San Diego is known for its sunny skies year round, with an average annual temperature of 65 degrees. This is why if you choose to rent a camper in San Diego, you’ve made the right decision. Ron Burgundy’s favorite city isn’t just famous because it’s Spanish for–well, you know. It’s also home to tourist attractions like The San Diego Zoo, The USS Midway Museum, and Gaslamp Quarter. We’re going to skip these destinations in favor of ones slightly less populous (but by means secret). Here are the top outdoor places in San Diego once you rent a camper.
Must Visit Spots When You Rent a Camper in San Diego
A resort city located across the bay from downtown San Diego, Coronado is famous for its hotels and beaches. The most notable beach there is Coronado Central Beach. With soft sand containing a mineral called mica, the beach and ocean water naturally sparkle. The sand is also great for building sand castles. It’s generally not very crowded, so you’ll have plenty of space to lay out and enjoy yourself as you please.
Coronado Central Beach’s backdrop of ornate estates sets it apart from the city’s other long, sandy beaches. As you walk along this elegant expanse, you’ll easily be able to pick the Hotel del Coronado from the fine lineup of hotels and mansions. Pictured above, this hotel is the second largest wooden structure in the United States.
It opened in 1888 and was the world’s largest resort at the time. Despite preserving its Victorian appearance, Hotel del Coronado has modern rooms and amenities. Famous guests including Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, George Harrison, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Keanu Reeves, and Madonna, and Oprah have stayed here.Famous guests including Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, George Harrison, and Barack Obama have stayed at Hotel del Coronado. Click To Tweet
Check it out for free, and then park your RV rental at one of the nearby campgrounds. If you’re in the military or are a veteran, Fiddler’s Cove Marina & RV Park is less than three miles away and has fantastic rates.
Practically every attraction you could think of is present at Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Other attractions include a Japanese garden, The San Diego Mineral and Gem Society, The Botanical Building, The San Diego Natural History Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art, and so much more (it has a grand total of 17 museums!).
The Botanical Building is the only conservatory in the world built without glass. This gigantic structure made entirely from wood protects over 2,100 plants from the rugged, treacherous San Diego weather (I don’t understand how the people who live there do it). It also has a captivating lily pond and lagoon out front.
You don’t even need to enter the Botanical Building to see gorgeous botanic panoramas though. Balboa Park is covered in dynamic, lush grounds, with flowers, forests, bridges, and arches. If you’re lucky, you can experience all this to the sound of the San Diego Youth Symphony, comprised of over 600 students from ages 8 to 25.
After exploring all the park has to offer (or as much of it as you can), head north in your RV rental on a short, ten-minute drive to Coastal Trailer Villa. During World War II, the RV park used to be a barracks for the military! Don’t worry, it’s a family-friendly park now.
Cross Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
Test your nerves as you cross Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. At an elevation of approximately 14 “nopes” (which equates to 70 feet), this bridge is not for the faint of heart. Especially because it’s known to sway quite a bit in the middle from gusts of wind, almost like it’s teasing you. If you can overcome your fear of heights, however, the view of Sessions Canyon below is spectacular.
The bridge is 374 feet long, so you’ll have plenty of time to regret your decision as you cross it. It might help to calm your anxiety to know that it’s supported by thick, wire cables deeply embedded in great slabs of concrete on either end. There’s simply no way this bridge could ever, ever come down–and definitely not while you’re walking across it. It’s like the Titanic of bridges–wait no, the Hindenburg–um–you get the idea.
Hike up Iron Mountain
Put on your hiking shoes and bring lots of water, because this relatively steep trail is no easy feat (especially not for your feet, ay-oh!). Clocking in at 5.3 miles (roundtrip) and an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet, the Iron Mountain Trail doesn’t offer much shade the whole way up, but it does offer an impressive view at the top.
From way up there, you look down upon the San Diego River Gorge to the east and urban landmarks like Mission Bay, Sea World, Downtown, Coronado, and Point Loma to the west. Sorry north and south, no love for you guys. You can bring your doggies with you as long as you keep them leashed (most dogs are allergic to falling off mountains). Best to leave your RV at the bottom though.
Located less than three miles as the crow flies from the mountain, Dos Picos Country Park Campground is the spot to stay at in your RV rental in San Diego for this attraction. You’ll find a god deal of shaded, stone picnic tables at this peaceful park, as well as a soccer field and a nature trial. Note that this park only has partial hookups, but it’s fun to “rough it” every once in a while, right?
See Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove
The last San Diego stop our RV rental of awesomeness is making on this trip is La Jolla Cove. If you’ve seen pictures on Facebook your friends posted of themselves with sea lions, they were likely taken here. Or maybe not. How should I know? They’re your friends, not mine. The cove is excellent for snorkeling and scuba diving, and you can even see a good deal of fish above water kayaking or paddle-boarding.
Back on land, the town itself offers cafes, restaurants, bars, and breweries worth visiting. If you have to pick just one, make it Beaumont’s. This eatery has live music on weekend nights and a huge happy hour menu until 6:30 p.m. every day.
Just outside of La Jolla, you and your RV rental can stay at the Santa Fe Park RV Resort. We’ve saved the best San Diego RV park for last. This campground is flat out gorgeous. The resort features an exquisite clubhouse with a recreation room that has all the games you could ask for, a mini theater with a huge TV, a heated pool and jacuzzi, and a fully-equipped fitness center. And that’s just the clubhouse.
Go to these attractions when you rent a camper in San Diego and you’ll be sure to have a good time. San Diego is a fantastic destination along a California road trip and perfect for outdoor activities. That’s what makes it such a great choice to rent a camper. It has plenty of great RV parks and campgrounds to choose from beyond those mentioned in this article.