Easygoing San Diego embodies the Southern California surfer town fantasy, with its more than 300 days of sun, mild year-round temperatures and accessible, sporty pastimes and tourist attractions. You can hike the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to get a glimpse of whale migrations, go sailing in the bay and, of course, surf the famous swells of Del Mar, Oceanside and La Jolla (among many other superb spots). But the sixth-largest city in the United States is surprisingly nuanced, with distinctive neighborhoods: Old Town, North Park, Point Loma and Coronado are all within a few miles of the port, while the bustling Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy are within walking distance.
And while there are lots of things to do for everyone—from visiting the country’s largest urban park to taking in the famous horse-racing season in Del Mar to riding the charming Old Town Trolley—definitely don’t pass up the chance to investigate San Diego’s quickly growing reputation as a culinary destination. Its inventive new restaurants and huge craft-brewing industry are something to be explored.