When summertime temperatures climb into the dreadful triple digits, many Arizonans dream of cooler weather and a summertime breeze off of the coast. For many, San Diego is the place of dreams to get respite from the incredible heat that comes with summer in Arizona.
“We definitely see more Arizona license plates around town,” says Robert Arends, public relations manager for the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Arizona is one of our major drive markets for overnight visitors.”
For those thinking about making the short drive to Southern California for the first time this summer, here is a list of 20 attractions and events to consider.
Beach softball fans, grab your wooden bats and suntan lotion and head to Mission Bay for “one of the last pure SoCal traditions.” Played by men and women into their 80s, this multi-day tournament serves as the primary fundraising source for Old Mission Beach Athletic Club’s charitable programs. The tournament runs from July 14-22.
San Diego Shark Diving offers both certified and non-certified divers of all ages the opportunity to swim with great white sharks. They offer a wide range of experiences from July through October on three different ships.
This show-stopping new exhibit takes you all around the African continent, from the island of Madagascar to the South African coast. Looking for the perfect vacation photo? This exhibit’s 65-foot Rady Falls boasts San Diego’s largest manmade waterfall.
If your idea of a good time involves fascinating history, delicious food, and designer drinks, then this tour is a must. Explore the infamous streets where Prohibition-era gangsters and women ruled the roost. Fill up on deliciousness from four of the area’s most popular restaurants. To top it off, enjoy a sample from one of the many available cocktail bars and breweries.
Cabrillo National Monument
San Diego’s only national park, Cabrillo National Monument commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s discovery of San Diego Harbor. Tide-pools full of creatures, like anemones and even octopus, are scattered around for you to explore.
Take a step into the past at Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalå, the first of California’s 21 historic missions. Drink in the majesty of this historical shrine, which was founded in 1769 and still serves as an active parish church.
Comic-Con 2018 may be sold out, but never fear, the San Diego Comic Art Gallery is here. This one-of-a-kind venue showcases original art from comics and animation and real artists working on their next big projects.
Louisiana comes to San Diego in this unforgettable celebration of all things Cajun. Boogie down to spectacular performances by headliners Marcia Ball, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and many more. Hungry? Chow down on crawfish shipped in straight from Lousiana. The festival will be held at Spanish Landing Park May 10-13.
Experience La Jolla by bike or by water as never before. Kayakers will paddle by the sea cliffs and caves of La Jolla’s Ecological Reserve, and bikers will visit the Crystal Pier and the historical Cave Store. Experts guide each of these tours, ensuring you see the best there’s to offer.
Set off on an authentic submarine designed after the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure line of toys and embark on an exploration of a sunken shipwreck for lost treasure. This new attraction will open this summer, so be one of the first to attend.
When the hunger strikes for delicious, gourmet, authentic San Diego food, there is no better place to be than Liberty Public Market. This landmark is known as one of the Top 20 year-round food halls in the nation.
San Diego Sailing Tours offers a variety of sailing packages that let you enjoy the many sights on the sea, including the wildlife. If you’re looking for something a little more private, there are also private sailing trip packages for two to six people.
Savor the Seafood
Whether you want fine dining or food truck experience, San Diego’s got it all. Try Las Olas Mexican Restaurant, which claims to serve the “original” fish taco, or Blue Water Seafood Market, where all items are made with your choice of fish and marinade.
Have an under-the-sea experience at SeaWorld, where it hosts its electric nighttime celebration of light, color and sound from June 16-Sept. 2. The show won the Brass Ring for Live Entertainment Excellence at the 2017 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo.
Drink in the beauty of this 68-acre natural park, full of charming coves, sandstone bluffs, sea caves and jaw-dropping sunsets. Both residents and visitors gather on the cliffs each night to watch.
Temecula Vine and Vineyard Tour
Fifty minutes away from Central San Diego lies the Temecula Valley, the jewel of SoCal Wine Country. Embark on a guided tour of several top wineries, complete with three to four tastings at each winery and an exquisite sit-down luncheon.
Live out your Night at the Museum fantasies at the San Diego Natural History Museum and see what they keep in all those boxes. Explore more than 200 specimens from the museum’s collection that have never been displayed, including animals, plants, fossils, minerals and shells.
Get to know the world’s most visited ship museum. The USS Midway was the largest ship in the world when it was built just after World War II5. The USS Midway was the longest-serving U.S aircraft carrier of the 20th century and is the home to attractions ranging from flight simulators to an ejection seat theatre.
G’day, mate! This rollicking new exhibit lets you walk with the wallabies, pet kangaroos and learn about the many creatures and plants that make Australia so special.
Need more fun ideas? Visit the San Diego Tourism Authority online.