Image courtesy of Trip Advisor.
Do not let the two hour and ten minute drive fool you. Although this is a shorter drive, there is still plenty to do in between San Diego and Palm Springs. This part of California greatly embodies the “chill” and “surfer” vibes that most people associate California with. Everything moves a little slower, everyone is smiling, and the sun never stops shining. Pack your bags and prepare for a trip from America’s finest City to the desert capital of California. Below is a list of options of places and things to do during this beautiful drive through Southern California.
2920 Zoo Drive | San Diego, CA | zoo.sandiegozoo.org
Located in the heart of San Diego is the San Diego Zoo which is also known for being the best zoo in the United States. With over 3,700 and 650 species that call this zoo home it is no surprise that more than four million people visit each year. The number of people that visit also makes it the most visited zoo per year in the United States.
There obviously has to be some amazing animals on display since so many people come to this particular zoo. Since there are so many animals at the San Diego Zoo, it is almost impossible to get a glance at every single one. Some unique animals that may have not been at a zoo you have previously gone to are: fossas, klipspringers, nubian ibexes, and red pandas.
There is more to do than looking at animals as well! The San Diego Zoo has attractions for all ages. Children are able to go on the several play areas and the Balboa Park miniature train. Options for the whole family to enjoy are the 4D theater, botanical tours, and the skyfari aerial tram.
Not a typical place to think of when traveling in SoCal.
Black Mountain Open Space Park | San Diego | sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/osp/blackmtn
Located a few miles North of San Diego is Black Mountain Open Space Park. This 2,352 acre park gives visitors views of Southern California other than just the ocean. Most visitors come to hike to the centerpiece of the mountain which stands at 1,554 feet. The centerpiece gives a 360 view of downtown San Diego, mountains, and the ocean.
Hikers and bikers have access to a variety of trails to use for their recreational use. The Summit Trail is one option and is a dirt road trail which works well for both biking and hiking. With great views along the covered ridges along the trail, you will eventually reach the summit of the mountain. The other option for trail access is the Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail. This 2.5 loop is more difficult, but still provides scenic views while hiking or biking.
2470 Melru Lane | Escondido, CA | www.trapezehigh.com
As you begin to leave San Diego and start to head more North, you will drive through the bustling town of Escondido. A place you have to visit before leaving is Trapeze High. This place is for anyone who does not mind heights and the body flying through the air. It does not matter if you have never tried trapeze before or do it regularly!
Trapeze High offers different levels of classes for visitors to partake in. The entry level class “Intro to Flying Trapeze” focuses on safety guidelines, basic swings, dismounts, and trick positions. The more advanced class that is offered is called “Flying Trapeze” and it focuses more fundamentals of the swing and more advanced tricks.
Trapeze High is a very safe environment. Trained professionals take care of each visitor. There is also netting under each trapeze for extra precaution.
25453 Lake Wohlford Road | Escondido, CA | escondido.org/lake-wohlford
Since the weather is always 75 and sunny in Southern California, a great way to spend time is at a lake! Lake Wohlford is known for having an abundance of different fish for avid fishermen. Some fish that are able to be found and caught at Lake Wohlford are Bass, Bluegrill, Catfish, Crappie, and Trout.
Other than fishing, visitors are able to rent rowboats and motorboats for either half of the day or the full day. If you are more the relaxing type, then grab a towel and sit by the lake and soak in the sun rays while tanning.
35960 Rancho California Road | Temecula, CA | www.wilsoncreekwinery.com
After a jam packed day in Escondido, it is time for the short thirty minute drive to Temecula California. One major thing Temecula is known for is their many wineries due to the open land surrounding. One of the best wineries that you have to stop by and relax at is Wilson Creek Winery.
Tours of the winery are available seven days a week and last one hour long. On the tour, there are five tastings that come with a wine glass and 10% discount on purchases made the day of the tour.
After the wine tour stop by the Picnic Grounds. At the picnic grounds, there is a restaurant for visitors to grab a bite to eat for lunch. The Courtyard Bar and Grille is especially known for their wine slushies. Also located on the picnic grounds are a full size bocce ball court and a garden under beautiful trees that is great for guests to sit out and relax in.
Old Town Temecula | Temecula, CA | visittemeculavalley.com/things-to-do/old-town/
The Old Town of Temecula has everything and more you would expect from a small town. It is the perfect combination of the past and present of Temecula. The unique options offered for dining, entertainment, and shopping will make you wish you had more time to spend in Old Town.
Some fun and different options for dining include: The Gambling Cow (steak and seafood), The Goat and Vine (healthy food choices), and Mad Madelines Grill (hamburgers, fish and chili). Each restaurant has its own atmosphere and variety of food.
For entertainment, check out the Old Town Blue Club. It has great live music, good energy, and fun drinks. If you are looking for a more quiet and relaxed place for entertainment, head to the Lorimar Loft. The loft is a tasting room with flights available and local bottles of wine to purchase.
2091 Goetz Road | Perris, CA | skydiveperris.com
After a relaxing day in Temecula, head just half an hour to Skydive Perris. This skydive place has two options; either to skydive inside or do the real thing and go outside and jump! The indoor skydiving facilities simulates jumping out of a plane without the fear of heights or the actual jump being involved.
The wall to wall cushion allows flyers to experience what actually jumping out of a plane is like due to a small tunnel that creates air able to fly in while still being inside! For this type of skydiving, no experience is required and people as young as age three can fly as well as people in their eighties! There is no need to worry about safety as each flyer is in protective gear as long as they are accompanied by an instructor during the duration of their time in the tunnel.
If you are a more experienced skydiver or want to try something new for the first time, Skydive Perris also offers going outside and jumping out of a real plane. One option is to do a tandem skydive which is when visitors are attached to an instructor and securely jump out of a plane at 12,500 feet. The other option is to start out at the indoor skydiving and then make your way outside for the real jump!
700 S Hathaway Street | Banning, CA | museumofpinball.org
The last stop before reaching your final destination, Palm Springs, should be without a doubt Banning California. Banning may not be the most exciting place in Southern California, but a museum that is only found here is the Museum of Pinball. This non-profit museum is hoping to bring back people’s love for pinball and educate youth on this fun arcade game.
In this museum, there are over 1,000 pinball machines and other arcade games. There are some newer machines as well as very old ones as well. Along with many pinball machines on display, there are also five acres of trees that the museum plans to eventually turn into a retro trailer hotel with refurbished and vintage recreational vehicles.
Joshua Tree National Park | Palm Springs, CA | nps.gov/jotr/index.htm
At last, you have reached the beautiful Palm Springs! Palm Springs is well known for its constant heat and the desert feel. The Joshua Tree National Park has to be your first stop. It is called the Joshua Tree National Park because there are many Joshua Trees in the park. A Joshua tree is a unique looking tree that has zig zag branches at the top.
This national park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals that visitors are able to see when there. Other than having a wide variety of wildlife, there is also an endless amount of things to do while visiting The Joshua Tree National Park. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, and stargazing.
There are over 300 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails so there is definitely no shortage of choices of trails for visitors. Stargazing is perfect in this national park due to its openness. Stargazing is a visitor favorite.
1 Tram Way | Palm Springs, CA | pstramway.com
Palm Springs is already beautiful on land and on foot, but did you ever think you could view it from above? Well, with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway that is possible! The tram car ride is about ten minutes along as it goes up the Chino Canyon with fantastic views of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. After the tram ride and you finally reach the top of 8, 516 feet, there are two restaurants, observation decks, two documentary theaters, and 50 miles of hiking.
The Forest View is an option for dining and has many fresh options such as steak, salmon, and chicken. The other option for dining is Peaks Restaurant which also has steak and salmon options available. For quicker food options, there are also two cafes and a lounge for visitors to stop in.
4741 East Palm Canyon Drive Suite B | Palm Springs, CA | palmspringscelebritytours.com
Many celebrities can be spotted each day walking the streets of Los Angeles, but not so much in Palm Springs. This rated 5% nationally celebrity tour may not include living and breathing celebrities but very believable statues! Hop on a bus and tour around some of the best olden days celebrity highlights. This two and half hour tour includes sites of the “old movie colony, Las Palmas, Racquet Club Estates, and about 60 homes as well. This tour will for sure bring back childhood memories for the adults on board!
Some tips to keep in mind during this tour is that since it is long to make sure to bring water since you will be in the desert, there is only one bathroom stop along the tour that occurs about halfway through, food is allowed on the bus! Food and water are available for purchase at the beginning of the tour.