Breaking out from the routine: Head to San Diego! Psst...KOA should be on your list! - Irvine Moms



There is a reason San Diego is called “America’s Finest City.” Famous for its miles upon miles of white-sand beaches and amazing weather, San Diego brings a lot to the plate and knocks it out of the park with its abundance of fun and interesting attractions for all ages! Only 90 minutes from Orange County, all it takes is a drive down the scenic 5 freeway for you to be enjoying a relaxing weekend in this beautiful city. 


Sure, San Diego does offer some incredible, pristine beaches and “75 and sunny” weather pretty much year round, but look a little deeper and you will find that this city is so much more than that. It is teeming with life and offers some hidden gems that are absolute must sees.. Whatever your reason for visiting, our guide seeks to offer travelers some great, unique experiences you may not have been familiar with. Join us as we explore San Diego together and offer you some great finds that will make your trip the most memorable one yet! Let’s get started:


If you are looking for some outside fun under the warm San Diego sun, head South to enjoy two free and exciting activities! For those of you who have not seen these on our Instagram, the two locations are Waterfront Park and Sweetwater Bike Park, both of which are great, family-friendly favorites. 



We visited the KOA recently and had the opportunity to explore and experience  their new  Deluxe Cabins.  We opted to change out of our routine for the week and do something different. We took school and work to the KOA. I find sometimes it is a great idea to rejevenate and create new memories during these unique times in Covid.




What I appreciate about the KOA are the amenties suited for families. Their was a pool view via the deck. It was camping without the packing of all the outdoor essentials. This is a Mom’s dream.

You arrive at the KOA to check to in and head to your Cabin. Parking is located to the left of the Cabin and is free. The location of this particular KOA is ideal. It is in Chula Vista and close proximity to Downtown San Diego. You can take the kids out to enjoy the scenic treasures of San Diego or run to the store if you accidentally forget to pack socks or food. There are some many options within the 5 mile radius.



When we made it in to the Cabin. I found the cabin to be clean and fully stocked with dish soap, paper towels, dishes  (plates, pots and pans) and there is a coffee maker with coffee for you to start your morning off strong!


The Cabin has one Bathroom and has a shower and tub in the bathroom.


One of the Bedrooms has bunk beds that the kids will love!

The other are two full beds in both bedrooms one being a loft area.


The Deluxe Cabin sleeps 6 and has a BBQ grill and firepit outside for you to use and enjoy!



Can you imagine having smore’s on a School Night for dessert? Enjoying a Campfire storytime before bed?



We made sure to sit and do our Work and Homework on the Open wide Deck before hitting the pool.


This allowed us to break from our routine, enjoy eachother and create some fun memories.



We will be sure you and your family will enjoy this local getaway and cherish some well deserved down time while catching up on a Book or Podcast while the Kids swim or get their Picasso Inspired Art Crafting on! Here is what is upcoming at the KOA



Discount tickets to Sea World, The San Diego ZOO and San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park are available at the front desk anytime, as well as many other San Diego attractions like LEGOLAND, the USS Midway Museum and more!


Fall Fest Weekend 1

Oct 2 – 4, 2020


and second date of

Fall Fest Weekend 2

Oct 9 – 11, 2020


Check out our Post on Instagram and Stories as we will be posting more photos of this Beautiful Deluxe Cabin! We are so excited to stay here. KOA offers unique family activities that it really has been a game changer during this Pandemic! Such a relief to have this available for us families to enjoy during the week!



Open All Year
Reserve: 800-562-9877
111 North 2nd Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 91910




Waterfront Park

This incredible wide-open, green space in Downtown San Diego is perfect for picnics, bike riding and enjoying the splash pad. The inches-deep wading area of lukewarm water makes it ideal for the kids to enjoy. Such a lovely spot to watch the Sailboats and Airplanes pass by. Walking distance to Little Italy to grab lunch.




Sweetwater Bike Park


This free, publicly accessible, 4.2-acre bike skills park is open seven days a week!  

On site are three jump lines (ranging from beginner to expert), two flow trails, pump tracks (for adults and kids), a skill zone and a perimeter trail that connects to each feature. All are welcome and everyone will find a track to ride from beginners to advanced riders; they are designed progressively, from easy to hard.


Helmets are required.


The proximity between these two locations is 10-15 minutes so make it a day and have yourself a blast getting some biking time then cooling off by the coast at the refreshing water park.






Moving on, we have a place that many of you are likely more familiar with, Balboa Park – the cultural heart of San Diego. Balboa is full of so many wonderful museums it can get overwhelming trying to narrow down the nearly 30 locations into one that really catches your eye. One unique spot that truly offers a little something for everyone is the newly renamed Museum of Us. 



Museum of Us


Formerly the Museum of Man, this newly renamed gem in the heart of Balboa Park is committed to better reflecting inclusivity with their name change to the Museum of Us. When they say they offer something for everyone, they mean it. From monsters and beer history, to the power of secrets, to our relationships with animals and the truth about cannibalism, the Museum of Us is chalked full of so much excitement and attractions, you will be bewildered by what they have in store for you. A 100-plus-year-old institution sitting on the unceded ancestral lands of the Kumeyaay people, The Museum of Us has a mission to, “inspire human connections by exploring the human experience,” and that is exactly what they are doing with their diverse list of exhibits and programs that help define “Us.”




San Diego Model Railroad Museum


Another hidden gem in the Balboa Park area, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (SDMRM) is a unique experience you may have not known even existed. The museum features both indoor and outdoor exhibits with trains, trestles, and tracks that span over 27,000 square feet. They have multiple scale models that present the rich heritage of American railroading. From the Tehachapi pass layout to the Pacific Desert Lines, take a tour of some amazing railways, built to scale and highly accurate, that showcase famous landmarks in the San Diego and Southern California area. 





What could be better after a long day exploring the vast urban oasis that is Balboa Park than some good food? The Lucha Libre Taco Shop, located just 7 minutes from Balboa Park, could be exactly what you are looking for if you want gourmet Mexican food with vibrant and exciting menu ideas. 



Lucha Libre Taco Shop


Founded in 2008 by the Rojano brothers, Lucha Libre broke away from the traditional style and started offering customers a unique twist on Southern California’s Mexican food culture. On one end of the menu you have the classic steak or shrimp taco topped with their secret chipotle sauce and on the other end you have the Poutine California burrito, filled with chicken, bacon, french fries and peppered gravy. There is truly no end to the unique flavors of the Lucha Libre Taco Shop and after a long day exploring, what could be better than good, quality Mexican food.





One Door North


Located minutes from Balboa Park, One Door North is another unique dining experience that you have to see to believe. Born out of a love for the outdoors and a desire to be close to nature, this location offers a totally unique, upscale camping theme where safari tents separate tables and lanterns and forest imagery fill the entirety of the restaurant. One Door North embraces the simplicity of quality ingredients and provides a menu full of authentic food that is sure to make your mouth water. 







After a day inland at Balboa Park, a trip to the coast could be exactly what you are looking for. It’s no surprise that San Diego offers some world renowned beaches. There are so many beautiful, scenic locations it’s hard to find just one to spend your day at. One stretch that offers everything you could imagine from 300-foot sea cliffs, to rocky reefs, to secluded coves and wide golden beaches, is the La Jolla Shoreline. Although some of La Jolla’s landscape is inaccessible, there are still plenty of amazing, picturesque locations that are beyond spectacular and will surely provide some great memories for you and your family. 




La Jolla Cove




Depending on the tides, La Jolla Cove is accessible to adventurers on foot who are looking to have a swim in the area’s small, deep water bay. Swimmers and snorkelers alike will find the tame waters teeming with life and full of marine animals like the local bright-orange Garibaldi fish. The Cove is accessible via maintained stairs and walkways and sits just below a large grass park with bathrooms, picnic tables, showers and several public gazebos.  





Children’s Pool La Jolla 




Walking distance from La Jolla Cove is another small bay, the Children’s pool. Originally built as a place for children to have a swim in a secluded safe area, this location has since been claimed by seals and sea lions who beach themselves on the sand with their young. Although now closed for swimming, the pool offers a crowd-pleasing and amusing look at these lovable animals. 




The Cave Store – Sunny Jim’s Cave 


Another bit of the unusual in an area like La Jolla, so full of expensive restaurants and upscale boutiques, is the entrance to Sunny Jim’s Cave. This fun attraction, which doubles as a store, has a 143-foot built-in tunnel that heads down to a large sea cave below. One of the only caves in La Jolla accessible without a kayak, to access Sunny Jim’s Cave, simply head inside the infamous Cave Store for a private or self-guided tour of this century-old bootlegger’s tunnel. The Cave Store tour will run approximately 15-20 minutes but keep in mind that it involves walking 144 stairs each way. It’s not everyday you get to walk in a historic, man-made tunnel down to a sea cave so if you find yourself in La Jolla, be sure to check out The Cave Store. 



One thing that is great about the La Jolla Cove area is that all these locations are within walking distance and for the most part involve being outdoors in the beautiful San Diego sun. If you are looking for one more great thing to do in this wonderful area that involves nothing but looking at gorgeous ocean views and enjoying some of the best gelato San Diego has to offer, have a stop at Bobboi Natural Gelato. 





Bobboi Natural Gelato


Founded in 2014 and rooted in the timeless gelato techniques of Italy, Bobboi Natural Gelato brings a lot to the table with its locally-sourced, ninety percent all-organic ingredients. The menu is constantly rotating to reflect what is in season and consists of 18 flavors with 6 vegan options. There is a reason this gelato is considered to not only be the best in San Diego but also the United States. Crafted with care and made from scratch, Bobboi Natural Gelato offers a “beautiful marriage between Italy and the United States” and is sure to give your taste buds exactly what they are looking for after a long day at the beach. 




Map of La Jolla Cove Area




San Diego has so much to offer it’s hard to include it all in one article. The city is full of an abundance of attractions and activities for all ages however, San Diego’s charm does not stop there. Did you know, San Diego is recognized as the first city and really the birthplace of California? The region offers a complex and fascinating history and finds its roots in Native American and Spanish Missionary heritage. One great place to spend a day and explore the historical and cultural history of the area is at the only National Park in San Diego, The Cabrillo National Monument. 






Cabrillo National Monument


Offering some of the most spectacular views of the San Diego skyline and harbor, the Cabrillo National Monument is a must see historic location that commemorates Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo’s exploration of the coast of California. The park has a ton to offer from learning about the military history of Fort Rosecrans, to tide pooling and hiking. If you plan on visiting San Diego, this Monument at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula is well worth your time. 



Bayside Trail


Offering even more spectacular views of the San Diego Bay, the Bayside Trail is an out & back route type that is accessible year round and is good for all skill levels. The trail begins near the old Point Loma lighthouse and runs 2.5 miles down to Ballast Point, where nuclear powered submarines are now docked in the same place where Cabrillo anchored his ships after months at sea. There are plenty of benches and stopping points for you to rest at to reflect and enjoy the views before heading down this historic and hidden trail. If you visit the Cabrillo National Monument be sure to take this hike, it is well worth the walk. 




Point Loma Tide Pools


A favorite spot at the Cabrillo National Monument, the Point Loma Tide Pools, one of the best protected rocky intertidal zones in California, offers a unique opportunity to view near shore creatures. Unlike in the Summer months, in the Fall and Winter months low tides occur during daylight hours allowing visitors of all ages to get a peek at the amazing marine life that inhabits this area when the park is open. With those months upon us, now is the perfect time to visit the tidepools. Be sure to consult the Point Loma Tide Pools website for a full list of charts and tide predictions for you to plan your day around.



Humphreys SoCal Dining


If you are looking for a place to eat near the Cabrillo National Monument you don’t have to go far to find some award-winning cuisine at a waterfront dining location that overlooks the San Diego Bay. Just 3 miles away on Shelter Island, Humphreys SoCal Dining & Music is a full-service restaurant combined with a music lounge to offer you a spectacular dining experience. Humphreys is currently featuring a limited but still diverse menu due to covid-19 and their new alfresco experience, with sparkling views of the marina, is sure to appeal to couples, friends, and families alike. Stop in for a fine and fresh meal at Humphreys Bayside Cafe. 


Map of Cabrillo National Monument Area



San Diego is a truly great California city that has a ton to offer for tourists and locals alike. There is plenty to do for people of all ages and so many amazing attractions, activities and eateries it’s hard to list just a few that catch your eye. We would need a novel to fit all the amazing spots you and your loved ones could head to if you visit San Diego but we hope this guide offers you a good start if you plan a trip. A nickname like “America’s Finest City” is a difficult one to live up to but we think San Diego does not only meet the requirements but far exceeds the expectations. Hopefully this guide will give you some wonderful and unique experiences that will inspire you to visit California’s first city, San Diego. 


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