|‘Tis the season to set New Year’s resolutions and pledge to do something new, exhilarating, challenging, fun or inspiring in 2016, especially when it comes to travel. Visitors to sunny San Diego can find that the sheer beauty of the region, coupled with a near-perfect climate and an innovative spirit, creates a vibrant and inspired destination where anything is possible.
The following are five resolutions with a San Diego twist that promise visitors a New Year’s journey of discovery, excitement and enjoyment second to none.
Fly Like a Bird – Or Superhero!
For those who have ever dreamed of flying, San Diego offers unique, adrenaline-fueled experiences that come pretty close to the real thing.
- The La Jolla Indian Reservation’s thrilling new La Jolla Zip Zoom, the longest zip line in California, stretches more than a mile between four towering stations nestled in the foothills of Palomar Mountain. Visitors can soar like an eagle at speeds reaching up to 50 mph over breathtaking backcountry including canyons, valleys, lush forests and the San Luis Rey riverbed. During the 2½-hour tour, guests can also learn the history, culture and nature of the La Jolla Indian Reservation whose people—the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians—have lived in San Diego County for thousands of years.
- Fly with the seagulls at the Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla, one of America’s most popular coastal soaring sites. No experience is necessary to take a tandem paragliding or hang gliding flight at the world’s largest tandem operation with professional, experienced instructors. Visitors can enjoy sensational bird’s eye views of San Diego’s dramatic coastline and the cliffs of the Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve and Torrey Pines Golf Course.
- Become a high-flying superhero (capes optional) with Jetpack America. Inspired by the jetpack in James Bond’s Thunderball, the water-powered Jetlev jetpack gives thrill-seekers the chance to realize their superhero dreams, flying high above the waters of Mission Bay.Jetpacking allows pilots to fly up to 40 feet in the air, skim across the water at speeds up to 30 mph, dive below the surface of the water and even pull off the impossible: walking on water. Jetpack America’s new Jetblade, a wakeboard with water jets attached to each foot, is just as thrilling.
Climb A Mountain
Visitors can feel like they are on top of the world by climbing one of the region’s many mountains that offer breathtaking 360-degree views of San Diego. There are several opportunities to bike and hike to the top of a popular local peak or two… or five!
- Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. encompassing more than 7,200 acres near Mission Valley, recently launched a new 5-Peak Challenge where visitors are encouraged to climb to the top of five popular peaks in the park: Cowles Mountain (1,592 feet), the highest point in the City of San Diego; Pyles Peak (1,379 feet); Kwaay Paay (1,194 feet); South Fortuna (1,094 feet), and North Fortuna (1,291 feet). Those who complete the challenge receive a certificate and specially-made pin depicting the five mountains. The current record for completing the challenge is two hours and 20 minutes. Admission to the park is free. Trail maps are available at the state-of-the-art Visitor and Interpretive Center.
- San Diego Fly Rides offers a SoCal Riviera Electric Bike Tour of La Jolla that includes a journey to the top of La Jolla’s highest summit: Mt. Soledad, a prominent city landmark soaring 823 feet with panoramic views of San Diego. Beginning in the Birdrock neighborhood, the La Jolla bike path takes riders north along the sparkling Pacific Ocean then up Mt. Soledad; the climb is easy with the bikes’ electric-powered boost. At the top, explore the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial and take in the views before an exhilarating ride down the mountain to the scenic shoreline to check out playful seals and sea lions, sea caves and tide pools.
Commune With Nature
Travelers can awaken their sense of wonder by exploring the splendor of San Diego’s rich sea life.
- Everyday California offers Whale Watching Kayak Tours from La Jolla Shores, now through March 1, 2016. This unforgettable adventure offers paddlers the opportunity to view majestic grey whales on their annual migration from the Arctic to the lagoons of Baja, Mexico. Expert kayak guides take guests two miles offshore alongside the path of the migrating whales to prime viewing spots, while teaching interesting facts and history about the surrounding area and marine life.In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Ocean Etiquette Guidelines established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, kayakers remain at least 100 yards away from whales and 50 yards away from dolphins, ensuring a safe and wondrous viewing experience.
Travel Internationally – Two Countries in One Day
San Diego features the uniqueness of a two-nation vacation destination, with Tijuana, Mexico located across the border. Just 17 miles from downtown San Diego, Tijuana makes a perfect daytrip for visitors looking to add more stamps to their passports!
- Recognized as one of the world’s most visited cities with more than 40 million border crossings annually, Tijuana hums with activity day and night, offering duty-free shopping, festive bazaars, authentic Mexican cuisine, arts and culture like the landmark Tijuana Cultural Center, glittering nightlife and more. The rich and colorful culture of Tijuana can be discovered on Avenida Revolución, the city’s bustling main thoroughfare and tourist center, where shopping and dining opportunities abound, including the legendary Caesar’s restaurant, creator of the Caesar salad.Turista Libre, led by an American journalist who calls Tijuana home, takes guests on day trips across the border to experience the city as a local and discover its overlooked and underrated gems including museums, markets, breweries, wineries, murals/street art, fairs, dining delights, architectural icons and other cultural hotspots.
- The allure of Mexico also extends farther south and east, with beachside Rosarito and Puerto Nuevo (“Lobster Village”), the cruise ship port of Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe wine growing region and the quaint border town of Tecate, home of the world-renowned Rancho La Puerta spa retreat.
- Ticketed airline passengers can now take advantage of a convenient new gateway to Mexico, the Cross Border Xpress (CBX), connecting the Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) directly to a new facility in San Diego via a secure pedestrian bridge border crossing. With the capacity to serve more than two million passengers per year, the CBX meets U.S. and international security standards and offers bilingual customer service, secure U.S. parking, passenger amenities including dining and duty-free shopping, as well as comfortable indoor and outdoor guest waiting areas. TIJ offers a wide range of flights 24 hours a day to more than 30 destinations in Mexico.
Eat Local, Think Global
Visitors can immerse themselves in San Diego’s fresh and flavorful food culture, getting to know hot local chefs and farmers and food purveyors of the finest locally-sourced ingredients that take center plate in most restaurants citywide.
- Eating locally takes a delicious turn in January 2016 with the grand opening of Liberty Public Market, a sprawling new food hall in Liberty Station, a historic collection of buildings that once housed Point Loma ’s Naval Training Center and is now restored into a thriving arts, culture, dining and shopping area. Reminiscent of iconic markets such as Seattle’s Pike Place and the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the $3 million project transforms a 1920s-era, warehouse-style building into an indoor-outdoor marketplace featuring select local purveyors of seasonal produce, cheeses, sausages and meats, baked goods, desserts, locally caught seafood and more. Mess Hall, Liberty Public Market’s unique in-house restaurant, will feature a menu of ingredients sourced from the market’s 30-plus food artisans and vendors.
Resolve to visit San Diego in 2016, a beach city sure to inspire and amaze with a plethora of activities and attractions.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org.