San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park

DSC_0044We took this 3 day trip trip for soaking up some sun and a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s week. Stayed at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.
San Diego is just beautiful. I can surely say San Diego is one of those places I would love to visit again!

Day 1: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I bought the Safari park entrance tickets ($54 per person) from Expedia to gain points. Do check for Safari entrance tickets availability on Groupon as well.

Bought the Caravan Safari tickets ($125 per person online, $135 at the entrance) from San Diego Safari Park official website, as these are not available on Expedia. Safari is expensive but trust me, it’s worth the price! There are 10-15 ppl including a guide on the cart. Our guide shared amazing things about the animals and the park as well as answered our curiosity questions. The best part is feeding Giraffes (They eat leaves) and Rhinos (Apples). Loved this experience. How often do you get to see a 2 day old baby Rhino?! It was incredible! I personally recommend this safari.

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Balloon Safari – $14 for a 15 min Balloon ride which offers thrill as well as amazing views of the whole Safari Park from 400ft. You can see all animal enclosures from the top and feel the rush of the wind. Explore your adventure side. If you are planning to take a real Balloon ride in the future, this balloon safari is a good prep.

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Cheetah Run – This is a free event where you see a Cheetah running at 70mph! Reach the venue 30 min before the event timing to secure a place with closer view. You can also pay $12 and see this from a reserved area where you will get a chance to take pictures with it.

There are many other activities and animal exhibits in the park that you can check on the website.

Day 2:  Joshua Tree National Park

For those who crave wide open spaces, a visit to Joshua Tree National Park is not to be missed. An easy drive from Palm Springs, this 800,000 acre natural preserve offers one of North America’s most starkly beautiful and distinct natural settings, especially in springtime when wildflowers are in full bloom.

  • Hidden Valley Hike – 1 mile, 1 hour
  • Keys View – Accessible by Car.
  • Skull Rock – visible from the road, spent 5 min clicking picturesDSC_0073DSC_0071
  • Cholla Cactus Garden – 30 min loopIMG_7810.JPG
    Hikes Guide:

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Day 3: Exploring San Diego

  1. La Jolla Coves – Spent 3 hours here. Beautiful beaches,  coves, close encounters with Seals and Sea lions. My fav place in San Diego!DSC_0108IMG_8097DSC_0122 (1)IMG_7950DSC_0134DSC_0145
  2. Ocean beach – Have lunch at the Pier, offering beach views.IMG_8110IMG_8186IMG_8188
  3. Sunset cliffs – great site for watching sunset, reading a book in the sunshine ❤IMG_8207
  4. Point Loma – National Monument Site, a lighthouse, offer views of the Pacific ocean as well as Downtown San Diego. Situated in the Naval base region. Open till 5 PM.DSC_0202DSC_0201
  5. Little Italy – Near Downtown San Diego. Tried a new Dessert – iDessert by Jean Philippe. 
    We had only 3 days but if you have more time, these are the places to go:

  6. Coronado Del Mar
  7. Encinitas Wall art – Graffiti, a perfect photo-op.
  8. SeaWorld – Watch BlackFish movie and you will know why!
  9. Potato Chip Rock – 8 mile hike
  10. Torrey Pines State park
  11. Annie’s Canyon trail Solana Beach
  12. The Secret Swings Park in the back of the Birch Aquarium parking lot and find the hidden bridge that leads to the trail up. From Torrey Pines Rd, turn left onto La Jolla Shores Drive. After about 1/4 of a mile down start to look for parking preferably near UCSD Coastal Apartments. Once parked walk along the UCSD apartments until you see Discovery way. Make a left at Discovery where you will then cross the street. You will see 3 metal poles. Once you pass those if you look to the right you will see the tree swings overlooking La Jolla.
  13. Sunny Jim Cave is accessible via a hand-dug tunnel through a gift shop in La Jolla. It’s $5 for adults and $3 for children (with the added bonus of a plastic sea creature to take home). For a uniquely San Diego experience, you’ll venture down the narrow staircase of 145 steps until you reach a platform leading to an incredible ocean view — where snorkelers and kayakers drift by.
  14. The Inn at Sunset Cliffs Located in Point Loma / Ocean Beach, the Inn at Sunset Cliffs invites visitors to come swim in their outdoor heated pool for $10 a day.
  15. Magic happens twice a year at Scripps Pier when the sunset perfectly aligns with the pier posts. The exact dates differ by year, but it typically falls between May and August. The pier is part of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, a department of UC San Diego. While it’s normally closed to the public (as it’s used for research) there are two ways to tour it. Volunteer guides host free 50-minute historical daily tours through the campus and pier, you just need to sign up online by noon the day prior. And two days per month from July-October, the Birch Aquarium hosts a full moon walk at dusk. You can sign up for $30 through the aquarium.
  16. If you are fan of nightlife, Gaslamp quarter is known for it.

Tips for the trip:

Find all info on Joshua Tree National Park here: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/placestogo.htm

Hotel: Four Points by Sheraton – Booked from Expedia. Choose the breakfast option, it’s worth it.

Rental Car from Thrifty – Bad experience. Not recommended.

Download offline maps for the National Park and the area surrounding it. I did for San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park region.

Buy Fruits, Snacks, Water bottles (24 500ml bottle crate was good for 3 days) from target/any grocery store.

For sun protection, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.

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