Escape: San Diego Dreamin'


When we reached San Diego, it took exactly one hour for my teenage daughters to transform themselves from hungry, whiny children into bikini-clad beach bums perfectly comfortable sauntering sandside along the sun-baked strand, popping high-fives with guys they’d never met before and letting their almost-blond hair go big in the humidity. All it took was a little lunch at a bayside restaurant—pizza and salad—and everyone was good to go.

Last time I’d been to San Diego, more than 10 years ago, my husband, Mike, and I had headed down for a magazine conference in June. We drove straight into “June gloom,” which none of our East Coast colleagues were expecting. “It’s Southern California! We brought swimsuits and shorts!” they exclaimed, plunking down credit cards for thick sweatshirts from the hotel gift shop as the fog settled in tighter. On that trip, I saw just enough of San Diego to wish I had time to escape the hotel conference halls and explore. I got no concept of San Diego’s proximity to Mexico (about 20 minutes to the border), no sense of its history and nowhere near the zoo or Balboa Park, downtown, the harbor, the naval base, Coronado . . .


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