Located in the northern part of San Diego County, Carlsbad is the perfect spot for those looking for a more relaxing beach trip but want to be close enough to the city (about an hour’s drive in fact) making it the perfect day trip from San Diego.
Most famous for being the home to Legoland, Carlsbad, or The Village by the Sea — as it is called by residents — also offers a wide array of fun activities and places to explore.
We would start our day trip right in the Carlsbad Village. There are over 100 shops, restaurants, galleries, and antique shops located in the heart of Carlsbad Village. Head to State Street to start your exploration of the village.
After grabbing a quick lunch in the village, head into nature. We love the beauty and uniqueness of The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center. It was founded to preserve one of the area’s most pristine coastal habitats. It’s managed by the California Department of Fish and Game.
The nature center is located on Gabbiano Lane within a larger marine conservation area. For those who’d like to get an in-depth look at what makes the area so vital and unique, the park’s staff regularly offers guided tours.
Or alternately, if action is your thing, skimboard at Tamarack Beach. With its long coastline and shallow waters, this is a great beach to try skimboarding for the first time. Get a running start, toss the skimboard on the wet sand and slide into the waves.
Pro Tip: We love to be bright, sunny and flocked with nature, so if you are daytripping in Carlsbad during the spring season the Armstrong Garden lets people walk through their flower fields for a small fee. It’s well worth the money to see all the beautiful flowers. Rows and rows of different color ranunculus’. You can also take a vintage tractor ride around the field if you’re not up for walking, and they also have a play area for kids and a maze garden. The best time to visit is late March to early April.
Then it’s time to clean up for dinner and head over to either Park 101 if you have your dog with you... or Black Rail Kitchen and Bar for the mushroom and fig flatbread, try a half-pound burger with pancetta, Havarti, and black garlic aioli with live jazz on Saturdays and Sundays.
Is a day on the water your perfect version of a day trip? Then head to Lake Poway for a day of fishing. A small, clear reservoir in Poway, CA about 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. The lake is deep and clear, with good shoreline accessibility. There is no launch ramp, and float tubes, canoes and kayaks are not permitted, nor are you allowed to launch your own boat but there are plenty of rental options from rowboats, motorboats, sail boats and paddle boards at the concession.
Fishing permits are $4.50 for adults, $2.00 for kids under 8 -15 years old.
It is stocked heavily with rainbow trout in the winter months, and offers good fishing for bass, catfish and bluegill in warmer months.
Grab yourself a variety pack of Daytrip CBD-infused Sparkling Water for your trip and let us know your favorite flavor and of course what you catch!
Slab City and Salton Sea
For the drive alone – across the super flat Salton Sea which lies on the San Andreas Fault within the Salton Trough that stretches to the Gulf of California in Mexico, we suggest taking a day trip east from San Diego out to Slab City. Salton Sea is a dry riverbed that was once a thriving vacation spot, now deserted but ripe for amazing landscape photos and a sad reminder of climate change and why we all need to do our part to be kind to our Mother Earth.
Beyond this strange stretch of land lies Slab City. This settlement is most well known for being a site of post-apocalyptic garbage art and a home for colorful nomads. Due to its libertarian ethos, it is billed as the “last free place in America.”
Enter through the front gate and head toward the massive colorful mound of ‘God Is Love’ art known as Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight, the creator of Salvation Mountain, began its construction in 1980. The first mountain collapsed into rubble a few years later, but since the mid 80’s Leonard has grown his shrine to the Holy One by constructing a clay adobe and hay bale masterpiece that has to be seen to be believed. Climb the mountain and explored the labyrinth of passages beneath tree limbs, hay bales, and automotive parts.
Then wander over the East Jesus, more re-purposed objects now a mini outdoor art instillation.
Wait until sundown and head over to The Range, the most action-packed area of the grounds. The Range is an open-air night club where Slab City residents congregate for social events, including the Saturday Night Talent Show.
Pro Tip: Bring your own food and beverages (we recommend Daytrip CBD Sparkling water as you will need to hydrate with all that sand! And speaking of sand, don’t get adventurous and go off the beaten path on to desert roads. There is a reason why most of the residents ride around on 3 wheelers and your vehicle will most-likely get stuck.
La Jolla & Encinitas
Spend a day in the seaside gem of La Jolla, which for us, is all about sea life. Start your day at Auer CBD in Ocean Beach and grab some Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water for the road. Then drive about 20 minutes north and your first stop is the sea lions at La Jolla cove. Then drive over to the tide pools in Ellen Browning Scripps Park along Coast Boulevard. Find a parking spot on the street and walk along the lawn down toward the shore. Look for rocks with pools of standing water in them.
Grab some lunch at The Cottage which serves breakfast and brunch favorites in a cozy umbrella-filled patio.
And then get in touch with marine life in the afternoon, whether you go to the Birch Aquarium, which is part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with conservation and education being their top priorities you will experience research discoveries by Scripps Oceanography scientists on climate, earth, and ocean science and includes interactive elements in over 60 habitats.
Or if getting out in the water yourself is more your idea of the perfect day trip, rent kayaks at La Jolla Shores and paddle out as part of a tour or on your own to explore caves carved out of the sandstone, the biggest and easiest to reach being Clam Cave.
Pro Tip: Whether you are gazing upon the tide pools or heading out to Clam Cave in a kayak, check the tide charts to plan your time at the tide pools. And take a jacket even in the summer, since you may be in cool ocean air.
For the perfect day trip in Los Angeles, follow the sun; wake up early and drive north east.
Your biggest challenge is going to be where to park in Los Angeles, so this guide will include information about places to eat, where to park, and how to get around in the City of Angels in one day. Starting out early at the Griffith will allow you to see the expansive city views while parking nearby for about $8 before the spots fill up.
The Griffith Observatory with panoramic views of the city is the perfect way to start your day. A few different paths (including a 3 mile round-trip hike from a trailhead at the end of Cadman Drive) lead to Beacon Hill, a small rise that offers not-quite-360-degree views that feature both the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains, downtown Los Angeles, and even the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to see rabbit, deer and coyotes out for their morning stroll.
Make your way west to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame is an internationally recognized Hollywood icon, consisting of over 2,600 five-pointed stars made of brass and embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard. Park at the parking garage on Hollywood & Highland (right below the Dolby Theater), you will only need an hour to see both.
Then it’s off to Rodeo Drive to for some shopping (or window shopping) and lunch. We go crazy for the Mexican coffee and tuna tostados at MIRAME.
If the Hollywood tourist attractions are “been there, done that” spend your time in one of the world-class museums. LACMA or The Broad for contemporary art or the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Now it’s off to go mural hunting in Venice Beach as well as strolling foot paths and bridges along the infamous Venice Beach canals. Grab a Daytrip CBD Sparkling Water at one of the local Erewhon’s Markets for the stroll.
Pro Tip: When in Venice, take the time to make sure to look out for the peephole box at 1326 Abbot Kinney Blvd. to get a glimpse of Main Street in 1910! Easily one of the best-kept secret spots in Venice Beach, this public artwork by Mr. Abbot Kinney is sure to transport you back in time.
Watch the sun set on Santa Monica Pier (depending on the year do this before or after dinner...).
And grab a bite at the beautiful Calabra in the Santa Monica Proper Hotel before you hit the road to return home.
After you tried any of these Daytrips be sure to hit us up on Instagram and tell us about your trip! And don't forget to stock up on your CBD Sparkling Water... Enjoy Spontaneously!