Photographing San Diego-San Diego is one of my favorite places to be for alot of reasons. The weather is perfect, the districts are diverse, the culture is laid back and the beautiful views are endless.
The Coronado Ferry Landing- If your in downtown and have just around 8 dollars in your pocket, the best thing you can do is buy yourself a roundtrip ticket for a ferry ride from Harbor Drive to Coronado Island. They leave every hour and offer one of the best 15 minutes of views you can get in San Diego. Lay back on one of the rows of chairs up top and enjoy the ride to Coronado, Where you’ll be greeted by views like this
The Coronado Ferry landing hands down has the best views of Downtown San Diego. The San Diego Bay is very still and the lights of the city seem to hang frozen in its waters. The views stretch on for miles beyond downtown to the Naval Yards and finally to the lit up hills of Tijuana. This place is especially awesome during a moonrise, which comes up right over the Coronado Bridge.
Continue walking south from the landing toward the bridge and you’ll eventually reach Marina Park. Its a nice place to just sit and think about whatever it is on your mind at the moment.
Downtown San Diego- When my dad moved to San Diego back in 05 (sometime around then) every time I visited I made it a habit of mine to walk from his place on Ketner to the walkways on Harbor Drive to the top of the convention center and through the Gaslamp District. I still do it every time I go, So this area is kindof special to me. But for you, its just about the nice views which this area is full of.
If you walk over to the convention center (you cant miss it, its one mother of a long glass futuristic building. Its also where ComicCon goes down every year and clogs downtown with superheroes and manga chicks) and ascend the steps to the top and look back you’ll see this-
and if you make the short walk to the other side, you’ll be thrilled to see views stretching from Point Loma and the Hotel Del Coronado to the bridge and lights of Tijuana-
San Diego Beaches-I’m going to say this right now, I havent photographed the beaches of San Diego nearly as much as I have wanted to, and believe me they are all beautiful. San Diego is most known for its more ritzy beaches such as La Jolla and the Sunset Cliffs, but the beaches surrounding the Mission Bay Area (Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach) all have great entertainment to offer. I suggest checking them out. But back to the Sunset Cliffs-These cliffs are gorgeous. Just look at them, I mean just look at them! The erosion creates all of these awesome fissures in the bluffs and because of their color and texture the hues of sunset just seem to reflect and radiate from them. That isnt just flowery prose, go see it for yourself!
Imperial Beach is also really nice. What I recommend more than anything is if you have a car-Drive across the Coronado Bridge (It doesn’t cost anything, they discontinued the tolls awhile ago) and drive down Orange avenue. It’ll eventually lead you past the Coronado Hotel (which is a great place in its own right, check it out too) Continue down the road and you’ll eventually be on the Highway (#9 i think) and driving down the Silver Strand. Eventually you’ll see the exit for imperial beach (rainbow road i’m pretty sure) and park your car at any of the parking lots lining the beach.
Balboa Park-SF is known for the Panama Pacific Expo of 1915 and the 1940 Worlds Fair (which is what Treasure Island was built for) but before all of that, San Diego had a worlds fair of its own, made in celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal. Many of the original structures from that Expo still stand today, and you can visit all of them! This place is beautiful any time of day, but I suggest checking it out at night to avoid tourists and enjoy the buildings in all of their lit up splendor, from the large fountain by the parking lot all the way down to Cabrillo Bridge.
Also, right next to Del Prado road is the world famous San Diego zoo, full of lions, tigers!
The Anza Borrego Desert. Imperial County and the Sunrise Highway-This is my favorite getaway area in the world, so you better appreciate what I am about to share with you.
If you have one tank of gas and want to take a day trip to an amazing and beautiful area just outside of San Diego, well look right here.
The Sunrise highway is my favorite road in the world. The drive is smooth (and super fun if you like driving fast) and the views are unbeatable. The drive can last for hours if you want it to, and there is a different view to enjoy at every turn. To get to the Sunrise Highway-Take Highway 5 North (LA) Out of Downtown and take the exit to Interstate 8 East (Mission Valley/El Centro) Stay on Mission Valley for a good long while (I’d say about half an hour maybe 45 minutes) until you take the exit for County Road S1 aka Sunrise Highway. From then on its miles and miles of forests, hills and overlooks into valleys and canyons.
Just after driving up and through Mt. Laguna, you’ll be driving through hills filled with forests of charred trees. A major fired occurred here years ago, scorching much of the forests and leaving an eerie yet strangely serene landscape.
Eventually you will reach the end of the Sunrise Highway, but that is not at all where the adventure ends. You will have two choices: turn left to enter the small touristy mountain town of Julian (which is a great little town built in the late 1800′s and filled with restaurants and small inns) or take a right and continue on the road through mountainous terrain into the Anza Borrego Valley. Park on the side of the road and walk around the silent desert. Watch for snakes.
But the best is yet to come. For the grand finale your journey will end at a place of beauty, nostalgia and tragedy.
The Salton Sea/Salton City- Located in the imperial valley desert 80 miles southeast of San Diego, The Salton Sea was made from floodwaters of the Colorado river in the early 1900′s and is today one of the largest bodies of water in California. However, because it has no outlet, evaporation and pollution have taken their toll and have created literally one of the most bizarr places to ever be seen in California.
Hope youv’e enjoyed this post. Up next is Places to photograph in San Francisco Part II. Check out San Francisco Part I In the meantime.