My cousin, who lives in Minnesota, said to me the other day, “It must be such a burden to live in a place where the weather is always beautiful. I can’t imagine you get as excited as we do when summer rolls around.” Here’s the thing; I think I do get just as excited. In San Diego, summer is a state of mind. Despite the fact that there isn’t much of a temperature change — actually, May is gray and June is gloomy — I always look forward to summer. I love seeing all the tourists on the Mission Beach Boardwalk strutting around with their farmer’s tans, and I love people watching on a completely packed beach at La Jolla Shores. There are summer concerts to go to, overeating to be done at the Del Mar Fair, ferry rides to Coronado, ducks to be fed at Lake Murray, tubing to be done at the La Jolla Indian Reservation, and loads of beach bonfires. There is nothing more exciting than a San Diego summer.
La Jolla Indian Campground
Off Highway 76 in the valley just below Palomar Mountain sits the La Jolla Village Indian Reservation. Since the 1930s, San Diego locals have packed up their families on hot summer days to head out to the La Jolla Indian Reservation to camp and lazily tube down the San Luis Rey River. Camp spots go for $30 per vehicle, while a single day use pass is $20. Bring your own innertube or rent one for $10 a day. Visitors are allowed to launch their tubes from any location on the campground. The higher up you launch the longer and sweeter the ride. You can tie your tube to a rock and soak your feet while tossing back frosty beverages with your friends and family. The campground is also home to La Jolla Zip Zoom, the longest zipline in Southern California. For $99 per person or $299 for 4 people, you can zoom above the river and valley at speeds up to 55 mph.
Dive at Harrah’s Resort SoCal
777 Harrah's Rincon Way, Valley Center
Harrah’s Casino, located in Valley Center and surrounded by a mountainous backdrop, offers the Rolls-Royce of pools. Dive, the resort’s main pool, is for guests ages 21 and up. It features a swim-up bar, hot tubs, cabanas, palapas, and firepits. Dive hosts events throughout the summer including Cowboy Boots and Swimsuits at which local country bands serenade swimmers poolside every Thursday through August 23. They have live reggae bands on Sundays beginning in June through August 2 starting at 8pm. If you are interested in a kid-friendly option, Harrah’s Lazy River is open to youngsters and includes two waterfalls. You must be a hotel guest to swim in pools.
La Mesa Farmer’s Market
- 8200-8300 La Mesa Boulevard
- La Mesa
Every Friday from 3pm-7pm, La Mesa hosts a farmer’s market. The market is newly situated in the heart of La Mesa’s downtown district, giving visitors the chance to purchase fresh produce, flower arrangements, and crafts from local artisans and to explore downtown La Mesa’s eclectic shops and eateries. Visitors can pop into Hoffer's for a cigar, head to Centifonti’s to drink a beer out of a boot, or play vintage arcade games at the Coin Haus. Antique lovers can score deals at The La Mesa Antique Mall, while music enthusiast can thumb through the record collection at Re-Animated. After all that shopping, head over to Sheldon’s Service Station to sit under their canopy, sip some tea, and do some serious people watching.
De Leon Dynamics
- 12335 World Trade Drive
- Carmel Mountain
This summer you can unleash your inner carnie, or ninja, if that’s what you’re into, by visiting De Leon Dynamics in Rancho Bernardo. De Leon Dynamics offers unique instruction in aerial and circus disciplines including, aerial silks, aerial hoop, trapeze, and aerial hammock. They offer American Ninja Warrior training through their Parkour and Urban Ninja classes.
Del Mar Racetrack
2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar
The Del Mar Racetrack first opened its doors in 1937. It has been a San Diego summer staple ever since. Opening day for the Racetrack is July 18 and runs through September 3. Tickets to view the races range anywhere from a meager $6 for a reserved seat up to $350 for opening day trackside dining seat. Every Friday and on select Saturdays from July 20-August 31, the racetrack hosts free concerts with race admission. Concerts are for ages 18 and up and are standing room only. Concerts begin shortly after the last race, with this year's lineup to include the Psychedelic Furs, Steel Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Ice Cube, and more.
2688 E. Mission Bay Drive, Pacific Beach
A summer in San Diego is not complete without a visit to Mission Bay. The Bay is a great spot to take out-of-town guests. Pack a picnic lunch or pick up a couple of California burritos to enjoy by the water. Mission Bay hosts dozens of shops were you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, lily pads for the kids, sailboats, or wave runners. Mission Bay Sports Center rents wave runners for $95 an hour. Paddleboards and kayaks go for $18 an hour. If you’re more into land sports, Radd Action Sports on Mission Bay Boulevard offers beach cruisers for $8 an hour, tandem beach cruisers for $10 per hour, and skateboards for $5 per hour.
Sculpture & Cocktails at San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado, Balboa Park
Art, music, cocktails, and summer evening air will be on tap at the June 21 event at the San Diego Museum of Art. Enjoy the exhibit “Epic Tales from Ancient India,” as well as performances of Bollywood dancing, tunes from DJ Gabe Vega, and eats from the Simply Fresh food truck. Ice cream lovers will enjoy the Ice Cream Lounge. Bring out your inner artist by creating bangles or be the canvas for Henna art. This event is for the over 21 set as admission includes two signature cocktails. $10 admission for members, $35 for non-members. The party starts at 6:00 pm.