The famous city of California, San Diego has picturesque landscape, vast coast line, water sports and marine life. San Diego’s Zoo, Sea world and Downtown are major destinations attracting tourists throughout the year. But as we always look for less crowded and not so popular tourist spots, so we tried to explore some offbeat features this city has to offer on our two day trip.
San Diego Skyline view from Centennial park
A perfect place to get the best view of San Diego downtown. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend few hours of calmness in Centennial park overlooking San Diego skyline.
Drive on San Diego-Coronado Bridge
Don’t miss the chance to drive on San Diego- Coronado bridge, a 2.1 miles long 5 lane bridge is part of State route 75. As Coronado Island is a Naval base, it took a while to join Coronado to mainland via bridge. Finally in 1969, this bridge was opened for public,being 200 feet tall it allows naval base ships to pass underneath with no hassle.
Stroll on Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach, most beautiful white sand beach ismainly known for surfing. Driving down the San Diego-Coronado bridge, a few blocks to the left, we got the view of radiant beach. This beach is along the Ocean Boulevard with free parking on road, restrooms and shower facilities on beach. Best time to visit the Coronado beach is early morning.
Have a look at the majestic bungalows in Coronado
On one side of Ocean blvd is spectacular white sand beach and on other is a fine range of mansions and bungalows. Some of them are incredible piece of artwork while some depicts the lavish lifestyles, a few of these are also haunted.
Hiking at Torrey Pines
Located 15 miles away from downtown San Diego, Torrey Pines State Reserve is famous trekking and hiking destination offering various trails in this state reserve with a wide geographical range.
Stop and watch the Majestic Sunset
San Diego offers many places to experience breathtaking sunset. Wide coastline and cliffs of San Diego makes it a photographer’s paradise for capturing stunning sunset. La Jolla Cove and Torrey Pines State Reserve are the best places to experience sunset across the ocean shore.
Sea Lions at La jolla Cove
Sea lions can be spotted in abundance around La Jolla Cove, either on the beach or rocks. These adorable creatures are pretty harmless and ready to pose while soaking in sun. Read it here
Not to miss “Fish Tacos”
As a coastline area San Diego’s restaurants offers profusion of sea food. If you are foodie like us, must try the specialty of San Diego…Fish Tacos, a deep fried white fish on tortilla with some fresh lettuce, salsa and avocado along with slice of lime. Not to mention, San Diego has the best Mexican restaurants mainly in Old Town.
La Jolla Cove is the most picturesque place we have ever visited. As a cove this is a small circular bay, providing protected area to colourful marine life. Beautifully surrounded by the cliffs, it’s widely famous for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and many more activities. But this cove is much more besides these, here are some free things to do in La Jolla Cove:
Spend the day looking at spectacular blue water and waves – We enjoyed our whole day watching ocean tides on rocks and cliffs of the cove. Daytime can be enjoyed next to ocean water, but as the day progresses tides rise to upper rocks and gushing water push you back to the higher grounds.
Spot coastal birds in abundance : La Jolla Cove is home for many birds like Brown Pelicans, Heermann’s Gulls & most commonly spotted ones are Western Gulls. Western Gulls are the big size white gulls from West Coast with yellow foot and can be seen in bunches hovering all around the cove.
Looking Sea Lions laying on the rocks: Of all the beautiful landscapes and sights around La Jolla Cove, the one which we loved the most was spotting poser Sea Lions. They are very commonly sighted around cove relaxing in sun. Usually they are lazy, harmless and habitual of people wandering around, so one can get really close which most of the public actually does. It’s quite disheartening that instead of leaving them alone people continuously disturb them & choose to take selfies.
Windup your day relishing the vivid sunset- The day came to end with witnessing the most amazing sunset. We spend a good amount of time admiring the sun getting down across the ocean end with vibrant shades all across the sky.
Park your car on Coast Blvd or in Ace Parking(public parking) at Prospect Street.
The place smells a lot but you don’t feel it much after a while.
There are also other activities like Snorkeling, Biking & Kayaking.
Must visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution, a 10 min drive from the Cove.
We have been fond of Rajasthan and for some reason the magic has never ended, so last year we took a vacation trip to the most famous hill station in Aravalli Range, Mount Abu to take a break from scorching heat of Delhi.
Mount Abu,highly admired by the tourists as the only hill station in Rajasthan, shares the border with Gujarat. Not only as a tourist spot Mount Abu is also recognized for its religious values. It’s almost 800 kms from Delhi, so driving down in a go with traffic in summers was too tough. We needed a stopover, as we had already paid couple of visits to Jaipur, we opted for Pushkar which is nearly 500 kms and famous for having the only temple of Lord Brahma.
We are not really morning people but we prefer to start our journey early in the morning. Also as we gathered information about route we came to know that the Delhi-Ajmer highway (NH 8) was broken in middle near Kotputli and we have to take the detour to State highway 25 . As we crossed Alwar and then through Sariska National Park via route 248A we joined back on NH 8. But well strech of 85 km(SH 248A) from Alwar to Shahpura was one of the worst driving experience on patch roads, abrupt speed breakers on a road where you cannot drive at more than 30 km/hour. Finally when we joined back on NH the rest 200 kms went by as an easy go.
Pushkar is a valley surrounded by hills on Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east. As per the legend, Pushkar is the only pilgrimage of Lord Brahma which is result of curse of Savitri/Sarasvati, wife of Brahma. It so happened while Brahma was slewing demon Vajranabha, who was trying to kill Brahmas children and harrasing humans, 3 petals from his Lotus fell and created 3 ponds namely Jyeshta, Madhya and Kanishta(first, middle and youngest) Pushkar. Even the name of city is derived from this Pushpa(meaning Flower)+ Kar(meaning Hand)=PushKar.
Next morning we planned our journey further starting with Ajmer Shariff Dargah,the shrine of Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti. This dargah is very popular and mostly crowded to get enter inside, we made visit early in the morning around 6:30 am. If you are going there by your own vehicle or taxi then you have to pay Rs 100 parking per hour. Even at that early in the morning, there was too much of the rush. It took us an hour for the visit.
After taking blessing from Khawaja Gharib Nawaz , we continued our journey on NH-8.
So, finally you can feel the zing of Rajasthan when you see people will bright and colorful turbans with herds of sheeps and camels passing by you every now and then.
Till few kms ahead of Beawar we were having the good time enjoying the beautiful landscape unaware of the coming wrong turn !! We took a diversion from Sojat towards State Highway-62.
3.5 hours on a single road constructed in such a way that you will get shaken every now and then. Well, as been very optimistic we only concentrated on the brighter side that we will reach Pindwara very soon as it connects at NH 14. I started screaming like a kid as we merged onto NH-14.. What a relief !!!! We were 65KM far from our destination, while heading towards the hills, we found our solace. Cool and fresh breeze welcomed us in Mount Abu..!!! We reached our hotel around 2:30pm, the bookings were already done so without any delays we took the keys and went for a nap.
Around 5 pm, we headed towards Nakki lake which was a five minutes drive from our Hotel on Mt Abu Rd. We parked our car and joined people walking towards the Nakki Lake.The first thing you will notice that Gujaratis outnumber everyone else. The way to the lake is through a lively market where you can find people enjoying shopping, local foods, crafts and ice creams.
Nakki Lake is the most famous attraction of Mt Abu offering boat rides and some spectacular view points,one of which is Toad Rock. It is a formation made of igneous rock placed on top of a hill overlooking the lake gives an impression of a toad about to jump into it.
It was time to tighten our shoes to climb up for the sunset point. After a ten minute tiring uphill walk, I can see the crowd climbing on rocks and waiting for the finale. We almost finished our popcorn but there was no sign of sunset as the clouds were ready to shield it. Fortunately, after the wait of an hour we got a glimpse of sun from blanket of clouds. I must say this place is worth a visit for its breathtaking view.
Next morning in Mount Abu was quite chilling, I wasn’t expecting it in the month of June. We got ready and left to cover up our day-2 itinerary. In market you can find number of stalls offering bread omlette, poha, dhokla for breakfast which are light on pocket.
After having poha for breakfast we geared up for Guru Shikhar. Do not forget to buy some fresh fruits like berries and mangoes on your way to the top.
Guru Shikhar is the highest peak on the mountain at 1,722 m (5,650 ft) above sea level & is 15 km far from the main city with a steep uphill drive. It was the home of Guru Dattatreya, an incarnation of the three Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Dattatreya is composed of two words Datta which means given and Atreya referring the sage Atri,his father. There is also a cave shrine of Guru Dattatreya and that’s how it got the name Guru Shikhar. It offers spectacular panoramic view of Aravalli hills and the town.
After spending a good 30-40 minutes enjoying the views from top of the hill we dropped downwards to move on to our next stop Dilwara temples.
Dilwara temples, most acknowledged for their amazing artwork were built between 11th to 13th century AD. These are example of exquisite craftsmanship and stunning marble carvings. One can see minutely carved details over corridors, pillars and arches of the temple, which are simply amazing. A collection of 5 temples, Dilwara is a place to capture in memories only as no photography is allowed here.
As we left Dilwara we drove towards Nakki Lake and enjoyed the beautiful sunset sitting at lake shore.
When it was dark we had our meal at Arbuda Restaurant,offering traditional Rajasthani & Gujarati food and ended the day with some shopping in the market..
Early next morning around 5:00 am we started our descend to the plains and saw the wonderful view of rising sun while we were still rowing around the hills.
We had learnt our lesson and so we decided to keep our tracks on National Highway. It was our longest one day drive covering nearly 800 kms in a go and well it sure was tiring. But we found that its pretty much doable, what you need is NH, couple of stopovers, good song collections, great navigator.
Our first long driving experience was wonderful ,share your story in the comments.