Off The Beaten Path: San Diego

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One of the coolest things about my west coast journey was seeing the change in landscape and climate as I made my way down the coast from Portland to San Diego.  Portland, all green and crisp, with rocky, foggy beaches…San Francisco, so blue, the water, and so majestic with its dramatic coastline and cliffs…Santa Barbara, warmer beaches, and a mix of hills and valleys…and finally San Diego. As I drove from Santa Barbara down the coastline, the land got noticeably flatter, and you sense the large city that is LA well before you pass through it.  San Diego has so many different parts to it, from downtown with its tall buildings to the beach towns around it, each distinctly their own.  I was staying in La Jolla, but the first place I went was Ocean Beach.

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About five years ago I drove out west with no real destination in my mind. I took my time, stopping in various cities and feeling them out, in hopes of eventually staying in one for good. I knew I would end up somewhere in California, and the first glimpse I had of the Pacific Ocean was in the town of Ocean Beach.  It was such a special moment on that journey, and the town has stayed in my heart ever since.  When I stepped out on that beach years ago there was a man playing a song on his guitar that I loved, and I swear that same man was still there today. Ocean Beach is a surf town south of Mission and Pacific Beaches, with a vibe all its own.  The main street, Newport Ave, is lined with shops, cafes, and massive antique stores that you can lose hours in, hunting for treasures in dark corners.  It’s a great place for used record shopping and surfer watching, two of my favorite things :).

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I love stopping at Jungle Java for a coffee and breakfast.  It’s a coffee and garden shop, so the decor is like sitting outside in a beautiful garden, and their acai bowl is heavenly.

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Before I knew it, it was time to head back to my hotel in La Jolla and check out.  I stayed at the Hotel La Jolla, located right by the beach with beautiful views of the coast.  I loved the lobby of the hotel with its large glass windows, greenery, and beautiful wicker chairs.  La Jolla is north of Ocean Beach, a majestic strip of coast where you can swim with the sea lions and climb out onto rocks where waves crash, spraying you with cool sea water.  It was the perfect place to take one last walk and reflect on this journey.

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I feel so grateful for this experience…and even though I was nervous at first about doing it alone, I am so glad that I did.  I learned so much about myself on this trip and was able to really think clearly for the first time in a while.  That’s one of the best things about traveling – the ability to look back in at your life from the outside, from a whole different perspective, and realize what really matters.  I was also struck on this trip several times with the realization of how big and beautiful this world is, and how much of it there is out there for us to explore.

I hope you guys have enjoyed reading about my off the beaten path adventure! Enter for a chance to win your own west coast dream trip :).

A huge thank you to Beach Tomato, and to Kimpton Hotels for making me feel so at home!

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Comments

Juliette Laura -August 31, 2013, 10:10AM

I absolutely loved this! When I finally make it out there I will be sure to check out some of these wonderful places! San Diego seems perfect!

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/InfiniteStyleShop

Annejelina -August 31, 2013, 10:42AM

Hey neighbor! You’re in my hometown :) I absolutely LOVE it here. Every time I go on vacation I’m so happy to come back ’cause there’s no place like it. You should check out:
La Jolla:
Don Carlos (BEST mexican food)
Wind n sea beach (turquoise colored waves and white sand)
Torrey pines reserve, a moderate hike among the cliffs with the best lookouts of the coast
Pacific Beach:
Buffalo Exchange, best thrift store ever for cute boho beach stuff :)
Cafe 976, an adorable cottage turned into a cafe with a cute porch and rustic furniture
Mission Bay, just as lovely as the beach
Ocean Beach:
People’s grocery and Cafe, a vegetarian co op grocery store and ALL vegan cafe upstairs
Sunset cliffs and dog beach
Have fun!!! xoxo <3 Annejelina
Visit my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CrownofCreationShop

Megan -August 31, 2013, 10:49AM

This place looks amazing!! I must visit!

Natalie -August 31, 2013, 12:15PM

I live in San Diego, so it is SO amazing and crazy to see these beautiful photos of places I walk past all the time! I am truly grateful to live in such a beautiful place. Your photography is unreal Julia!!!!!
xoxo
Halfway to Harmony

Natalie Hernandez -August 31, 2013, 1:01PM

I’m from San Diego and you basically went to the most known areas of SD not really off the beaten path. La Jolla especially is a ritzy nice area that not many can just go to if you din’t have money.

eliza sloane -August 31, 2013, 1:57PM

Love the photos you took of OB. I’m from the east coast but have lived in OB for almost a year and love it. I think out of all the beach towns in San Diego, our little town definitely has the most character!

We were also just in Newquay this past June. It is so funny to see Free People hitting all these places as well and I enjoy seeing them in a different light through the lovely photos.

Crista -September 14, 2013, 1:49PM

awww i LOVE LOVE San Diego!! xox

Clyde Turner -October 2, 2013, 2:50PM

Hey Julie! This is Clyde from Jungle Java. WOW! Thanks for the awesome write up and pics. We’re all really stoked on it. Be sure to hit us up next time you are in town and we’d love to repay your kindness!
You’re the best!
-the JJ crew

Clyde Turner -October 2, 2013, 2:52PM

Sorry *Julia!

fp julia -October 2, 2013, 8:09PM

Hey Clyde! Glad you liked it – I hope to be back soon, love your place!

Bella -March 25, 2014, 8:09PM

Saw this on Pinterest, AWESOME photography. Heading to socal next week! :)

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