San Diego Area, Summer Road Trip Ideas

photos courtesy of Howard Hian

Our guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.  His prize winning story, Houseboating with My Pirate Pals, was in the Intergenerational Travel category.  In 2010 he also received a second place award in the Cancun International writers competition for his feature, Quintessential Quintana Roo. Hian was recently named as the San Diego Hotel Motel Association’s “Allied Member of the Year” for 2011 for his ongoing contributions to the city’s tourism industry through his travel writing.

Summer is almost here! That means it’s time to pack up and hit the road in California. Here are a few vacation ideas if you visit the San Diego area, Temecula or are planning a trip to one of the Golden State’s National Parks.

San Diego

See the boys of summer in style. Try the Omni Hotel’s ShortStop Baseball Package. The AAA rated Four Diamond Omni has been named one of the “Best Hotels in San Diego” in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 rankings of hotels in the USA. The package includes overnight deluxe accommodations, two tickets to the game, Chuao chocolates, breakfast for two at their restaurant (or room service) and valet parking. The hotel is directly connected to Petco Park via a sky-bridge, 100% smoke-free and features an outdoor terrace with a stone fireplace, heated pool and Jacuzzi. If you sign up for the free Omni Select Guest Program other goodies like complimentary wi-fi, newspaper and bottled water are thrown in. For details call 1-619- 231-6664 for reservations. Plan on cocktails and dinner at McCormick & Schmick´s Seafood Restaurant; loved the mussels, their house salad (big enough to split), shrimp and four cheese mac and the sea scallops. The “fresh list” of seafood is impressive and there is a new menu daily.

La Jolla

Blood and Gifts, a spy tale, opens at the La Jolla Playhouse June 12. It is the story of the Soviet-Afghani conflict in the 1980s. It retells the secret spy war and interplay between the CIA and Russian, British and Pakistani agents. It’s historical fiction with the intrigue and shifting alliances that exist even today. The La Jolla Playhouse has garnered more than 300 local and national awards for its productions, including a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 30 Tony Awards for its Broadway transfers, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Go to for a complete schedule or call the box office at 1-858-550-1010.

Del Mar

The Annual Summer Solstice Event presented by the Del Mar Village Association (DMVA) is June 21 from 5 PM to 8 PM at Powerhouse Park (1658 Coast Boulevard). It marks the arrival of summer and over 20 Del Mar restaurants and 15 California wineries and breweries will be offering food, beer and wine tastings. There’s also live music and a silent auction. It’s a fund raiser for the DMVA revitalization and the event has sold out in advance for the last five years in a row. Go to for details.

Temecula Valley

June kicks off Summerfest in Southern California Wine Country. June 1-3 is the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. Every Saturday in June, the Old Town Temecula California-Certified Farmers Market is open from 8 AM – 12:30 PM. It features local growers and artisan-food purveyors offer fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses and fresh-baked goods. The Old Town Temecula Street Painting & Plein Air Festival is June 22 – 24. 100+ artists create colorful, 10 X 12 foot murals on asphalt and plein air artists paint alfresco on traditional canvasses. For the complete summer calendar logon to

California National Parks

There are nine national parks in California and Eastern National has developed a new app that links to them and all 397 national park websites. The app is a free download at the iTunes store and is currently available for iPhones and iPads. For a list of all the parks go to

Safe Travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various websites for photos and information.