Explore 12 Weekend Trips from San Diego

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Looking for a change from the usual sunny vibes of San Diego? Well, you’re in luck because this city can be your gateway to some exciting adventures. Whether you’re tired of the cityscape or just craving a different scene, San Diego offers plenty of options for a quick weekend escape.

From the desert scenes of Joshua Tree to the grape plantations of Temecula and the dazzling shorelines of Catalina Island, there’s no lack of astounding spots simply not far off. Also, you will scarcely believe that these objections vow to give you a few extraordinary encounters without voyaging excessively far.

In this Travel post, we will highlight some of the Best Weekend Trips from San Diego and what things you can do there. Therefore, take your luggage and be ready to explore what’s within reach in the city!

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Explore 12 Weekend Trips from San Diego 

These are the top 12 Weekend Trips from San Diego that you must visit- 

#1 Los Angeles, CA 

With a population of more than 4,000,000, Los Angeles is the ideal destination if you’re going up from San Diego for a quick weekend escape. The Hollywood Sign, Venice Oceanside promenade, and areas of interest like the Walt Disney Show Lobby and The Expansive merit looking at Explore 12 Weekend Trips from San Diego.

Jump into the game scene by getting some surprisingly realistic shots with the Lakers or Dodgers. What about visiting the notable “Friends” set at Warner Brothers? Studio or bouncing on rides propelled by blockbuster movies at Universal Studios Hollywood? Whether you’re an art enthusiast, thrill seeker, or simply love absorbing new encounters, LA has something energizing standing by only for you!

  • Distance: Approximately 120 miles
  • Special Features: Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory, world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment.
  • Address: Various locations within Los Angeles
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#2 Catalina Island

Catalina Island is not very far from San Diego and is a great place for a weekend trip. For just a ferry ride away, you can be there. Take a hike, dive, kayak, or just explore the quaint town of Avalon. The island also has some unique wildlife, such as bison and wild boar.

The island is so close that it makes for an easygoing weekend. The boat trip from Dana Point takes about 70 minutes. There are a lot of things you can do on the island, whether you want to relax by the sea, go trekking in the hills, or discover beautiful Avalon. If you feel like being more adventurous, then go kayaking, diving, or fishing more Explore Weekend Trips from San Diego.

  • Distance: Approximately 80 miles (by ferry)
  • Special Features: Snorkeling, kayaking, zip-lining, Avalon town, beautiful beaches, seafood.
  • Address: Catalina Island, CA
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#3 Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you want to go somewhere, Joshua Tree National Park is an ideal escape from your daily worries and into natural beauty. Moreover, this specific location may be utilized for many different purposes, like doing something else on a weekend or having trips, because it has several options.

However, there are only a few buildings surrounding you in San Diego, but at a certain moment, you might need to consider other things to do over the weekends. This is one of few states where you have the most fun in the greatest Joshua Tree Desert in the wine-producing region of Temecula or even in the coastal area of Catalina Island. Moreover, these places are not very far, and one can easily get there in a few minutes for any kind of work.

  • Distance: Approximately 150 miles
  • Special Features: Surreal landscapes, hiking, rock formations, stargazing.
  • Address: 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#4 Idyllwild, California 

Planning for a mountain vacation trip to explore San Diego? Recommended for you is Idyllwild; this is a beautiful town located in the San Diego Mountains, only a 2-hour drive. Instead of the sea try the air and lovely walking paths. 

For more on art, spend several hours walking around the village shopping centers or art galleries. Whether you are a lover of nature or just in need of a retreat from the hustle of city life, then Idyllwild is a perfect place to visit..

  • Distance: Approximately 110 miles
  • Special Features: Mountain town, hiking, arts and crafts, nature retreats.
  • Address: Idyllwild, CA
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#5 Palm Spring, CA

A fun and relaxing weekend trips from San Diego is Palm Springs. It’ll be as if you are in a desert oasis complete with luxurious hotels and spas where one can laze around the pool all day getting pampered. But don’t think this is all about chilling! 

For spectacular views go up on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway; see interesting animals at The Living Desert Zoo or do some shopping downtown before having dinner there too – they even have street fairs every Thursday night which are quite lively. And also, if feeling athletic there are many golf courses nearby that offer good rates per round so why not?

  • Distance: Approximately 135 miles
  • Special Features: Desert resorts, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, art scene, mid-century modern architecture.
  • Address: Palm Springs, CA
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#6 Sequoia National Park 

Ancient beings, some of them about 3,500 years old, make them among the world’s oldest living organisms. These huge redwood trees are found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, just over six hours driving time from San Diego. They grow up around 30 feet wide and 300 feet high at this place; it is a miracle. Four park accommodations offer camping as well as lodging. 

Located at Grant Grove Village is John Muir Lodge, which is open seasonally from March to October. Named after the famous naturalist John Muir, this contemporary cabin provides an ideal opportunity for visitors to explore the majestic sequoias.

  • Distance: Approximately 325 miles
  • Special Features: giant sequoia tree species including the General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Crystal Cave, Tunnel Log, scenic High Sierra Trails, and an abundance of wildlife.
  • Address: 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93271
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#7 Carlsbad

Have you ever visited Carlsbad? It’s this awesome place up north of San Diego that has some killer beaches, LEGOLAND California Resort for the whole family, and these insane flower fields during spring. The village is super cute with its fancy shops and stellar dining spots. And if you’re into nature stuff, there are some rad hiking trails and golf courses waiting for you.

The best thing about Carlsbad was its proximity to San Diego. A weekend escape to the coast is an easy dip out of the city scene. Want more ideas? Whether you’re interested in wine tastings (Temecula), apple picking (Julian), or relaxing in the desert (Palm Springs), if you wish to avoid the daily routine of ocean waves and walks along cliffs, Carlsbad is all you need. Now, when are you going on this weekend getaway?

  • Special Features: Legoland California, Carlsbad Flower Fields (seasonal), pristine beaches, and charming downtown.
  • Location: North of San Diego.
  • Distance: 35 miles (about 40 minutes).
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#8 Coronado Island

Coronado Island is ideal for a day away from San Diego. Alternatively, you could watch the boats come and go while sitting under a tree. Instead, fish while lying on the grass in the park along the shore. 

Or take a stroll down pathways shaded by palm trees and do some outdoor activity or the other. It provides a great view of the bay and has a variety of places to eat seafood that is either fresh or prepared Californian style.

  • Special Features: Iconic Hotel del Coronado, pristine beaches, charming downtown, and biking trails.
  • Location: Across the bay from downtown San Diego.
  • Distance: 7 miles (about 15 minutes)
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#9 Santa Barbara

Definitely, Santa Barbara is such a beautiful coastal city that one can make use of it as an alternative weekend after leaving San Diego. The area enjoys a perfect climate and scenic beaches, thus attracting outdoor lovers with numerous options of places to visit to enjoy their stay. Graceful Spanish-style architecture or wandering about the sandy coastline.

Still, you can also do wine tastings at nearby vineyards and visit the historic Santa Barbara Mission for adventure. Also, it’s just full of sweet little shops and wonderful eateries all over the town. This makes Santa Barbara a great place for fun and excitement alone or in the company of Explore Weekend Trips from San Diego.

  • Special Features: Mediterranean climate, wineries, historic missions, and beautiful beaches.
  • Location: North of San Diego.
  • Distance: 218 miles (about 4 hours)
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#10 San Francisco

San Francisco is a cool spot to visit, even though it’s a long way from San Diego. You can see the well-known Golden Gate Bridge, ride the old streetcars, and look at vivid houses. Bunches of neighborhoods are amusing to investigate, like Mission Locale and Chinatown.

Try not to miss attempting yummy mollusk chowder in sourdough bread bowls at Fisherman’s Wharf. You can see charming seals at Wharf 39 as well. Alamo Square has pretty houses called the Painted Women, and Alcatraz Island is fascinating with its old jail. Brilliant Entryway Park is tremendous and has lovely gardens and seashores with incredible perspectives on the scaffold.

  • Special Features- San Francisco boasts iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, world-class dining, a vibrant cultural scene, and stunning bay views.
  • Location- North of San Diego
  • Distance- 500 Miles away
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#11 Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe resembles a gigantic, lovely waterbody that straddles California and Nevada. It’s a perfect weekend spot for folks living in San Diego. There’s lots to do there! For example, in the summertime, with the warm outdoors, people engage in strolls or bike rides along nature trails. 

They also enjoy swimming in the lake or hopping onto boats. As the climate cools down during the winter, someone might fancy a chance at casino games or find thrills in skiing. But for a distinct adventure, why not visit Heavenly, a spot where snowboarding is a true delight? Plus, I feel touring this region following a snow shower must be extraordinarily scenic!

  • Special Features: Skiing and snowboarding in winter, lake activities in summer, hiking, and casinos.
  • Location: Northeast of San Francisco
  • Distance: 200 miles (about 3.5 hours)
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

#12 Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs is a cool little town in the desert, not too far from San Diego. It’s kind of artsy, with those huge metal sculptures of dinosaurs and stuff in Galleta Meadows.

But it gets better—Anza Borrego Desert State Park is right there. And when we say right there, we mean—it’s one of the biggest state parks in California! If you’re into nature and being outside, this place is all about it. Up in the Hoh Valley, there are tonnes of hikes to do, and the stars are crazy at night and you have virtually a whole countryside full of the most wonderful wildflowers you can imagine. No, seriously, if you are from San Diego and have never been here, you need your card privileges stripped. 

  • Special Features: Dark sky stargazing, desert oasis, and large metal sculptures in one of California’s largest state parks
  • Location: Northeast of San Diego 
  • Distance: Roughly 78 Miles 
  • Google Maps: Get Direction

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What is the Best to Visit San Diego?

The Ideal time to visit San Diego is spring or fall when the weather is perfect and the crowds are smaller than in the busy summer months. During these periods, you can go to a beach, hike, or go around the city without being a victim of too much hot weather or rain. 

Nonetheless, the weather in San Diego remains fine at all times, and it could be a great place to visit frequently. Even during summer, when it is busiest at its coast, it is also a hot spot for beaches, while winter tends to be wetter, although not much colder. In conclusion, the best time to visit is what suits you most and gives you all the experiences you want to enjoy there.


As such, weekend trips from San Diego could lead to a myriad of adventures that are only a short distance away. From the sun-drenched beaches of neighboring coastal towns to serene mountains or lovely desert scenery, every traveler will find their destination. 

Thus, whether you want to rest, extreme sports and adventures, or need to go beyond your boundaries, different weekend trips from San Diego offer the perfect retreat for you. Simply pack your bags and head out on the road to enjoy nearby delights that you have never heard of before. One of these is going to be your next unforgettable weekend trip from San Diego.


What are some of the most common places that people visit during the weekend from San Diego?

The best weekend trips from San Diego include neighboring beach towns such as La Jolla and Coronado, while the mountain retreats of Julian and Idyllwild are just a few hours away.

What are some of the fun things that one can do during the weekends in San Diego the place that offers weekend getaways?

Hiking, beachcombing, surfing or paddle boarding, kayaking, and mountain biking are some of the fun activities that can be done on weekend getaways. San Diego has many options, depending on your interests and where you want to go.

What are the things to do during weekend trips from San Diego for couples?

Weekends for two in San Diego Some of the best trips for couples in San Diego are a weekend to Temecula Valley for wine tasting, a coastal getaway or a Zimmervermietung in Laguna Beach, a log cabin in the woods in Idyllwild or a Lake Las Vegas retreat.

Where are the best locations to take the family for a weekend trip near San Diego?

Therefore, there are numerous entertaining places for families in San Diego, for instance, Legoland in Carlsbad, Catalina Island, and Big Bear Lake for outdoor activities.

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