5 MUST SEE, DO

2017 Travel Guide to California - - SAN DIEGO COUNTY -

» Bel­mont Park

The com­pact amuse­ment park’s 1925 Gi­ant Dip­per roller­coaster marks the un­of­fi­cial en­trance to the board­walk along the per­pet­u­ally packed sands of Mis­sion and Pa­cific beaches. The park’s wave ma­chines give new­bies a chance to ride rel­a­tively tame waves be­fore brav­ing the open ocean.

› bel­mont­park.com

» La Jolla

This up­scale Mediter­ranean-style com­mu­nity lives up to its name (“The Jewel” in Span­ish), with a post­card-ready set­ting, white sands, turquoise wa­ters, sea caves (in­clud­ing Sunny Jim Cave, Cal­i­for­nia’s only known land-ac­cess sea cave) and an Un­der­wa­ter Park teem­ing with pin­nipeds, rays, scut­tling lob­sters and count­less fish. It’s not just an­other pretty face, though; it hosts the Tony Award-win­ning La Jolla Play­house, Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art San Diego, Mu­rals of La Jolla and the Birch Aquar­ium—while also of­fer­ing the “Rodeo Drive of San Diego,” named for Prospect Street’s stel­lar shops, gal­leries and restau­rants.

› la­jol­labythe­sea.com

» San Diego Zoo

Known for its nat­u­ral­is­tic habi­tats, en­dan­gered an­i­mal species and adorable gi­ant pan­das, the zoo re­quires a min­i­mum of a full day. Al­low time for the fab­u­lous shops.

› sandiego­zoo.org

» Bal­boa Park

The coun­try’s largest ur­ban cul­tural park is a ram­bling land­scape of mu­se­ums, the­aters, artists’ stu­dios and gar­dens. The tiled Cal­i­for­nia Tower, with its un­ob­structed 360-de­gree view of the park and city, has be­come a trea­sured land­mark, re­opened af­ter an 80-year clo­sure for the park’s cen­ten­nial in 2015

› bal­boa­park.org

» Cabrillo Na­tional Mon­u­ment

High above the tip of Point Loma, this sprawling park com­mem­o­rates Juan Ro­dríguez Cabrillo and San Diego’s early his­tory. It’s most pop­u­lar for the panora­mas of the boat-filled bay and sea, the moun­tains to the east and the hills of Ti­juana to the south. It’s a great place to look for whales spout­ing off­shore in win­ter.

› nps.gov/cabr/in­dex.htm

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