SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA - FREE AND FUN
Sarah's Cavern is hidden below the cliffs of Carlsbad. It is a small cavern that looks out onto the beach. While it is now filled with graffiti, it is still a beautiful place to visit, especially at sunset.
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve
The Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is approximately 4000 acres and extends over 7 miles. The preserve sees thousands of guests each year, most of which are attracted by its natural beauty and rich Native history. The preserve is full of forests, waterfalls, groves, streams, marshes, and wildlife.
Go To the Beach
San Diego is covered with over 70 miles of coastline, leaving plenty of beaches open for visitors each year. The Beaches in San Diego offer everything from cliffs, to tide pools, to reefs, surfing, and other water activities. It is not uncommon to see wildlife in San Diego such as dolphins and sea lions.
The hike to the Escondido falls is a moderately difficult one and will take approximately 2 hours. The falls themselves are about 150 feet tall. Adventurous hikers can climb the falls, but do so at their own risk. This is not recommended unless you are an experienced climber. If you opt not to climb the falls, you can still climb partially up them to stand behind their cascades.
Photo credit to: http://www.modernhiker.com/2014/03/05/hiking-escondido-falls/
La Jolla Caves
The La Jolla Caves are a popular spot for swimmers and snorkellers alike. They are a gathering spot for a great deal of underwater lifeforms. Many people who snorkel here will see rays, kelp, an array of colourful fish, and the oh so popular leapord shark. If you look on the rocks you may also catch a glimpse of some seals and sea lions basking in the sun.
Photo credit to: http://www.tropicalsnorkeling.com/snorkeling-in-la-jolla.html
Potato Chip Rock
Potato Chip Rock (named after its slim design) is located on the Mt. Woodson Trail in Lake Poway Park. The trail is approximately 7.5 miles long and is defined as "moderately strenuous". The trail is dog friendly and is a great place for picnicing.
Photo credit to : http://todayswhisper.com/potato-chip-rock
Balboa Park (San Diego)
Balboa Park is the largest Urban Cultural park in the nation. The park is home to the San Diego zoo as well as a variety of museums, gardens, and art venues. Entrance to the park is free, as are many of the attractions. With that said, select attractions do charge an admittance fee.
Photo Credit to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-seljos/2063809562
Some of the best tide pools in San Diego can be found at the Cabrillo National Monument. The best time to visit the tide pools are during late fall and winter months. During this time tides are low during the day and are ideal for viewing. Tide pools often contain a variety of marine life and organisms including starfish, crabs, sea cucumbers, anemones, and more. Keep in mind that tide pools are protected and guidelines must be followed. They can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/cabr/learn/nature/rules-to-protect-the-tidepools.htm
The Devil's Punchbowl, also known as Cedar Creek Falls, is an approximately 100 ft tall waterfall and cascades down into a large pool. You can hike to the falls for some gorgeous scenery, or you can swim under the cascading falls.
Little Italy is a quaint and quiet neighborhood in San Diego which was once home to a variety of Italian families who made their living in the fishing industry. Today, little Italy is full of Italian restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops, hotels, and more.
Photo credit to: http://www.sandiego.org/articles/downtown/little-italy.aspx
Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego is considered to be the "birthplace" of California. The first settlers came in 1769 and were known as the Kumeyaay. Today Old Town San Diego still has many of its original and reconstructed buildings. On top of the historical buildings and museums, Old Town also has an old Town Theater, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops. You can tour the town on your own, or take a guided tour. For more information visit:
If you enjoy shopping, Seaport Village is a small complex on the waterfront that has over 50 shops to browse through. It also offers dining with beautiful scenery, as well as regular events and entertainment.
Photo credit to: www.sandiego.com
Gaslamp Quarter is a small district that incorporates over 16.5 blocks of San Diego. Within the Quarter you can find dining, shopping, lodging, historical buildings, services, entertainment, and regular events.
Anza Borrego State Park
The largest State Park in all of California, the Anza Borrego State Park offers over 500 miles of dirt roads, miles of hiking opportunities, and 12 wilderness areas. The park is named after the Spanish word "Borrego", meaning "Bighorn Sheep". These sheep are known to frequent the area but are rarely seen because of their cautiousness around humans.
Photo credit to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert_State_Park
Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Ho Chi Minh Trail is not for the faint of heart, but is well worth the trek if you can do it. The trail is located in La Jolla, and has many strange and unique formations to marvel at.
Photo credit to: http://hiddensandiego.net/ho-chi-mihn-trail.php
Sunny Jim's Cave
Okay, so it's not completely free, but $5 is a small price to pay to explore a cave. The historical Sunny Jim's Cave is accessible through the Sunny Jim Store which has a man-made tunnel that leads to the cave.
Photo credit to: http://www.cavestore.com/