Heading South To Our San Diego Rest Stop
Getting off the ferry from Catalina Island in Newport Beach at dinner time, we hopped the little 3 car ferry to Balboa Island. We were soon on Hwy 1 heading south. There was no way we would miss repeating another part of our Laguna Beach trip with one final stop at Ruby’s Diner. After a short dinner break, we moved over to Hwy 5 for the quick trip down to San Diego. The Paradise Point Resort and Spa in Mission Bay was our San Diego rest stop.
Relaxing At Paradise Point Resort
The Paradise Point Resort was spread over a large area so rooms were all at ground level in little clusters. This meant a lot of walking to key services (lobby, food, beach). We arrived late. And despite an advance email to the resort, we got a really bad room. In the dark, we had to navigate the vast resort twice until we finally got settled in a room we would accept. It was an upgrade. But was not the smelly badly located room they thought we might settle for. At least the rooms were quite spacious for a longer stay. We could even get a very tiny microwave (if still available) for a modest fee. Although ours was comped because it took us over an hour to get to a room at 9pm.
Our stay at Paradise Island outside of San Diego was planned as five days to relax and be lazy. We had a few things planned. But lounging by the water was on the daily agenda. The resort had 5 pools and blessedly one of them was adult only. Sand beaches were on several sides of the resort but there were used mostly by watercraft and not by swimmers.
The marina offered a wide a variety of water craft for rent. There was the cutest motorized lounge chairs for two. We waited too long to try out the chairs. But I am sure I would have looked great posed in one on our San Diego rest stop!
Our Stay At Paradise Point Resort
Food options were somewhat limited on the resort. But since we had a car, there are lots of options close. We had a fridge and microwave. So me bought breakfast, lunch and wine supplies and picniced in our room. The Barefoot Grill on the resort served an ok breakfast. But the view and ambiance was worth the price of entry. A pond flowed around the restaurant and the pond was full of fish, including quite big leopard sharks. The resident Night Heron Harold stalked around the restaurant. He chased off pigeons and cleaned off plates, not moving very quickly when staff came to shoo him.
If we wanted something lighter, the Caveman Pizza on the resort provided a limited menu. But we built our own 16″ pizza. There was no wheat crust option but the pizza was well cheesed and tasty. One night we took it back to one of the pool decks. A fire pit that had been heated in anticipation of s’mores on the fire later.
Our relaxation stop was shattered when we got the “call home” that we were expecting. The news from home about a sick relative had been getting worse. We spent a few hours changing plans and cancelling reservations (see post on Cancellation Insurance). It would be a more somber and quiet last few days on our San Diego rest stop.
When one day turned cloudy, we decided to indulge in a little retail therapy at the outlet mall in Carlsbad. This turned out to be a smaller outlet mall than many I have visited. But it covered most of the name brands. The entire mall was outdoors. We covered the mall with one big circle. Some stores had great discounts while others offered less. There was a good selection of places to eat after we shopped until you dropped (even a smaller Ruby’s Diner!!).
The Harbour Seals of La Jolla
On our return trip, we detoured into La Jolla. In typical fashion, we wandered slowly along the sea scenic route. We parked and stretched our legs. On the beach, we were again amused to find a colony of Harbour Seals stretched over the beach.
The waves were crashing quite well. But along our beach walk we failed yet again to find a surfer. It may be the biggest thing on my “to do” list that we missed. On a trip of over 2,500+ miles along the west coast from Vancouver we never saw a surfer.
Wandering Through Little Italy
We set aside troubles at home and headed downtown on our the last day of our San Diego rest stop. Explorations started in Little Italy at the Saturday market. There were an amazing variety of foodstuffs. And had we not been leaving the next day, we would have left with bags full of fresh, organic and maybe gluten free food. There were some hand crafted clothing, jewellery and craft stalls with some interesting and unique things. The market was busy with buyers and browsers. While there were big signs forbidding dogs, many owners marched thru the market with mutts on leashes. We would never get used to this dog friendly environment in food places.
Boats and Subs At The Maritime Museum
We made a few purchases at the market and then moved on to the Embarcadero on the water. There was a wide a variety of ships on display – from the USS Midway to the flotilla that is the San Diego Maritime Museum.
A variety of boat tours were available with the purchase of entrance to the Maritime Museum. But you can’t get inside all boats for the basic entry price. Two wooden tall ships – The Star of India and HMS Surprise – were at the front of the quay. There was a Russian sub and the USS Dolphin sub. Several smaller sailing ships and the Berkeley ferry boat rounded out the exhibit. Tickets were good until 9pm which gives you time to space out the viewing. Definitely a good thing to visit on your San Diego rest stop.
Over The Bridge to Coronado Island
We finished up our visit to San Diego and headed to Coronado Island. There was a great panoramic views of San Diego as we sped over the bridge. Or you can pull into the parks or beaches on the island.
No visit is complete with a stop at the iconic Hotel del Coronado. There were 2 weddings being set up at the Hotel. And both looked like they would be idyllic settings.
The outside Island Bar and Grill at the Hotel Del Coronado was a great resting spot. It provided a brief respite from the sun. The menu included a sample of salads, sandwiches and burgers. The BBQ chicken sandwich was large and mostly went home in a doggy bag. David’s burger and fries were cooked just the way he wanted. It was great to sit and look out at the beach and the water while we relaxed. But the dirty looks from the line of waiting patron’s caused us to shuffle on.
We spent the full day in the sun with no sunscreen. So we really weren’t surprised to find ourselves a little lobster coloured when we got back to our room. It took several applications of aloe gel to take some heat out. But we would arrive back home looking a little like we crammed for the beach bunny look on our San Diego rest stop.
Saying Goodbye To San Diego
Two nights in a row we grumbled at the loud banging noises, thinking we got noisy new neighbors. And then we realized that the sound was fireworks at closing time in nearby Seaworld. On two nights we tried to walk to get away from the trees to see the show. But it was done by the time we finally got a spot. On our last night at the resort, we set an alarm so that we would not miss the show again! The view from the marina showed the fireworks over the dock and the palm trees. A nice finish to this San Diego rest stop.
Our last night was sad all the way around as we packed. We were sad to be missing our last week in Las Vegas. But even sadder that the reason we left early was the imminent death of a close relative.
We hadn’t really bought that much. But when we decided that we wanted to take the new pillows and the cooler back, packing became a little more of a challenge. Luckily we had retained our Plus Service on WestJet when we rescheduled our flights, so we had two bags each.
Being Sunday and with a 6am wakeup call, we made the 3 hour drive to LAX with lots of time to return the rental car and grab breakfast. We ended up at he airport more than 3 hours before our international departure. This meant no line up for checkin and even security was relatively fast. We gagged down an airport breakfast, waited for 30 minutes in the Starbucks line and then had only 30 minutes in the departure area.
Heading Home To Toronto
We had a great 4 weeks on the west coast! The San Diego rest stop was a great way to finish the trip off. We were sorry to have missed the 4th of July in Vegas, but family was more important! Vegas would be there for a return visit at another time.
Share your favourite San Diego rest stop tales!
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