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The PSG Blog
Halloween is right around the corner and if you’re looking to get in the spooky spirit with some pumpkin picking, we’ve got you covered. Here is a guide to the best of the best pumpkin patches around San Diego so you can enjoy some quality time with your family or significant other and get a great pumpkin to carve before the ghostly holiday.
Bates Nut Farm:
I used to come here as a kid and now as an adult I make my boyfriend come with me to relive some childhood memories. There are pony rides, farm animals to feed and pet, a straw maze, and a large pumpkin garden where you get to pick your own pumpkin.
There’s also a great little market where you can purchase a variety of homemade goods from trail mixes to chocolates to jams. They even have homemade ice cream and BBQ stands!
These stations are everywhere in San Diego and are great for a quick stop to get a pumpkin and get in the Halloween spirit! There’s one even in Mission Valley, which is real close to all the PSG rentals. So you can be a part of the October festivities even if you are on vacation. Parking and admission for these stations are FREE!
Pumpkins, rides and entrance into the corn maze are priced individually.
Julian Milling Company:
If you are willing to travel into the mountains to check out this pumpkin patch you’ll be rewarded with a small town that specializes in offering some serious holiday cheer. Julian is known for it’s delicious pies that are now sold in most grocery stores all over San Diego. They also make some mean apple cider which is the best apple cider you’ll have, whether its hot, cold or hard.
Lavender Hill Pumpkins:
Fallbrook might be a bit of a trek, but this pumpkin patch is an OG favorite in San Diego. This beautiful family owned farm is known for it’s big or simply unique pumpkins. I mean you can find some of the most disgusting pumpkins you have ever seen at this pumpkin patch. And for Halloween, well that just might be perfect!
San Diego is known as a summer city, where the sun always shines and the beach is always an option. Most of the malls here are outdoors, a lot of the restaurants have patio seating and some of the best attractions of San Diego require you to be outside. So what do you do when it’s raining in the greatest city in the world?
There are a few options and they might still be just as fun as the activities you can enjoy when the sun is hot and shining!
Tiki Town Adventure Golf in Belmont Park is a mostly-indoor mini golf attraction. The tiki themed game will keep summer fresh on your mind as you enjoy making your way through the some-what complex holes. Enjoy a well-deserved dole whip at the end of the game in the small tiki bar next to the mini golf building. You can only get this pineapple soft serve two places in California, here in Belmont Park or Disneyland, so take advantage!
Nothing is more relaxing on rainy day than enjoying a daytime flick. Try Arclight in La Jolla’s UTC which not only serves great films, delicious drinks and foods but a luxury movie-going experience. There is also an AMC in Mission Valley or Fashion Valley, which is relatively close to all of the PSG properties in Mission Bay.
The indoor skating rink in the mall at UTC, La Jolla is open all-year round! Which means rain or shine you can fall on your butt and make a fool of yourself any time you want. They offer ice-skating lessons too if you’re looking to impress a date or you can just enjoy a few rounds the rink until the rain stops.
Escape rooms are a fun bonding experience for a family or a group of friends. You get to figure out a puzzle together and get your adrenaline pumping at the same time. These games are exciting, unique and may be a little scary to younger participants but they’re gernally fun for everyone!
See here for the list of top 5 Escape Rooms in SD.
I don’t know about you but I love theme parks in the rain! Sea World is especially great because of how close it is to our PSG Rentals, but also because most of the rides, shows and attractions are water based so you’re likely to get wet anyways! Also the crowds will have greatly thinned out because of the rain so there won’t really be any long wait times for anything!
Torrey Pines Reserve
Tip: If you’re lucky you might get the change to see some dolphins, keep an eye out as you enjoy the breathtaking views of the never-ending ocean.
Sea Caves at Cabrillo National Monument
Tip: Make sure it’s low tide when you’re visiting this scenic spot or you will either be swept away or drenched by the incoming waves.
Tip: If you go in the early morning hours you’ll beat the heat and the crowds and be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise against the backdrop of perfect purple mountains.
Potato Chip Rock
This hike is for all the Instagram lovers out there! This 7.5 mile hike from the Mt. Woodson trail is located near Poway and like Iron Mountain can get real hot real fast. While this hike might not seem like much as you’re travelling up the steep inclines, the top is picture worthy as you can sit, stand, or hang off a thin but sturdy rock that sits at the very top.
Tip: This trail can get pretty packed on the weekends. We recommend trying it during the workweek so you don’t have to wait an hour or so just to take a picture on the famous Potato Chip Rock.
Cedar Creek Falls
This moderate 4.2 mile trail is a sunny one that ends up at an oasis marked by a waterfall and pool. Be sure to bring your bathing suits, extra water, sunscreen and hats as this trail can pretty sweaty but the chance to jump into a cool fresh-water spring is well worth the effort.
Tip: During the summer this area gets pretty dry and exposed to crazy temperatures. You might just get to the finish line and find that the waterfall is all dried up. Not cool. So save this trail for the winter and spring seasons.
If you are vegan or transitioning into becoming vegan and you are visiting San Diego you don’t need to worry there are plenty of food options for you! Whether you enjoy cooking with locally grown produce or eating out, there are numerous options for you here in SD!
Here are a couple of our favorite Vegan options in San Diego:
Cook at Home:
If you are more into trying out new recipes with fresh, organic produce and whole foods look no further than one of the many farmers markets hosted in San Diego. Whether you want to venture to North Park, North County, Little Italy, Hillcrest of Pacific Beach there are farmers markets happening every week. They have the best of the best foods at reasonable prices for you to gather and wow friends and family with. Check out our local area guide for a complete list of farmers' markets dates and times.
Also all of the PSG vacation rentals come with a full kitchen, stocked with all the essentials you need to cook a homemade meal!
This vegetarian/ vegan hot spot has two locations in Clairemont and North Park. It’s menu is massive and heavily features Asian inspired cuisine. If you’re into vegan sushi for instance you can get a large of range of creative and unique rolls that will have you wonder why you don’t always have vegan sushi.
This yoga studio/café offers a vegan menu complete with vegan pastries. Located on the roof of a La Jolla building, you not only get some “feel-good” foods but an excellent view of downtown La Jolla. Maybe take a stab at aerial yoga before hand to increase your appetite cause these portions are huge!
Did someone really mix an all plant-based cuisine with fast food? Yes, they did and it’s awesome! This local spot is right near all of the PSG vacation rentals in Ocean Beach. They even have vegan ice cream so you can get a “guilt-free” vegan burger and shake!
This downtown classic is located in Little Italy and is the perfect place for the adventurous vegan. They have a little bit of everything from a broad range of cultures. This might be the only restaurant where you can get both plant-based nachos and a vegan bibimbamp bowl.
Craving a burger? No problem! San Diego is not only home to some of the best Californian-Mexican food around but also some of the juiciest and biggest burgers. So depending on if you’re looking for a quick stop for a solid burger or a place with great atmosphere, better drinks and a good burger, here is a complete list of the best of the best in San Diego when it comes to burgers:
2910 Damon Ave
If you’re new to the west coast then you have to try the one and only In-n- Out burger. There’s a lot of talk about these burgers throughout the internet wilderness, so you might be skeptical. Don’t be. This place will match and exceed all of your expectations without hurting your wallet. Make friends with a local and get a tutorial on the “secret menu”.
Our recommendation: The #2, with light-well done fries and a lemon-up!
3408 30th St
While you’re checking out the art scene of North Park, stop by The Smoking Goat but make sure it’s on a week day and it’s before the dinner rush. You won’t get into this hot spot without a reservation during the weekend or the popular dinner hours. The brioche bun and grilled onions make this burger a favorite, but the truffle, duck-fat fries that come with it take it to the next level!
777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
The Neighborhood bar is a staple in the Downtown San Diego nightlife. It’s the perfect setting for the young hipster generation, but their burger can speak to everyone. This burger hosts guyere and blue cheese, onions and arugula, no sauce. Sometime a simple burger and a good beer to wash it down is the recipe for happiness.
3175 India St,
This bar has been on our Local Area Guide since forever. We love it! Whether you’re coming here for a drink, the beginning or the end of a night out or a meal with friends this is the place to be. Now let’s talk burger. Lucky for you this burger is on their late night dining menu as well as their dinner menu, which means you get a chance to get this locally, organically, deliciously crafted burger just about any time of the night.
Now that you have splurged on attractions and vacations throughout the summer, you might be thinking it’s time to simmer down and to get back on track financially. Maybe you have a family reunion coming up in San Diego or a business trip where you are lucky enough to be sent to California’s finest city, either way we still want you to have a taste of San Diego's culture and history even if you're not willing to spend large amounts of money!
So here is a list of all the great things you can enjoy on your next trip to San Diego for free! But sifting through the dozens of websites, Yelp reviews and Facebook suggestions can be exhausting.
So we thought we’d make your research into free activities to do in San Diego a bit easier and give you a list of 10 of our favorites:
Timken Museum of Art
Unlike the other museums in Balboa Park, which are free on only one Tuesday a month, the Timken Museum of Art is always free! Here you get to enjoy both classical and modern art in an air conditioned space, which can be a savior if you’re walking around Balboa Park in the heat of San Diego’s early fall months.
There are 33 beaches in the San Diego area. That’s right, 33! So if you’re looking for some “me” time or just trying to get your tan on take a day at one of the beaches in central San Diego or North County San Diego. It won’t cost you a dime and at this time of year the beaches are slowly becoming less crowded with tourists.
There are so many different hikes to do in San Diego it would take me a couple hours to go over them all and tell you what make each and every one of them so special. But a personal favorite is the Torrey Pines Reserve, where you get a bird’s eye view of the ocean over some sandy cliffs, you can even walk down to the actual beach and if you’re lucky catch a view of some dolphins!
Looking for a romantic, but budget-friendly activity? How about a picnic for two looking over the city of San Diego? And if you go between the hours of 8am and 8pm you can bring a bottle of champagne or red wine without getting into trouble! That's right, Presidio Park is one of the few parks in San Diego that you can legally drink at!
Dive In Movies @ The Pearl
The Pearl hotel host free movies every Wednesday night by their pool. They also serve snacks and have a full bar available for those ready to splurge a little. Check out the full list of what’s playing here!
This is a lovely little hike or walk or drive depending on what you’re feeling up to and it’s right over La Jolla! Enjoy the ocean views, the monument and the other tourists that come to crowd the popular spot.
If you’re looking for a beautiful spot close by to enjoy the sunset and walk down to the ocean this is the spot for you. It’s nearby our vacation rentals too, located right in Ocean Beach.
Seaport village is a quaint little area located right on the edge of the Gaslamp quarter. It looks over the bay downtown and hosts a variety of little shops that are fun to poke around. There are also always a good number of street vendors and performers that highlight the experience.
Have a free Sunday? Try going to the Balboa Park International Houses, they are truly adorable! Each mini home represents a different country and is hosted by volunteers ready to share food, music and history with you. Donations are readily accepted!
Julian is a small mountain town on the outskirts of San Diego. The best times to visit here is in the late fall and early winter, the chilled weather goes perfectly with freshly baked apple pies and hot apple cider. But really just walking the cute town with loved one is probably the best part and really gets you in the mood for the holidays.
So here are 3 delicious last-minute marinade recipes for every San Diegan who is determined to get their grille on and enjoy the outside despite the gloomy weather:
This Morton Salt recipe is a one of a kind and will have your friends and family craving more! You only have to marinade the steak for an hour so if you are deciding to pull off a last minute Labor Day party this might be the perfect recipe for you!
Maybe you’re in a taco mood today, tacos are great for small are large parties and can be made any way you want them. The most important ingredient is the mean or beans that you make the taco with right? Try this marinade for some chicken with a zing!
*This link also gives you 6 more ideas for chicken marinades just in case you’re feeling something a bit different than tacos!
Feeding a bunch of vegetarians or vegans or just wanting some tasty veggies? No worries! Try this marinade out; it mixes soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to make your grilled vegetables stand out!
Looking to make this veggie based meal more hearty? Try the same marinade on some tofu before you grill it. The tofu will absorb the marinade and then become nice and crispy on the outside.
UPDATE: The sun has come out everyone! Time to get grilling and enjoy the last of this summer’s heat before fall kicks in!
As the summer winds down we have one last holiday to enjoy the long, hot summer days here in San Diego. The real question is though what is the best way to spend that Labor Day in San Diego?
For tourists there can be an overwhelming number of activities to do in San Diego that they don’t even know where to start especially if they’re just here for the holiday weekend.
So to help out here are our top 3 suggestions of the best things to do in San Diego during the upcoming Labor Day weekend!
This goes on through September 4th and although the place might be a little busier on this summer holiday the lights, music and attractions are well worth the trip. You will also be able to enjoy the opening of the Zoo’s newest attraction, Conrad Preby’s Africa Rocks! So don’t miss this one on the upcoming holiday.
With so many awesome craft breweries here in San Diego it could take you the entire three-day weekend to experience most of them! So for the beer lovers out there, we recommend taking a craft brewery tour so you can safely venture from one brewery to the next. It’s a great way to spend the holiday with friends and get a little slice of San Diego culture while you’re at it.
This nautical festival takes over the North Embarcadero during Labor Day weekend! There are tons of things to enjoy and see for every sea lover including live music, a beer garden, local food vendors and a kid’s zone. There is something here for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.
Do I need to rent a car when in SD?
This is a question that often comes up for tourists who are vacationing in San Diego for the first time. San Diego is a big city with its counties spreading out over a vast area, so how are tourists meant to get around? Is renting a car the best and easiest way to see and experience the most in San Diego?
While the answer isn’t a firm yes and there are buses, the Amtrak, tours, Uber and other modes of transportation, I would strongly recommend tourists rent a car while vacationing here in San Diego. Here is why:
San Diego is huge.
San Diego is a big city and if you want to venture to the beautiful beaches of North County or go on one of the great hikes in Mission Trails Regional Park or even check out the quaint downtown area of Coronado, you’re life would be made a lot easier if you had a car.
So if you’re looking to see the most you can of grand San Diego and discover the hidden gems this city has to offer you might want to get a rental car. It will allow you to experience more of the city and get lost in it in your own way, thus giving you more freedom to explore ALL of San Diego.
Public transportation is “eh”.
Unless you’re in downtown San Diego and only spending your vacation time in the downtown San Diego area, where you can pretty much walk everywhere or take advantage of the trolley system, it’s pretty hard to get around San Diego by bus or train. With the Amtrak there are only 4 stops within the San Diego area; Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town and Downtown. This limits you pretty drastically and would still likely require you to take an Uber to your vacation rental, hotel or desired location.
As for the buses, they rarely run on time and stop running relatively early which can put you in a bit of a pickle if you’re relying on public transport after a night out. This makes Uber or Lyft the better option, especially if you’re only staying in San Diego for a short time but that brings us to the next point.
Uber or Lyft adds up.
If you’re planning on mostly utilizing the handy Uber or Lyft app during your stay in San Diego you should think about a few setbacks. If you’re planning on enjoying a Padres game, a night out Downtown or in PB on a Friday or Saturday or even attending an arts festival in North Park or Hillcrest there will almost definitely be a surge. This means that your average price to go home or to go out while using the apps will go up significantly.
Not to mention using these convenient apps when you have a whole family to cart to different locations all over San Diego, which requires all 4 seats in a car, is going to start to add up quickly. This is especially true if you’re planning on venturing out of the immediate area of your vacation rental or hotel, going to one of San Diego’s theme parks, one of San Diego’s farther counties or are simply spending a longer time here in San Diego.
3 Summer Margarita Recipes #MargaritaMonday
Inspired by Margarita Monday here our 3 great, summer margarita recipes to enjoy on Mission beach or the balcony of one of our lovely vacation rental properties!
So if you’re not feeling up to going to one of the many great bars or restaurants in San Diego, sit back and relax with one of these homemade margarita recipes that will be sure to “WOW” everyone.
A refreshing way to end a summer day, this margarita will make you the talk of your friendship group or family. And it’s so easy! You don’t even need a blender for this one of a kind, delicious drink that will make you forget the San Diego heat.
This margarita combines two of my favorite things in the world: strawberries and mangos! This tropical treat is nice and sweet, disguising the tequila perfectly and making you and your friends come back for more!
This margarita isn’t your typical margarita as it’s creamier than the others, making it more like a pina colada than a margarita. Not that we’re complaining! This margarita might be the easiest on the list to make and won’t disappoint! You might just keep yourself on the balcony drinking the sun away!
Top 5 California Burritos in San Diego
As most people know San Diego is the home of some of the best taco shops and Mexican restaurants in the U.S. But what San Diego locals know best is that the California burrito is one of the most delicious, most awesome, and inspiring California-Mexican foods our town has to offer.
But who makes this carne asada, sour cream, and french fry filled delicacy the best in San Diego? Well you’ll never find a group of San Diego locals that agree on just one place, everyone has their favorite. But to help you and other tourists narrow down the search for the perfect California burrito we created a list of our top 5 favorites!
3753 30th St
Located in the hub of North Park, this place is hard to beat. Its open 24 hours and has a drive through window. They’re burritos range from $5+ and the California burrito sits on a throne in this small taco shop. Don’t forget to try the salsa they give you as well! It offers a perfect kick to an already perfect burrito.
820 Birmingham Dr
You might have to venture to North County for this local favorite but the trip will be well worth it. Don’t get deterred by the fact that it is attached to a gas station and car wash. While you enjoy your mouth-watering California Burrito that is as big as your forearm, you can take in the piteresque views of the Cardiff cliffs and beach. If you still have room try one of their $0.99 fish tacos.
3. Don Bravo
This burrito joint might be a little more upscale than what you were expecting but that doesn’t make it’s California burrito any less good. With ocean views, non-traditional options like burgers and ceviche this is one place you’re not going to want to miss.
4. The Taco Stand
This taco shop has 3 locations in La Jolla, Downtown and Encinitas. But the La Jolla shop has freshly made churros, which are the perfect way to end a day at the beach and California burrito meal. Be prepared to wait though, this shop is popular with locals and tourists alike so it almost always has a line out the door.
You can find Roberto’s taco shops all over San Diego from Carlsbad to Tijuana. These joints are surfer classics and a “must-go” if visiting the sunny beaches of SD. These California burritos are greasy and messy just like we, here in San Diego, like ‘em. Perfect for the end of a night out or to refuel after surfing for a few hours.
Congratulations you have rented your first vacation home with PSG in San Diego! You are new to San Diego, but are determined to not waste your precious vacation time on the tourist traps but instead want to explore the local scenery, museums, restaurants and nightlife.
So PSG is here to help! Here is a guide to really as the locals do.
9:30 AM: After a bit of exercise you’re stomach is going to wonder if you forgot about it. It’s time for some yummy food to keep up your energy and make your stomach a happier camper. How about The Olive Café? Steps away from your temporary San Diego home, you can enjoy a morning cup of joe and a fresh, delicious breakfast!
12:00 PM: San Diegan’s love their nature, so if you’re wanting to continue your daily life as a local, stay outside and walk around the nearby shops in PB or walk along the longest pier in San Diego in OB. Maybe stop at Hodad’s for one of their world famous burgers or The Mad Beet for a lighter, healthier Acai bowl!
2:00 PM: You’re still on vacation, even if you are an honorary local, so why not try one of the hundreds of craft breweries in San Diego! You can even hop around with one of San Diego’s brewery tours, which even locals love, or just pick two or three at random that are nearby. Check out the “Craft Beer Scene” section of our Local Area Guide for our favorite local breweries!
5:30 PM: Almost time for sunset, which means it’s time to set up your picnic and bonfire at Mission Bay. It also means its time for dinner! There are plenty of barbeque pits in mission bay where you can cook up some hot dogs or veggie burgers. After those couple of beers, all you might want to do is lounge in the sand, take a nap and gain a tan.
7:00 PM: Sun is setting and the brilliant oranges, pinks and red light up the San Diego, summer sky. You can start your bonfire now and get out the s’mores makings to everyone’s delight. Nothing beats a good sunset and s’mores!
8:00 PM: It’s dark now but it never really gets too cold in San Diego, so with a couple of blankets and sweatshirts you can stay out and enjoy the night sky. It gets even better when the Sea World Fireworks light it up. It might be for the guests of the amusement park but locals loves the sky spectacular just as much as the tourists.
9:00 PM: Now it might be time to go home and enjoy a couple of hours with a new book, a new TV show or a family film. If you’re with friends, now might be just the beginning of your night. Which means you’re heading to the bars of PB or the Gaslamp area to dress up and enjoy the local nightlife scene! Check out our “Nightlife” section in the Local Area Guide to see what our favorite bars are.
Now you can live like a local! After this day you might just want to move here to San Diego and become a real “local”.
Here are 3 top reasons why you should choose Mission Bay as your next vacation spot:
Here in Mission Bay you get the very best of everything San Diego has to offer. If you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a fun theme park for a family day or a night downtown, Mission Bay is just a few minutes away from it all!
Directly surrounding Mission Bay and all of the vacation rentals we offer are multiple beaches, Liberty Station, SeaWorld, Belmont Park as well as popular tourist towns, Pacific Beach and Point Loma. This means there is no shortage of diverse restaurants, bars, hikes and entertainment literally steps from your new vacation home. There are also a series of highly ranked hotels in Mission Bay in case you’re looking for a relaxing day at the spa.
Downtown and Balboa Park are a 15 minute drive from the bay, which means that you can enjoy a few museums, a trip to seaport village or an evening drink in the Gaslamp district without going too far from your temporary San Diego home.
Yes, in Mission Bay you get to enjoy fireworks throughout the summer and holiday seasons. This is thanks to SeaWorld and their popular fireworks spectacular, which is located close to all of our available rental properties. This allows you and your family the chance to enjoy a SeaWorld’s evening display of fireworks right from your vacation living room, porch or balcony.
Have an evening picnic or barbeque on the beach or enjoy one of the many bonfire pits that Mission Bay offers and wait for the light display in the summer night sky. Kids and parents alike are sure to enjoy this added surprise to their vacation.
All of the available vacation properties we offer here at PSG are either on a beach or steps away from one. This allows you and your family to enjoy and explore a wide array of aquatic sports like kayaking, snorkeling or scuba diving. You can even try your hand at kite surfing or rent a board and practice “standing up” for the first time! There are rental equipment services all over Mission Bay to teach, coach and guide you through San Diego’s finest waters.
Kids will love the available bonfire pits and varied children’s parks that are scattered throughout the area. You can spend a whole day out on the water and then watch the sunset while keeping warm beside the fire pit. Did someone say S’mores?