Christmas in San Diego!

This update is long overdue as it involves our month long stop in the San Diego are over Christmas and New Year. We had dreams of spending a nice warm, beachy Christmas with *Gina and Ashley (Clark's daughter and daughter-in-law)...wearing shorts and bragging to our friends in the colder regions of the States how awesome our weather was and how much theirs sucked. {Not that we'd ever want to rub their noses in it...}.

Well, the Karma gods had other plans for us and we spent the better part of 45 days cold, wet and {somewhat} miserable. And it was super expensive to boot.

Our first month was spent at Santee Lakes. The park itself was beautiful and there was so much water fowl that every day was like hanging out with the Audubon Society. There's a great walking/running path and a lot of grassy areas for relaxing and reflecting on life. While we were there they even hosted a Christmas in the Park for the local kids...complete with snow and sledding, pony rides and Santa. But our camp site was a huge disappointment, especially for the cashola we had to shell out. It was basically a parking space, part asphalt and part dirt/mud (which sucked considering all of the rain). Our 'free' internet was basically non-existent and we had absolutely no view of the lake...not even if we squinted and craned our necks.

What made it worse was that when we rode our bikes around the rest of the park we saw some pretty amazing camp sites...simply beautiful! We asked if it was possible to move but the staff informed us that they only had certain sites marked for 'long-term' camping. When I spoke with a lady with a lake front long-term camp site she informed me that she had been 'living' at Santee for several years but that the law required her to leave for 2 weeks every 6 months. She simply pays the park "extra" to hold her site for her return. Meaning people like us will never have the opportunity to stay in a nicer spot on a long-term basis. Kinda sucked. We won't be back (at least not for a long-term stay).

One of the many trails at Sweetwater.
Miso out for a walk at Sweetwater.
Our second camp ground was Sweet Water Regional Park and it was gorgeous. While still expensive by our standards, it was much more like 'camping' with larger sites, trees, grass and no residential traffic. We stayed in the older area (without sewer but they have an on-site dump station) for a more rustic ambiance but they have added on a second section which is perfect to bigger rigs...they have huge pull-thru sites which are very spacious. There are also hiking trails all around the park...I found several great spots for early morning hikes and meditation. The older sites have corrals available so campers can bring their horses. We had neighbors come in with 9 was awesome!

Sweetwater camp site.
One thing is for certain...there is a lot to do in the San Diego area...even if it's raining. Like:

The Taylor Guitar Tour:

Seeing a play at the wonderful Cygnet Theater in Old Town San Diego:

On a sunnier day there's always Little Italy (be sure to hit up the Farmer's Market):

Old Town San Diego (the Birthplace of California):

Cable Car tours!
A fantastic coffee and tea shop!
 Balboa Park (always stunning):

The Tall Ships at the Maritime Museum:

The U.S.S. Midway:

Your captains, the beautiful Gina and Ashley!

The Hotel Del Coronado (which has ice skating during Christmas):

And the San Diego Safari Park (aka Wild Animal Park):

This was not our first trip to San Diego so we didn't hit up some of the other touristy things to do in San Diego. We tried to take advantage of the nice days by going for bike rides in the parks and along the beach rather than spending more money at places we'd been to before (think amusement parks). There is plenty to do in the area and lots of 'foodie' opportunities. You could spend a year here and not see it all. Gina and Ashley have now moved from the area so I don't know if and when we will be back but it really is a wonderful destination.

*On a side note, be sure to check out Gina and Ashley's Youtube Pages!! Ace and G, ginabonelli, Absolutely Ace 33 and Hey Y'All Hey!

Labels: , , ,