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Layover Ideas San Diego Airport SAN

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Top 5 Layover Ideas for San Diego Airport

If you're experiencing a long layover at San Diego Airport (SAN), don't worry. There's a plethora of exciting activities and destinations to explore within the city that can easily be accomplished within 12 hours. Here are the top 5 layover ideas for you to consider:

1. Gaslamp Quarter

Located in downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is a 16-block national historic district filled with specialty shops, art galleries, and restaurants. It's an excellent neighborhood to check out some of the city's early Victorian architecture. Numerous theaters and nightclubs call the Gaslamp Quarter home, adding to the lively atmosphere after the sun sets.

2. Old Town Trolley Tours

For a fun and educational experience, take an Old Town Trolley Tour. This is an exciting way to learn about over 400 years of San Diego's history and enjoy some of its most treasured sites, including the San Diego Zoo and beautiful Coronado. Tours leave every 30 minutes beginning at 9am and last approximately two hours. After your tour, you can take a leisurely stroll around Old Town for a glimpse of San Diego's humble beginnings.

3. Coronado

The city of Coronado is located on an island-like peninsula just south of San Diego. You can drive via the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, but it’s more convenient to take the ferry from Broadway Pier. Once in Coronado, you’ll find sparkling white beaches, a host of restaurants, quaint shops, and hotels. Most of the activity is centered on the beach-fronting Ocean Drive and on Orange Avenue.

4. San Diego Harbor Excursions

Take advantage of your layover by going on a San Diego Harbor Excursion. You can take the ferry to Coronado for a great outing. Other possibilities include dinner and brunch cruises, sightseeing tours, and whale watching trips. Hourly departures offer flexibility which may be necessary - once you get to the community of Coronado, you might decide to stay longer.

5. Mount Soledad

For a more peaceful activity, head to Mount Soledad in Eastern La Jolla. A 43-foot cross stands atop the 822-foot mountain, along with memorial plaques and pavers dedicated to US military personnel. This location offers a great view of greater San Diego. It's an excellent place to have a picnic or to enjoy spectacular sunsets.

Helpful Tips & Resources

Need help navigating your way through an unfamiliar airport? Look no further than iFly.com for expert tips and advice. Here are some helpful tips to help you travel stress-free through SAN Airport:

  • Don't let heavy bags slow you down! Make use of our airport's complimentary baggage carts, available for all travelers in the baggage claim area.
  • If you have some time before your departure, relax, grab a bite at one of SAN's restaurants, peruse the shops, or jump on the free internet and surf galore!
  • If you are flying in business or first class (or are a member), check out where the airline club lounges are located.
  • Once you have passed through security, you can use the airport map to find your gate, as well as the various restaurants and shops that are available on your route.
  • Surf to your heart's content. Jump on San Diego airport's internet (free!)
  • For those (dreaded) early-morning flights, consider one of the airport hotels on or near SAN to spend the night prior to your flight. In many cases your parking for the trip's duration is free!
  • Have a flight arriving and want a fast way to get to your destination? Here are a few taxi and limo airport service providers that service the airport.

Nearby Attractions for an Extended Layover

If you find yourself with an extended layover of 12 to 48 hours at San Diego Airport, there are plenty of nearby attractions that are worth a visit. Here are some top recommendations that will allow you to explore the beauty and culture of San Diego beyond the airport:

1. Balboa Park

As one of the largest urban cultural parks in the U.S., Balboa Park is a must-visit. It houses 17 museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens, and the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Whether you're a fan of art, history, science, or nature, you'll find something to enjoy in this sprawling park.

2. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is a small, picturesque cove and beach, surrounded by cliffs in La Jolla. It's a perfect spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and observing sea lions in their natural habitat. After exploring the cove, take a stroll in the upscale village of La Jolla, filled with art galleries, boutiques, and gourmet restaurants.

3. USS Midway Museum

Experience life at sea aboard one of America's longest-serving aircraft carriers. The USS Midway Museum offers an interactive adventure, including a self-guided audio tour that takes you through the ship's history from the WWII era to the Gulf War. You can explore more than 60 exhibits and 29 beautifully restored aircraft on the flight deck.

4. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

If you're a nature lover, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a must-visit. It's home to the nation's rarest pine tree and offers miles of unspoiled beaches, a lagoon that's vital to migrating seabirds, and a variety of plants and animals. Hiking trails provide breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

5. Little Italy

For food enthusiasts, a visit to San Diego's Little Italy is a must. This vibrant neighborhood is known for its plethora of restaurants, craft breweries, and unique shops. Don't miss the weekly Mercato Farmers' Market, where you can sample fresh produce, artisan food, and local crafts.

Updated on: November 22, 2023