• Get all the positives of Los Angeles without most of the negatives.
  • Check out one of their discount cards to save on admission into some of the popular sites:
  • Explore the upscale coastal neighborhood of La Jolla. Find some secluded beaches, coves, and ocean cliffs.
  • Enjoy everything the water has to offer - swimming, surfing, lounging on the beach, sailing, whale-watching, and scuba diving among them.

Why you should add San Diego to your RTW travel list

  • Nip over the border to Tijuana
  • Wander through the city's Gaslamp Quarter
  • Check out Balboa Park, a massive area of parkland museums, theaters, a zoo and sports facilities
  • The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous in the world
  • For more animals in captivity, check out SeaWorld
  • Treat yourself to a night in the Hotel del Coronado... or just look at it and dream
  • Southern California is famous for surfing, and SD is no exception

Why you should not add San Diego to your RTW travel list

  • The high prices can have your budget soaring in no time at all.

Overview

This large city on the Pacific just north of the border with Mexico doesn't get nearly as much publicity as Los Angeles or San Francisco, and that seems to be part of the reason so many people love it. This is true laid-back California without all the headaches or attitude of LA and it doesn't pretend to be European like San Francisco. The climate in the whole region is nearly perfect, and scientists claim that San Diego's weather is the nicest in the world because summers don't get very hot and winters are also extremely mild.

What to do

San Diego has some of the finest beaches in the United States. The water is colder than you'd get in Florida, but the long and unspoiled sandy areas are about as pristine as you'll ever find anywhere near a big city. The famous Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island is a major attraction even for those who can't afford to stay there. You'll probably want to rent a car in San Diego, and a trip to the island is one of the nicest road trips you could imagine.

San Diego also has one of the finest zoos in the world, and just nearby you can also visit the Wild Animal Park or Sea World. There are many family-friendly attractions in and around the city, but for those without kids in tow there is still plenty to do. The Downtown area has recently been revitalized and is now home to loads of great restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. And as long as you've got a car you can drive down to the border in about 30 minutes. Many people park their car in San Ysidro on the US side of the border, but you can drive right on in as long as you've got the proper insurance on your car.

Getting there

Unless you are driving down from Los Angeles you'll probably want to book a flight to San Diego. The one major airport is simply called San Diego International Airport (code: SAN) but it's sometimes also called Lindbergh Field. It's very close to the city, although across the bay from downtown, so it's cheap to get from the airport if you are staying near the center.

If you need to go to the airport by car you can save a lot of time and money by booking the San Diego airport parking online. Another good option is to reserve a San Diego airport shuttle to take you from home to the airport.

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotels in San Diego, and most of them tend to be a bit pricey. Hotels on or near the beach can be very expensive during summer, and the business hotels downtown can also cost quite a bit, but there are definitely budget hotels scattered around. If your budget is really low you'll be happy to know that there are quite a few actual hostels in San Diego. Most have cheap dorm rooms and also not-as-cheap private rooms.