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a VirtualTourist member

San Diego

1st visit to San Diego, Returning from San Francisco need to plan route by Amtrak

I am active, enjoy walking but since this is my first visit to San Diego, need help on best location for hotel. Senior citizen, so will enjoy few day trips and need help if I decide to travel along coastline, where I can overnight to enjoy ocean. Might consider Gaslamp area for first 2 nights to visit city highlights, am thinking of staying near Oceanside/Cartbad area for next few days. Are these good choices, going north and easy to reach with public transportation? Have been to Santa Barbara and San Lluis Obispo and would like to hear of other stops enroute to San Francisco that I can enjoy. Have been to Monterey and Carmel and if that is best choice will stop over again to enjoy. Last time had a hard time finding affordable hotel in Santa Barbara so need some choices if anyone can help. Many thanks.



22 Answers


answered by
a VirtualTourist member

If you want a scenic route by Amtrak this is your best bet daytrippen.com/amtrak-pacifi... however the sufliner runs through from San Diego to San Luis if you are planning to make a few stops before you get to Sand Diego you can find great hotel deals along the West Coast, San Hose is a nice location. tripadvisor.ca/Hotels-g33020...




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Chula Vista

The Gaslamp Quarter will definitely provide you with plenty to do and is close to the trolly for transit. Amtrak is also walking distance albe it a good walk. Trolly to Grape St and its a short walk to Little Italy.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sacramento

Let me answer just the latter half of your question. Affordable hotels in Santa Barbara are a challenge. If you are looking for something less expensive and just a hotel that is close to the beach then try the Castillo Inn. It is about a block from the beach but be advised this is just a very well maintained hotel and the nights can be noisy. On the plus side also it is well situated to State Street and downtown. They do not include a breakfast just coffee and fruit in the morning. The price however is unbeatable for the beach area. www.castilloinsb.com




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

Hi,

You don't mention what you consider "affordable," nor do you mention when you'll be in San Diego. So I'm not sure which hotel to suggest. To start, I'll say that unless you find a really good deal on-line, the hotels in the Gaslamp Quarter will be on the high-end side. I know someone who got a great deal at the Manchester Hyatt, [original VT link]; which is next to Seaport Village along the Bay.

Second, I'd suggest checking out the Holiday Inn San Diego on the Bay, [original VT link]; located at the Harbor. Both of these are a few blocks from the center of the Gaslamp Quarter and near a San Diego Trolley station.

As Al mentioned Little Italy, I'll also suggest La Pensione [original VT link] in Little Italy. Of the three hotels mentioned here, this is the most affordable. Also, it is the furtherest from the Gaslamp Quarter and a SD Trolly station is a block or two away.

As to the choice of staying in Oceanside or Carlsbad, [original VT link];">[original VT link];;; I would stay in Carlsbad. It has a more compact section that is convenient for a tourist near the beach and it is more charming than Oceanside, in my opinion.

The public transportation in San Diego is much more convenient and efficient in San Diego than in Carlsbad or Oceanside. The Coaster [original VT link] is a commuter train from downtown SD up to Oceanside. It has a stop in Carlsbad.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

My trip is planned for arrival in S/D June 18. Considering Gas Lamp Plaza Suites for 2-3 nights, to enjoy city. I enjoy walking on hiking trails so will visit parks and museums. I will check hotels in Carlsbad for 2 nights to enjoy the ocean. Am not familiar with the areas around San Diego so will need a map. I took Amtrak Surfliner last year from Salinas to S/Barbara and return journey to San Francisco with overnight in San Luis Ob. Loved riding on the upper deck and it was not overpriced. Stayed 3 nights at Eagle Inn near beach and enjoyed walking around harbor and State St. I am looking for accommodation with breakfast under $150 p.n. If someone can suggest a stop north of Santa Barbara where I can manage without driving where there are sightseeing areas. If Monterey and Carmel are my best options will look for hotel near Carmel or Pacific Grove. 

Thanks to all for help.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Galveston

We stayed at a hotel called Humphrey's half moon inn and suites and it was so perfect! It has a nice pool in the center of the rooms and it is settled across the street from the bay. We sat outside at night and watched the cruise ships go out. It also had a farmers market outside each of the days. Some of the rooms have a view of the marina and some have views of the water. It is on Shelter Island and its a short drive to downtown and alot of other places. Here is the website.. http://www.halfmooninn.com/

Good luck!




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Thanks for responding. I won't be driving so must rely on public transportation, shuttle, tram and Amtrak train and bus. After first few days I am open to any safe areas near the ocean where I can do nice walks and then pick up Amtrak as I move north. Will be looking forward to receiving help with my itinerary as I plan California coastline over 10-11 days. Would Santa Cruz be a good stopover as I continue towards San Francisco?




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Will be arriving San Diego on June 18, then taking Amtrak and bus on route to San Francisco. Have been to Santa Barbara and San Luis. Any suggestions for stops going to that are scenic and safe places for 1 or 2 overnight stops? Looked at staying in Carlsbad after visit to downtown S/D for 2 nights to enjoy ocean. Also saw America Best Value Inn Loma Lodge that got good reviews and is reasonable. Not sure about the area of Loma Lodge so still working on my route and need help with itinerary. Need to be in areas I can go out walking about and able to see some historic sites and cultural areas. Might make a stop in Monterey to enjoy Carmel and if anyone knows if there is a bus/coach that travels on 17 mile drive that would be fantastic. When I walked in Pacific Grove I did see the signs pointing to 17Mile Dr. Thanks to all.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

About the ABVI Loma




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

About the America Best Value Inn Loma Lodge, I'm sure it's a nice enough place for the price. However, it is not located in a charming area. Rosecrans is a more industrial street and though there may be a restraunt or fast food places within walking distance there won't be much more. I have two suggestions that are in the same approximate price range you might consider looking at.

  1. The Dolphin Motel in Point Loma [original VT link]
  2. La Pensione [original VT link]

Each of these are in better locations for a tourist. Especially La Pensione which is just a block or two from the SD Trolley station. The Dolphin Motel is near a bus stop, and across the street from a Marina on the San Diego Bay. At both there are nice restaurants within walking distances.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Thanks for above info. Want to be sure I pick the nicest area for overnight where I will feel safe. Is the Carlsbad beach area a better choice, I will be doing all the city scenic places first few days and then might enjoy the ocean for last few days before I continue my route. Saw that some of the places in Carlsbad got good ratings? If I can ride shuttle from downtown to Carlsbad and if there are restaurants and shops nearby, may reconsider and book one of the hotels there. Also checking Amtrack schedule to see if the Surfliner will stop there. Greatly appreciate your help.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

You might take a look at my Carlsbad page here on VT to get an idea about this town.: [original VT link]

Carlsbad is about a 25-30 minute drive by car from downtown San Diego. I'm not sure if the Surfliner stops in Carlsbad, but I do know that the Coaster is the commuter train going to Carlsbad and I've added the link here: [original VT link]

Generally speaking Carlsbad is a nice place especially the "village" section which is a block or so from the ocean. The price of things tend to be more expensive in this city and as a beach town, Carlsbad is not as "laid-back" as most.

I personally would go to Carlsbad as a day trip from San Diego, but since I don't really know why you want to go there specifically I'll not make another suggestion. Especially if you've found a place to stay that is in the same price range as the Loma Lodge. There are two that I know of that might be in your price range: [original VT link] [original VT link]

Both of these are across the street from the beach and not too far from the village area of Carlsbad.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

I looked at Carlsbad because after reading about safety issues in some parts of the city, thought I'd be better off getting away from Gaslamp over weekend to relax to enjoy walking beside ocean and small towns, and also am interested in visiting Torrey Pines State Park which looks quite nice. I am experienced traveler and begin daily activities after breakfast and once I return to hotel for dinner I do not travel much from my surroundings unless there are good stores/mall spend some time. I haven't been to San Diego before but had no worries about my security when I made trips to San Francisco, Monterey and Santa Barbara. Not sure if Gaslamp is good choice for hotel. I could take a day trip to Carlsbad and other areas by ocean so am open to suggestions if I would be better booking hotel in other location. Thanks for your suggestions.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Still planning my itinerary. Please let me know if LaJolla would be a good choice for few nights instead of Carlsbad. Since I thought of visiting Torrey Pines I see that it looks quite close. Would I be better off spending more days at La Jolla hotel and just 2 nights in Gas Lamp area? Can I get public transportation to La Jolla and is La Jolla considered a safe place? Your help is much appreciated.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Chula Vista

LaJolla or Carlsbad would be fine as they are quite close together. I actually prefer downtown Carlsbad as it's quite walkable and the train station is convenient. I've seen buses as well as many cabs when I've been in Ja Jolla. Both are quite safe areas.

btw. I just had lunch at Croce's on 5th in the Gaslamp Quarter and found it great.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

The only saftey issue with the Gaslamp, as far as I can tell would be late at night after the bars and nightclubs close, someone might get rowdy. It's usually very crowded at night and more so on the weekends or when there is some sort of event going on. The Gaslamp is actively patroled by the police and with very few exceptions the mood is fun and a big party. I've been there at night and felt safe each time.

Most of San Diego is safe most of the time. Tourists are welcomed here and not targeted as a rule. I'm a senior citizen, travel alone all the time in San Diego County and I've never felt unsafe anywhere. I wouldn't wander alone in a dark alley, but in the downtown area, including the Gaslamp quarter there aren't many alleys if any at all.

La Jolla is the most expensive community in San Diego, it is beautiful and if you want a hotel near the beach it will be a higher price than the Loma Lodge. I did see a motel that was a block from Prospect--the main village section--street. I give the information about it on my La Jolla page in the Hotel category: Also at La Jolla Shores there is a hotelmotel on the beach not far from a cute little area that might suit you image.

[original VT link]

Carlsbad is a bit further up from Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines is just north of La Jolla past the University of California San Diego. Next going north is Del Mar I also have a page on this one if you'd like to get an idea:

[original VT link]

Del Mar is a more compact town and it has a Mediterranean style shopping center that is pretty nice to walk around, located just at the center of the "village" section of Del Mar.

Another place you might like to know about is Coronado.

[original VT link]

It is across the bay from downtown and easy to get to by ferry or bus. It is very small also expensive but no more than La Jolla, Del Mar of Carlsbad. Coronado is the closest beach town to downtown San Diego.

Each of the cities mentioned here are really nice. I've been to each of them many times, always felt safe and think you'd be happy with any of them.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

THANKS FOR SENDING ME ALL THE INFORMATION ON THE AREAS NEAR S/D. I AM TRYING TO GET HOTEL AT LA JOLLA WHICH ADVERTISED PROMOTIONAL RATE SO HOPE TO HAVE RESPONSE TOMORROW. WILL SPEND FIRST 2 NIGHTS IN GAS LAMP AREA TO FAMILIARIZE MYSELF WITH CITY AND ENJOY LONG WEEKEND AWAY FROM THE CROWDS AND NOISE. SINCE I LIVE NORTH OF NYC WANT TO ENJOY VISITS TO THE STATE PARKS AND WALKS NEAR BEACH. APPRECIATE HAVING ALL THE INFORMATION FROM YOUR PAGE.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from San Diego

Good for you! Thanks for letting us know.

Hope we've helped.

Have a wonderful vacation here!!




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

YES, YOU GAVE ME A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF HELP AND NOW I HAVE BETTER KNOWLEDGE OF THE AREAS WHERE TO STAY TO PLAN MY DAYS ENJOYING EVENTS. WILL LET YOU KNOW IF I HEAR BACK FROM HOTEL IN LA JOLLA WITH THE OFFER. AGAIN, MANY THANKS TO ALL.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Beginning to give up on getting the La Jolla hotel promotion I wanted and spoke to hotel again today but got nowhere. I did see a Travel Lodge in Lajolla that is reasonable and has good reviews so will look some more and keep TL in mind if nothing better shows up. Thanks again for helping me .




answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Arlington

If Santa Barbara is too expensive you might give Ventura a try instead. There isn't quite as much to do there but it's a nice beach town nonetheless.




answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Will check the prices for Ventura but will need to be close enough to get public transportation as I'll be taking Surfliner going towards Carmel-Morterey. Stayed last year for several nights in Santa Barbara hotel on Bath St. so would only need hotel for 1 or 2 nights as I continue to San Francisco. I paid a higher rate but did not consider it good value. Any other towns north of Ventura that I could look at might cost less? Thanks for your help.





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