By Whit Honea
San Diego vacations bring one thing to my mind : beaches. San Diego has some of the best beaches in the country, and a day of sand, sun and surf is just what I need when I roll into town. Luckily, the best San Diego hotels also know the beach is the big draw, which is why you’ll find these great summer beach events to add to the experience.
- Be amazed at the US Open Sandcastle Competition at The Seacoast Inn Imperial Beach, August 6-8. Friday starts with a 21-and-over Sandcastle Dance, followed by a street festival on Saturday with entertainment, food, vendors, and kid competitions. On Sunday, the official event begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., with viewing only available until 4 p.m. because of the tides, naturally. This non-profit event shares proceeds with the local Boys & Girls Club.
- Celebrate at the San Diego County Fair, June 11 – July 5. In addition to the standard foods-on-a-stick, carnival rides and livestock barns, there is a lineup of popular music, an international beer festival and a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Best seat? The top of the Ferris Wheel. Best place to cuddle up with the big, stuffed gorilla your significant other won for you? Indulge in elegance at L’Auberge Del Mar Spa & Resort just 1.2 miles away (about a 25 minute walk from the fairgrounds).
- Get some exercise at the 33rd America’s Finest City Half Marathon, August 15. You’ll take San Diego vacations to a whole new level when you experience this city by race, taking in views of the San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Harbor Island along the Embarcadero, downtown San Diego and Balboa Park. Stay at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, which will be hosting the two-day AFC Fitness Expo. Of course, instead of running, you can also do what I do: sit in Tapatini to enjoy tapas and martinis,while listening to people talk about running.
- Hang ten at the Surf Dog Competition at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, my favorite of all the San Diego hotels. The hotel is big and beautiful, plus watching surfing dogs is just plain awesome. Sadly, every dog in the contest surfs better than I do (must be their lower center of gravity…)
- Cook off at the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off Festival, June 26. The annual event has live music, artists, vendors, rides, beer gardens and, of course, chili. For a central boutique hotel, the vintage-modern Pearl Hotel is located in Point Loma, and only one block away from San Diego Bay. It’s also the perfect place to grab a nap during the festivities or sleep off a day’s worth of indigestion.
Whit Honea is a travel writer living in Seattle with his wife and two children. He packs light and travels often to far-away places, exotic lands and more than a few theme parks.