What if I travel to…San Diego, California? ($50/day)

I have had the pleasure of spending several vacations in San Diego and the neighboring city of Poway. An easy stop off on a road trip, San Diego is expensive but has a lot to offer, from hiking to lounging and everything in between.

  • Wear sunscreen.
    • Seriously. I have gotten so sunburned at  Beach that my skin looked bruised and that was on a cloudy day
  • Hydrate if you plan to hike.
    • I have seen people stagger and get confused from dehydration hiking in the area, there is NO shade on most hikes and the ground just emits heat all day long as well as the sun. Temperatures in the summer will exceed 100 F or 38 C often during the summer

Hikes:

  • Ramona dam
    • A great hike with a view overlooking the surrounding hillside, city, and avocado orchards. Its roughly 7 miles round trip and very dusty but easy
  • Iron Mountain
    • Follow another dusty trail over 8+ miles to enjoy a slightly different view of sand, scrub, and desolation. Worth the trek
  • Potato Chip Rock
    • An extremely popular hike due largely to the potato chip shaped rock at the top that you can stand on and appear to be ready to drop off at any second, an easy but iconic hike with some shale but pretty much just scrub and dust

Beaches

  • Del Mar/Torrey Pines
    • For easy accessibility, long stretches of beach and plenty of room to boogie board or skim, this section of sand is located north of San Diego and offers great views of the city
  • Black’s Beach
    • former clothing optional beach that still has some gray areas, I have never been but a close friend is from the area and insists it is worth the excursion
  • Other beaches – no use re-writing an article by someone with additional local experience

Other Activities:

  • Climb or explore Joshua Tree
    • People fly in from around the country for the chance to get at the routes here for decades, and even those who do not enjoy climbing can enjoy hiking or biking in the park. Driving from central San Diego is roughly 3.5 hours
  • Watch a Padres game
    • The American past time at ticket prices that won’t break the bank and where it isn’t so likely to be over crowded
  • Tijuana, Mexico
    • Just a few hours drive south, the city is an easy day trip into Mexico. Just be prepared for occasional border traffic and bring lots of water. Also keep in mind the city is not always the safest, so do not go alone or wander late at night
  • Eat at In-N-Out Burger
    • It is a thing that people do as tourist, the food is not especially better than any other fast food place but it is very popular. Students in SW Washington attempt an “In-N-Out Challenge” a few times a year in which they leave right after class and drive the 8 hours to the nearest location and then bring it 8 hours back to eat for breakfast at school the next day before class begins
  • Head up to Anaheim, LA, or Hollywood
    • A short stint up the coast can get you into Disneyland, the land of stars, or a major traffic jam
  • Hit up Solid Rock Gym in Poway
    • Bouldering, TR, lead, slacklines, and a sick adjustable crack column make this gym a fun day spot if the weather is too hot to get in the crag. The ground is pea gravel though, be sure to move the crash pad
  • Lose big at a Tribal Casino
    • Casinos are all over the surrounding area, many of which are first nations owned and therefore you can smoke inside and play slots. If visiting from out of the country, expect to see a large middle age plus crowd glued to the screen for hours in a bizarre ritual of despair. Go in having a limit and knowing that if you win it is a fluke, just have fun and enjoy the free concerts and secondhand smoke
  • Drive up the 101
    • I have driven the length from Howe Sound in British Columbia down the 99, to I-5 and out to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington before driving down Oregon coast and long the cliffs of California. There are plenty of camping destinations, a chance to visit the Redwoods, and beaches galore with one sunset over the ocean after another

Where to sleep:

  • Out of money
    • sleep in your car at a Wal-mart or any rest area on the interstate
    • couch surf
  • Limited money
    • tent camp at one of the dozens of surrounding parks. Just be sure to bring in water
  • Some cash
    • hostelworld if alone. Most place start around $30/night
    • Airbnb if there are several people, decent places can be found for $80 to $100 and up
  • I’m rich
    • this is probably the wrong travel blog for you

What if I travel to… Bellingham, WA ($10-$20)

Home of Western Washington University (my alma mater), Bellingham is one of the biggest cities in Washington and home to a culture all it’s own. There are more types of recycling than colors in the rainbow and locals spend twice as much to buy products that are locally sourced.

  • Visit the Coop for local foods and vegan/vegetarian options
  • AB Crepes is one of the best local eats, opened by two former WWU students, it is affordable and stays open as late as there are customers
  • Boomers Drive – In is a great local burger joint
  • Vital Climbing Gym is a 24/7 bouldering gym with a great environment and one of the best communities I have ever had the privilege being part of. They always have dogs inside and you can add your own music to the playlist while climbing, training, or on the slackline
  • Tour Western for a gorgeous campus full of interactive art and a view of Bellingham bay
  • Hike or climb in the Arboretum, the large forested hill in the center of town, with miles of trails past a few pot smoking hippies and plenty of families out enjoying the weather, rain or shine
  • Take the Boltbus up to Vancouver or down to Seattle or Portland for the weekend
  • Drive up the pass to Mt. Baker for some great skiing and snowboarding
  • Go sailing in Bellingham Bay for stunning views and perfect winds