Out here in sunny San Diego, we don’t exactly know what winter is. Temperatures drop slightly and it rains occasionally, but it’s nothing unbearable. Mornings and evenings can be a little chilly, but by midday the sun is usually shining and the sky is clear. There is not really much that can hold you back from getting some fresh air and enjoying some outdoor activities. Try to take advantage of it this winter break! If you’re on a budget, (and who isn’t during the holidays?), here are a few of the best free/cheap “winter” activities in San Diego.
Go for a hike- San Diego is notorious for great hiking trails. Grab a sweater and go out early in the morning, get some exercise, and watch the sunrise. Or simply wait till later in the day so you can get your fix of Vitamin D from the sun’s rays. A few of the more popular trails are Cowles Mountain, Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, Oak Canyon Trail in the Mission Trails Regional Park, and Mount Woodson, A.K.A. Potato Chip Rock. Be sure to bring enough water and snacks to fuel your exploration!
Have a bonfire- Most people would assume bonfires are for summer nights, but they are actually pretty perfect for wintertime, as well. All you need is a few extra blankets, some hot chocolate or eggnog (mix in an adult beverage if you’re feeling wild), and plenty of fire logs. Get cozy in the sand with a group of friends, pack some food and drinks, roast some marshmallows, and enjoy a fun, relaxing night on the shores of some of the best San Diego beaches. Make sure to check if the beach you’re planning on going to has fire rings. A few suggestions are Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, and Pacific Beach.
Explore Balboa Park- Balboa Park offers numerous attractions for people of all ages. If you’re interested in a cultural and educational experience, check out some of the many museums throughout the park. Some options include the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego Automotive Museum, and the Timken Museum of Art. If you’re looking to take a peaceful stroll while enjoying nature, there are about 15 gardens to explore. Some of the favorites are the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Botanical Building. If you want to grab something to munch on, there are a variety of restaurants to grub at after you’ve worked up an appetite wandering the park. For those that are trying to celebrate the holiday season, Balboa Park’s December Nights is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. December Nights includes festivities such as live music, dancing, live performances, shopping, and of course, extraordinary holiday themed decorations and lights.
Enjoy some history- The city of San Diego is actually very rich in history. If you’re simply visiting for the holiday’s or you reside in San Diego, there are many different places to visit in order to learn about its’ past. San Diego’s Embarcadero is a great place to spend the day exploring and learning about the city’s maritime history. Attractions include historic ships, museums, harbor tours, restaurants and shops. Another great place to catch up on some history is Old Town San Diego, which marks the site of the first Spanish settlement in the U.S. West Coast. Free admission allows viewings of numerous historic San Diego buildings and monuments. The San Diego Zoo is also a wonderful place to learn a little history. It may not be about San Diego exactly, but learning about animals is always fun!
Ride a wave- It might sound crazy, but the winter months are the ultimate surfing season. The biggest swells, resulting in killer waves, usually come from the North between December and February. This is the result of storms in Alaska creating bigger and stronger waves that head toward San Diego shores. The water might be a little chilly, but the awesome surf might be worth the risk. Don your wetsuit, wax up your board, and jump in! If you don’t feel like getting in the water, the waves are also a pretty spectacular sight to see, so just sit back and relax to the sound of the crashing waves.
In San Diego, there is never a dull moment. Winter, summer, rain or shine…the outdoors are always calling. Whatever it is that fits your interests, San Diego offers bountiful attractions to keep you entertained. Get out there and explore!