SD Day Trippin - Day trips from San Diego with Delicious Food and Fun Activities

All who live and spend time in San Diego are blessed with some of the greatest weather and an abundance of different activities and sights, but sometimes we want a change of scenery and to explore someplace new. I’m looking for your favorites that are relatively close (within 90 minutes) “get aways” from San Diego for a fun day of food and activities.

I think Mexico and Tijuana deserve their own threads, so I’m looking for California destinations and culinary adventures within a roughly 90 minute drive (80 mi - 90 mi maximum) from San Diego . . . The Baja border area, Borrego, Julian, San Clemente, Oceanside, Ramona, Orange County, Idlewild, Palm dessert, Marrieta/Temecula, etc.

This weekend we had just a wonderful excursion to San Juan Capistrano. Left San Diego around 10:25 and were sitting down to lunch at the relatively new Sol Agave restaurant by 11:30. Sol Agave is a little hole in the wall in a strip mall just off the I5. Over 150 Y reviews and a 5.0 average rating, so we had to try it. Ingredients are fresh and flavorful and almost everything from the tortillas to all their delicious sauces and salsas are made in house. A former food truck that has gone brick and mortar, they bill themselves as upscale Mexican food with an organic ingredient kitchen.
Sol Agave

The salsa and bean sauce brought to our table with the chips when we sat down were so good we almost completely filled up them. Salsa was fresh with great flavor and a significant kick of heat. The Shrimp Tacquitos appetizer was absolutely fantastic.These were huge U 8 wild caught shrimp, butterflied, stuffed with an epazote dungeness crab filling, then wrapped and fried in a homemade corn tortilla. They were served with fresh lettuce, queso fresco, a grilled lemon and several different dipping sauces… Amazing! I could order just these with a draft beer and be completely happy. Should have got another order!

The Jalepeno Cream Soup with roasted corn, Jack cheese, and cornstrrip was served with a cilantro garlic bread was another brilliant standout. Just the right amount of heat to be inetresting and not overpowering. Very creamy, but still fresh and not too rich

The Fish Tacos were also very fresh and tasty especially on those great corn tortillas. My one complain is that perhaps they had too much going on with all the different toppings inside (avocado, onions, mango, pickled veg, etc.). Still all in all a very good fish taco. The Chile Colorado was another dynamite dish! Melt in your mouth braised short rib with pasilla peppers in a Negra Modelo sauce was super tender and flavorful. Of course when accompanied by a draft Negra Modelo and the house made tortillas it was even better.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the Rios neighborhood (oldest in California) and checking out the Mission. Right now the mission is superbly beautiful (both elegant and rustic) with all the gardens in full bloom. If you have never been, this is perhaps the jewel in the whole Californai Mission sytem. Fabulous, museums, sights, artifacts, and history abound. It is believed to be the very last place Father, now Saint, Serra held services.

Just an idyllic day trip with delicious food.


The Rios neighborhood is really cool. If you don’t feel like driving, you can always take the train up. Drove the 5 on Saturday, and the traffic was pretty nasty through San Clemente. We usually go to the Ramos House, and for some reason at that restaurant, it feels like we are up on the central coast rather than in Orange County.

Yes, the Ramos house is a super cool place. We’ve only been there once for brunch several years ago, but it was a fun outing. Too bad they aren’t allowed to stay open past 5 pm (none of the businesses in the Rios are)…

Dang, those shrimp taquitos look so good!

Just got back from taking the Palms to Pines highway to Palm Desert…gorgeous drive to PS.
Had a wonderful lunch at Le Vallauris on the patio in downtown PS…

You could hit up the mid century shops, the tram or casino.
Wilma & Frieda’s on El Paseo is fantastic for breakfast/lunch.
They make a fab lobster Benedict.

Julian, I like to go to lunch at Jeremy’s on the Hill…there is a brewery now with craft beer.

La Casa del Zorro in Borrego is a fave…Fox Den or Butterfield’s is lovely.
Laguna Beach…Surf and Sand Hotel at Splashes…

Dana Point, take the Catalina Express over to Avalon for day or weekend…
Eric’s on pier or fish n’ chips, for cheeseburger and cold one, buffalo milk at Descanso beachfront bar by casino…swim and have apps and drinks…
El Galleon, Portofino or pizza at Antonio’s…
Marlin Club…best dive in da world…
Zip line or rent a golf cart and tool around Avalon…


Wow, thanks so much Plumey! Very cool list. Palms to Pines Highway sounds like a great drive in my little car. Did you take the 371 to 74 ? We have to do that again (it’s probably been 20 years) Any good stops on the way to PS? Paradise Valley Cafe?

Been meaning to get out to Casa Del Zorro, as it was a place my wife’s family regularly visited during her childhood. Any favorites?

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I also like Casa del Zorro, although I think that in their earlier incarnation the food was better.

As it happens, I dined at lunch today at Rams Hill in Borrego Springs. Wonderful day for a table on the patio with a stunning view of the grounds, desert, and mountains beyond. The filet mignon flatbread with grilled onions and blue cheese was excellent, as were the delicately seasoned pulled-pork sliders with bourbon BBQ sauce and Asian slaw on brioche buns. This place is definitely worth a try. Better, I think, than Zorro.

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Hope that little car is a 911 or Cayman!
Paradise is always packed and we saw lots of hikers going thru Warner Springs on the Pacific Crest trail.

La Cocina in Anza…La Cahuila casino…Warner Springs reopened the restaurant…take a glider ride which they have some deals for 2 on Living Social.

I’ve played golf at Rams Hill, years ago but since then it has closed but I hear it has reopened an better than ever…along with the food!
They have some spectacular homes out there…

I like Borrego…love the statues in the desert…they have a art museum, if I recall in the round about…

I’ve been going to Zorro, since the Copley’s. Love the Fox den.

Need to hit up the club for food on a day trip down from Ranchita, to see my beloved Big Foot statue!

I wish it was a Porsche, but it’s the next best thing, an Audi TT S Quattro. It scoots pretty good and the Quattro is pretty hard to beat through the turns,

My colleague was a glider instructor and I used to go up with him regularly. It’s a blast for sure. Really crazy in the thermals when you are with several other gliders with different glide ratios circling and rising at different rates. Went up one day out of Warner Springs and the updrafts were so strong we couldn’t lose altitude to land! In the air for well over 2 hours.

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Audi TT S is a lot of car for the price and I bet it hugs those curves on the back roads just fine.
We took the Rover and love my ‘Frank the Tank’. . .out of my way, people!!

It was busy at the Glider Port at Warner Springs and the golf course was being watered, which is a fun little course and used to stay in those casitas…play golf, hike, horseback ride and they used to have the killer hot springs…
Looks like it is back baby!

I once threw a motorcycle off Banner Grade into a canyon coming out of Borrego. Cartwheeled all the way down, throwing parts and pieces everywhere.

I fortunately stayed up on the street, unharmed, and saying a silent thanks to the cow that gave it’s hide to save mine.

But I’d still two wheels to four.

Scary story for sure. Used to ride a Donorcycle. No such thing as a fender bender and exchanging insurance info. Nope, you’re finishing your ride in an ambulance or worse a helicopter. They are fun though!

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m jealous as hell! And just looking for reasons to feel better about not riding any more.

Yes, the re-opened Rams Hill is much nicer than before, and the grounds adjoining the restaurant are really gorgeous, with two ponds and a waterfall. Those homes are indeed spectacular, and now in addition to the main entrance gate, there’s a separate gate to get to the homes. No restaurant-going lookie-loos allowed into the residential area!

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Oh! I’m sorry!

Did I interrupt your happytonotberiding stream of consciousness?


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That all sounds great, but


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Sweet pool. Do you know if that was a full 25yd.

Have to admit, that occurred to me too. Rolling landscape with awesomely green grass, two ponds, and a waterfall…hmmmm. Maybe because it’s a golf course they have a special permit?