A favorite drive for locals and visitors alike, US Route 101, aka the Pacific Coast Highway, runs through San Diego beach towns along 70 miles of winding coastline from La Jolla to Oceanside. This scenic route is a great way to experience an authentic So. Cal lifestyle vibe and mix and mingle in San Diego's surf culture. Here are seven spot worth checking out along the way.
Traveling with a four-legged friend? Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the turf of the Del Mar Racetrack lies Dog Beach, which has some of the most Fido-friendly surf around. From Labor Day through mid-June, dogs can run and play off-leash along this roughly half-mile stretch of sand between 29th Street and the Solana Beach border—under the watchful eye of their owners, of course. Leash laws are enforced for the other three months of the year.
3200 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014
Cedros Avenue Design District
Shop for unique furniture, fashion, art, antiques, and home decor in the boutiques and galleries that line this 2 1/2-block stretch of Cedros Avenue. The Design District is also home to a handful of cafés, a craft brewery, and live music venue Belly Up.
Cedros Ave (south of Lomas Santa Fe Dr), Solana Beach, CA 9207
Grocery shopping isn’t something you usually look forward to on vacation, but Seaside Market will definitely change your mind. This gourmet one-stop shop has it all—food, drinks, flowers, gifts, and more. Hit the deli counter for your fix of what’s affectionately known as Cardiff Crack—succulent grilled tri-tip infused with burgundy pepper marinade and served up sandwich style. What goes better with tender tri-tip than a cold beer? In the same shopping center is craft beer tasting room The Confessional by Lost Abbey. This kid- and dog-friendly tasting room offers 23 regular and seasonal brews from The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing Co., and The Hop Concept.
2087 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007
Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens
Perched above the cliffs in Encinitas you’ll find the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple affectionately known to locals as Swamis.’ Accessed through a small gate on K Street is the entrance to the Meditation Gardens which is open to the public. The gardens offer a peaceful and reflective place to relax, meditate and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Walking paths bordered by colorful plants lead to koi ponds, secluded nooks with benches for reflecting life’s journey and spectacular, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re interested in a little soul searching during your San Diego vacation, this is the right place.
215 W. K Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
Open Tues – Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 11am – 5pm, Closed Mondays
This kid-centric North County attraction is filled with themed rides, shows, building workshops, character meet and greets, and all things Lego. There’s also a water park and aquarium for even more Lego fun.
1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Home to both Mason Ale Works and an impressive whiskey lineup, South O’s Urge Gastropub has a little something for everyone. Visit Thursday through Sunday and you’ll also be able to sneak through a side door into 101 Proof, Urge’s own modern-day speakeasy. It’s an elegant establishment—heavily focused on whiskey and craft cocktails—so dress accordingly.
2002 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, Oceanside, CA 92054
Stroll down one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast and check out what the local fishermen are reeling in, snap a pic of one of the many photogenic pelicans, or watch surfers hang ten just below. Stop into ‘50s-style eatery Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier for a malt. And don’t forget to check out who’s playing at the Junior Seau Oceanside Pier Amphitheater, located just at the foot of the pier.
300 S Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054
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