San Diego is the perfect weekend getaway for travelers, but there are also plenty of great weekend getaways from San Diego too. If you live near this popular California city, it probably isn’t as exciting as it is for tourists.
So, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to travel somewhere else for a few days. Luckily, there are lots of fun places nearby, especially in California.
Check out these 14 fun weekend getaways from San Diego!
#1 – Catalina Island, California
Catalina Island is just off the shore of California’s mainland, and it’s about two hours from San Diego. A majority of this travel time is by boat though, so make sure you don’t get seasick easily. This island is the definition of a tropical oasis. It has beaches, glass-bottom boat tours, scuba diving rentals, and seasonal festivals. It’s a much different scene than San Diego, and it’s the perfect home away from home.
#2 – Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is another one of the best weekend getaways from San Diego. It’s just over two hours away, and there’s no shortage of things to do. This city is known for its golf courses, spas, massive parks, and shopping centers. One of the most popular attractions is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which takes you between the peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains. So, no matter what you like to do in your free time, Palm Springs has something for everyone to enjoy.
#3 – Santa Barbara, California
The drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara is just over three and half hours. Luckily, the road to get there is very scenic, with lots of great stops along the way. In Santa Barbara, you’ll find a big food and wine scene, with plenty of hip restaurants to check out. It also has an adorable downtown area, full of local shops and art galleries. If you’re looking to get away from city life, this location also has mountains, gardens, and beaches.
#4 – Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the country, so you’ll need much more than a weekend to see and do all the fun attractions. But this popular destination is a great place to visit if you like to stay busy. It’s about two hours away from San Diego, and it’s likely to have plenty of concerts, festivals, art galleries, and film premiers. Plus, there’s some distinct landmarks that you won’t want to miss out on, such as the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame.
#5 – Las Vegas, Nevada
You don’t have to stay in California to get an action-packed weekend getaway. It’s about a five-hour drive, but it’s well worth the wait if you love the flashy attractions. Shows, dancing, shopping, and gambling are all things you won’t want to miss out on in Vegas. Plus, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you’ll even find some thrill rides to enjoy. Vegas might not be the best family destination, but it’s unlike any other place you’ve been before.
#6 – Borrego Springs, California
Borrego Springs is about two hours away, and it’s one of the more unique weekend getaways from San Diego. It’s in the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, so you will be completely surrounded by nature. It’s the perfect place to go stargazing since the night sky isn’t affected by light pollution there. Many nature lovers choose to go camping in this area as a relaxing weekend getaway.
#7 – Laguna Beach, California
There’s no shortage of beaches in California, and Laguna Beach is another one of the best options. It’s just over an hour away, and it’s the perfect destination if you’re looking to relax on the beach for most of your trip. Laguna Beach is also known for its impressive art scene. It has lots of art galleries and boutiques. It also has plenty of scenic walking trails, which have gardens, tide pools, and bluffs.
#8 – Idyllwild, California
Idyllwild is a mountain getaway about two hours north of San Diego. It’s great for nature hikes among the pine trees and mountains. But you don’t have to spend your entire trip outdoors. It also has a cute downtown area, with lots of small shops and restaurants. But many visitors choose to stay in a cabin as a relaxing nature trip. Idyllwild is best if visited in the summer since it has no ski resorts in the winter.
#9 – Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree National Park is a gorgeous nature sight only three hours from San Diego. It has a unique desert landscape with plenty of trees, hence the name. This park is known for hiking, camping, and stargazing. You can expect to spend your whole trip outside at Joshua Tree, so if you’re not an outdoorsy family, then this might not be the place for you.
#10 – Death Valley, California
Death Valley might not sound like one of the best weekend getaways from San Diego, but it has some of the most impressive views. It’s a five-and-a-half-hour drive, and it’s one of the best desert locations in the country. While exploring this dry environment, you’ll see sand dunes, salt flats, rock formations, and mountains. There are plenty of campgrounds in the park for tents, campers, and RVs. So, it might not be luxurious, but it will be an exciting and beautiful experience.
#11 – Baja California, Mexico
If you have your passport ready, you can drive down to Mexico in less than an hour. Baja California is the Mexico state closest to California, and it has plenty of fun things to do. Rosarito Beach and Valle de Guadalupe are just some of the popular spots tourists travel to in Baja California. Mexico has some of the most gorgeous beaches with lots of underwater adventures, such a snorkeling or scuba diving. But there are endless areas to explore in this tropical space.
#12 – Ojai, California
Ojai is just under four hours from San Diego, and it’s a great place to chill out. It’s a big agricultural area, so a lot of the food and wine there is locally made. It has lots of excellent foods to taste, but also lots of unique shops in the downtown area. Ojai also has trails, farmer’s markets, and seasonal music festivals. This destination might not seem like much at first, but it’s a great way to get a break from the craziness of life.
#13 – Dana Point, California
Dana Point has a long stretch of beaches for visitors. Plus, it’s only an hour away, making it a nice quick vacation. Swimming, surfing, picnicking, and beach volleyball are just some of the fun activities you can enjoy. Dana Point also has a wide range of places to stay, from campgrounds all the way to luxurious resorts. The Ocean Institute is also a popular attraction there because it allows you to learn about the marine life in the area, with informational cruises available.
#14 – Temecula, California
Temecula is another one of the convenient weekend getaways because it’s only an hour from San Diego. It’s full of outdoor activities, including bike trails, horseback riding, hot air balloon rides, golf courses, and vineyards. It’s also a popular wine region with over 40 wineries that visitors can tour and have wine tasting events at. Plus, Old Town Temecula is a popular spot because it’s full of historical buildings, antique shops, and boutiques.
Everyone needs a break from their home town at times, even if it’s as charming as San Diego. These 14 weekend getaways from San Diego are all great choices for short road trips. Whether you’re looking for another action-packed area, a wilderness adventure, or a peaceful resort town, this city has it all within a few hours. So, what are you waiting for?