Sunny San Diego a beach-hopper's bliss

Kathryn Bermingham
San Diego's sprawling coastal communities are full of sunshine, energy and fish tacos

It's barely 2pm but I'm already craving Mexican food. This is all the more surprising given we're three days into our trip and tacos have been on the menu at almost every meal.

But this is San Diego, just 30 kilometres north of the Mexican border, where fish tacos are both a delicacy and a staple, and you'll never have to search far for your next one. Lucky me.

Despite my affinity, I have not come here just to eat tacos (though as the week goes on, hunting the best fish tacos, tortilla chips and guacamole becomes something of a sport).

Year round, San Diego is full of sunshine and energy and when I visit in September, I'm itching to explore its sprawl of buzzing coastal communities.

LA JOLLA

One of the most popular beach destinations in California and nicknamed "the jewel", a trip to San Diego would be worth it for La Jolla alone.

Take your pick from a number of picturesque beaches for a swim or stroll, and pay a visit to La Jolla Cove, where you'll see seals playing in the shallows.

When you're done, wander the eclectic mix of shops in downtown La Jolla Village, relax in one of its many spas or experience the area's diverse culinary scene.

TRY TACOS AT: Galaxy Taco, 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla.

www.galaxytaco.com/

MISSION BEACH

On a sunny afternoon, we venture out to Pacific Beach - a hotspot for San Diego's 20-something crowd with its array of surf shops, beach bars, cafes and nightclubs.

After a stop at Taco Surf, a local icon for the past 30 years, we hire bikes and set off along the three-mile boardwalk to Mission Beach, taking in spectacular ocean views.

A hive of activity en route is Belmont Park, where a ride on the historic wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster will inject an adrenaline rush into an afternoon of leisure.

TRY TACOS AT: Taco Surf, 4657 Mission Blvd

www.tacosurftacoshop.com

OCEAN BEACH

Put on your hippy pants and venture south to the chilled-out seaside community of Ocean Beach, where the people are friendly and the dogs are plenty - there's even a canine-friendly beach.

Stroll along the half-mile pier, one of the longest in Southern California, and leave some time to experience San Diego's thriving microbrewery scene, with several within walking distance.

Visit on a Wednesday and be sure to check out the farmers market, which brings together a range of gourmet and organic food, homemade crafts, live music, jewellery stalls, art, plants and more.

TRY BEER AT: Mike's Taco Club, 5060 Newport Ave

www.mikestacoclub.com

IF YOU GO:

GETTING THERE: San Diego is an easy, hour-long flight from Los Angeles. Several airlines run daily direct flights.

STAYING THERE: Take your pick from hotels to suit any requirement or budget, but if you're looking to splurge you can't go past The Lodge at Torrey Pines, where you'll wake up to views of the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course. Visit www.lodgetorreypines.com.

The writer travelled as a guest of the San Diego Tourism Authority.