3 Beautiful Towns To Explore In San Diego County [+VIDEO]

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If you read my Ventura posts, you’ll know that I’m on a mission to explore more of my beautiful home state of California. While traveling to faraway lands is exciting and enriching, so is exploring your own backyard and playing tourist. This time I decided to drive two hours south towards San Diego and visit a few, lesser known, coastal towns. I won’t actually be talking about the city of San Diego in this post, but instead the charming places we discovered while driving. That’s the beauty of a road trip, isn’t it?

I’ve really enjoyed creating my “60 Seconds In…” video series this year! I’m a very visual person and when I read about a beautiful place in blog posts, sometimes I want a little more than photos! What do you think about these videos? Does it give you a good overview of the places I’m covering in my post? Or would you like them to be longer? I’d love to know! Either leave a comment below or send an email.

#1 CARLSBAD

There are plenty of reasons to visit the seaside resort city of Carlsbad. There are seven beautiful miles of the Pacific coastline to enjoy or if you prefer spending time indoors and shopping, they have fantastic outlets! However, we had our eyes set on some flowers…

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The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch is a culmination of over 70 years of floral cultivation in North San Diego County. Their agricultural heritage dates back to around the turn of the 20th century. The Flower Fields is all about color. It attracts more than 150,000 visitors each year. The type of ranunculus grown here is called the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus, which is one of the finest strains of ranunculus plant in the world. Over 50 acres are devoted to raising the cut ranunculus flowers and bulbs. It is estimated that there are more than 80 million blooms during their peak flowering. The Flower Fields is the only Ranunculus grower in the world that allows visitors to walk the fields to experience the color up close.

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You’ll definitely experience sensory overload when visiting the Flower Fields and I mean that in the best way possible! Besides walking around and photographing the fields, you’ll find wagon rides, lemonade and ice cream stands, as well as a flower shop.

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Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until 2017 to visit since it’s only open in the spring. But I promise you, it’s worth the wait! In 2017, The Flower Fields will be open March 1st through May 14th so mark your calendars now! I’ll be sure to remind you once March comes around so follow me on Twitter or Instagram for updates.

#2 SOLANA BEACH

Solana Beach is a bit of a hidden gem with unspoiled beaches, boutique shops, and a farmer’s market for locals and tourists alike. Although, we were there mid-week and probably the only tourists there! I’m certainly not complaining.

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If you don’t spend all your money at the Carlsbad Outlets (please don’t), head straight to the Design District in Solana Beach. You’ll find an array of boutique shops and art galleries. One of my favorite shops is Leaping Lotus. It’s an indoor marketplace with over 120 merchants who sell handmade goods, clothes, art… everything you can imagine! It’s the perfect place to buy gifts and I’ve made a mental note to come back around Christmas. I suggest you do the same!

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#3 LA JOLLA

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You’ll find the extremely hilly and pictureqsue seaside community of La Jolla just 25 minutes from Solana Beach. I’d highly recommend spending at least 24 hours in La Jolla. This was our final destination and so we checked into the Scripps Inn, a boutique bed-and-breakfast with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

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The rooms are bright, spacious, and perfectly appointed with beach decor and ocean blue colors. I had never stayed in a room so close to the ocean before! Waking up to the sound of waves is something I can definitely get used to. Even though I was only two hours from home, I felt lightyears away. I’d say this staycation was a success!

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If you’re looking for a place to dine with a view, I’d highly recommend Brockton Villa Restaurant. It was hard to decide what’s more incredible – their food or ocean views! We ordered the french toast and breakfast tacos with avocado, the most beloved California fruit. When it comes to dining, museums, and outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do in La Jolla. But if you just want to lay around on the beach all day, I wouldn’t blame you.

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La Jolla Beach is one of the nicest beaches I’ve been to in Southern California. It can get crowded on the weekends and around sunset, but not even the crowds can spoil views like these…

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Which town would you most like to visit? Are you a fan of road trips? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Happy travels!

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46 comments

  1. Norman says:

    wow! never knew there were just sooo many flower fields in san diego.. dunno…always had a different image in my mind when I thought of the city (which, as a German, was admittedly only rarely)

  2. Sheena says:

    I love San Diego! I’ve only visited the city but dying to go back & it looks like I should spend some extra days exploring the region too, La Jolla looks spectacular!

  3. noel says:

    I would definitely visit all three destinations, they are all so distinct and fascinating to explore. I love the idea of flower fields and will put Carlsbad on my list.

  4. melody pittman says:

    I’ve been to La Jolla and Carlsbad but your trip to La Jolla definitely looks better and more ritzy than mine. 😉 I really love Carlsbad, for both a romantic getaway and a family vacation. I got lucky to see the Flower Fields on year, really cool offering. I loved your photos.

  5. Leah says:

    Take me to any of these, but La Jolla speaks to me. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not done much of California, especially southern, preferring the wine country in the north. Thanks for reminding me how much more of the USA I have to explore.

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