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Great One-Tank Trips from San Diego to Take This Summer

There are many possible one tank-trips from San Diego where you can take in some of the most popular sights to see around southern California. The San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, the Cabrillo Lighthouse, the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Cleveland National Forest just to name a few of the closest attractions. You can even go see seals sunning themselves on the rocks near the Scripps Institute in La Jolla. Try some of these one-day, one-tank trip suggestions for an even more exciting visit around this area. 


La Jolla:


Not very far from San Diego, La Jolla is a varied and interesting place to visit. Start your day at the Torrey Pines Glider port watching the colorful paragliders float over the Pacific and up and down the coast. There’s a cafe here if you want to grab a cup of coffee or a snack. If you enjoy hiking, try out one of the trails that start next to the Glider port. 

To enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, or diving, head to the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, a vast underwater preserve that protects seven sea caves, kelp forests, and abundant marine life. For an organized tour, or to rent equipment, check out La Jolla Dive, located just two blocks from the ocean.



One of the most entertaining sights to see here are the sea lions and seals at La Jolla Cove. You’ll likely hear them even before seeing them. Walk down the ramp or climb the steep stairs and have a seat on the sand to watch these marine mammals playing, napping, and fishing. 




If you’re visiting in the summer or fall, Julian is a terrific one-day trip. Julian is a small mountain community in Southern California located at the intersection of California highways 78 and 79, about 50 miles northeast of San Diego. This historic gold-mining town is nestled among oak and pine forests between the north end of the Cuyamaca Range and the south slope of Volcan Mountain. The entire town is a designated historic district. Tourism is its main industry followed by cattle.


This tiny town is well known for gold mining, apple picking and the ensuing apple pies. Apple Star OrchardCalico Ranch Orchard, and Julian Farm all offer fruit picking along with other activities like wagon rides, petting zoos, and axe throwing. Be sure to check each website before visiting since picking seasons vary at each orchard. Don’t miss the opportunity to shop at some of the unique shops in Julian, plus stop to have a scrumptious meal at one of their gold mining-era cafés. 


The Julian Pie Company is the place to go for delicious pies made from apples harvested from their own orchard. This family-owned business has been in operation since 1989, and today it’s run by the founders and their children and grandchildren. Even if you’re not able to visit in the fall, you can still enjoy hot apple pie à la mode. Late July brings ‘Sip of Julian,’ featuring local growers and producers of wine, craft beer, specialty cocktails, in addition to delicious hard cider, sampling their hand-crafted beverages.


Other activities in and around town include panning for gold at Eagle Mining Co., learning about wolves at the California Wolf Center, or antiquing at Wynola Junction Antiques & Collectibles.


Laguna Beach:


Further up the coast — about an hour and 20-minute drive — is the unique artistic seaside community of Laguna Beach. Founded by Plein air painters in the 1880s, this upscale town is full of art galleries, secluded coves, and ocean view restaurants.


To combine a trip to the beach and exercise, head to Thousand Steps Beach in South Laguna. The descent to the beach is easy and the views are spectacular, but the return trip will be challenging. Fortunately, there are only 218 stairs, not a thousand.


This is definitely an art lover’s town. Take time to cruise the Laguna Art Museum, well-known for its collection of southern California artists. Throughout the town there are more than 100 art galleries featuring a wide variety of styles.


Historic and National Parks Near San Diego:


If you feel the need for a Southern California history lesson, take time to visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the Cabrillo National Monument where you can learn more about this area and what took place many years ago. 


Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California. For year-round fun, Angeles National Forest is only an hour from Los Angeles, a few hours north of San Diego, but offers an unlimited number of recreational activities. Try and include the Cleveland National Forest which is even closer to San Diego.


San Bernardino National Forest:


This huge national forest offers 6 different recreation areas that all offer various campgrounds for your enjoyment. Before going, make sure you reserve the campground of your choice to be sure it will accommodate your RV. 


The San Bernardino National Forest is open year-round and provides ample recreational opportunities for everyone. Trail rides on horses, driving off-highway vehicles, camping, fishing, snowshoeing and alpine skiing are all possible in this lovely national forest. 




About an hours' drive from San Diego, just north of the Cleveland National Park you’ll find the town of Temecula, which dates back to 1882 and has an atmospheric Old Town, with interesting little alleyways and historic buildings. Temecula's Old Town is a fun place to wander around and check out the locally owned boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops.

A favorite attraction in the Old Town is Pennypickle's Workshop, an award-winning children's museum filled with games, gizmos, and gadgets designed to spark the imagination. Kids love Professor Pennypickle's laboratory of inventions such as the Electrolight-o-later Chandelier and a Peanut-Butter-and-Jelly-Sandwich-Making Machine.


Some State Parks in and Around San Diego


Take in the history of Old Town San Diego at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the home of the original Mexican pueblo of San Diego, or visit some of the other 13 parks in the San Diego Coast District, from Carlsbad State Beach to the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States at Border Field State Park. This is one of the most secluded public beaches in Southern California. 


Some of the most visited parks in the California State Park system are included in these urban areas. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is the home of the endangered Torrey Pine, and enjoys hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.


If you are ready to plan your San Diego RV vacation, contact your El Monte RV dealer in San Diego who can help you with this. 


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