Whether you want to relax by the beach or go on a hike, your choices of day trips from San Diego are endless. We have compiled five destinations in California that are less than two hours from San Diego, making it easy for you to plan a quick trip that everyone is sure to love. Before embarking on your journey, make sure to double-check important information like the opening hours for any parks, monuments, or museums that you plan on visiting.
Dating to the days of the Gold Rush, Julian is a historic town that is about a one-hour drive from San Diego. No visit to Julian would be complete without a tour of one of its original mines, and you can also go on a carriage ride throughout the downtown to learn about its history.
Known for being a fashionable city with beautiful landscapes, Palm Springs is a must-see if you want to get some quality rest and relaxation. This desert city is a two-hour drive from San Diego, so try to head out in the morning in order to have a full day of exploration ahead of you. Whether you’re going to the local botanical garden or getting a spa treatment, you’re sure to enjoy yourself on this day trip!
As it’s just a 35-minute drive from San Diego, Carlsbad is the perfect destination for a quick getaway. Between the city’s many beaches and kid-friendly activities, such as Legoland, this town has an endless supply of activities that the entire family will love. For a particularly scenic attraction, go to The Flower Fields, a large farm that is covered in blooming flowers in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Lake Poway is the perfect day trip for anyone that loves water sports and nature. Plus, it’s only a 35-minute drive from San Diego. This lake conveniently offers a variety of year-round activities that everyone will love, and you can rent equipment like rowboats, paddleboats, or even powerboats, all of which are great for fishing. If you’d prefer to stay out of the water, you can always choose from one of the three nearby hiking trails, which also allow horseback riding and biking. For a bit of extra fun, you can also go to the archery range to pick up a new hobby.
In just one hour, you can go from San Diego to Mount Laguna, a large mountain that is a great place for visitors to reconnect with nature. Mount Laguna has numerous hiking trails depending on which level of difficulty you prefer, as well as many observation points that are a great place to snap a picture or two. If you like astronomy, you can even head up to the mountain’s observatory in order to appreciate the stars! Those who plan on visiting during the winter months can always choose to go sledding or skiing if there is snow.
Renting with SIXT in San Diego
We have multiple car rental locations in San Diego, including at the city’s international airport, as well as downtown. If you plan on taking a day trip to a nearby town, like Carlsbad, consider renting a full-size sedan to travel comfortably but on a budget. Travelers that know that they will be heading to the mountains, such as Mount Laguna, will prefer to opt for a premium SUV in order to more easily navigate the rugged terrain. Wherever you’re going, SIXT has a car that is perfect for your San Diego road trip!