California’s other Beach Town
San Diego, California is a vibrant city that boasts beautiful beaches, famous landmarks and proximity to several famous theme parks including the world famous San Diego Zoo. It is a favorite vacation destination for California locals and offers a surprising number of attractions. Sites like Hipmunk will give you the tips you need to have a fun and rejuvenating vacation in San Diego on a very tight travel budget.
Look to the Suburbs to Save Money
Downtown San Diego, La Jolla and Mission Valley are the city centers where the more expensive hotels are. Just south of San Diego, you can find budget hotels that have all the best features and amenities such as fitness centers, outdoor swimming pools and on-site restaurants. Chicano Park and the Chula Vista Nature Center are on the south side of the city.
On the eastern side of the city is El Cajon with several budget two-star hotels that are near an amusement park with go karts, mini golf and bumper cars. La Jolla is the most expensive area, but Imperial Beach south of the city offers a great and affordable beach vacation.
San Diego has an extensive and convenient public bus system. Even if you live outside the downtown area, you’ll have easy access to everything on the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District buses.
Stay in Town for Less
If you want to be near the local beach parties, or have easy access to the waves, you can stay in one of the many hostels that welcome families and the elderly along with young, single backpackers. These hostels are far more comfortable than most community living places. They offer only private rooms with Wi-Fi Internet access, flat screen TVs and a gym. Ranked the second best hostel in the United States, guests also get discounted tickets to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. They also offer free hot breakfast every day and three dinners per week.
There are many other hostels in the city that don’t have the amenities and features of this one, but they are still clean, cheap and have free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Most Hostels are located in town near the Gas Lamp Quarter, but there are a few on Point Loma.
Some Free Activities and Events
• The longest-running and largest art walk takes place at North Park on the second Saturday of each month from six to 10pm.
• Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with several museums and historic buildings, and on Saturday from 10am – 4pm there is a farmer’s market.
• Tours of the historic Old Town with costumed tour guides who really know their stuff and provide an entertaining tour.
• The Balboa Park December Nights festival is free, and has music and dance acts as well as vendors serving samples of delicious international food items.
• All the beautiful beaches are free.
• The Torrey Pines State Reserve offers a walk from the bluffs to the beach that has amazing views of the ocean along the way.
Summer is the high season when hotels have their highest rates, but when the weather cools a bit in the fall, the rates also drop. San Diego offers a great beach vacation any time of the year.
This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the most comprehensive travel search website allowing you to find the best deals on anything from flights and hotels to train rides and Homeaway rentals.