At the southwestern tip of San Diego, CA lies a hidden gem of activities. A full day trip of adventure and exploration for the whole family. Parks, hiking, sights, history and an organic farm where you can visit and pick your own fruits and vegetables. All you need to do is supply your lunch. No traffic and no crowds. Within a 5 mile radius, you have the mountains, the ocean and two working farms. You can enjoy hiking, geocaching and gardening before or after you explore the beach and visit the southwestern tip of the united States that borders Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. Get ready to stimulate your curiosity and dazzle all five senses for this unique and memorable experience.
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We awoke on a random Saturday morning with adventure on the brain. With lunches packed, we hopped in the car and headed southwest. Just a 20 minute drive brought us to these five secret spots which makes us very lucky to live here. We took our time and explored each location at our leisure. Parking the car and starting a new adventure upon arrival.
1. Tijuana River Valley Regional Park- Twenty miles of trails for your (and your dog’s) hiking pleasures. Whether on foot, on a bike or on a horse, this is the spot. A pond, birds, dense greenery, and ever changing views due to the coastal climate make this a must see. So much to explore! Comfortable tennis shoes, sunscreen, and a backpack full of snacks and water are necessary. Bring a camera to capture the unique scenery.
- Dogs must be leashed.
- Please clean up after your pet!
- Watch out for poison oak! Matter of fact, bring some kind of sumac wash with you just in case.
2. Border Field State Park- A hidden and off the beaten path state park on the Mexico/ U.S border with a fence extending out into the Pacific Ocean. This is the southwestern most point of the United States. The park has great views overlooking the sea. The beach below is full of sand dollars, unique shells, crabs and jellyfish…so watch out!
- Check the operating hours before making the trip. If the gates are closed, you will not be able to experience the park and you will have to leave the car and walk the 1 mile trek to the beach. (Worth it of course, but it’s nice to have a heads up!)
- The entrance to the park has a $5 per vehicle fee
3. Suzie’s Farm- An all-organic family owned working farm with u-pick options every weekend depending on what’s in season. A great experience for the kids! There are even hand washing stations with restrooms for convenience. Ample shade and swing sets allow you to relax and taste test your pickings.
- Wear closed toed shoes
- Bring a hat
- pants are recommended due to the nettle and other prickly plants around the farm
4. Bird and Butterfly Garden- Surround yourself with beautiful butterflies and birds as you take a calming walk through a meandering garden of flowers, shrubs, and herbs. Convenient benches line the garden as a great backdrop for a picnic lunch. Trails head off in all directions. Just pick one!!
5. Wild Willow Farm- A working farm that also educates the community on sustainable crops and water wise practices. Volunteer to feed the farm animals, and exercise your green thumb. Bring the whole family and chip in together. We raked leaves, watered vegetables and fed chickens. It is a great way to get children to appreciate where their food comes from and the work it takes to produce it responsibly. Volunteers are ALWAYS welcome.
- Come early so you have a better chance of feeding the farm animals
- Let the kids get dirty and have fun!
San Diego is known for its beautiful weather and landscapes and these five local spots are a quintessential example of those two things. This trip is a budget friendly staycation with a serious wow factor and the entire family will have a blast! As the weather changes, the crops are changing, which gives you all the more reason to come back again and again to discover what’s new. We did!