With 70-degree days, countless beaches and a scenic spot in Southern California, sun-filled San Diego is the ultimate place for road trips. Eager to explore the area, we consulted the concierge team at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Grand Del Mar to find out the best places to go for a drive.
TRIP 1: The Grand Del Mar to La Jolla
Distance: 25 miles
“La Jolla” is Spanish for “The Jewel,” and you’ll see why the tony city is such a gem on this trip. From the fantastic views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean to high-end boutique shopping, La Jolla is a must for every San Diego visitor. Keep your camera handy — this drive is filled with coastal scenery and gorgeous ocean views.
Where to stop off: Torrey Pines Gliderport, Mt. Soledad, the children’s pool at La Jolla Cove
Where to eat: Cody’s La Jolla has amazing French toast (served all day with candied walnuts and strawberries), and George’s Ocean Terrace serves delicious fish tacos — a San Diego specialty — with an unbeatable view of the cove.
Best view: Mt. Soledad and La Jolla Cove
Best shopping: The boutiques and art galleries along Prospect Street
Bonus tips: One a clear day, the view from the war memorial at the top of Mt. Soledad spans from Tijuana to the foothills in Dana Point in Orange County. During low tide, visit the tide pools near the south end of La Jolla.
TRIP 2: The Grand Del Mar to Coronado
Distance: 52 miles
Coronado is one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets. It’s home to the Hotel del Coronado, an icon that has been open since 1888, plus it boasts one of the nicest beaches in the United States. During your trip from The Grand Del Mar, you’ll see downtown San Diego along with the harbor and the Coronado Bridge. You may even spot some of the Navy SEALs training on the beaches near Coronado’s North Island base.
Where to stop off: Seaport Village, a fun family-friendly waterfront corridor filled with stores and restaurants, and downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s hub for culture, shopping and dining
Where to eat: Have a great meal overlooking the water at Peohe’s on the Coronado Ferry Landing or Sheerwater restaurant at the Hotel del Coronado.
Best view: From the Coronado Bridge, take in the vistas of the downtown skyline and San Diego harbor.
Best landmarks: Coronado Bridge, Hotel del Coronado
Bonus tips: Soak in the Southern California sunshine by renting bikes and riding around the whole island on the dedicated walking/cycling paths. If you stop in downtown first, opt to take a relaxing ferry trip across the bay.
TRIP 3: The Grand Del Mar to Rancho Santa Fe
Distance: 33 miles
From multi-million-dollar ranches to fruit stands, this route to Rancho Santa Fe highlights some areas of San Diego seldom seen by casual tourists. Drive northeast from The Grand Del Mar through Rancho Santa Fe via winding inland country roads to explore this beautiful, upscale area.
Where to stop off: Take a moment for a photo op in Rancho Santa Fe or in one of the parking lots on Del Dios Highway with a view of Lake Hodges.
Where to eat: Rancho Santa Fe’s most popular restaurant, Mille Fleurs, is a great option for lunch on weekdays. Or go to Thyme in the Ranch for excellent coffee and baked goods in a relaxing café setting.
Best view: Don’t forget to look up as you drive down the hill in San Elijo to admire the coastline in the distance, especially around sunset.
Best landmark: Lake Hodges on your right as you drive northeast on Del Dios Highway
Bonus tips: Roll down your windows to enjoy the fragrant eucalyptus trees that line the roads leading into Rancho Santa Fe.
Experience these road trips in a Porsche when you stay at The Grand Del Mar between July 26 and August 23, 2014 — take one of four Porsche vehicles out for a two-hour spin during the San Diego stop of Porsche Destination Drives.
Photos Courtesy of iStock and The Grand Del Mar