultural events. 

Famous Things to Do in Idyllwild

  1. Mount San Jacinto State Park
  2. Idyllwild Wellness Waters & Massage
  3. Idyllwild Nature Center
  4. Middle Ridge Winery
  5. Idyllwild Park
  6. The Hub Cyclery
  7. Lake Fulmor
  8. Humber Park
  9. Organic tea for your taste and lifestyle at Merkaba Tea

8. Legoland California


This park is the best option for a perfect family vacation. Highlights of the park include the Lego Star Wars Miniland, with seven Star Wars scenes and the NINJAGO Training Camp featuring Ninja-themed rides.

In Carlsbad, the Legoland resort is just a 30-minute drive from San Diego. 

Famous Things Near Legoland 

  1. Sea Life Aquarium
  2. Museum of Making Music
  3. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
  4. GIA Museum
  5. South Carlsbad State beach
  6. Carlsbad Village
  7. Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park
  8. Alga Norte Community Park
  9. Coyote Bar & Grill

9. Temecula’s Historic Old Town and Pennypickle’s Children’s Museum

Temecula's Historic Old Town
Temecula’s Historic Old Town

About an hour’s drive from San Diego, the town of Temecula’s is perfect and the most attractive place near San Diego. The old town in this place is a fun area for a tourist who wants to explore the beauty of this town.

A top attraction for families in the Old Town is Pennypickle’s Workshop. This unique children’s museum has won awards, from the Themed Entertainment Association,  the California Park and Recreation Society, and Nickelodeon Networks.

Top-Rated Things To Do In These Places

  1. Old Town Temecula’s
  2. Lorimar Winery Loft
  3. Old Town Root Beer Company
  4. A country at the MERC
  5. Olivedipity
  6. Old Town Station
  7. Old town Blue Club
  8. Fourth Street Antiques
  9. Old Town Boutique 


So these are the recommended list of best nearby places for a day trip from San Diego. Every place has many things to do and see, so we also listed the best attractions, places and top things to do in all the listed places. 

This is the wrap of my blog, and we hope this blog will help you to organize your trip in a proper way, and for more specific details or any query, you can comment on this blog below. Thank you!

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