Moms need a break too! When my daughter and I talked about taking a vacation, she made it very clear that she wanted to spend her time lounging on the beach without her kids and that she was not up for any of my adventurous travels. Barely clinging on to life as I recovered from the flu, I couldn’t agree with her more. Laying on a bed of sand all day sounded good to me! In the car, on the plane off we go to sunny California where we spent six beautiful days roasting in the sun.
Since the birth of my grandson five years ago, my daughter and I have not taken a vacation without the kids. We use to travel together all the time, which I’ve missed over the years. We love traveling with the kids and making memories with them, but let’s keep it real; it’s a lot of work traveling with kids especially toddlers. You spend the majority of your time making sure they’re having a good time that you often return home needing another vacation. I am a firm believer and strongly encourage everyone to take a week or two away from their daily lives and focus on themselves, relax and recharge, and that’s what my daughter and I did! Moms need to have a good time without their kids, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. She and I had a phenomenal time beach hopping around San Diego. Our first stop was La Jolla Beach.
La Jolla Beach is stunning. Turquoise waters, rocky shoreline, towering palm trees, and killer waves make this place paradise! It’s one of my favorite beaches in San Diego, and I can spend the rest of my days on this beach. It even has a cove just a short walk away where you can see sea lions and their pups basking in the sun. If you need a change of scenery, take a stroll across the street through some of the most exquisite art galleries in San Diego. Enjoy restaurants and boutique shops. Everything about this beach and neighborhood is beautiful.
Coronado Beach is a gorgeous, quiet, and casual beach tucked away behind a quaint neighborhood. It’s a perfect location for relaxing or strolling without the noise of heavy traffic passing by. It’s a fun place to watch shorebirds and beachcomb for sand dollars and seashells. I love the white sand here it has a magical silver sparkle to it. I read somewhere that it has mica mineral in it that makes the sand sparkle. I think it fairy dust if you ask me. The beach is very flat, and the waves are much calmer, making this a great spot for swimming and skimboarding.
Something that I rarely get to do when I travel is watching the sunset. As a solo traveler, my safety is always a priority, so I’m never out past dusk, but since I had a travel buddy this time, I was able to see one of the most amazing ocean sunsets that I have ever seen. Even after it disappeared below the horizon, my heart was still in awe. What a peaceful experience it was.
Sunset Cliffs is a unique rugged coastline with panoramic views. The dramatic cliff formations and caves are fascinating to see and explore. This area is famous for ocean-gazers, and opacarophile so arrive no later then 1 hour before sunset. The first day we came, we watched from the car because we couldn’t find parking. It was beautiful but not the experience we were looking for. The second day we arrive 2 hours early with our dinner in one hand and our blankets in the other. We had extra time to explore a few of the caves from above and watch people cliff dive into the bone-chilling water below. The crowds were immense 30 minutes or so before sunset. Arrive early; you’ll be glad you did!
Windansea Beach is a surfers paradise. You can spot surfers all-around riding the monster waves here. This beach can be a little dangerous if you’re not a great swim due to the high currents and rocky shoreline. The waves are powerful and almost swept me off my feet as I was standing in front of one of the cliffs where I thought was a safe distance. Once my heart was back in my chest and I was truly at a safe distance it was a beautiful setting watching the waves crash against the rocks.
Ocean Beach is lovely. We enjoyed a group of kids playing volleyball and bocce ball, which was a lot of fun to watch. One of the longest piers in Southern California is here; it stretches out a half-mile to sea. When the tide is low you can walk under the bridge and see sea stars, urchins and barnacles in the tide pools the waves left behind. The beach was overcrowded when we visited in October, and parking was a challenge. The area has a bohemian vibe to it, lots of skaters and skateboarders were present. We had a great time, but this was probably my least favorite beach we visited.
Halfway through the trip, my daughter decided she wanted to go kayaking. Huh? Is this the same person that made herself clear that she wasn’t up for my adventurous travels. The same person that can’t swim to save her life is wanting to go kayaking with her mom, who can’t swim, to save her own life! Somehow I let her convince me into going on this death mission with her. I suggested we go the day before we fly back home in hopes that she would change her mind by then. Nope, it didn’t happen! Signed up, show up, and I almost threw up from nervousness as we walked two blocks down to the ocean strapped in our life jackets casket ready!
My heart was racing with uncertainty, but I couldn’t let her know that I didn’t want to break the glass smile she was so excitedly wearing for this new insane adventurous experience that topped anything that I had ever done. One last attempt to change her mind as I nervously explained to her how powerful the waves are on the west coast vs. the east coast, which she Is only familiar with. She was not backing down as she slid into her kayak glowing as if she just saw the glory of God, and I’m wobbling towards mines with my heart in my throat.
All I remember from the 15-minute safety instruction was, “ the waves are high today, so might flip out your kayak returning to shore, the water is shallow, so just stand up”! I was hoping to flip out before we left the shore, so I had an excuse not to continue. Ha! Our first instruction was to paddle out past the swells and wait on the rest of the group to join us. One by one, we all started paddling towards the swells; everyone seems to be moving along nicely except for me. I tried to steer straight; my kayak goes left. I paddle right my kayak completes a circle. With each swell that rolled by, I felt a year of my life slip away but I was determined to keep going and concur my fear.
I spent a majority of the two-hour tour paddling hard to catch up with the rest of the group as they sat so calmly in the distance listening and learning about the ecological system below us that is home to leopard sharks, sea lions, and coral reefs. I caught the tail end of each lesson but felt proud that I was caught up with the group even if it was only for a second. Many smiled and cheered me on and even offering encouragement that I was doing great. I’m sure they were secretly laughing at me my daughter sure was as she paddles along like a pro with the rest of the group. I was happy to see her gleaming with joy and that she was having so much fun.
The tour is coming to an end we have a 20-minute paddle back to shore. I finally felt confident about being in the water and optimist about returning to shore. I secretly offered one of my instructors a crisp fifty-dollar bill if she made sure I didn’t flip out my boat and she happily accepted! I will do whatever necessary to survive. – don’t judge me. Ha!
We’re all lined up ready to return to shore everyone encouraging each other to paddle hard and hoping no-one flips out of their kayak. My daughter decided she wanted to go first so one of the instructors gives her a big push as a swell rolled in and shout out “paddle, paddle, paddle”! She’s paddling I’m shouting goooo jazzy and next thing I see is the bottom of her kayak. I think I blacked out because I don’t remember anything else except Haley’s voice telling me to PADDLE as she was riding on the back of my kayak! I started paddling and the shore was within arms reach and I hear someone scream “I’m sorry”. Before I could turn towards the voice I see a hand pushing towards the front of my kayak and flipped me into the water headfirst.
Arms flailing, water splashing, and Haley screaming, “stand up”! Blub blub blub, help blub! help! I tried to stand but my feet were numb and the waves had me wrapped in its powerful grip. Haley pulled me to my feet I stood there for a moment wiping the burning salt water from my eyes when I see my daughter safely on the beach smiling at me. I looked down for a moment and realized the water was bare to my knees. I felt like an ass. No one could have convinced me that I wasn’t drowning in 20 feet of water. As I made my way across the beach drenching wet squeezing water from my hair and clothes I locked eyes with my daughter again we smiled and laughed about our socking wet clothes the whole two blocks back to the kayak store and spent the rest of the evening and night reminiscing on our day.
Being on the ocean was exhilarating I’m glad my daughter convinced me to do this crazy adventure. We got to be the kids on this trip and it was amazing. I can’t even begin to put into words how much fun we had every day of our vacation. From morning pillow fights too late-night giggles. We laughed until we cried most nights and can’t even tell you why or what we were laughing about. We would lock eyes and just laugh. I think we were just happy to be in that moment and enjoying the time we had without caring for anyone else. We woke up late, watched whatever we wanted on tv, and ate rubbish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! We basked in the sun for hours and dug 3 feet holes in the sand for no apparent reason. This was one of the BEST mommy-daughter time we have ever had. I will never forget our very first kayaking experience and I’m so glad we did it together and lived to tell the story. I wasn’t thrilled about being pushed out of my kayak because someone didn’t want to crash into me. Huh? The nerve of some people! But I survive to tell the story!
Chicano Park is located beneath the Coronado Bridge. The park is home to one of the largest collections of the outdoor mural. The murals act as a way to transmit the history and culture of Mexican-Americans and Chicanos. It’s worth a stop if you’re in the area or visiting Coronado Beach.
Looking for a hotel in San Diego?
Hotel Circle is a hub for some of the best hotels in San Diego. I highly recommend checking out the hotels in this area if you want to be close to the beaches, zoos, and museums and if you’re on a budget. I stayed at the Atwood on this trip and the DoubleTree A couple of years ago. Both locations were great and only a 10-20 minute drive to all the places that I visited including target, shopping malls, and restaurants.
Travel Dates: October 16 – 22, 2019
“Smell the sea and feel the sky let your soul and spirit fly”