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Report 1763: Surf, Sun, Food, and Laughter in San Diego

By JDeQ from Ontario, Canada, Fall 2008

Trip Description: We hung out in San Diego for four days before the Palm Desert GTG in 2008. It was a short visit but long enough to give us a feel for this lovely, laid back city.

Destinations: Countries - North America; Regions/Cities - California

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Attended GTG; Beach; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 4: Good-Bye Toronto . . . Hello San Diego!

photo by J DeQuetteville

The first margatita of the trip!

We had no trouble getting to San Diego. The crossing at the US border in Niagara Falls was a snap. Check in (except for the baggage charge, which made me crazy) was easy. Security was a breeze. No problems with the flights or layovers. We even scored a jumble bag of Garrett’s pop corn (one of Oprah’s favourite, very good things) in Chicago.

Once in San Diego we had a bit of a wait for our luggage but eventually our bags shot onto the carousel and we were on our way. The shuttle bus took us to the rental car area (the car rental area is not on the airport property itself) where I once again appreciated my emerald status with National Rental Car – I love their service – no paperwork, just select the car we want and head on our way.

We had little difficulty finding the hotel that Shannon had recommended to us – The Inn at Sunset Cliffs. Located about 10 minutes from the airport in historical Point Loma, California it is one of a few San Diego hotels truly located on the Pacific Ocean, just steps away from Ocean Beach. Originally built in the 1950's, it has recently been remodeled creating a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.

I had read online that no other San Diego hotel offers a view as breathtaking from the spacious terrace overlooking the Cliffs. You have a stunning view of Ocean Beach and can see as far away as La Jolla on a clear day.

The terrace provides a panoramic 180-degree ocean view with the scenic Ocean Beach pier in the background. We sure enjoyed the million-dollar view during the day and the relaxing sound of the crashing waves at night.

Shannon had mentioned to me that I might qualify for a discount – I asked and I did. Our room was large and had huge windows overlooking the ocean. I immediately opened one and listed to the sounds of the waves crashing up against the rocks. I could stay here for a LONG time.

As we were getting settled into ‘our’ space my phone rang – it was Shannon asking about our plans for the evening. We agreed to meet her at the South Beach Bar and Grill. This place has been written up in all of the big foodie magazines as having the best fish tacos in the US – clearly this was a spot for Paul and I!

We hopped back into the car and headed out. Parking was scarce (something we discovered was always the case as you got closer to the beach – duh) but with some perseverance we were successful.

Shannon and Colleen had managed to secure a small table where we enjoyed drinks and the South Beach’s famous fried clam strips. This place was hopping! There was a huge crowd made up of an eclectic group of surfers, hippies, yuppie types, tourists, and us. We had a great time watching the crowd, enjoying drinks, and chatting about trips past, present, and future.

It was clear that our table was going to be far too small to actual eat dinner on. Not to worry because soon Shannon went on the prowl and managed to secure a larger table for us. We soon learned that this was vintage Shannon – few can solve problems the way she can.

After our relocation I ordered three tacos – lobster, fried wahoo and shrimp with rice and beans. The tacos were perfect – soft flour tortillas, lots of fish, cheese, fresh salsa, cabbage, and cilantro. It was heaven. Never having had a fish taco before I was shocked with how great they were – I have missed some great eating!

Later I was to be shocked again. . . . this time at how inexpensive everything was. The bill came for $78 with a bottle of wine, two margaritas, beer, a daiquiri, the appetizers and dinner for four. It was a ‘steal’!

Shhhhh – don’t tell anyone because the prices will go up.

As we were getting ready to leave we noticed that the fog had rolled in off of the ocean – a typical southern Californian evening on the beach.

By the time we had made the short drive back to the hotel the combination of the late night, a day of traveling, lots of laughter, good food, and wine had kicked in . . . we soon fell asleep listening to the sound of waves crashing up onto the shore. It had been a super first day in California!

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