Destination guide

Enjoy the city from your San Diego vacation rentals

San Diego typically conjures images of gold-sand beaches and sparkling blue Pacific waters dotted with white-masted sailboats and thrill-seeking surfers. But there's more to this picturesque beachfront city than just sunshine, sunbathing, and swimming. "America's Finest City" also boasts a bustling downtown complete with towering skyscrapers, late-night bars, and an eclectic dining scene. World-famous attractions such as SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo make the city a popular destination for families and groups, while couples and solo travellers can enjoy peaceful strolls along the beach. No matter your reason for visiting San Diego, you'll find scores of hotels and vacation rentals scattered throughout the area.


San Diego is a haven for history buffs, offering storied sites from various points in California history. Start with a tour of Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, the Golden State's first mission. Founded in 1769 by Spanish friars, the mission still offers mass today. Old Town Historic State Park preserves an early 1800s settlement built by Mexican settlers after gaining their independence from Spain. The 1860s are represented at the aptly named Gaslamp Quarter, where gaslamps, brick sidewalks, and Victorian buildings give way to more than 100 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Finally, climb aboard the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier used from World War II until Operation Desert Storm.


Activities and attractions in San Diego

Do you want to find attractions to see while you're in the area? Venture out of your cozy vacation rental and experience everything that San Diego has to offer. These are some of the most popular attractions to explore, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • San Diego Zoo (1.7 mi / 2.7 km)
  • SeaWorld (5.1 mi / 8.1 km)
  • Legoland California (29.7 mi / 47.8 km)
  • Club Campestre Golf Course (16.8 mi / 27.1 km)
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park (27.8 mi / 44.8 km)
  • Balboa Park Golf Course (1.5 mi / 2.4 km)

Seasonal weather in San Diego

If you're planning a vacation around warm-weather activities, August, September, July and October are the hottest months to visit, when temperatures average 76°F.

Natural features

Exploring the beaches and other natural features in San Diego

Whether you're looking for fun outdoor activities or just want to take in the scenery, San Diego is a great place to get outside. Here are some of the area’s noteworthy natural features, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Balboa Park (1.4 mi / 2.2 km)
  • La Jolla Cove (11.4 mi / 18.3 km)
  • Coronado Beach (2.8 mi / 4.5 km)
  • Old Town San Diego State Park (3.5 mi / 5.6 km)
  • Ocean Beach Park (5.8 mi / 9.4 km)
  • Mission Beach (6.7 mi / 10.8 km)
How to get there

Transportation options to and around San Diego

Fly into San Diego, CA (SAN-San Diego Intl.), the closest airport, located 2.4 mi (3.8 km) from the city center. If you're unable to find a flight that fits your schedule, you can also fly into San Diego, CA (MYF-Montgomery Field), which is 6.7 mi (10.8 km) away.

If you're traveling by train, San Diego Santa Fe Depot, San Diego-Old Town Transit Center and San Diego Coaster Sorrento Valley Station are the main stations in the area. It's easy to get around San Diego by catching a ride on the metro at Civic Center Station, 5th Avenue Station or Convention Center Station.

How to get around

Getting around town from your San Diego vacation rental

Surfing may be a popular pastime in San Diego, but it won't get you from point A to point B. The San Diego Trolley, the city's extensive light rail system, offers a quick and fun way to travel between neighbourhoods. Public buses are another cheap way to get around town and they often stop at attractions not serviced by the trolley. Like much of Southern California, traffic is a bear in San Diego, particularly with Interstate 5 running through the heart of the city. California-based travellers often avoid the drive by hopping on board the Pacific Surfliner, Amtrak's train that runs from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.

Food & drink 

Sample San Diego's favourite foods, from bass to burritos

San Diego's proximity to Mexico has turned the city into a mecca for Mexican cuisine. You'll find plenty of fish tacos, carne asada burritos, and mile-high nacho platters in the historic Old Town district. Pizza, pasta, and pesto are on hand throughout San Diego's Little Italy neighbourhood, where no meal is complete without a scoop of gelato. The beach city is also rife with seafood, from upscale restaurants with waterfront views to casual fish-and-chip stands along the ocean. Breweries have become a staple throughout San Diego County as well, so you can end the day by unwinding with a pint.

Essential info

Essential facts for your San Diego vacation rental

Nestled along the southern coast of California, San Diego is only 24 km from the Mexico border. It is also the 2nd largest city in the Golden State, boasting a population of 1.4 million people. English is the official language and the currency is the US dollar. For those dining out, 15-20% is the customary tip, and drinking is legal for all visitors age 21 and over. San Diego is frequently ranked as one of the safest big cities in the nation, but if you require emergency assistance you can dial 911 for help.

Where to stay near San Diego?

Our 2019 vacation rental listings offer a large selection of 6,012 house rentals near San Diego. From 2,404 Houses to 2,354 Condos/Apartments, find unique vacation rental for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends. The best place to stay near San Diego is on HomeAway.

What is the best area to stay when travelling to San Diego?

Whether you're travelling with family or friends, here are the areas with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in San Diego:

  • Gaslamp Quarter: 730 vacation rentals
  • East Village: 526 vacation rentals
  • Bankers Hill: 268 vacation rentals
  • Village of La Jolla: 365 vacation rentals
  • Bay Ho: 65 vacation rentals

For other neighbourhoods, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when travelling to San Diego?

HomeAway offers a large selection of lodging choices near lovely places in San Diego. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Pacific Beach Park: 5,648 home rentals
  • San Diego Zoo: 4,451 home rentals
  • Bird Rock: 1,139 home rentals
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: 5,764 home rentals
  • San Diego Convention Center: 1,600 home rentals

But there are many other points of interest around San Diego listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Houses in San Diego?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 2,404 Houses in San Diego. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in San Diego include:

  • Condos/Apartments: 2,354 lodging choices
  • Villas: 78 lodging choices
  • Cottages: 283 lodging choices

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation homes including Bungalows and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in San Diego?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 1,540 vacation homes with pool available in San Diego.

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