San Diego Bucket List

San Diego Bucket List

My wonderful fiancé and I just returned from our annual trip to San Diego. I'm still pretty high on vacation bliss. Eventually the feeling will pass and I'll realize I'm back in the dry New Mexico desert and not chilling beachside. However, I'd love to share with you some of the amazing places and restaurants we tried and some of my all time favorites!

There is something on this list for everyone! 

1. Visit La Jolla Tide Pools.

La Jolla is one of the most beautiful beach cities in San Diego and it will not disappoint. In addition to breathtaking views, there's miles of coastal beach perfect for sunbathing, volleyball playing, swimming, and checking out tide pools. 

La Jolla Tide Pools

2. Eat breakfast at Breakfast Republic.

Have you ever had a pancake or French toast flight?! If not I suggest you try this place out. We had the flight below with a strawberry cheesecake, Oreo, and cinnamon roll pancake as well as the bacon mac-and-cheese w/ Jurassic bacon! All of the food was absolutely phenomenal. This is definitely a restaurant I will be returning to. There are two locations, one in North Park and one in Pacific Beach. We tried the one in pacific beach and were lucky enough to have a view of the ocean while we enjoyed our breakfast.

Breakfast Republic

3. Kayak the La Jolla Sea Caves or pay $5 to walk through the caves.

Kayaking the sea caves is one of my favorite things to do. It can be a pricey activity but it is absolutely worth it! There is nothing more blissful than floating over the coral looking for lobsters, crabs, fish, and leopard sharks; coasting through the sea caves and cove while looking at all of the  sea lions and listening to their barks; adventuring through the giant kelp forest; or swimming in the calm deep ocean. It's so calming! We always use La Jolla Sea Caves Kayaks. They're amazing; not to mention we were an hour late and they still accommodated us (oops!).

However, if you feel like it may be too much for you you can always pay $5 (for adults, $3 for kids) to explore the sea caves at the cavestore. This experience will be just as rewarding.

4. Eat breakfast at The Great Maple.

I had this place picked out before we even stepped off of the plane. There was already a line around the building when we arrived right before opening but we were lucky enough to snag a table right away. The service was great, atmosphere perfect, and the food was beyond delicious. I tried the pigs in a blanket with rosemary potatoes. Everything tasted fresh and the portions were out of control. I was only able to eat half even as delicious as it was! Unfortunately I did not have room for the maple bacon donuts; they are a staple and a must-try!  

The Great Maple

5. Visit Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

I will forever have a soft spot for this beach because this is where the love of my life proposed to me (with this view! the man killed it). Any way! This beach is absolutely beautiful and is filled mostly with locals. It is much more relaxed than mission or pacific beach. It is perfect if you want to get away from the chaos and just enjoy the beach. 


6. Eat Detroit Style Pizza at Square Pizza Co in Pacific Beach.

We are always on the look out for amazing pizza. We have tried a few different places in San Diego over the years but this place is by far one of my favorites. Square Pizza Co specializes in square pan crust pizza and they sell by the square. I am a stickler when it comes to sauce and this sauce blew my mind. If you love pizza please check out this place, you won't be disappointed.

Square pizza co

7. Paddleboard in Mission Bay.

Paddleboarding is something I have always wanted to try. I was determined not to leave San Diego this trip without trying it. Because I had never done it before, I felt it was a good idea to give it a try on calm waters in the bay. It was fairly simple and pretty blissful. I jumped right on a didn't fall of once, pretty spectacular! If I can do it, you can to! You can rent a paddle board for 2.5 hours for only $26 at Mission Bay Aquatic Center!

8. Take a mini-drive to Coronado Island to explore.

The morning of our arrival was chilly and cloudy. Because we did not want to venture to the beach just yet we decided to explore Coronado Island. We spent the morning walking around the little shops and coast. It was an adorable little place.


9. Get some ice cream from MooTime Creamery.

Me being me, I searched Pinterest for the best places to eat in Coronado Island and found MooTime Creamery. Because it was only 1030 in the morning, we had to wait a grueling 30 minutes for this place to open while my anticipation for ice cream grew uncontrollably. I was the first in line! I tried the double dark chocolate and the toasted coconut. Definitely a must!

MooTime Creamery

10. Visit Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is free to walk around and full of so much beauty! There are attractions and museums you can explore for a small fee. However, we loved just walking around and taking in all of the beautiful scenery and majestic architecture.

Balboa Park

11. Get an ice cream cone flight from Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream.

This place was one of the first that popped up when I searched for the best ice cream places in San Diego. We were lucky enough to visit the Pacific Beach location late Sunday evening. We did not get a flight but I did try a scoop of Kohala Road and White Chocolate Chocolate Chip. It was creamy and delicious! I'd definitely stop in again, next time for a flight!

12. Make an ice cream sandwich at The Baked Bear (All-Time Favorite!)

Every single time I visit San Diego the Baked Bear is on my to-do list. Rain or shine, line around the corner or empty, you will catch me stopping in here. Whether you create your own unique ice cream sandwich with cookies, brownies, donuts, or have a bear bowl or a simple ice cream cone, you will not be disappointed!

baked bear

13. Visit the art exhibit Wonderspaces.

The Wonderspaces exhibit at the B Street Pier provides an amazing opportunity to explore extraordinary artwork. It is only available for the summer so I highly recommend it. It is also relatively affordable at $24 per person. There are several exhibits and a virtual reality experience.


14. Take a drive up N. Torrey Pines Rd & South Coast Highway 101.

The drive through Torrey Pines and along the South Coast was to die for. The beauty was absolutely unexpected. We chose a costal route up to Encinitas where we visited Moonlight Beach for the first time. Please take the scenic route one of these days, you will not be disappointed. 

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