Del Mar – A Taste of the Sea

Genie Davis January 25, 2014 No Comments


A sweet sandy escape

Between Los Angeles and San Diego there are plenty of lovely seaside spots you and your children can enjoy. We’re very fond of the gallery filled streets and great ice cream cones in Laguna Beach, the small arcade with games like ski ball, and the ferry to Balboa Island in Newport Beach. And of course, you can’t really top that jumbo Ferris Wheel in Santa Monica, and the sweeping vistas you and your kids can enjoy from one of the cars as they spin to the top.


The beaches are gorgeous

But one of our all time favorite spots is Del Mar. It means the sea, and honestly, everything about the town is ocean friendly, and kid friendly too. Essentially located at a midpoint between San Diego and LA, Del Mar is a quintessential California coastal town with a great beach. It’s as simple and special as that. The beach is wide and flat and accessible throughout the town. My kids like the wide, open space to run, and the fine sand that makes great castle building. It’s long and broad, and makes for a wonderful stroll. If your kids are older or you’re so inclined, it’s also a sweet surf spot. Buy or rent a board at Rusty’s Del Mar Surf Shop, a classic surf shop straight out of a Beach Boys’ song.


And when you’ve had enough Fun, Fun, Fun on the sand, head over to Del Mar Plaza. This boutique-strewn mini mall has something you and your kids will both love – ocean view balconies and seating. Go up to the top, bringing a snack from the food market located in the mall, and take in the broad expanse of sea and sand you were just playing on.

 But wait, there’s more. Maybe you’d rather have a snack, or a lovely lunch closer to the water. If so, try child-friendly Jake’s. The patio is just off the beach, and the reasonably priced and amply portioned pescatarian meals will keep everyone happy. My kids love the fish and chips, and had their first taste of crisp calamari right here.

Worth a visit even if the price tag for a weekend stay exceeds your family budget, another great stop is the Grand Del Mar. This is a vast and beautiful resort with mosaic tiles, shiny marble, and stunning outdoor areas. Explore the grassy enclaves and enjoy the lovely architecture, as we did.

We also took the kids on a short drive to Scripps Aquarium, just south of Del Mar. This is a wonderful aquarium, just large enough to offer beautiful sea creatures in great display cases, and just small enough not to overwhelm. There’s an outdoor area with a view of the stunning coastline, a splendid jellyfish exhibit, and best of all, a veritable cyclone of sardines mid-aquarium.

Or, take in some of the family friendly trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Shaded by towering pines, you’ll get great coastal views on comfortably short paths. You can stay all day exploring, or simply take the little ones out for a leisurely, view-filled stroll. As always, hold tight to small hands as the easy to walk trails do abut cliff side views.

The San Diego Botanic Gardens are another treat

Fifteen minutes farther south, take a stroll through the San Diego Botanic Garden. Here the flower-strewn trails are flat and broad, you can give your child more room for exploration. We love the bamboo garden, arguably the largest bamboo garden in the west. Pristine, peaceful and just exotic enough to thrill the kids. We also enjoy the with olive trees, and the historically accurate copies of native American living spaces. But if your kids aren’t satisfied with plants and flowers, try the really wonderful Free Flight sanctuary, an exotic bird sanctuary that began in 1981. This is a really great spot to get up close and personal with birds. Many of the feathered friends residing here are rescues. Parrots, macaws, and cockatoos are everywhere.

My kids love seeing the birds, and the only caveat is that with many of the creatures there for adoption, you may find your children begging you to take home an exotic beauty. It’s a wonderful feeling to stroke soft feathers and see these birds enjoying the care of volunteers and the attention of visitors.

Of course, you’ll want to spend the night in the area. We like the Hotel Indigo – the rooms feel private, almost as if you have your own unique bungalow. Many have kitchenettes, convenient for breakfasts or late night snacks. Bright and large, we loved the luxury bathrooms and the hardwood floors.

So if you’re looking to escape to the sea, and find birds, flowers, beach, and moderately priced fish dinners, Del Mar is the perfect spot. And why wouldn’t it be? It literally means the sea.

avatarAbout the Author:

Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling.

Tags: , Reviews, Sharing Experiences, Tips and Hints, Travel Excursions

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