Day Trips 2 Hours’ Drive From San Diego
Want to do something different for the day? We have you covered with some of our favorite day trip destinations that only require two hours of driving or less. No matter which of these places you decide to visit, you are sure to make the most of your day.
1. Disneyland: Visiting the most magical place on earth is never disappointing. With all of your favorite rides, characters, and treats waiting for you – plus most shows and special events starting back up over the next few months – there is so much to explore. Just make sure to check out the new Disneyland reservation system before heading up so you can make sure you can get in.
2. Ensenada: If eating authentic Mexican food, horseback riding, or wine tasting while taking in the ocean breeze sound like a good way to spend the day, Ensenada may be the place for you. You can also go whale watching, take a walk through El Jardin de Tara, or check out El Salto Canyon and Waterfall.
3. Laguna Beach: Visiting this vibrant beach city is sure to put some pep in your step as you enjoy the vast array of public art, try skimboarding, play some beach volleyball, or listen to live music. If you are a fan of the theatre, be sure to check and see what show is being featured at Laguna Playhouse.
4. Borrego Springs: Drive out to the desert to visit California’s largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, take in the landscape at the Forks Pointe overlook vista, or take a walk through Slot Canyon and its narrow siltstone passages if you dare. Make some time to check out Galleta Meadows metal sculptures while you are there.
5. Idyllwild: If the outdoors is calling your name, Idyllwild is a good choice to spend your day. In Idyllwild you will find Lake Fulmor where you can take the scenic walking trail, excellent places to hike like Mount San Jacinto State Park, and the Idyllwild Nature Center where you can learn about Cahuilla Native culture as well as local habitats.
6. Valle De Guadalupe: Wine connoisseurs, this is the destination for you! Valle De Guadalupe is a Mexican wine region that has become a must-visit for anyone going south of the border. With prestigious wineries, award-winning winemakers, and beautifully scenic views, it has so much to offer. Depending on your mood, you can keep it more casual, or you can choose a winery with a more luxurious vibe – either way there is somewhere for every kind of wine lover to unwind.
7. Julian: Need some fresh mountain air? Heading up to Julian for the day can mean meandering shops, eating a delish lunch, imbibing fresh cider, hiking, or maybe even all of those things. They also have special experiences you can enjoy like visiting the California Wolf Center or picking berries.
8. Palm Springs: This desert destination is well-known to most Californians. If you want to go the more adventurous route and you are not afraid of heights, you can take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway over Chino Canyon or stay on the ground and take a hike to see the Tahquitz Waterfall. You can also keep it laid back by visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum before enjoying a delicious meal or lounging poolside.
9. Los Angeles: We all know about Los Angeles, but what about the things there are to do besides walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame and going on tours? Try something new this time, visit the Huntington Library and stroll through the gardens, go to the Academy Museum to see iconic items from your favorite movies, or stop by LACMA to see the latest exhibits. And of course, do not leave without eating out at one of their five-star restaurants.
10. Dana Point: Dolphin watching, parasailing, and amazing surfing are all perfect ways to spend your day in Dana Point. But if you are not looking to go out on the water, you can also go out on the green at the beloved Monarch Beach Golf Links, take a picnic with a view of the shoreline at one of their many stunning parks, browse antiques and art galleries, or treat yourself to a day of shopping and a well-earned nice meal.