San Diego is one of my favorite cities to visit when I need to reset and rejuvenate. When I think of taking care of my body, mind and spirit; I think of nature, movement and nourishment. San Diego seems to provide all of those things and much more.
This winter has been incredibly long and we've taken a step back from traveling due to building a house. A trip surrounded by a lot of wellness and rest was more than welcomed. In this blog, you'll see our exact itinerary day-by-day. Or, scroll all the way to the end for a list of healthy adventures, restaurants and more. Hopefully this will leave you with some ideas for your next trip or inspire you to seek out these places if you visit San Diego in the near future!
Wednesday: Welcome to San Diego
We arrived in San Diego Wednesday night. Our flight took off at 4pm EST and with the 3 hour time difference, we arrived around 6:30. After fetching our rental car we headed straight for dinner which was located very close to our hotel.
Pro tip: plan your dinner the night of the arrival. You will most likely be hungry so having reservations somewhere near your hotel is a must. It takes the guess work and waiting out of the picture after a long travel day!
Our dinner was at Cannonball. , located in Mission Beach. Cannonball is a sushi restaurant that overlooks the ocean. The view and size of the restaurant is incredible. I ordered the sashimi wrap and extra tuna sashimi..
Cannonball: Sashimi Wrap
After dinner we headed to our hotel, the Hyatt Mission Bay. The best part about the property was the location. Mike and I joked a few times, everything seemed to be 12 minutes away! From traveling downtown or La Jolla a bit north; all these locations took under 15 minutes to get to. The property had many pools, a spa and a fitness center. It was located right on a boardwalk where people docked their boats. Every morning, I would sit on the balcony, drink my coffee, and watch the early sailors start their day. The rooms were very spacious with a desk, big couch, large bathroom and a refrigerator.
Hyatt Mission Bay Property: Overlooking the boats
Thursday: Cowles Mountain, Shopping, Born and Raised
Now bare with me, Thursday was meant to be very relaxing and focused on one outdoor adventure (our hike). It turned into one of the busiest days of our entire trip. I solely blame it on myself; I get so excited and cram in way too many activities. So, be prepared for a busy day and I do not recommend planning your trip with this kind of expectation.
Thursday's workout was a 5 mile run and a long full-body training session. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday Mike and I will train together so even being on vacation we didn't want to veer to far from our standard schedule. We headed to the brand new Lifetime in La Jolla. It was absolutely beautiful. Everything is clean and new; from the cafe, salon, equipment and gym. I specifically noticed how meticulous the trainers were in terms of cleaning and putting equipment back. Mike and I also went during peak time and it wasn't as crowded as it could have been. I really enjoyed my workout.
Lifetime: La Jolla Location
Following our workout, we google-searched a brunch spot and landed on Caroline's Cafe. It was the cutest cafe that overlooked the ocean. The sun was up and we had perfect weather to enjoy our coffee and food before we headed towards Cowle's Mountain.
Caroline's Cafe: "Power Breakfast" of egg whites, wheat bread, tomatoes and smashed avocado with a side of fruit. I added smoked salmon for extra protein and omega-3's.
Cowle's Mountain was a 30 minute drive from La Jolla. This hike is well known because it's not too short, not too hard, and still challenging enough to be considered a "tough" hike. The hike is completely uphill with a mostly dirt path, but you'll want good grip on your shoes as the path is steep with rocks. It's very easy to slide around! There is also no shade so if the sun is out I recommend having extra water and sun protection. When you get to the top of the mountain, the views are out of this world. You have views of the entire San Diego county as well as Mexico! The entire hike took Mike and I less than two hours (we stopped at the top for a while) and we clocked in around 3 miles.
Slide through photos: (1) Mike at the end of the hike, (2) The tallest peaks in San Diego County, (3) Me at the end of the hike
This is where the average individual would look at their watch and say, "Two hours til dinner? Great, I can go home and take a nap..." But us? No way, napping is for the weak! Mike and I decided to go to a shopping center I've been to before in La Jolla. This shopping center is my definition of heaven; premier stores line beautifully landscaped sidewalks. The Westfield UTC has stores like Alo, Saje Wellness, and Aesop which we don't find at many other shopping centers. It was a real treat to grab some goodies during our free time!
We grabbed coffee and headed back to get ready for an early dinner. We met with some of my in-laws at a beautiful restaurant, Born and Raised, located in Little Italy. This is a high-end steak house that raises the bar to the next level. Walking in, you feel as though you're in the roaring 20's at a great Gatsby party. The upstairs is no different, except the vibe turns from the roaring 20's into a fairytale world of flowers growing up the walls. We ate on the main level. To start, the kitchen actually gifted us a few appetizers to try such as the snails and ahi tuna. Both were exceptional! For our meals, each of us got a different steak. I got the 8 oz. fillet mignon with a side of lobster. With such a high protein dinner, I felt incredible and didn't need extra carbs or sweets. It was a magnificent meal and I highly recommend going to this restaurant for a celebration or special occasion.
From top left to bottom right: Upstairs of Born and Raised, Snails appetizer, Freshly made Caesar salads, Caesar salad, Booth table setting upstairs, and my main meal of fillet mignon and side of lobster.
To end the night, we got drinks at the Nolen Rooftop. I'd also recommend this rooftop lounge as the views were beautiful and the drinks were exceptional. We had made a reservation and based on the amount of people there, I recommend doing so.
The Nolen Rooftop
MOVEMENT: Strength training + long challenging hike
NUTRITION: Balanced breakfast + carb-free, high protein dinner
WELLNESS: Getting outside under the sunshine
Friday: Flower fields, Ocean Beach, and Fort Oak
Friday morning, I woke up early for my favorite time of day in California; the "east-coast-time-zone-change-that-hasn't-set-in-yet" alarm clock. I love pouring coffee, sitting outside in the chilly air and watching the sun come up over the water. There is really nothing better than these quiet moments. I typically am alone outside with my thoughts. I drank my coffee, wrote in my workouts for the weekend and headed to the hotel's little gym for a treadmill run. This will be my last run before the 15K race on Sunday.
Originally, Mike and I planned to go to brunch and then a yoga class at noon. I had booked the yoga classes at EST time zone, so as we were sitting eating brunch, I received an email asking me how I liked the class. So we decided to pivot to a new activity after brunch. But before discussing the flower fields, GOODONYA needs a good mention. I had followed GOODONYA for a while on instagram and all I knew was that many influencers rave about their organic food. We drove up to Encinitas and their menu did not disappoint! Mike and I sat outside and shared the carrot avocado toast. Sounds like an interesting combination, but it was amazing. I also got their traditional breakfasts of sunny side eggs, avocado and tomato plus an arugula salad.
Brunch at GOODONYA. Carrot Avocado toast and Matcha Lattes
Following lunch, we went to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. This beautiful creation started 85 years ago, when seeds were planted in the very fields pictured. Fast forward to today, they have an array of colors, flowers and plants everywhere. Guests can engage in education opportunities, kids programs, and many more events. Mike and I were able to walk the grounds and enjoy this vast field that overlooks Carlsbad.
Carlsbad Flower Fields
Post Flower Fields, we headed out to Ocean Beach to spend the rest of the afternoon laying oceanside. Ocean Beach was... interesting. In my personal opinion, I liked it but it wasn't a place I'd want to spend my entire day to relax. There were a lot of people and the diversity was great, but I was approached many times with creepy comments. Even during the daytime, this wasn't a beach I'd want to hangout at by myself. This is simply my experience as yours may be different!
Our last stop was Fort Oak. We really enjoyed the seafood tower and the ham appetizer. We weren't huge fans of the burrata.
Fort Oak Restaurant: The seafood tower and the beautiful bar
MOVEMENT: Morning run
NUTRITION: Healthy protein + fat filled breakfast and high protein/ no carbs seafood for dinner
WELLNESS: Soaking up vitamin D by the ocean
Saturday: TG Gym, the Zoo, and Powerhaus Pizza
Today was all about gearing up for my big race the next morning. We wanted to be active but nothing too exhausting so I could save up energy for 9.5 hilly miles. We planned to lift at TG The Gym. Mike and I fell in love with the outdoor section as it had absolutely everything!
TG The Gym
We left the gym and ran a few errands; race packet pick-up and a quick lunch just to name a few. Our main activity of the day was to conquer the San Diego Zoo. This zoo has been talked about amongst my family for years; the reviews are exceptional. I couldn't wait to finally see what all the hype was about.
The zoo was more than I expected. It is nestled inside Balboa Park and much larger than any other zoo I've been to. When we arrived, we had trouble finding parking and had to drive around for a solid 20 minutes. We purchased tickets once we got to the front and were a bit surprised at how expensive it was. But this is California and the prices are always a bit more everywhere you go compared to the mid-west. The zoo was extremely fun and if you have kids, it would be quite an adventure. Everywhere you turn there are slides, ladders, ropes and things to climb up and down to see different animals. Parents, of course, access the animals by sidewalk as they watch their kids get all of their energy out. By the end of the day, Mike and I were way more tired than we expected to be. We saw many animals and a lot of them were awake and moving around!
Click the arrows to see photos of animals from the San Diego Zoo
We kept dinner pretty simple. We picked up pizza from Power Haus Pizza; a joint catered to health-ifying your classic pie. They offer crusts like whole wheat, gluten free and cauliflower. They also offer tons of fresh toppings, nutrient dense smoothies and side salads. We made our own pizza and ordered online for take out. The rest of the night was relaxing in our hotel gearing up for the big race.
Power Haus Pizza: gluten free crust, topped with spinach and tomato using dairy free cheese plus a side salad with chicken.
MOVEMENT: Strength training at the gym
NUTRITION: Healthy pizza for dinner (gluten free crust + dairy free cheese and greens!)
WELLNESS: Not setting an alarm and sleeping in!
Sunday: Hot Chocolate 15K, Saffron + Sage Massages, Grass Skirt Tiki Room
You might be wondering why I signed up for such a long race on vacation. Typically I'd sign up for a much shorter race like a 5 or 10 K. This is a great way to submerse yourself in the community and sightsee! Running through the town allows you to see parts of the city you might not notice otherwise. I am currently training for a half marathon and my long run this week was scheduled to be 9 miles. So when I saw the Hot Chocolate 15K would be in town (it's a traveling race), I signed up for it right away. Why not get a medal since I have to run that amount anyways?!
The race was incredible. A huge turnout and lots of vendors/music made the pre-race jitters completely demolish. However, as I was standing in my heat waiting to start, the announcer began describing the course as "challenging", "extremely hilly", and "a great way to train for longer races". This made me a bit nervous because I hadn't ran hills in... years? Michigan is very flat and I've allowed myself to take full advantage of that.
Thank goodness for the heads-up as this was the hilliest run I think I've ever embarked on. The first 5 miles were the most difficult as they were majority up hill. After 5 miles, we started to see rolling hills and the mentality "what comes up must come down" was strong. The last two miles were on the easier side as it flattened out and had more downhill strides. At the end of the race, I felt incredible. I was happy and felt so accomplished. The biggest take away from this race was to just have fun with it. I didn't challenge my speed or endurance. In fact, I walked for 4 minutes (two minutes at mile 3.5 and two minutes at mile 8). Turning off my competitive nature truly allowed me to enjoy this run.
Hot Chocolate 5K/15K San Diego
I was exhausted post race so we went back to the hotel to nap. We booked massage appointments at a wellness spa, Saffron + Sage. This wellness spa was very cool; they offered many services outside of your standard facial and massage. Reiki, acupuncture, cupping and guided meditations are some of the services along with many others. Each service was $200.00 so you could mix and match and the price would remain the same. I got a 30minute cupping/30 minute deep tissue massage. It was incredible and I ended up purchasing a CBD balm they had recommended for my hips. I would go back here as I thought they were extremely professional and brought holistic health to a new level.
Later in the day, we took a walk to La Jolla Cove Trail. This is my favorite trail in all of La Jolla. It winds around the coves and leads you directly to the seals. The sights here are unbelievable. Pictures simply don't do it justice!
La Jolla Cove Trail
After running many miles, I don't like to binge on unhealthy food because it makes me feel terrible. Traditionally, people will eat pizza and beer post-race. This practice really hinders my recovery and I never sleep well after having both tight aching muscles and inflammatory foods. So I had made reservations at a seafood place called the Fishery. Seafood never makes me feel lethargic or bloated. It's pure protein and high in omega-3's which will really help any inflammation I incur. The Fishery is an older restaurant that reminded me of what you would find in the Outer Banks, so I felt right at home. However they would not change or replace menu items and seemed to be out of different beers and items on the menu. I don't fault the restaurant for this because catching fresh fish won't always look the same every time.
For "dessert", we walked a mile down the road to Grass Skirt Tiki Room; another bucket list item! We've been wanting to try this place for years and finally made our way to Pacific Beach to see what it was all about. To enter this speak easy, you must go through the take-out poke joint right beside it. The hostess will lead you through the "freezer" door where you'll find a tropical oasis of tikis, bamboo tables and tropical drinks. I love drinks like this.. rum and tequila are my favorite liquors. I decided to try two on the menu. The first drink was a mix of tequila with fresh flavors of lime and mint. The second drink was the classic "chi-chi"; a Pina colada with vodka. We made friends with the bartender and may have shared a shot or two with her as well. This was the only night I'd say we were drinking more than expected; but it was fun and memories were made.
Ocean Beach eats: the Fishery and Grass Skirt Tiki Room
MOVEMENT: 15K Hot Chocolate Race
NUTRITION: High protein dinner; seafood tower with shrimp, lobster, tuna, and scallops.
WELLNESS: Massages and fire cupping at Saffron + Sage Wellness
Monday: Trilogy Sanctuary, Cryotherapy, Cedar Creek Falls Hike, Herb and Wood
We set our alarms Monday to hit a yoga class at Trilogy Sanctuary. If you've been following me for awhile, you know I go here every time I am in San Diego. I absolutely love everything about this yoga studio. They have many areas to practice; two yoga rooms, an outdoor deck and a covered outdoor globe. They offer a wide range of practice from vinyasa to aerial yoga and even infrared yoga! Every class I've ever taken has been exceptional. Post class, it is tradition to enjoy their vegan eats at their roof top cafe. This morning, I did a 75 minute vinyasa class with meditation tacked on to the end. After the yoga class, I enjoyed their "nature" smoothie made with tons of greens and avocado. The green goddess salad is my go-to meal featuring spinach, "bacon" made from eggplant, and a yummy tomato dressing.
Trilogy Sanctuary: Green Goddess Salad
Since we were in La Jolla, we decided to check out what Cryotherapy was all about. We went to a recovery-based studio called Chill'n'out. We learned about the recovery practices they offer such as cryo, compression therapy, red light therapy, and their liquid vitamin IV's. We went with the traditional cryotherapy since we were focused on muscle recovery. This biohack targets and relieves inflammation in the body and really contributes to athletes by moving blood away from areas that are tight and aching. We went into the chambers (seperately, might I add) completely naked except for our hands and feet. We were prompted to stay in the cold chamber for 3-5 minutes. I stayed in for 3.5 minutes and immediately felt relief afterwards. My husband stayed in for 1 minute and didn't find the same feeling that I did, but I think it was due to not being in the chamber long enough.
After cryotherapy, we headed to our second hike of the trip. I didn't do cardio this day so I felt pretty strong and able to hike. Cedar Creek Falls was ranked moderate on the level spectrum. This hike was beautiful; lots of hills and water all around. It was another very enjoyable hike that I wouldn't deem strenuous. It was dog-friendly and not too crowded.
Cedar Creek Falls Hike
We worked up an appetite for dinner at Herb & Wood. This restaurant is located in Little Italy and prides itself in their amazing Mediterranean dishes. We started with the oyster and bone marrow appetizer which I was so exited about! My main meal was their half chicken and I got a side of carrots as well. I would definitely come back to this restaurant.
Herb & Wood: Bone marrow + oysters, carrots, half chicken
MOVEMENT: Hiking Cedar Creek Falls
NUTRITION: Protein and vegetable forward dishes from Herb + Wood and vegan eats from Trilogy Sanctuary
Tuesday: FIT gym, The Waverly, hours at the beach, Coronado Island
Our last day in San Diego is always emotional for me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the sunshine, ocean, clean eating and feel-good movement that we prioritize in SD is different than home. Especially in the mid-west, this time of year is nothing but gray skies. Therefore today's agenda was focused solely on spending time at the beach.
In the morning, we got a phenomenal workout in at FIT gym in Mission Beach. I've been to FIT in different locations throughout San Diego; this franchise gives off major Equinox-vibes. However, this location had a much smaller training area and a very large pool zone. In the pool area, they had lap lanes, a kids area, and even basketball hoops. The training area was located on the second and third floor. I was disappointed to see there was only one true squat rack with a platform, but we made do with what we could get our hands on. The nice thing about gyms like this is the cleanliness and high quality machines they have. Everything felt very new and was taken care of.
FIT gym Mission Hills
For breakfast, we traveled to Encinitas to eat at Waverly. This cute California cafe gave me True Food Kitchen vibes with the adorable interior, healthy food and drinks. I was pleased to see on a Tuesday, so many people rushing in to eat food that has high quality, healthy ingredients. Mike and I tried the avocado toast and I got the soft egg scramble benedict.
The Waverly: Avocado toast and egg benedict
The rest of the day we spent lounging ocean-side. Encinitas is adorable and the ocean was incredibly enjoyable. My favorite moments are when the ocean waves literally put me to sleep. I was knocked out for a good hour before I realized I was getting a bit more sun than I had planned. We spent a few hours absorbing the vitamin D before leaving for dinner.
Dinner was at a famous hotel on Coronado Island, Hotel Coronado. The restaurant was called Serea. This was Mikes favorite restaurant of the entire trip. We sat outside and overlooked the ocean. It reminded both of us about the night Mike proposed. We felt so attached to the sun and the water; it made every worry and anxiety leaving the next day completely erase. Our food was incredible and the wine tasted better than every other night.
Slide through the photos of Hotel Coronado and food from Serea
MOVEMENT: Workout at FIT gym
NUTRITION: Nutrient dense breakfast from Waverly
WELLNESS: Napping oceanside in Encinitas
I am so grateful that Mike and I got to go on this trip. As I stated, we had been working so hard all winter long and both needed the r + r more than we thought. I am grateful that I can get opportunities like this to travel and treat my body and mind so kindly. We left San Diego feeling like new people; and that is how I believe every person should leave vacation.
Links + Lists
The Gym San Diego: https://thegymsandiego.com
FIT Gym: https://fitathletic.com
Lifetime La Jolla: https://www.lifetime.life/life-time-locations/ca-la-jolla.html
Hot Chocolate 5K/15K: https://hotchocolate15k.com
Trilogy Sanctuary Yoga: https://www.trilogysanctuary.com
Cowles Mountain Hike + Cedar Creek Falls Hike
Cannonball (sushi): https://www.cannonballsd.com
Born + Raised (steak): https://bornandraisedsteak.com
Herb + Wood (Mediterranean): https://www.herbandwood.com
The Fishery (fresh fish): https://www.thefishery.com
Serea (fresh fish): https://sereasandiego.com
The Waverly (healthy cafe) : https://thewaverly.com
GOODONYA (healthy cafe) : https://goodonyaorganic.com
Farmer's Bottega (healthy cafe): https://farmersbottega.com
Power Haus Pizza (healthy pizza): https://www.powerhauspizza.com