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Love Is in the Air: Three Days in San Diego

Seniors in Motion: Three Days in San Diego
couple beach sunset romantic romance san diego la jolla pacific ocean california Taking the Kids: Three Days in San Diego

Interested in a San Diego urban-style vacation, where key activities include visiting museums, hitting trendy nightclubs, trawling the Old Town or dining in the city's finest restaurants? Or would you rather aim for an outdoorsy getaway -- paddle a kayak, get on a bicycle, pick up a golf club or simply bum out on a beach? San Diego's schizophrenic that way -- couples visiting this sunny seaside city can mix and mingle a bit of both.

Home Away From Home
The Britt Scripps Inn may well be one of San Diego's few remaining 19th-century manses, and it's definitely a throwback to the Victorian era, but its nine rooms are uniquely decorated and feature key modern amenities like 1,000-thread-count sheets, flat-screen TV's and free Wi-Fi.

The downtown W San Diego is the perfect spot for hipster couples looking to check out the San Diego social scene. The rooms resemble stylish beach cabanas and are stocked with Bliss spa products. But the real attraction is the open-air bar on the roof that has a sand floor and fire pits -- a little bit of the beach right at your hotel.

Day One
Spend today exploring Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the country. There are over 1,000 landscaped acres and 15 of San Diego's best museums in this cultural complex plus art galleries, street performers and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. A free tram runs through the park every 10 minutes.

Art lovers should spend the morning at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art; nature lovers will delight in exploring the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Botanical Building; and animal lovers can bypass everything else and head straight to the San Diego Zoo.

Head across the bay to Coronado for lunch at San Diego's most famous historic hotel, the Hotel del Coronado, a historic luxury resort that caters to the rich and famous. Enjoy lunch on the outdoor terrace at Sheerwater; specialties include seafood dishes like shrimp scampi and fish and chips. The easiest way to get to Coronado is via ferry, which departs from Broadway Pier (right next to the cruise ship terminal).

After lunch, spend some time in Coronado -- relax on the beach, wander into the shops on the town's charming Main Street or explore the grounds of the Hotel del Coronado.

When you return to San Diego, have dinner downtown at Candelas, offering inventive Mexican cuisine in a romantic, candlelit setting.

Day Two
If yesterday was, by and large, devoted to urban pursuits, today's day trip to La Jolla will focus more on the great outdoors. La Jolla, the "Palm Springs" of this stretch of Southern California, is a seaside resort town perhaps better known for its designer boutiques and high-rent restaurants than the opportunity to go sea kayaking or nude beaching, but there it is again: the area's schizophrenia! We'd suggest that you rent a kayak and explore the sea cliffs and La Jolla Cave, or head to Seal Rock to observe the harbor seals and sea lions playing in the water. For something a little more daring, head to Torrey Pines Gliderport and see La Jolla from the sky while you paraglide in tandem.

When you've worked up an appetite, have a gourmet pizza at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza and then stroll along Prospect Street, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is lined with the town's exclusive specialty shops, boutiques and art galleries. If you're in the mood for something more extravagant than a pizza, head to George's at the Cove for gourmet sandwiches and entrees with spectacular views of the ocean.

For couples who want to break up their trip in San Diego with a night in La Jolla (and in this case we'd suggest making it your first or last night of vacation), consider splurging on a night at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the only five-star hotel in the city of San Diego (as rated by AAA). If the price tag is too hefty, you might still enjoy a massage there. And if one or both of you is an avid golfer, a round at the world-famous Torrey Pines is the feather in a golfer's cap.

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