As San Diegans, we have access to stunning coastlines, the ocean, and terrific year-round weather, but sometimes you just want to get away for the weekend. I love a fun weekend trip, since there are so many options from San Diego!

Whether you want to plan a desert trip to Borrego Springs, venture to the Ensenada Baja California for tacos and beach vistas, or hop on a plane to fly somewhere new, we have destination ideas for any type of traveler.

We've organized the best weekend trips from San Diego by travel distance, so you can choose how close or far you want go.

Quick Answer: Best Weekend Getaways From San Diego

Stay in San Diego County or head out of state of a thrilling (or relaxing) trip away from home. There's a getaway for every type of adventurer.

‌Best Day Trips From San Diego Besides Los Angeles‌

‌Best Road Trips From San Diego‌

‌Best Weekend Trips From San Diego‌

  • Best for the Foodies - Mesa
  • Best for a Little Bit of Everything - Sonoma
  • Best for Live Music - Austin

Best Day Trips From San Diego Besides Los Angeles

From a historic gold rush town to natural splendor, you don't have to venture far from San Diego to find a unique day trip experience. There are many places in Southern California that can melt away the noise and help you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life.

1. Julian

  • Perfect for:‌ Those looking for a slow, charming getaway
  • Highlights of Julian:
    • Great hiking and camping spots
    • Delicious apple pies

Located in San Diego County, Julian is a must-visit day trip if you love quaint, small historic towns and slow living. The gold rush town is about a short drive from San Diego, depending on where you start. It has the small-town charm of Solvang, but it’s a one-hour drive instead of five.

‌How to Get to Julian‌

To get to Julian from San Diego, you can take the scenic route by driving east on Interstate 8. From there, follow Highway 79 north for about 25 miles, and you'll arrive in the charming mountain town of Julian.

‌Things to Do in Julian‌

Julian is most known for its apple pie and charming shops, but you’ll also find hiking trails and camping. Sleep in your bed-and-breakfast then stroll the Julian Historic District as you pop into the different shops for some souvenirs from the small businesses.

For history buffs, visit the Julian Pioneer Museum to learn about the town's history. Go on a scenic drive or try some local ciders and wines. Before you leave, don’t leave without buying a fresh apple pie to take home with you. I love the apple cider donuts from the Julian Pie Company.

‌Where to Stay in Julian‌

Spend a quiet weekend at one of old town Julian’s hotels or bed-and-breakfasts such as Julian Gold Rush Hotel or The Julian Inn. The Julian Gold Rush Hotel provides romantic accommodations for those who want a weekend away from home. The hotel is furnished with American antiques and vintage decor such as cast-iron fireplaces and claw-foot tubs.

Julian Gold Rush Hotel Book Now

The Julian Inn is a small, family-owned option if you want something within walking distance of town.

The Julian Inn Book Now

2. Temecula

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  • Perfect for:‌ Anybody who loves a good wine
  • Highlights of Temecula:
    • Vineyards and views
    • Hot air balloon rides

You don’t have to venture to Napa Valley for a wonderful wine in California. Instead, make the 1-hour drive from San Diego to Temecula Valley to get your taste of vineyards, wineries, and hot air balloon rides.

‌How to Get to Temecula‌

Take Interstate 15 North and continue for approximately 60 miles to get to Temecula from San Diego. Once you turn left onto Temecula Road, you'll know you are very close. Follow the signs to downtown Temecula. The drive typically takes around one hour, depending on traffic conditions.

‌Things to Do in Temecula‌

It’s safe to say Temecula is ideal for wine enthusiasts. Savor the variety of vineyards in the area. Try Akash Winery & Vineyard, Rancho Guejito Vineyard, or Vindemia Vineyard & Winery; the list goes on and on.

If you do bring the children, check out some of the kids eat free eateries in town. Learn about olive oil and how it's made at the Temecula Olive Oil Company. Don't forget to buy yourself a bottle or two of their 100% California fresh-squeezed extra virgin olive oil.

Head to the Temecula Valley Museum to learn about the region's heritage and history. Then walk around Old Town Temecula to take in the atmosphere, boutiques, and buildings.

‌Where to Stay in Temecula‌

Once you’re done with your wine tastings, get a good night’s rest at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa or The Ponte Vineyard Inn. South Coast Winery Resort & Spa offers villas and rooms for a range of guests with direct access to vineyards from the patio. While you're there, book something from their list of spa services or opt for a Spa Day Pass.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Temecula Book Now

The Ponte Vineyard Inn, located in the heart of Temecula Wine Country, has vineyard views and farm-to-table eats, making it an all-in-one place to visit.

The Ponte Vineyard Inn Temecula Book Now

3. Borrego Springs

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  • Perfect for:‌ Nature lovers and outdoor adventurers
  • Highlights of Borrego Springs:
    • Beautiful landscapes
    • Blooming wildflowers during springtime

There are many attractions and activities to explore when you're at Borrego Springs. Whether you love landscapes, rock formations, or wildflower blooms, there’s no shortage of nature views at Borrego Springs.

‌How to Get to Borrego Springs‌

Drive east on the 163 until you reach I-15 N. Then follow CA-67 N until you get to CA-78 E/Julian Road and CA-79 N to San Felipe Road. You're on the right track and nearly there when you see the Montezuma Valley Road Lookout, which is a good place to get a view!

‌Things to Do in Borrego Springs‌

Discover the incredible beauty of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's desert views or hike the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail for a chance to see the wildflower bloom during spring.

Enjoy art in various forms at the Borrego Art Institute for pottery, gardening, painting, photography, and more. Galleta Meadows Estate Sculptures has over 130 remarkably crafted metal sculptures that look like something out of a movie.

If you’re not in the mood to walk around, go off-roading on a guided tour.

‌Where to Stay in Borrego Springs‌

Go golfing by day then sleep at Borrego Springs Resort & Spa, which is located adjacent to the Borrego Springs Golf Course. You'll find luxury accommodations, a beautiful outdoor pool, and space services, all with a view of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

Borrego Springs Resort & Spa Book Now

There's the Borrego Valley Inn if you prefer a bed-and-breakfast with a Santa Fe-style and peaceful surrounding landscape. The Anza Borrego State Park is just a few blocks away!

Borrego Valley Inn Book Now

You could also try the La Casa del Zorro if you seek tranquil luxury with private villas and casitas. Mix it up and spend the night under the stars at a campground.

La Casa del Zorro Borrego Book Now

Best Road Trips From San Diego

Travel a little further from San Diego and you'll witness the glory of all that California and Baja California has to offer. I love a nature walk or vista, especially when the temperatures are not too toasty.

Find joy in the small things like stargazing in Joshua Tree or reading a book at the beach in Ensenada.

4. Palm Springs

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  • Perfect for:‌ Anyone who wants a beautiful, relaxing weekend in the desert
  • Highlights of Palm Springs:
    • Warm getaway
    • Golfing and spa stays

Sure, you could head to Los Angeles or Santa Monica, but sometimes you want to get away from the city hubbub.

Palm Springs is around a three-hour drive from San Diego, and it's the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend getaway. Take in the sunshine and cool evenings with the consistently warm year-round weather conditions.

‌How to Get to Palm Springs‌

To get to Palm Springs, you're going to hop onto a few highways. You can take I-15 N and continue for approximately 80 miles.

As you approach Temecula, take the exit for Highway 79 East, until you reach CA-371 E, then CA-74 E to S Farrell Dr in Palm Springs. You're practically there once you get onto CA-111 N.

‌Things to Do in Palm Springs‌

San Diego’s coast is stunning, but Palm Springs offers a change in scenery. Witness the marvelous desert landscapes from above at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and experience warm year-round temperatures for yourself. I've been to the aerial tramway a couple of times and it never fails to impress.

Reserve your tee time and get your golf on at Indian Wells Golf Resort, PGA West, or Desert Willow Golf Resort. Stay at one of the luxurious resorts, spend the afternoon at a world-class spa or golfing, head to an art museum, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.

‌Where to Stay in Palm Springs‌

Palm Springs has boutique hotels, modern hotels, and historic inns for you to choose from. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is a laid-back oasis with a mid-century look. The rooms are chic with features such as artwork from local artists and organic, biodegradable, sustainable latex mattresses.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club Book Now

The conveniently located Avalon Hotel and Bungalows feel lush and manicured with 70 Spanish-style lodgings such as villas and studios. The citrus trees and manicured gardens make the Avalon look like something you'd see on a postcard that reads "wish you were here."

Avalon Hotel and Bungalows Palm Springs Book Now

5. Joshua Tree

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  • Perfect for:‌ Hikers and adventurers
  • Highlights of Joshua Tree:
    • Starry nights
    • Desert wildlife and serene hikes

Joshua Tree National Park is about a 3-hour drive from San Diego. This Southern California spot offers mesmerizing desert scenery and nature activities such as hiking trails and rock climbing.

‌How to Get to Joshua Tree‌

The drive usually takes around 2 1/2 to three hours, depending on traffic and the exact location within Joshua Tree you are heading to.

From San Diego, you'll take Interstate 15 North and continue to CA-94 E. Take I-15 N, I-215 N, CA-60 E/Moreno Valley Fwy, and I-10 E to your destination in Whitewater. Take exit 117 and follow CA-62 E until you reach Joshua Tree.

‌Things to Do in Joshua Tree‌

Connect with nature and find your serenity during your fun weekend getaway as you spend the weekend stargazing, hiking, and taking in the desert wildlife. Joshua Tree provides a breathtaking, unforgettable nature experience.

There are plenty of hikes like Hidden Valley, Barker Dam, Cholla Cactus Garden, and Ryan Mountain. Pick one that suits your hiking skill level, from easy to moderate to hard.

Cholla Cactus Garden hosts beautiful cholla cacti clusters, perfect for a sunset or sunrise landscape. As an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, Joshua Tree National Park is an astrotourism destination thanks to its relatively dark skies and epic starry nights.

‌Where to Stay in Joshua Tree‌

Stay in a boutique hotel, vacation rentals, and desert resorts within Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Spend the weekend at Joshua Tree Ranch House Motel if you want an alternative to a hotel. If you have a larger party of up to 10 guests, you can ask about their Mid-Century Lounge.

Joshua Tree Ranch House Motel Book Now

Reflect and reset at the rustic Joshua Tree House where you'll find options like the Yucca Room with a private patio that overlooks the Sonoran plant life or the Creosote Suite that has a full kitchen private patio and stunning jungle shower.

The Joshua Treehouse Book Now

6. Ensenada, Mexico

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  • Perfect for:‌ Foodies who love the ocean
  • Highlights of Joshua Tree:
    • Tacos and seafood
    • Wineries and tours

Ensenada is a hop, skip, and jump away from San Diego, making it the perfect beach town for a weekend road trip in Baja California. Explore the Valle de Guadalupe wineries, go whale watching, snorkeling, or spend the weekend lounging at your Airbnb with a beach view.

‌How to Get to Ensenada, Mexico‌

Remember to bring your passport and necessary documentation for international travel.

Take the I-5 South until you reach the San Ysidro border crossing. After crossing the border, follow signs for Tijuana/Ensenada Scenic Road (Mexico Highway 1D) and continue south for about 75 miles. This scenic coastal road will lead you directly to the city of Ensenada.

On your way back to San Diego, I'd recommend diverting and going to the Garita de Otay border crossing, since the San Ysidro border crossing lines can take hours and hours and hours.

‌Things to Do in Ensenada, Mexico‌

Valle de Guadalupe is well known as one of Mexico’s top wine regions. There are so many wineries in the Ensenada Valle de Guadalupe area that you won’t be able to visit them all in one weekend. Guess that means you’ll have to come again, right?

Pick from Xecue Vinicola, Monte Xanic, Casa Magoni, Trevista Vineyards, Lechuza Vineyard, and so much more. If wine isn't your thing, learn about the area at Museo de Historia de Ensenada or stroll the boardwalk at Ventana al Mar.

The Centro Cultural, Social y Cívico Riviera del Pacifico allows you to take art classes or schedule a guided tour. Adventurers can go snorkeling, scuba diving, or book an off-roading tour with Go Baja Adventure Tour Company.

‌Where to Stay in Ensenada, Mexico‌

Ensenada has plenty of hotels and Airbnb options. Estero Beach Hotel & Resort offers guests a private beach and ocean views for a peaceful weekend away from home. You don't even have to leave the property. Play tennis at the tennis court, then book a massage — and after you're all relaxed, eat dinner at the Las Terrazas Restaurant-Bar.

Estero Beach Hotel & Resort Ensenada Book Now

Another great option is the Posada El Rey Sol, which is ideal for visitors who want to be centrally located to some historical points such as Rivera del Pacifico, Catavina Rock Paintings (Las Pintas), and Aduana Maritima. There are even dog-friendly hotels if you want to bring the pup.

Posada El Rey Sol Ensenada Book Now

Best Weekend Trips From San Diego

San Diego truly is a remarkable place to live, and sometimes a weekend getaway helps you truly remember the joys of home.

While you're on vacation, you might as well live with intention as you groove to the music in Austin, Texas or perhaps you want time to roam and eat your way through Mesa, Arizona.

7. Mesa, Arizona

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  • Perfect for:‌ Foodies who love to wine and dine
  • Highlights of Mesa:
    • Glamping
    • Farms and agrotourism

Get out of Southern California and fly to Mesa, Arizona. It’s a bit like San Diego County in that it's widespread and there are a bunch of cities pretty close to each other.

You might head from Phoenix to Mesa to Queen’s Creek on a given day or throughout your weekend.

‌How to Get to Mesa‌

Take a quick Uber or Lyft to the San Diego International Airport, then head on your flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Depending on if you rent a car or want to take an Uber — as well as where you end up staying — your drive from the airport into Mesa is about 11 miles.

‌Things to Do in Mesa‌

Mesa has a buzzing food scene and nightlife with wineries and restaurants perfect for a romantic weekend with your partner or if you bring the kids. Foodies will relish the flavors along Arizona's Fresh Foodie Trail.

The Mesa area has a tasty agrotourism industry where you can visit local vendors, cafes, farms, and eateries such as Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek Olive Mill, and Agritopia.

There's a lot to do after eating to digest! Walk the Arizona Boardwalk, check out the Arizona Museum of Natural History, or take the road less traveled on a hike through Usery Mountain Regional Park.

‌Where to Stay in Mesa‌

Mesa has no shortage of hotels and pet-friendly options, from Courtyard Mesa at Wrigleyville West to Residence Inn Mesa Phoenix.

If you want a glamping experience, head to The Cozy Peach for an experience in an Airstream trailer. You can hang out outside in your own little yard or walk to the farm if there are any seasonal events or happenings!

The Cozy Peach Mesa Book Now

I spent one night at The Cozy Peach and then at DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix-Mesa. The DoubleTree is 12 miles from Sky Harbor Airport, so it's conveniently located. Plus, you can’t go wrong with fresh chocolate chip cookies!

DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix-Mesa Book Now

8. Sonoma

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  • Perfect for:‌ A romantic weekend vacation
  • Highlights of Sonoma:
    • Seasonal eats and wine
    • Quiet stay with pretty views

Sonoma County has more than wine, although the wine is pretty delicious too. Take in the art galleries, attend a comedy show, go golfing, or choose your own nature adventure in beautiful Sonoma.

It’s a great option if you’re searching for romantic getaways relatively close to San Diego.

‌How to Get to Sonoma‌

Take your 2-hour flight from San Diego International Airport (SAN) to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa.

After landing in Santa Rosa, you can rent a car or arrange for transportation to reach Sonoma, which is located about 30 miles southeast of the airport. You'll get on US-101 S to CA-12 E, and then follow CA-12 E into Sonoma.

‌Things to Do in Sonoma‌

Sonoma is the type of place you can sip coffee in the morning, head to the Sonoma Museum of Art by mid-morning, go on a wine tour in the afternoon, and then have your evening free to dine or rest.

Grab a brewed coffee or a brew at Brew Coffee and Beer House, or try The Redwood if you want white, red, or sparkling wine. Redwood Wine Bar's menu changes seasonally, so you can get a different experience based on when you visit.

Get your laughs at Barrel Proof Lounge Comedy Club, or do a wine tasting and art tour at The Donum Estate. Traipse through Sonoma State Historic Park or Sonoma Valley Regional Park, or get a panoramic view on the Sonoma Overlook Trail. Sonoma County has a little bit of everything.

‌Where to Stay in Sonoma‌

Stay at Hyatt Regency Sonoma for serene views close to Historic Railroad Square and downtown Santa Rosa. Not only that, it's near Sonoma wineries and local shopping.

Hyatt Regency Sonoma Book Now

Perhaps you want a plush stay at Marriott's The Lodge at Sonoma Resort. The pool looks like an oasis, while the rooms and suites themselves are newly renovated for your comfort. No matter how you want to spend your weekend getaways from San Diego, Sonoma County offers suites, rooms, and beautiful places to enhance your stay.

Marriott's The Lodge at Sonoma Resort Book Now

9. Austin, Texas

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  • Perfect for:‌ Anyone who loves live music
  • Highlights of Austin:
    • Music, music, music
    • Tex-Mex food

Austin, Texas is one of the best weekend getaways from San Diego, especially if you like Tex-Mex, cafes, music, and outdoor activities.

‌How to Get to Austin‌

Hop on your flight from San Diego International Airport (SAN) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The flight duration is typically around 3 to 3.5 hours.

After landing in Austin, you can utilize ground transportation options such as taxis, rideshares, or rental cars to reach your final destination in the city.

‌Things to Do in Austin‌

There are must-see concerts, shows, music festivals, and more in Austin. Browse the concerts and events listings to see what’s happening while you’re in town.

Wander down Rainey Street Historic District for food, bars, and live music. Tour the LBJ Presidential Library and explore the exhibits, or take a dip at Barton Springs Pool, which is about 3 acres in size.

Kids will enjoy the range of children’s activities like the Zilker Metropolitan Park for swimming, hiking, and biking, or the Thinkery (formerly Austin Children's Museum) for science, nature, and other hands-on exhibits.

‌Where to Stay in Austin‌

Keep it laid-back in the heart of the Rainey Street District at Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt. Swim on the rooftop pool and enjoy the amenities as you spend your weekend getaway making memories that will last you for years to come.

Hotel Van Zandt Book Now

If you want something roomier or are traveling with a larger family, you might want to pick the Fairmont Austin with its 1,000+ rooms and 37 stories.

Fairmont Austin Book Now

There are also family resorts in Austin where you can take the whole family as well as hotels and bed-and-breakfasts if you want something a bit more intimate.

As you can see, some of the best day trips from San Diego may not even be in California! If you are willing to drive a little or fly a short distance, there are many road trips from San Diego you can take and have unforgettable adventures.