Our first days in San Diego

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  • Post last modified:January 21, 2023
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First of all, I have to say how amazing it is that holidays always pass so quickly. Do you know what I mean? There you are, sitting in the office and time stands still. But as soon as you have holidays though … it feels like two weeks is more like two days in the office. Our first days in San Diego went by too fast.

When we visit our family in the USA, we usually stay with them. But this trip, thanks to the fact that we had more time, we booked a holiday for our holiday!

Two weeks in California! Yes! 8 days of which we spent in sunny San Diego, a city we can warmly recommend to everyone.

Our first days in San Diego
Beautiful Sunset in San Diego

James had „studied“ in San Diego years ago, and so we’ve wanted to visit San Diego since we first met each other. It only took us 10 years to make it.

Since his student days, a lot has changed in San Diego, and he was looking forward to coming back as least as much as I was looking forward to my first time.

We arrived without a real plan and just wanted to let ourselves drift. And that type of planning goes very well in San Diego.

Pacific Beach San Diego
Pacific Beach

#Day 1

On our first day, we went to Mission Beach and Pacific Beach and just strolled around, taking pictures and enjoying the atmosphere and fantastic weather.

San Diego is a very active city. Even before we made it to the beach promenade we saw people on their skateboards with their surfboards under their arms. For us, this represents the epitome of freedom.

Mission and Pacific Beach are two beaches that merge into each other. These beaches are what most people might imagine as a typical California beach; bright, long, and full of sporty and happy people.

A wonderful place to spend a holiday.

South Park Brewing Company
South Park Brewing Company
Dinner at South Park Brewing Company
Dinner at South Park

In the evening we found a cozy brewery.  And the best thing was that the brewery was right around the corner from our camper, so we didn’t have to drive and could enjoy our beer with a clear conscience.

I am not a fan of IPAs myself, whereas James loves to try out all the different varieties and likes most of them. My favorite was a Scottish ale, which kind of has a Guinness taste. I can recommend it to everyone who doesn’t like their beers so “hoppy.”

Delicious beer at South Park Brewing Company
Delicious beer at South Park Brewing Company

We had booked our stay in a small camper. We are dreaming of taking a European tour in a camper one day, and this was an opportunity for us to see if we could really “make it” in a small space. 

Our time in the camper was really great. Even though I love beautiful hotels, I can now say “YES” to a camper! So look out Europe!

Anyone who enjoys Vanlife can leave us their comments in the box below. We would love to read more about it.

Vanlife, our first days in San Diego

#Day 2

The next morning, the sun laughed in our faces, which in turn gave us a smile. After many days of rain in Oregon, sunshine was a welcome change. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love being tickled by the sun?!

We started the day with a small (but very expensive) breakfast at a New Zealand restaurant. I always am surprised by how expensive food is in the US and had to get used to the prices again.

Breakfast Tamale in San Diego
Breakfast Tamale
But first coffee, first days in San Diego
But first coffee!!
Budget breaker in San Diego
Budget breaker!

Then we went back to Mission Beach and also visited Belmont Park, which is right there on the promenade.

Belmont Park is a small Amusement Park with many restaurants, candy shops, and the Giant Dipper, a historical wooden roller coaster.

However, we did not stay there for too long. Before sunset, we wanted to take pictures of the pier on Pacific Beach. Said, and done.

Belmont Park San Diego
Belmont Park San Diego

A tip to always heed: Never return your back to the ocean!

And: Pay attention to your feet. I was so immersed in taking pictures that I didn’t even notice the wave and got ankle-deep wet! So we had to finish the evening for the time being and drove back to our “room” so I could change into dry clothes. “

Pacific Beach Pier in San Diego
Pacific Beach Pier

In the evening we walked around the Gaslamp Quarter. However, we like small neighborhoods better, so there is not much for us to say about the Gaslamp area.

Gaslamp Quarter, first days in San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter

If you fancy a good workout, you can let off a lot of steam at the Convention Center at the “Stairs of Pain.”

We noticed the stairs because they looked very pretty from a long distance away. White and brightly lit.

It wasn’t until we arrived that we saw the sports fanatics running up and down the steps and doing push-ups and other exercises at the top and bottom.

We filmed a little video saying we should have brought chips and popcorn. James didn’t think that was so nice of me though 😀

Stairs of Pain San Diego
Stairs of Pain

So our second full day in San Diego came to an end, and we fell happily and contentedly back into our camper bed.

#Day 3

A few years ago we were in Northern Ireland and I conquered the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, despite my fear of heights. Since then, bridges have been relatively high on my “to-do” list.

San Diego also has a gorgeous, if not so dangerously looking suspension bridge that we visited.

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge San Diego
Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
Spruce Street Bridge San Diego
Spruce Street Bridge

If you would like to take pictures of the Spruce Street Footbridge, you will find it on the street of the same name: Spruce Street & First Avenue!

The bridge is no longer a secret, but it is still absolutely worth a visit.

It was designed to allow passers-by to make their way across a deep canyon, leaving them no longer separated by the tram networks, which were located on the fourth and fifth avenues.

Can you see us waving San Diego
Can you see us waving?

Another highlight of the day was our visit to The Loma Club, a 9-hole golf course which we really enjoyed playing.

We had introduced ourselves beforehand and when we met the club’s general manager for an interview, he told us how much he liked our story and that he had spent six months traveling Europe. I was so pleased that he saw not only the “Golfing Part” of us but that we reminded him of his own travel time.

The Loma Club San Diego
The Loma Club

Alongside all the piers and beaches of SD, another popular spot for sunsets are the Sunset Cliffs. Our path took us there after golfing, but we were a little too early and decided to explore the area and so we decided to go all the way to the end of Pont Loma. There is a lighthouse and the Cabrillo Monument, which we wanted to see.

The monument was erected in honor of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who in 1542 became the first European to land on the west coast of North America. 

But unfortunately, it was closed, and we were denied entry due to the Government shutdown.

Rosecrans National Cemetery San Diego
Rosecrans National Cemetery

The street to the monument passes White Road, which is the home of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

This is where military personnel, veterans, and loved ones are buried. The cemetery stretches for miles and miles, and we couldn’t even estimate how many graves there must be.

If you would like to read more about it, you can do so here: https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftrosecrans.asp.

Shut Down San Diego
Shut Down


We went back to Ocean Beach for the sunset, and another beautiful day came to an end.

Ocean Beach San Diego
Ocean Beach San Diego

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