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  • San Diego

Holidays to San Diego

If you're California dreamin', then there's no better place to head than sun-drenched San Diego, where the endless choice of things to see and do makes each day a new adventure, but the pace of life is distinctly relaxed.

Less than 20 miles from the Mexican border, the Golden State's second largest city is the perfect blend of natural beauty and man-made pleasures - all wrapped up in some of the most reliably warm and sunny weather you can find on the planet. From working up a tan along 70 miles of pristine Pacific beaches, to hiking through mesmerising desert landscapes or getting to know the animals in the city's world-famous zoo, holidays to San Die​go will have you spoiled for choice.

San Diego is built around the sweep of a bay and beach culture is entrenched in its very fabric, from the watersports paradise of Mission Bay to the upscale beachside communities of La Jolla and Coronado. But a different type of culture also rides high on the city's list of attractions, with Balboa Park perhaps laying claim to top spot. Located just minutes from Downtown, it is the USA's largest cultural park, boasting 15 major museums, a top-class theatre, beautiful landscaped gardens and numerous other attractions besides. You'll want to visit it again and again.

The city has its buzzy side too, and at night the restaurants, bars and clubs of the historic Gaslamp Quarter come alive against the backdrop of its unique Victorian architecture. There's also plenty of shopping available, whether it be in malls, department stores like Bloomingdales  or at individual neighbourhood boutiques, while if you want to get a feel for San Diego's Spanish and Mexican roots, you can head for the Old Town.

One thing's for sure - on holidays to San Diego, you'll never be bored!

(read more...)

 

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San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Recognised as one of the world's best, the city zoo has around 4,000 animals,  including giant pandas, tigers, elephants and everything in between. The animals roam within natural boundaries and there are numerous ways to see them: safari jeep tours; shows; keeper experiences; even from above on the Skyfari cable car or the new zip wire ride.

La Jolla

San Diego's 'jewel' has spectacular scenery, superb beaches and an upmarket vibe. Known as 'The Village', the heart of La Jolla has swanky shopping, restaurants and galleries. Down at the beach you can catch some rays, explore the marine life and caves of the protected Underwater Park, or watch seals and sea lions at play at the 'Children's Pool' cove.

Balboa Park

There's a feast of culture here, as well as superb gardens and plenty of shady spots to while away a hot afternoon during holidays to San Diego. Fifteen museums offer fascinating insights into all sorts of subjects from natural history to space, plus there's a carousel, miniature railway and trails to enjoy. Don't miss Shakespeare productions at the open-air Old Globe theatre.

USS Midway

There's a big naval tradition in San Diego and a visit to the USS Midway aircraft carriers is a must. You can clamber all over this floating metal city to explore its sleeping quarters, engine room, post office and jail, as well as visiting the bridge. Around 30 restored vintage aircraft, some of which you can climb into, complete  the experience.

A Taste of Mexico

The city's Old Town State Park recreates life in the Mexican and Rancho California periods of 1821 to 1872. There are original adobes, historic buildings, colourful boutiques and specialty shops to wander amongst, plus traditional Mexican food and drink to sample. Margarita time anyone?

 

Our Top Hotels in San Diego

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina

4.0

A great choice for couples, spa-lovers and families, this dynamic hotel offers the perfect blend of upscale amenities and personalised service, boasting an expansive pool deck.

Find out more about this hotel >>


The Dana on Mission Bay

The Dana on Mission Bay

4

Within minutes of popular attractions including SeaWorld® and the San Diego Zoo, this superior hotel is a great pick for families hoping to explore the sights and sounds of San Diego.

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The Lodge at Torrey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

5

Overlooking the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course with distant views of the Pacific Ocean, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is located just 15 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Find out more about this hotel >>


Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

5

Amidst a private peninsula bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay, this elegant resort offers a unique combination of spectacular views, dynamic amenities and an inviting seaside setting.

Find out more about this hotel >>


Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

5

A national historic landmark, this refined California retreat appeals to families, spa enthusiasts and luxury travelers and is considered one of America's most beautiful resorts.

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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

4

Ideal for guests of all ages, this San Diego gem offers superior accommodations amidst hidden gardens of over 100 rare palms, serpentine waterways and exotic birds.

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Wyndham San Diego Bayside

Wyndham San Diego Bayside

3.5

This high-rise hotel features modern accommodation (most with furnished balconies), offers quality amenities, and provides breathtaking views of the sparkling bay or spectacular city skyline.

Find out more about this hotel >>


Bahia Resort Hotel

Bahia Resort Hotel

3

Secluded on its own private peninsula in San Diego's world-famous Mission Bay Park, the Bahia Hotel surrounds you with sun-drenched sandy beaches, tropical gardens, and delightful hidden waterways.

Find out more about this hotel >>


 
 

Fly Drive Holiday: Coastal Wonders

San Diego - Laguna Beach - Newport Beach - Anaheim - Huntington Beach - Long Beach

Our suggested fly drive itinerary is perfect for those looking to soak up the sun and shorelines that only California can offer. Start your adventure in San Diego which offers an array of activities with theme parks, water-based activities and chic shopping to enjoy. Next up would be the beaches of Laguna and Newport which are home to awe-inspiring mansions as well as golf and cycling opportunities. Onwards to Anaheim where you can experience the popular theme parks including Disneyland before arriving in Huntington Beach, the perfect place to relax beach-side or even learn to surf. Finish your fly drive tour in Long Beach for a relaxing end to your unforgettable holiday.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Southwest Explorer

Los Angeles – San Diego – Las Vegas – San Francisco

Combine the most popular city destinations in the south-west on this fantastic fly drive holiday. Fly into Los Angeles and experience the celebrity lifestyle before heading down the coast to laid back San Diego. From here, drive across the state line into Nevada for 2 nights in entertainent capital Las Vegas where the hotels are the main attraction! Your last stop is San Francisco, the City by the Bay, where you can explore on foot, on a cruise boat or by historic cable car.
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Fly Drive Holiday: California Beaches and Deserts

Los Angeles – Palm Springs – San Diego – Laguna Beach

Our suggested fly drive itinerary offers the perfect mix of sightseeing, outdoor adventure and beach or poolside relaxation. Los Angeles will be your first port of call where you can enjoy a bit of celebrity spotting before heading on to idyllic Palm Springs, the perfect place to hone your golfing skills or explore California’s natural wilderness. Travel on to San Diego where you can experience great all year round weather and many activities for the whole family to enjoy. End this fly drive tour with a relaxing couple of nights in Laguna Beach where you can unwind on the white sandy beaches.
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Fly Drive Holiday: The Wild,Wild West

Los Angeles – San Diego – Tucson – Las Cruces – Santa Fe – Durango – Kayenta – Williams – Las Vegas – Los Angeles

Our recommended fly drive holiday will delve you deep into the Wild West roots of the USA, starting along the California Coast, before heading inland towards the desert landscapes of Arizona, where the spirit of the West still remains strong today. Visit the locations featured on many a John Wayne film; get a glimpse into the history of the Native American cultures; and be amazed by the staggering natural wonders that define the Western USA landscape. This fly drive holiday truly will take you on a journey of the Wild, Wild West!
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Fly Drive Holiday: California Dreaming

San Francisco, Los Angeles & San Diego

Start an unforgettable holiday with a stay in San Francisco where you can enjoy the sights whilst taking a ride on a cable car and sample the fantastic shopping of Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. Travel onto Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where you can take a trip to Hollywood before relaxing on one of LA’s sun-kissed beaches or discover the magic of Disneyland in Anaheim. Then finish up in California’s finest city, San Diego, where you can enjoy the wonders of SeaWorld or simply watch the surfers in action along the miles upon miles of golden beaches.
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Motorhome Holiday: Southern California Highlights

Los Angeles - Santa Margarita - San Simeon - San Francisco - Yosemite - Lone Pine - Barstow - San Diego - Newport Beach - Los Angeles

Enjoy the freedom of the road and some of America's most stunning sights on this self-drive tour of southern California. There's no need to worry about accommodation, as your transport is your home on this holiday, and we've picked out the very best overnight stops for you. Along the way you'll experience an astonishing array of landscapes from craggy Pacific coastline to mind-blowing National Parks and dry desert - plus you'll stop at some amazing towns and cities. It's an experience you'll never forget.
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Rail Holiday: California Coast by Rail

San Francisco - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego

Experience the famous So-Cal scene as you travel by train along the stunning Pacific coast from San Francisco to San Diego, close to the Mexican border. Watch glorious sun-drenched beaches slip past as you speed south, and spend time in three fantastic locations: beachside Santa Barbara with its Mediterranean feel; celebrity-strewn Los Angeles, home of Hollywood; and San Diego with its endless stretches of sand and world-famous zoo. This trip is guaranteed to leave you California dreamin'.
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San Diego 3 For 1 Pass  
This pass will give you unlimited admission to San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park and SeaWorld for up to seven consecutive days. From £93pp

LEGOLAND & Sea Life Aquarium  
From the best Lego creations in the world to voyages under the sea, this one day hopper is a great option for families. From £59pp

San Diego Zoo
No trip to San Diego will be complete without a visit to the world’s largest zoo, getting you up close and personal to a variety of fascinating wildlife. From £28pp

City Tour
This 4-hour tour is a great introduction to San Diego’s popular sights, including the Gaslamp district, La Jolla and Balboa Park. From £30pp

Surf Lessons
Learn to surf in one of Southern California's most beautiful settings - La Jolla Shores. The mile long white sand beaches and mild climate have made La Jolla Shores a surfers paradise. While you are in the water keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and sea lions! From £54pp

You can add tickets for activities to your booking later.


Time Difference:
GMT- 8hours

Closest Airport:
San Diego International Airport (approx. 11 hours)

Airport transfers:
Roundtrip starts from only £17 per person.

Getting around:
San Diego’s iconic red trolley is a great way of getting around downtown San Diego. The trolley is also useful for day trips to Tijuana, visiting the nearby Old Town San Diego and the large shopping malls in Mission Valley. A car is handy when visiting San Diego’s numerous beaches and theme parks. Car hire is available from £21 per day.

Insider Tip:
Take a day trip to the picturesque beachside town of Coronado. A short drive or pleasant ferry ride from downtown San Diego, Coronado’s white sand beaches, small boutiques and relaxed California lifestyle will not disappoint. While in Coronado make sure you visit the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.

You’re going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

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