(Day One of Our trip can be found here)
Waking up on Sunday wasn’t easy because of the extra comfortable, luxurious bed and the effects of hanging out at the Gaslamp District the night before, but the beach still called, and today we continue exploring La Jolla and hike Torrey Pines. Luckily, the ocean was about 30 feet from the hotel. The early wake-up was worth it to see the waves crashing against the rocky shores. The rain was expected later that day and it was fascinating to watch the waves rise higher and higher and crash against the rocks and walls of the bluffs. We did a quick hike along the sandy beachfront to capture some magnificent photos.
Now my hunger called, so we headed back to the Pantai Inn for a tasty breakfast of farm-fresh scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, brioche french toast with peach compote, Pantai signature home fries, and banana Nutella Danish served in the Bali-themed gathering room, but we took our breakfast out to the patio.
We next headed off to Torrey Pines State Reserve. Torrey pine trees are a rare, endangered species that can only be found here and on the channel island of Santa Rosa. The reserve requires a $20.00 entrance fee to park at the Reserve as well as for the beach. There is parking available both beachside or about a 5-minute drive up to the bluffs overlooking the beautiful San Diego shores where you are close to the hiking trails. You can also hike up the hill, which many people were doing, but we knew we only had limited time and were eager to get on the trails.
We hiked the Razor Point Trail (the most dramatic views of the windswept limestone cliffs), Guy Fleming Trail, West Overlook, Yucca Point and the hike past the Whitaker Garden. I was proud to climb on top of Red Butte Rock because of my fear of heights. We hiked the first part of the most popular trail, Beach Trail, which obviously goes down to the beach (about 3/4 of a mile with a 350-foot descent). The trail is very narrow and steep.
At this point, the rain was coming down fairly hard, so we headed up to the Birch Aquarium at the University of San Diego. The whale fountain in front of the museum is worth seeing alone, but although the aquarium is small, it has a lot of variety within the facility itself. We saw stingrays, sharks, tropical fish, seahorses, jellyfish, eels and numerous other exhibits. It’s perfect for kids with hands-on exhibits outside about energy, ecology and environmentalism.
Between the two days, we were in San Diego for about 26 hours, and in that time had the best of all worlds: swimming, snorkeling, hiking, fine dining, amazing accommodations, a little art, a little education to appeal to all of our senses. Even though it was Labor Day weekend, our drive back from San Diego to Los Angeles only took three hours. Can’t wait to go back.