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San Diego/Palm Springs Itinerary-Please confirm I'm not crazy

San Diego/Palm Springs Itinerary-Please confirm I'm not crazy

Feb 9th, 2007, 05:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 25
San Diego/Palm Springs Itinerary-Please confirm I'm not crazy

Hi everyone,

We're headed to San Diego for 9 days at the beginning of March. We're using Hilton and Marriott points to stay for free, so the locations we're staying in probably aren't the best. I'm trying to plan the days out and I just want to make sure that 1) what we're planning is doable timewise and 2) I don't have us driving back and forth and all over the place. I really want to be as efficient as possible. Anyway, please feel free to suggest activities or places to go. We love to be outside, hiking in parks, etc., aren't that into fine dining, and usually don't enjoy museums. Anything else is fair game!

Anyway, please comment!

Sun- Arrive ~11am. Staying at Residence Inn in Sorrento Valley, so I was thinking before we checked in, we would go downtown and take the ferry to coronado and then come back and check out the Gas Lamp district and downtown area.

Monday-Still staying at Residence Inn in Sorrento Valley. I thought we would go to Balboa Park, the Zoo, and checkout the Hillcrest neighborhood.

Tues-Move to Hampton Inn in Del Mar. Birch Aquarium, check out La Jolla, and see a play at the La Jolla Playhouse that night. Can we squeeze in a trip to Point Loma here? Is it close? Is the aquarium worth is?

Wed-Still staying at Hampton Inn in Del Mar. We want to take a day trip and see Anza borrego Park.

Thurs-Still staying at Hampton Inn in Del Mar. Whale Watch in the morning and then? Should we do Point Loma this day instead? What about torrey Pines?

Fri--Drive to Palm Springs, staying at Palm Springs Courtyward for the rest of the trip. Take Tram ride.

Sat--Joshua Tree Park

Sun--Living Desert Zoo and. . .?

Mon--Drive back to San Diego and depart.

Thank you!
SheeponaHill is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,424
Hi Sheep,

Your plan sounds very good, except the day trip to Anza Borrego will be a very long day! If you are driving up and over the mountains, the little town of Julian is worth a visit. Famous for apples and yummy apple pies.

I was very disappointed in the Living Desert - good for a very short visit, maybe an hour.
Dayle is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
When you are in La Jolla, don't miss spending some time at the La Jolla Cove. We loved our time there the first week in Dec. There is a nice grassy park area where you can relax or go down to the small cove there. It's a great place to catch the sunset, also. You may want to go to the Crab Catcher for a casual meal on Prospect St. Yummy clam chowder. Have a great time, your plans look great! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 66
I can only speak for the San Diego part of your trip. Your days are ambitious, but definitely doable if you have the energy. Keep in mind that Sorrento Valley and Del Mar are about 25 minutes driving (without traffic) to downtown/Gas Lamp district and about 20 minutes to downtown La Jolla. La Jolla is closer, but it's those darn traffic lights that will slow you down.

Plan to spend several hours or all day at the zoo. Balboa Park is all about museums, so if you're pressed for time you can always skip it. Hillcrest is close by and has lots of dining options, so plan to eat dinner there.

I would save Pt Loma for the day you do whale watching, since most whale watching boats depart near Pt Loma.

I love the aquarium and recommend it. Plan to spend at least 2 hours there. The Hampton Inn in Del Mar is about a 3 minute drive down the street to Torrey Pines, so you can always squeeze Torrey Pines in whenever you have some free time. Torrey Pines is about a 5 minute drive to the aquarium (get directions from someone since you would be driving the back way). And the aquarium is about 10-15 minutes to downtown La Jolla (again, those darn traffic lights slow you down). So you could do Torrey Pines, the aquarium, and La Jolla in a day.

Anza Borrega day trip will be a very long day, but definitely doable. We do it all the time.

Hope that helps!
Gecko is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Torrey Pines State Reserve is a must for hiking and it is so close to were you are staying.
I agree with Gecko about Anza-Borrego.
The coast from LJ up to Carlsbad is gorgeous and you can spend most of your time just enjoying the coastal areas..
One of the best tacos shops is Roberto's on Carmel Valley Rd/Del Mar and in Solana Beach..cheap and outstanding Mex Food..
The Brigantine for Happy Hour in Del Mar has excellent seafood for cheap and the best fish tacos for $3..
I love the Birch Aquarium and when you go Whale Watching, that would be the time to do Pt. Loma/Cabrillo Monument.
Try and have lunch at Point Loma Seafoods..
La Jolla for restaurants that you can do cheaply are, Crab Catcher (Happy Hour only) Georges at the Cove (Ocean Terrace Lunch) Alfonso's..
Have a great time and look forward to your trip report when you return!

Feb 9th, 2007, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,065
If you like hiking, there is also the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs, and there are hiking trails inside the Living Desert reserve.

Was the Marriott Courtyard Palm Springs the only location you could get? There might be nicer properties in the Coachella Valley.

The Kaiser Grill is a good mid-range restaurant in Palm Springs.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19,419
When in Palm Springs, make sure to try Date Shake (if you tolerate dairy products). This is a local non-alcoholic drink.
FainaAgain is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
We enjoyed a nice meal at George's at the Cove, I know they have been closed for remodeling, so you may want to check and see if they're open before you plan a meal here. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,482
La Jolla Coves is a great place to view the sunset. There is a sidewalk along the coast there that is nice for a slow leisurely walk.

Hotel Del is also a great place to view the sunset (one of my favorite sunset pictures is from there), maybe while you are having a drink at the indoor-outdoor bar. (Watch the movie "Some Like It Hot" before you go.)

We enjoyed the Old Town Trolley Tour of San Diego. It takes you to major points giving you the opportunity to hop on and hop off or just take the circle tour and return (via trolley, unlimited on and off) to places of interest. Old Town was an interesting walk-around.

Balboa park is great. Give yourself several hours to amble around.

Not to be missed is a day-trip through Joshua Tree; excellent place for hiking.

Jerome is an interesting little town...touristy with shops, but it was almost dark and snowing in late January when we were there.
pollyvw is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
We did a similar trip not too long ago and I posted a trip report. Unfortunately, I don't know how to link to my old report.

We drove to Palm Springs via Anza Borrego and it was a much longer trip than I had anticipated. I think there are some alternate routes that would still be scenic but save you some time.

Besides Joshua Tree and the Tram that you have already listed, while in Palm Springs we really enjoyed the hiking in the Tahquitz Canyon and the other Indian Canyons.
lindsyb is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 25
Thank you for all your help and great suggestions. I added La Jolla Cove, Georges at the Cova, the Kaiser Grill, Point Loma Seafood, the Indian Canyons, and Date shakes to our "to do" list. We're really looking forward to this trip and want to get it "right" so thanks again.

Anyway, one more question for everyone. How should we drive from Del Mar to Palm Springs? I read about the Palms to Pines route, but I'm unclear if it applies. The only website I could find had a pretty puny map.
SheeponaHill is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,051
The Tram ride in Palm Springs is nice. Be sure to wear layers, for the cooler temp. at the top. We go to the Living Desert every year with our granddaughter, but if you are going to the SD Zoo, I'd probably skip it. We like hiking in Indian/Tahquitz Canyon. You seem so busy every day, doing lots of driving, why don't you just spend one day enjoying the nice weather and hang around the swimming pool. It is peak time in PS.
MBnancy is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,694
While in Palm Springs last weekend we went hiking out at the Coachella Valley Preserve. There's a short 2 mile hike, and some longer 4, 5 and 6 mile hikes. It was very cool to see the Palm Oasis.

The friends I was with said they had gone to Indian Canyons so many times they wanted a change, and this was a bit less crowded.

About 10 miles outside of Palm Springs off I10 and Thousand Palms Road. They have some guided hikese too, I think maybe Tuesday Wednesday, but you an call at 760-343-4031 for gen'l info if you are interested.

The tram ride looks neat!
Toucan2 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 66
Hwy 74 is called the Pine to Palms highway, and it's a great route to take. From Del Mar, you need to take the hwy 54 (the on ramp is the closest major intersection to Hampton Inn, so you won't miss it) to get to I-15 north. Go north on the I-15 to Temecula. In Temecula, take CA-79 south to 371 (Cahuilla Rd). Continue on 371 to CA-74 East. Drive up to Palm Desert and then down to Palm Springs. You'll get high elevation and some really nice scenic views. I recommend this route although it might add half an hour to your driving time.

Alternatively, you can take CA-79 North in Temecula to CA-74 East to highway 243 in Idyllwild. From there, go north on 243 to I-10 east into Palm Springs.

Or you can take the quick and boring route by staying on CA-79 north up to I-10, and then head east into Palm Springs.

The first route takes you on hwy 74, which is the "Palms to Pines" hwy. The second route takes you on hwy 243, which is the "Panoramic" hwy. These routes will get you nice elevation and beautiful scenery, but will take 3-3 1/2 hours. The last route is not very scenic but you can get to Palm Springs in about 2 1/2 hours.

Please, you might want to verify my directions with a map. I think I have it right but you never know...
Gecko is offline  
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