San Diego first time

Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:28 PM
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San Diego first time

My husband and I are going to San Diego for the first time early May. We are staying at the Catamaran on Mission and were wondering what some of your must do's are. We don't plan on renting a car and were wondering how much of the area we can cover by bike (we are moderately active). Any great restaurants nearby? Has anyone tried the tandem handgliding at Torry Pines? Thanks in advance. I'm new to this forum but it looks very helpful.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:30 PM
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ottawatm-First of all, welcome to Fodors. There is lots of helpful information and San Diego is discussed quite frequently here. What you can do is go the search box and type in San Diego. You will get more threads than you can possibly read through. If you need more specific info, then type in that-example "San Diego restaurants".

The first thing that people will tell you is that you need a rental car in San Diego especially if you are staying at the Catamaran. Sometimes if you stay downtown SD you can get away with not having a car but not staying at Mission Bay. Points of interest to not miss are Balboa Park and the Zoo, Coronado, La Jolla just to name a few. As I said do a search for some of these areas to get more info. Is there a reason you weren't getting a car? San Diego is an easy town to navigate.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:38 PM
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You probably already know about the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. It really is a wonderful treasure, and for anyone with any interest in animals and nature, is not to be missed.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for your replies, paula and hop_along. We are trying to avoid renting a car because next to hanging wallpaper or putting up a Christmas tree nothing will start a fight quicker than driving and parking in a strange city. We don't mind, and look forward to , getting around by bus, train, trolley, ferry, tour or donkey. Absolutely want to see your zoo. Do some shopping, harbour cruise, see Coronada and la jolla ( by bike??) and what about dog beach for us animal lovers?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:30 PM
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ottawatm: Hello and welcome.

Go to www.sandiego.org and request a free visitor guide. So much information on the site as to what to do, see etc.

Must do's - walk along the beach, view the sunset, listen to the waves.

Eat a fish taco.

Sandy
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Check with the Hotel and see if they can recommend shuttles or tours. Sea World is teh closest nearby thing too see.

Posters are not kiding when we tell you it is best to get a rental car.

You will significantly reduce your ability to get to places and it will take you hours to get somewhere

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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:37 PM
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ottawtm,
During my first visit to San Diego 3 years ago, my friend and I took the Hop On/Hop Off trolley tour which visited some of the more popular tourist spots (ex. Gaslamp, Coronado, Old Town, Seaport Village and the Zoo). It was a good introduction to the city and we were able to visit the sites at our own pace. I also recommend visiting the Hotel Del Coronado and have a beverage at the nearby beach. Have fun!!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 12:52 AM
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ottawatm-The problem with San Diego is that the public transportation system is not a great one. The hop on/hop off trolley is good and useful if you are staying downtown San Diego. But you would need a way to get to downtown from Mission Bay, also a way to get to La Jolla, Coronado, the Zoo, etc. Contacting the hotel about a shuttle is a good idea but I would think that could get pretty expensive.

My aunt and uncle came one summer without a car and were staying in Pacific Beach (not too far from Mission Bay). They used the bus a few times to get around but it was not convenient or easy. They have been to San Diego many times so were more interested in just relaxing by the beach than seeing the sights. The next summer, they rented a car.

I think there have been some threads on Fodors about San Diego without a car. Do a search for that for helpful pointers. I think many of the posters who asked this question in the beginning, ended up renting a car.
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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ottawatm..
If you choose not to rent a car for your stay in SD, you will be spending most of your day taking the bus, transfers and not really seeing beautiful San Diego!
You can rent a car for as little as $15 a day..
Have fun at the Catamaran..PB is a good place to bike around the bay and ocean..
 
Old Apr 4th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Hey, where are these $15.00 car rentals? I've been online searching and averaging 65.00 per day.

Thanks to all who have responded. I can't wait till we're there.
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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If you insist on going car-less your definitely need to change your hotel. Staying in Mission Bay and not having a car is simply not compatible . . . .
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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I just tried the first week of May on Expedia and for a weekly rate of $119 a week at Enterprise for an economy car..also, try Hotwire for car rentals..they usually have great cheap deals too!
Have fun in San Diego..
 
Old Apr 5th, 2007, 01:17 AM
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The first day take the Old Town trolley.You can get on/off all day and the driver is a great guide.Paul
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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i lived in san diego for 10 years. i really like the catamaran hotel. the rooms are basic but they have a nice pool area and the location to the beach and bay are great. tons of restaurants within walking distance. i lived about 2 miles east of there.
i think taking the hop on/hop off trolley is a great idea to get a good feel for the city and distances.
i had company that came and rented bikes for quite cheap (many places around pacific beach that rent bikes, roller blades, etc.). they got around all week on their bikes. from the catamaran, you can bike into la jolla which is only a few miles away. sea world is relatively close. downtown is a little further away but all these roads are relatively flat so no killer hills. from downtown you can take a ferry over to coronado and biking around that island is great. you can get a map from visitor's information in mission bay that shows a lot of the good bike routes.
i'd do the trolley tour, rent bikes for a couple of days and then you can always rent a car for a couple of days once you know the lay of the land.
there's a dog beach down in ocean beach.
also, my parents don't drive and they got around on public transport from pacific beach to la jolla and the downtown area. it's not the most convenient but doable.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 08:25 AM
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meant to add, the car would come in handy if going to torry pines. getting there would be difficult on the bus and quite a few hills which might be tough on a bike unless you are in really good shape.
the handgliding looks great. the beach below, black's beach, is one of the best in san diego in my opinion. it was "clothing optional" - assume it still is. it's a long hike up though. right below the glider port and south of there is the "straight" area. if you go further north, that is traditionally the "gay" area.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Thank You!! Trolley tour sounds perfect and we'll rent bikes to see the immediate area. Once we get our bearings we'll get a car for a few days. I don't want to miss a thing.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:25 PM
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Had to reply in regards to what you said about renting a car and not a quicker way to start a fight, that is totally my husband and me. Well, we were just in San Diego last month (it was great) But what made it great is we rented a car with a gps or they call it a "never Lost" or soemthing like that. They are SO great, They take the stress out of being in a new city. We swear by this and vow NEVER to get a car without this in it!!! All you do is put the address in and it calculates where you are and tells you where to go with a florescent arrow showing where you are going. Then this sweet lady's voice comes on and says something like "turn left in 1.2 miles". Its SO worth it. Good luck and have fun. (btw, we rented from Hertz)
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:34 PM
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We call the Never-Lost voice Michelle. And the nice thing about Michelle is that no matter how many times you make a wrong turn, she will recalculate your route and she never gets mad
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