When one thinks of San Diego, California, a few things are sure to come to mind: sun, sand, SeaWorld, and expensive. Many families must scrimp and save for quite some time to be able to afford a sunny San Diego vacation, but here are some tips from a local to getting the most out of your San Diego trip without exhausting the wallet.
Step 1: Check Deal Websites
Certain websites like Groupon and SniqueAway are gaining in popularity, and for good reason. Before booking a hotel, check these websites often for their “getaway” deals. Oftentimes, nice San Diego hotels and resorts will offer a great deal when booked through these websites. Always be sure to read the fine print for date restrictions or other requirements, but you may just find a bargain on a hotel you may not have otherwise been able to afford.
Step 2: Take Advantage of Natural Attractions
Who says you have to take the whole family to SeaWorld or the San Diego Zoo for a week while in San Diego? Those are, obviously, big draws to visiting Southern California, but so are some of San Diego’s natural, no-entry-fee attractions. For example, a family could easily spend a few days in the Mission Beach/Mission Bay area and never get bored. From the boardwalk to the waves and sand to the parks around the bay, there are plenty of things for kids and parents alike.
Another great place to visit is Balboa Park. Between the museums aplenty and parks and carousels for kids, Balboa Park is a must-see. The San Diego Natural History Museum, for instance, is a fun learning experience and not too tough on the pocketbook at only $15 admission for adults and $9 for the kids.
More the outdoorsy types? Try a day hike up Cowles Mountain, or simply walk around beautiful Seaport Village. As long as you’re outside, you’re enjoying San Diego’s greatest asset!
Step 3: Save on Food
As a born-and-raised Southern California native, I can attest to the fact that authentic Mexican food is San Diego’s best culinary claim to fame. And, because of that, a family can really save on their dining-out expenses if they opt for exploring the hole-in-the-wall gems all over the city, rather than more expensive downtown restaurants. In Mission Beach, for instance, stop into Taco Surf for their rolled tacos smothered in homemade guacamole (you won’t be sorry, I promise!). If you happen to be traveling more inland near San Diego State University, you can’t go wrong with a burrito from Trujillo’s Taco Shop.
The bottom line is that you definitely do not have to break the bank to experience the best San Diego has to offer.