Day Trips in San Diego

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San Diego, California is best known for its sandy beaches, ideal weather, and laid back persona, but San Diego is also known for its close proximity to many national parks and historic landmarks. Here are excellent day trips from San Diego.

Tijuana/Rosarito/Puerto Nuevo Mexico

The Mexico/United States International border is located less than 20 miles south of downtown San Diego. Passports are required for re-entry into the United States after visiting Mexico. Tijuana is the sixth largest city in Mexico and suffers from a number of development issues, mostly due to crime and lack of municipal services. When traveling to Tijuana it is advisable to stick with a tour group and not venture off on your own if you are unfamiliar with the area. 

A short distance from Tijuana (approximately 25 miles south), is a much friendlier and safer town called Rosarito Beach. Rosarito has risen in popularity in the past 10 years, due to the influx of college students looking for a spring break getaway. Rosarito Beach offers numerous hotel accommodations for every budget, great restaurants, a nice shopping market, and very entertaining nightlife. The beach in Rosarito offers many different activities from kite surfing to horseback riding. 

Puerto Nuevo (approximately 40 miles south of TJ) is a small fishing village best known for its lobster. The tiny town boasts numerous restaurants offering great deals on lobster plates accompanied with fantastic margaritas and mariachi. On your way to Puerto Nuevo from Rosarito, make sure to check out Artist Row featuring numerous shops where you can purchase pottery, Mexican tile, sculpture, and wood workings by local artists. 

Joshua Tree National Park

Approximately 2.5 hours from San Diego, this desert park has a fascinating variety of plants and animals, many scenic hiking trails, beautiful campgrounds, wonderful nighttime sky and star viewing, and geologists believe the landscape was born more than a million years ago. The Joshua Trees themselves are a surprising sight in the landscape and are an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for birds, mammals, insects, and lizards. The only other places you can find Joshua Trees are in the Sonoran Desert or in the San Bernardino Mountains.


Known as one of the Happiest Places on Earth, Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California approximately 1.5 hours from San Diego. Kids and Adults of all ages will enjoy a fun filled, action packed day at the Disneyland Theme Park. Opened daily, and extended hours during the summer, a trip to Disneyland is great way to highlight any family vacation.

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