Summer Survival: San Diego Staycation | On the Daily EXPRESS


Summer Survival: San Diego Staycation

It's week three of our Summer Survival Series, and this week each of the five ladies (including yours truly) below are sharing all about surviving summer travel!

I'm personally far more experienced in the Staycation variety "travel" than anything else, so for our theme today I'll be sharing a few of my tips for finding local events and activities for a Staycation or just an active weekend. To go along with that, last weekend my mom and three sisters were here from out of town. so I had a Staycation on their vacation. I'm recapping our get together to share some fun San Diego activities, plus what I wore to everything for those who just like to see outfits!


What I Wore:
Top: Express (Similar) | Shorts: Old Navy (Similar) | Sandals: Jessica Simpson (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Bag: c/o Fossil | Ring: Express (Similar) | Bracelets: LOFT

What We Did:
My sisters took early morning flights to get in to San Diego by lunchtime and meet up in Old Town San Diego.  We ate at Casa De Reyes, which is located in a fun outdoor plaza (Fiesta de Reyes) with live music and sometimes live performances on the stage in the plaza. I've eaten several Mexican Restaurants in Old Town and I really don't have a favorite as far as food. But I really do like the outdoor ambiance at this one and have been here more than any other. After lunch, we walked around Old Town and explored all the shops and attractions to get a feel for life in San Diego circa 1850.
Mis hermanas y mi madre

Day One Evening: That evening my mom and sisters went on to explore Seaport Village and have dinner there, but I had a prior commitment so I wasn't able to make that portion of the activities. I have been to Seaport Village and I always recommend it for San Diego visitors.


What I Wore:
Top: Target | Sports Bra: Target | Shorts: Target | Shoes: New Balance (Half Size up worked best for me) | Hat: Target | Necklace: Kendra Scott

What We Did:
Torrey Pines made it convenient for us to pay for parking just once and enjoy the great outdoors via hiking and then heading straight to the beach afterwards. This is my favorite hike in San Diego because of the views and frankly because it's not too strenuous (easy enough for kids, probably ages 4+). I'm more into hiking for the scenery than the exercise so it's perfect for me.
Sister Squad Hikers

I don't have actual stats to prove this, but I suspect that Torrey Pines Beach is more popular with locals than tourists because it's not close to hotels, restaurants, or places to rent/buy items for a day at the beach. You have to be well prepared with your food, drinks and other beach items (e.g. I brought my beach essentials from this post), which is a lot more hassle for out-of-towners. But a lot of local friends tell me it's their favorite, and I think it's just because they favor a less crowded beach scene with convenient freeway access and parking.


What I Wore:
Top: Express | Jeans: Express  | Clutch: Express (Similar) | Shoes: Target | Necklace: Kendra Scott (gift) | Bracelet: Charmed Stacks

What We Did:
We enjoyed the views of San Diego from the water via Hornblower Sights & Sips Sunset Cruise. This was a 2 hour cruise and even though the description says "light hors d'oeuvres," there was plenty of food for us to count as dinner and dessert. While we enjoyed each other's company and the experience in general, I will say I would go with Flagship Cruises if I do this type of cruise again. I did an Easter Brunch Cruise with them (posted here) and found the ship to be nicer overall with better service and better seating options for good views. Hornblower was a bit cheaper than Flagship, but you needed to buy VIP seating for good seats, and that wasn't my experience with Flagship. To be clear it wasn't a bad experience at all, but now I know my personal preference between the similar-sounding options.
Image via Hornblower


What I Wore:
Top: Express | Necklace: Kendra Scott | Shorts: J Crew | Sandals: Nordstrom Rack | Bag: Amazon (Similar)

What We Did:
My sisters joined me for a kickboxing workout in the morning (where I wore something similar to my hiking outfit) and later on we had lunch at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza & Grill. I'm not a big fan of pizza in general, but some local friends convinced us to try this place despite the name. And it turns out I really do like their Beef Empanadas (although sadly they didn't have any that day!) and Chicken Lettuce Cups. Afterwards we visited just a little while longer at my place before everyone had to head for the airport and back home!

Front View for all Outfits:


For my sisters reunion, one sister planned several activities here because she's been vacationing in San Diego for years to escape the Las Vegas heat in the summer. And then I filled in the gaps with my local recommendations. I thought I'd share some of my favorite ways to find out what's going on locally and to get ideas for new things to do in your town!

Red Tricycle
While this is intended to give kid-friendly local activity ideas, their emails are a great way to stay in-the-know of local festivals and events and so on. Many of the events would be just as fun with a group of friends or just your partner. I actually wish I had known about this before kids because  my husband and I were always looking for fun stuff to do!

Snapchat has been so helpful to me in letting me "see" new places around San Diego and get a feel for them without going there myself. It can take some trial and error to find local bloggers who share the type of content you want to see, but it's worth the effort for me. Some of my local favorites are @lilbitsofpau, @noelleengel and @mrsktclark.

It also gives me good ideas for things to do with my kids regardless of the location. I also like following other moms with similar age kids (e.g. @skye815, @themrscjm) to see what they are up to on a given weekend. If they take their kids to a movie and the kids loved it, we might be persuaded to go to the same one.

I don't know why, but I feel obligated to visit all the top San Diego tourist attractions (or anywhere I live, really) so that I can have an opinion on them. TripAdvisor is a great way to find the must-see things in town. There's only one left on the top ten in San Diego that I haven't done (#8 - Sunset Cliffs), so I guess I'll add that to my bucket list this year!

* * *

If you have any suggestions for finding fun local things to do, I'd love to hear them! I feel like I'm always scrambling to come up with new ideas to keep the family entertained and to keep from burning out on doing the same things over and over.

If you're stopping through on our Coast-to-Coast blog hop, you can head to the South for Cyndi's take on this week's theme, or simply use the links above to meet each blogger in this series!

Linking up with:



  1. Sounds like the perfect staycation, that will be during my Christmas vacation.


  2. A hiking + beach day sounds awesome! You always look so cute!

  3. Wow...beach thing is awesome...and its a great post hun...xoxo, Neha

  4. You did such a great job of showing your fam around SD- and a little staycation for you as a bonus. :) Of course you looked super chic throughout!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  5. This was awesome! Loved reading about the details of their visit and this is a great resource for San Diego travel! Your outfits are perfectly light and summery too which I love!
    Carylee |

  6. Thanks for inadvertently fulfilling my request to recommend things to do in-town! Always forget about harbor cruises, but if you know a friend with a boat, Humphrey's by the Bay concerts can be heard on the water (for free)! Good choice on the Torrey hike; I can actually walk and chat with friends on that one, and I appreciate learning about Red Tricycle. Actually doing a staycation with my little guy this week, and that'll fill in the gaps.

  7. You're right on with these tips and suggestions Gina! I think Torrey pines is my favorite, although we haven't been there since Spring. I also haven't been to old town since college! I think Nate and I are so used to our little spots so we don't divert as much as we used to and that needs to change! Little Italy is obviously my favorite but I'd love to explore more areas of la jolla and hillcrest. Staycations are the best! More fun, less stress ;) Oh and the cruise! That's happening this year! I've always wanted to try that.

  8. What a great idea for a summer series! The views from that hike are so pretty. This sounds like the perfect way to spend a week!

    Nicole to the Nines

  9. TripAdvisor is the best for planning trips and making ure you get your most of the time there. Never thought to look it up for my town, curious what is in the top 10!

  10. sisters trips are the best! very fun post!

  11. pinned this in case i make it out that way one day! i have never been hiking, but if i did i assume i'd do it for the scenery as well.
    your family looks so nice :)

  12. Love the way you have such great neutral items and the accessories you choose really pop!

  13. Having out of town guests can be the best inspiration to seek out fun activities for a staycation. And, seeing what others are doing on Snapchat or their blog can help too. For instance, a certain blogger's recent trip to Utah inspired me to finally take a date with my husband to a local ski resort in the summer! Thanks for that Red tricycle website. We're going to try to make one more Disneyland trip in the near future and it's always fun to find other family-friendly things to do in the area. What a gorgeous family of women you are in.

  14. Girl. If I lived in San Diego, I'd staycation too! I always love seeing your outfits.

  15. Oh, and I live for TripAdvisor when I travel, or even do local things. Love that tip!

  16. San Diego weekend trips are always fun for us. We have passes to the zoo so we always go there even if it's just for an hour. With my son, we've enjoyed seeing the USS Midway too. We always try to go the Mira Mar air show in October which is a lot of fun too. And I love eating my way through SD, so many great places to eat.


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

  17. I didn't know you had 3 sisters, how fun! I always wanted a sister. I am sure your location is a great one for them to visit! When I used to work, I would take off on Spring break every year and do a staycation with the kids. Now we usually explore a place each week (during the summer). All of your outfits work so well for the outings and I love that long blonde pony!


  18. Love your posts! Is there any way that you can make it so when you click your links it opens in a new tab and doesn't direct away from your page?

    1. Hi Britt! Thank you so much for your comment! I didn't even realize I had it set up that way until you mentioned it! I have tomorrow's post set-up with links opening in a new window and will try to remember make that change from now on. (Might take a minute to change my habits!) I'm also going to attempt to adjust all the old stuff with some code (not my forte!), so hopefully I don't break my blog altogether! LOL! But again, I really appreciate you mentioning it!

    2. Thanks Gina! I always lose your page and have to find my way back to where I was when I would click out to something you had linked :) Awesome!

  19. This is such a great resource! I'd love to go back to San Diego on a non-work related trip one day! Old Town and Torey Pines Beach sound so fun!

    Doused in Pink


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