Out of all the places I’ve lived, San Diego is my favorite. It’s a beautiful, welcoming city located right on the San Diego Bay. In addition, its moderate year-round temperatures make it an exciting vacation destination 12 months a year. Due to this fantastic climate, there are lots of marine activities that can be enjoyed even in the winter months. For those who’d like to get away from the freezing temperatures and mounting snow, I’ve put together this itinerary for a fantastic San Diego winter waterfront weekend.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast at hotel
9:00 a.m. – Maritime Museum of San Diego (Downtown) In addition to its collection of real-life historic vessels, this museum hosts a variety of maritime exhibits. It showcases the Star of India, the world’s oldest active ship, which is maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers and sailed at least once a year. (Adults $16, Children $8)
12:00 p.m. – Lunch at Kansas City Barbeque (Downtown) You can experience a bit of cinematic history while dining in this San Diego landmark restaurant where the famous bar scene in “Top Gun” was filmed. Take the time to enjoy their infamous cap, license plate, life preserver and brassiere collections while you’re there!
1:15 p.m. – Whalewatching with Hornblower Cruises (Downtown) On this 3-1/2 hour nature tour your eyes will be glued to the ocean as you watch for whales during their seasonal migration. In addition you’ll see dolphins, sea lions and harbor seals, as well as a variety of aquatic birds. I’ve done this tour myself at least a half dozen times, and have never failed to see whales. (Adults $45.00, Children $22.50)
7:00 p.m. – Dinner at Croce’s in San Diego’s Gaslamp District (Downtown) Ingrid Croce built and runs this restaurant in honor of her late husband, singer/songwriter Jim Croce. Located in the center of activity in the city’s famous Gaslamp District, it serves modern American cuisine and offers live music seven nights a week.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast at hotel
Morning (or Afternoon) – Tidepooling at Cabrillo National Monument (25 minutes west and south of Downtown) During low tide, this intertidal zone along San Diego’s coast turns into a private marine laboratory. You will likely see a variety of small fish and crabs, as well as starfish, sea anemones and possibly even an octopus. Be sure to dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes that can get wet.
12:00 p.m. – Lunch in Seaport Village (Adjacent to Downtown) Choose from 13 casual and four fine dining restaurants in this 14-acre waterfront complex.
Afternoon (or Morning) – Continue exploring the more than 50 specialty shops in Seaport Village which offer everything from colorful kites to exquisite chocolates. Enjoy a magic show, watch the street performers, or stop and listen to one of the many free concerts.
7:00 p.m. – Dinner at Top of the Market (Adjacent to Downtown) This fine dining restaurant is renowned for exceptional seafood and overlooks the San Diego Bay. It’s a wonderful way to relax and reflect on your past two days in one of America’s most beautiful and exciting cities!
* Timing for the day’s activities will be subject to the timing of low tide, which is necessary for the tidepooling activity. Morning and afternoon activities may need to be shifted, and meal times need to be flexible.
Hotel Recommendations for a san diego winter waterfront weekend:
San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina
This Marriott property is located downtown and adjacent to San Diego’s Convention Center. Right on San Diego Bay, it provides exquisite views as well as easy access to all downtown attractions, shopping and restaurants.
Bay Club Hotel & Marina
Located just six miles west of downtown on Shelter Island, this hotel provides gorgeous views of the San Diego Bay and many of the amenities of a resort hotel. Prices are very reasonable.
Wintertime high temperatures in San Diego average in the mid-60s, but ocean breezes can make it quite cool when you’re out on the water. Be sure to dress in layers and bring a raincoat to protect against the ocean spray.
How does this San Diego winter waterfront weekend sound to you?