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San Diego Vacation Guide For Travel with Teens

by Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ocean Beach, California

Planning a family summer vacation with teens can be tricky. There are things they’ve outgrown and are not interested in anymore, such as themed parks, and on the other hand, there are other things they would be interested in, but aren’t old enough to do, like getting into bar/clubs  ( I’m not saying I like this fact, but it’s true) So, what can you do that is age appropriate,kind of cool and that the whole family would enjoy? It may surprise you that there are many things.


Teens on a plane heading to San Diego. They are always so hard to please 😉


Last summer I went on a vacation to San Diego, California with two, 16-year-old, girls, and a 19-year-old boy, myself, and my husband.  I really wanted our vacation to be awesome and memorable, since this may be one of the last “family vacations” we go on before my youngest heads off to college.

I started doing some research on my own, and also asked my cousin, who lives there, for activities that we could possibly do. San Diego, I found, has a ton to do. This was going to be easy. The hardest part is narrowing down, which activities we really wanted to do, since we only had five days.

My family is really into the outdoors and the ocean, so I knew I had to choose some of the great options there were. I decided we definitely should go surfing, kayaking and hiking. I asked the kids what they thought, and they not only agreed, but loved my ideas.

Here is what we did:


Pacific Surf School- after our lesson

Surf Lessons at Pacific Beach ( Pacific Surf School)

This was so much fun! None of us had any real experience in surfing. We have rented boards before in New Hampshire and tried, with absolutely no guidance, on how to even get up on a board, so of course, failed miserably.  My daughter took a lesson a few years ago, and got up a few times, but overall, we were generally novice surfers with little, to no experience.  The kids were so excited to try surfing in California, after all, THIS is where it’s at, for surfing, right? It was also on my personal bucket-list, check!  

Since we were a group of 5, we got assigned a private teacher of our own. He was very helpful and informative, first giving us a little history and background of surfing, showed us the parts of the board (zones),  where to place our feet, if we had a lefty (goofy foot) or righty (natural foot) stance, and gave us some common terms used. He gave us a lesson on the beach on how to do pop-ups and talked about surfing etiquette and safety rules. He guaranteed that by the end of our lesson, every single one of us would be able to at least ride one wave. We weren’t sure if this was possible, but we were willing to give it a try, “Shaka Brah!!!” (A cool surf term that means hang loose) We were now California surfers, well, we’d like to think so.


Tyler catching his first wave!

We all headed out into the ocean, fighting the waves; he taught us how to get under the wave to get to right depth to catch the perfect wave. All of us had our share of wipe outs. He paid close attention to each of us, while taking turns to line up our boards, setting us up for pop-up at the correct time. We all did it!!  Even me!  My 19-year-old son, who has never surfed a day in his life, caught on very quickly and was riding many waves. He was stoked! Our instructor was amazing and even let us stay out over the time that our lesson was supposed to end. It was super fun and if you’ve never surfed before and wanted to try it in San Diego, this school was top-notch!


“shaka brah!!!”

When we were leaving, we were even lucky enough to see Slomo skating by us on the Pacific Beach Boardwalk, the number one resident of Pacific Beach.  This guy has an incredible story and is beloved by all the locals. I wanted to hug him. Of course I didn’t though.

The SloMo Story- This is a quick 16 minute documentary of the Slomo story. So worth the view. You will see why all of  the local Californian’s love him, and after watching this, you will too!


Everyday California right before our kayaking tour-safety first!


Kayaking Tour in La Jolla   (http://www.everydaycalifornia.com)

La Jolla is right outside of San Diego. It is known for its beauty and celebrity list of residents. We wanted to, not just rent kayaks, but take a guided tour, since it would give us a little education of the history of La Jolla and San Diego. We chose to go through Everyday California because of its great reviews on trip advisor and were not disappointed. The tour guides were not only educational, but shared some fun and unique stories, and little unknown facts, that we would have never learned, if we didn’t take the guided tour. We got to kayak around La Jolla Cove and go into the sea caves. We even got to get an up-close look at sea lions. This was another great day enjoying the ocean and highly recommended.thewanderlustyogi.net

Dinner in La Jolla for my daughter’s sweet 16th birthday at George’s At the Cove Restaurant


Maddie’s sweet 16th birthday celebration at George’s at the Cove @ sunset!

We heard that the sunset at La Jolla Cove was absolutely gorgeous, and it was recommended to have dinner at George’s at the Cove restaurant, at sundown, to see it first hand. Since we were celebrating my daughter’s sweet 16th birthday while on vacation, we figured this would be the perfect spot for this occasion. And it was! The restaurant was set on the cliffs, overlooking the ocean, with a view of the sunset that was like nowhere I’ve seen. The food was delicious and had a wide variety of selection that would please even pickiest of eaters. The waiter also gave her a birthday cake dessert and us, a complimentary sample sized bottle of their California EVOO, extra virgin olive oil, for choosing George’s for our special day. This would be a great place for any special occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, engagements,or any time,  but is highly recommended to make a reservation, way in advanced if you want to dine, during the hour of sunset. It is easily booked out for 6 months or more on certain days. We booked our reservation in March, for a date in July and had to change the day because there was nothing available for our original date we picked. Luckily, we found a day that would work on our short window we were visiting. So plan ahead!

Farmer’s Market in Ocean Beach 


Farmer’s Market on Newport St. in Ocean Beach, California

Every Wednesday, in the Bohemian, artsy, area of San Diego, Ocean Beach, or as locals call it OB, is the weekly Farmer’s Market.  Newport St. is closed down each Wednesday of the year from 4:00 pm-8:00 pm for local vendors to sell their fresh produce and unique hand-crafted goods. The area has a free-spirited, funky vibe that can be felt throughout the entire community. This happened to be my absolute favorite spot in San Diego. As a yogi, I felt right at home, with these like-minded people.

thewanderlustyogi.netThe area also has really cool shops, and if you are there and get hungry, they have samples from the vendors, or if you like burgers, stop by at the famous Hodadie’s, who claim to have the world’s best burgers. The lines are long, but the locals affirm that this is fact, and that it’s worth the wait. We didn’t go to Hodadie’s, but we did sample delicious homemade guacamole, with fresh California avocados from a vendor, and enjoyed refreshing Acai’ smoothies from, O.B. Smoothie Bar and Subs, that totally hit the spot. They even had free hula hooping! How could I resist?

Hiking at Sunset Cliffs 


For an easy hike and another spectacular view of the sunset, we went hiking at Sunset Cliffs. There is a reason it is called this. We hiked there after shopping at the Farmer’s Market, since it was in the same area, also in Ocean Beach. It was great to be able to hike and explore around the cliffs, some areas were even a little scary. Well, maybe for me, since I have a fear of heights? The experience of viewing the breathtaking views, outweighed any fears I had, and I just stayed further back than the rest. Another place for hiking that is supposed to be even better, is Torrey Pines State Reserve, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to go there. Maybe next time?


Sunset Cliffs, Ocean Beach, California

4th Of July cookout and watching fireworks from our airbnb house rental


Chillaxin’ by the pool on 4th of July

Fourth of July celebrations are found in almost every popular city. San Diego, not surprisingly,  hosts many locations for firework displays.  We had rented a gorgeous house in Escondido, 30 minutes east of San Diego, on top of Mt. Israel. I asked the homeowner if she had any suggestions of the best place to go to see fireworks. She said that there were many; including San Diego’s popular,  “Big Bay Boom”, Coronado and Sea World, but to keep in mind, with that, comes heaps of traffic too. She made a very good point. She gave us an option I had never considered, and am so glad we took her advice. She said, since the house had a grill and pool and a mountaintop view, why don’t we just have a cookout there?

We could relax, swim, eat, listen to music, and then enjoy the view of area fire works, right from the house. The fireworks, obviously, wouldn’t be super close, but so what. It was a great plan. We were super busy every day of our trip, getting up early, activities all day, and not going to bed until very late, so it was a welcomed down day for our last full day in the San Diego area. We went to the local market the night before and stocked up on grilling foods, salads, drinks and desserts, we even had another birthday cake and party for my daughter.


Brice, manning the grill

It was great to get to really have the time to appreciate this amazing home we were so lucky to rent. It was one of the most perfect 4th of July’s I ever had and I think that feeling was shared by all. We all kept saying how crazy it was that  we were staying at a place that was this awesome. If we didn’t have pictures to prove it, I don’t think our friends and family would believe us of how truly spectacular this rental was. Airbnb rules!

If traveling in a group, I highly recommend, trying alternative accommodations, through airbnb, and renting a house instead of a hotel. I feel this made our trip much more comfortable, especially with teen girls. We all had our own bathrooms and bedrooms. We were able to all be together in the common areas, when we wanted to be, but also able to separate into our own private spaces. This is key, when traveling with varying age groups. My husband and I had our own master suite with a bathroom.  The girls had their own bedroom with a bathroom that they could get ready in. My son had his own bedroom with a bathroom and he enjoyed being able to use the computer and go online. Getting ready each morning was a breeze, whereas if we all had to share one bathroom in a hotel, it would be extremely difficult.

thewanderlustyogi.net We also had a living room and a game room with a pool table, that the kids would hang out in. Not to mention,  the ridiculously amazing pool area we had. I think this made all the difference for our overall enjoyment. Being able to decompress a get away from the group, if needed, was a nice added bonus to our trip.  Sometimes close quarters with many people for extend periods of time can be stressful and exhausting. This made for a perfect balance.thewanderlustyogi.net

San Diego was a trip that my entire family will never forget. We had an amazing vacation, and didn’t even touch on all of the options this city offered us, yet we still had the best time on our short visit. We did plenty of teen appropriate activities that the whole family could enjoy. It was a fun-filled, quick trip, but nonetheless, one of the best trips my family has had together. We definitely got a taste of why people love the SoCal area and would love to go back and explore more. Since our vacation, my daughter now is seriously considering applying for college at San Diego State University. (SDSU)  If that isn’t evidence enough of how much my teens loved it, I don’t know what is? (if you wanted to find out more information about the house we rented, email me)



Do you have a Travel Bucketlist?

by Monday, February 2, 2015


It used to be that world travel was only a luxury that the rich and famous could attain. These days, people from all walks of life and status are globe trekking all the time.  With awesome travel deals and discounted flights available online, from sites like sky scanner, TravelocityExpedia , and priceline, just to name a few, pretty much ANYONE can afford to travel if they really wanted to. And for even deeper savings, if you are brave enough to attempt alternative accommodation options: like hostels, couchsurfing, and airbnb, you could stretch your dollar even more.

thewanderlustyogi.netI started traveling within the USA while I was young and then slowly explored a little further each succeeding trip into places like Mexico, Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. To me this was “world travel” I was a bit timid and naive and felt scared leaving the US, possibly because of the media and my upbringing that other places were scary and bad. Unfortunately, I’m sad to report this sentiment is not uncommon amongst people in my country. Why is it that we, as Americans, are brainwashed into thinking that we are the only safe country in the world? I hate to bring it up, but the deadliest known terrorist attack in the world happened on September 11th, 2001, in the United States of America! With this being said, I admit there are some risks involved with traveling, as with a lot of other things, such as driving, skiing, drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy, not exercising , but people do these things everyday without thinking about the risks involved. For me, I’d rather take a slight risk and experience an amazing life of adventure than to be paralyzed with fear, not leave my country, and still possibly die of injury, illness or lifestyle choices anyway.  “Carpe diem” I say!

thewanderlustyogi.netI now travel more international and plan on not stopping until the day I die. The more places I visit, the more I realize, we are all the same. Everyone is trying to get through life  and just want love and  happiness. We are one. Imaginary borders doesn’t change that we are all human beings, sharing this beautiful planet called Earth. I want to see it all!

thewanderlustyogi.netI know this is not possible, for there is only so much time and money to see every single place on Earth, so I tried to narrow it down to make a tentative bucket list of travel, if you will.  It may change as I see more, but here is a rundown of my lifetime itinerary travel goals.


in no particular order-by region

(*denotes places I have already visited or have booked)


Amalfi Coast, Italy




*United Kingdom










Czech Republic



Great Wall of China, China



*United Emirates





Sri Lanka


Phi Phi Island, Thailand

South East Asia










Bora, Bora, French Polynesia



New Zealand

French Polynesia


Cairo, Egypt


South Africa




Rio De Janeiro,Brazil

South America





Galapagos Island


Leon, Nicaragua

Central America

Costa Rica



Writing this made me realize I sure do have my work cut out for me. I didn’t even name the multiple cities in each country either. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I have to just chip away, checking off each as I go. I also realized that I guess I don’t want to see Antarctica, however, I don’t think I have to explain why?  Brrr. Lastly, I didn’t mention North America and Canada, but I will write another article on the states I still need to see here at home.

Creating a bucket list is a fun way to look forward to travels, or any goals you set for yourself to accomplish in your lifetime. They say visualization is the first step in manifesting your reality. Life goes by way too fast to let time slip away and not live your life to its fullest. Living by definition is- “the pursuit of a lifestyle of the specified type”

Travel to me is living. 

thewanderlustyogi.netDo you have a Travel Bucket List?

Is airbnb Better Than a Hotel?

by Monday, October 13, 2014

If you like to travel and love getting deals on travel, this is just the post for you. In your research for trips you may have come across this site called airbnb.com and wondered what the heck it was? Well, let me tell you, it is a traveler’s best kept secret and I’m going to show you what its all about.

First things first:

Register: You can sign-up through your Facebook, twitter or other social media links, or google +, or email

Edit Profile: use a nice picture that makes you look like a decent person, don’t post party pictures or pictures in odd situations. You want the host to think you are a respectable person who will be a good tenant.

Get Verified: This is a very important step. You can verify your phone number by getting an SMS code sent to your phone, get verified through your Facebook so that the host knows that you are a real person with an address, verify with an image of your ID sent to airbnb (the keep your information private)

*these steps will help you get a Verified ID Badge next to your name, which some hosts exclusively rent to these members. 

Describe yourself: Another very important step. Be a specific as possible. Impress upon the fact that you are a kind and trustworthy person. Let the hosts know how much you love to travel and learn about other cultures. You want to sell yourself to potential renters that they should’t hesitate to rent to you.


  • location, ex. “Paris, France”
  • date of check-in
  • date of check-out
  • how many guests
  • room type- entire home, private room, shared room ( be sure to pay attention to what you choose, you could end up having an awkward stay with strangers if you forgot to make sure you chose entire place)
  • price range


Search more Filters:

  • size-how many beds, baths, beds (this is important if you are traveling with companions)
  • neighborhoods-maybe you know of an area you’d like to stay that is close to restaurants, museums or public transportation, also good if you know what neighborhoods to avoid
  • amenities-maybe you need to have a place that has wifi internet, or kitchenette, or tv
  • property type-apartment, house, B&B

Book: Once you scrolled through the available rentals and found a match for what you want for your trip, request to book. It will take you through the price per night and show the additional fees such as; airbnb fee(minimal), cleaning fee, deposit(this is up to the host-if you aren’t happy with the amount you can also discuss it with them to come to a different fee)

Once you submitted your request, the payment is taken. The host has 48 hours to get back to you if offer was accepted, or the request is cancelled and your money is put back into your account. They can also decline your request for any reason and it doesn’t have to be disclosed to you. That’s why your profile needs to shine!


Stay: The best of the experience if you did your research right. Enjoy your accomodations and be happy that you saved a lot of money and your experince will be more authentic to the area. Make sure you are a perfect guest, which will ensure you future rentals through airbnb.

Leave Review: This is key to help find great rentals. This is the way people can get the true view of what the place was like. Try to be as honest as possible without sounding too picky. For example,its okay to say a negative, if you are not bashing the place, but are giving helpful tips for different types of travelers. ” the 5 floors with no elevator was fine for young people like my husband and I, but it wouldn’t be a good fit for elderly, handicapped or people traveling with small children” This is good information that renters would definately want to know before renting. But it is not harmful for the hosts to not get future renters. Do, write all of the positive experiences you had at the place, such as the bed was so comfortable, the shower was nice and hot, the internet signal was strong, the hosts were very kind and helpful. These things help them and you. However, if you have had a bad experience, for example the place wasn’t as described, the host was hard to contact, the location wasn’t where you were told, it is important to inform the host and potential renters. This is what we as renters rely on for the best and most accurate information. This leads me to probably one of the most important steps, if not the most, —feedback from the host. (your review) You may be skeptical about this whole renting strangers places, but with that said, can you imagine trusting strangers in your home? They have much more to lose and are much more concerned than even you may be. Thats why I stress so much about your profile. Many people get denied for great rentals due to no reviews, negative ones, or even something that you wrote in your profile. They can be very picky.  And I dont blame them!

Get Reviewed: As you can imagine, this could really help you or really hurt you with future rentals. If you did everything you were supposed to; checking in on time, checking out on time, not doing any damage, not disturbing the neighbors, keeping the place tidy etc, then you should have great feedback. This will give you higher ratings as a guest and will allow much more options for your future travels.

If you do your homework and are meticulous in your search, I believe using airbnb.com could give you a much richer travel experience than you ever possibly could, just staying at an ordinary hotel.  Take the risk, it’s worth it!

To check out airbnb and their rentals go to:


If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me  at jessica@comeawaywithme.net or comment below

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