Widely praised for its year-round sunshine, San Diego remains a top destination for thrill-seekers and romantics alike, but for those hoping to escape a trendy tourist spot, discover one of the city’s best kept secrets: La Jolla. Pronounced “la hoya,” La Jolla is a small, coastal community found just 20 minutes outside of downtown San Diego. It is the ideal haven for any couple in search of allure, adventure and relaxation.
Book your stay at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, one of the few hotels in the area situated directly on beachfront property and just moments from the San Diego Underwater Park, a 600-acre ecological reserve.Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, the amiable hotel boasts 98 guestrooms, 12 hard-surfaced tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course and an unbeatable location. Escape here during the month of August and experience Texas month, where you are sure to feel right at home beneath the flying of our very own state flag. You’ll fall asleep easy under the soft sound of crashing waves in the distance, only to awake feeling well rested and ready to embrace all that La Jolla offers.
In true California style, start your day with a soothing session of yoga on the beach. Schedule an appointment with a trained professional to lead you through a series of stretches and meditations for an hour of mental and physical relaxation. Feeling a little hesitant? Not to worry, local expert, Linda Armijo, assures, “yoga is for everybody, and although people are scared at first, young and old age groups can enjoy this activity.” Don’t forget to carry a light jacket in preparation for the mild ocean breeze and the cool, San Diego mornings.
Once you’re rejuvenated and ready for more, embark on a freefall bike tour with San Diego Bike and Kayak Tours. This one-of-a-kind adventure includes all necessary equipment and provides a rush unlike any
other. Feel the wind on your face as you explore everything from the top of the historic Mt. Soledad to the famous seal harbor, an open community where dozens of endangered seals seek shelter.
The invigorating, 2-hour bike ride will likely stir up a hearty appetite, so venture over to the local hot spot, Burger Lounge, for a revolutionary meal. With a promise to use only the greatest organic and grass-fed beef, don’t be shocked when a bite into this burger brings a sensational surprise to your taste buds. Good news vegetarians, options outside of just burgers (such as the Quinoa Veggie patty or the Fresh Vegetable Salad) are plentiful as well. Afterwards, sit outside on the patio to bask in the San Diego sun, while cooling off with one of their signature Lounge Milkshakes.
For a peaceful afternoon, visit the Grand Del Mar, San Diego’s only 5-star and 5-diamond resort. Slightly east of the coastline, the award- winning Grand Del Mar Resort offers a combination of Mediterranean charm
and modern elegance to form a luxurious estate filled with several activities and amenities other than the beach. Take it easy and head to the equestrian center to saddle up for a romantic, escorted trail ride along the surrounding Los Peñasquitos Canyon. Along the way, you’ll travel in admiration of the property’s lush greens and picturesque vegetation.
Don’t hesitate to unwind a bit by the beach before heading to a fairy-tale dinner at Brockton Villa, the nearby eatery featuring classic American cuisine and seafood. Request a table overlooking the La Jolla Cove and enjoy the light breeze from the coast as you indulge in a glass of wine and their renowned Cioppino. Stay for dessert and you won’t be disappointed with a serving of Bananas Foster Bread Pudding to close out the night.
The following morning, make an effort to stop by The Shores Restaurant, where the oceanfront view, exceptional quality and inviting atmosphere will make for a dining experience unlike any other. Made only with the best ingredients and seasonal selections of the region, their healthy selection of food is sure to satisfy any craving, and help you power up for the day.
After you’re fueled and energized by a gratifying breakfast, grab your swimsuit and head over to Surf Diva for a stand-up paddleboard lesson. Nestled seconds from the beach and the quaint La Jolla village, Surf Diva is one of the world’s premier women’s surf schools, offering year-round classes on surfing and stand-up paddle boarding for men and women of all ages. Once matched with the correct wetsuit and paddleboard, just saunter the short distance over to the water, where the friendly owners will greet you with a lively smile as they walk you through each and every step of the process. With these expert instructors by your side, you can rest assured there is nothing to fear. In no time, before the hour-long lesson is over, they will give you the confidence needed to stand-up and try paddling yourself.
Such an active exercise will work up an appetite deserving of delicious food and a view unmatched by others. Clean up a bit and work your way over to La Jolla’s best-known restaurant, George’s at the Cove, where Chef Trey Foshee will present a meal your taste buds will not forget. Ask for a table on the open- air rooftop terrace for a spot bringing a spectacular atmosphere, buzzing with chatter over the sights below. Order a glass of their house-made organic tea, a serving of fish tacos and a bowl of George’s specialty smoked chicken, black bean and broccoli soup for a tasty concoction that highlights the truly fresh ingredients of the region.
The afternoon presents the perfect time to grab your camera and head to the top of the hill of Torrey Pines Gliderport for an adventure like never before. Take advantage of the mid-day coastal winds and brace yourself for an incredible panoramic view of the ocean, as you sail nearly 300 feet in the air above La Jolla’s Black Beach. Strapped alongside a certified instructor in a comfortable seated position, you’ll have no worries except enjoying this 30-minute, smooth ride along the sparkling coastline. Be sure to sign up for a keepsake picture or video of your flight as a way to share the escapade with family and friends.
This activity-packed day deserves a night filled with nothing but your toes in the sand and a relaxing evening at the hotel. Back at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, make a call to the front desk and schedule a romantic dinner for two on the beach. For an additional fee, the hotel will set up a table with candles, dining ware and linens complete with your choice of food from the hotel restaurant. Watch the sunset as you savor a glass of wine from one of the many local California vineyards over a candlelight dinner. Before hitting the pillow, unwind from the day’s events hand-in-hand, as you take a barefoot walk along the beach with your loved one.
After a restful night, catch a ride over to The Lodge at Torrey Pines to start the morning with a guided hike along the 2,000-acre park. Home to indigenous wildlife and natural landscaping, this hour-long hike will get your blood pumping as you make your way up to the vista point, where a striking view of the nearby Peñasquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean will leave you breathless. Snap a few photos and head back to the Lodge’s in-house restaurant, the A.R. Valentien, for one of the nation’s top ten farm-to-table experiences.
While you sit on their gorgeous outdoor patio, order up a serving of Chef Jackson’s infamous Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and a glass of orange- ginger juice for a particularly delightful brunch.
There’s no better way to recuperate from the week’s adventures than a Swedish massage at the Torrey Pines Spa. With a full menu of holistic and specialty care services, the Spa aims to utilize local marine and botanical- based products for a truly rejuvenating treatment. These professionals make the entire experience comfortable, and you’ll undoubtedly emerge from this massage feeling recovered and completely restored.
Close your unforgettable, San Diego getaway in style with an early dinner at Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar. This contemporary fine-dining facility offers multiple eating areas, including a sushi bar and a covered patio on the heart of La Jolla’s charming streets. From the variety of their excellent Asian fusion tapas, such as their celebrated Crab Stack and Dynamite Shrimp Lobster Wraps, to their main entrees, like the Mongolian Shrimp dish, nothing at Roppongi will disappoint. Wine and dine with a glass or two of true Napa Valley wine and make sure to save room for a scoop of coconut gelato for a sweet end to this trip.
Photography by K. Russo