Time to cool off, yet stay active, in San Diego

It may be difficult to escape the heat right now, no matter where you reside or work, not to mention the ability to recreate. You know, have some fun, exercise, play golf or tennis. 

Well, heat relief is on the way. There are a few places where you can still comfortably take a hike or tee it up. Take a walk on the active side and visit the Southern California city of San Diego to decompress and enjoy outdoor pursuits. The second largest city in the state after all is a natural playground with miles of beaches and coastline, scores of golf courses and top-notch properties with spa and fitness programs. Fly into McClellan-Palomar or the old Lindbergh Field (now San Diego International) and let the games begin. Here is where you will want to check in.

Omni San Diego
OK, baseball fans, here is your mecca. If you have an opportunity to follow the D-Backs to San Diego, check into this hotel adjacent to Petco Park, home of the Major League Padres. You won’t be disappointed. Check this out: Take the escalator from the lobby and walk across the adjoining pedestrian bridge and into the baseball stadium. Along the way, make note of all the baseball memorabilia like the shoes Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose wore when he snapped Stan Musial’s National League record for hits, or an autographed Mickey Mantle baseball, a ticket from the very first Padres game in 1969, a signed baseball cap of Willie Mays, or a bat used by Robert Redford in the movie “The Natural.” Joe DiMaggio’s spikes from his fabled 56-game hitting streak are here. Ahwatukee all-star little leaguers – and their dads – will be all over this place. Some rooms even include views into Petco Park, and the property is close enough that you could sit on the balcony and watch the game. Amazing.

La Valencia Hotel
Who says you have to go to Mexico or Hawaii for good snorkeling? La Valencia Hotel, across the street from famed La Jolla Cove, is an ideal base camp for those who want to “swim with the fishes.” The water is supremely clear and calm in the areas around the cove, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll even encounter a California sea lion or two, who usually spend the day sunbathing on the nearby rocks and platform. The oceanfront park in front of the hotel is great for walking and people watching as well. During the summer, regular art fairs and music performances are scheduled.

And while you and the kids go snorkeling, make a reservation for Mom at the spa. The idyllic, upscale setting is the perfect way to pamper her. La Valencia’s Signature Massage includes a luxurious blend of ylang ylang, sandlewood and coconut oils, which allows mom to drift off into a world of pure relaxation and healing. Massages typically last 75 minutes. Combine the massage with a European facial and foot reflexology session and turn a visit to the spa into a three-hour session she won’t forget anytime soon. The three-service package lasts three hours and costs $250.

Hotel Del Coronado
With 18 miles of white sand beaches, named one of the top resort destinations in America by The Travel Channel, Coronado is the perfect spot for the health conscious. The legendary resort here offers daily core strengthening, total body conditioning or yoga on the beach. Plus, Coronado’s generally small waves are perfect for learning to surf or boogie board. Board rentals and lessons are available at the Del, and classes include all equipment and wet suit.

Biking is another popular activity here. Bikes for all ages and abilities are available, including surreys and deuce coupes. The Coronado Bike Trail, which runs along Glorietta Bay and the beachfront walk, is safe, easy to navigate and beautiful all summer long. The local recreation department also offers the Coronado on Wheels Bike Tour, a guided two-hour tour of historic Coronado. The Del’s concierge desk can route you to the proper personnel.

We all know about the Del’s wonderful pool, facilities and setting, but there also are wonderful kids and teens programs available. Tent City Kids Programs dates back to traditions held on the island from more than 100 years ago. It’s a summertime program, which offers a variety of activities designed for children. Each three-hour session has a different theme in which kids under 12 make new friends and participate in beach games, bonfires, s’mores roasts, seashore scavenger hunts, sandcastle competitions, tide pool exploration and more. In addition, the resort hosts different one-hour craft sessions each day for kids, and includes projects like kite making and shell collecting for memory boxes. The Del also has a teen club lounge with computer terminals, video games and a pool table.

Rancho Valencia
This superb property is a genteel oasis providing healthy activities for mind, body and spirit. There are loads of recreational options here: Experience Rancho Valencia’s world-renowned tennis program and state-of-the-art fitness center; enjoy a leisurely game of croquet on the championship croquet lawn; or be challenged by the nearby Arnold Palmer championship golf course at Aviara. The beaches of Del Mar and La Jolla also are nearby, and, for horsing enthusiasts, the Del Mar Race Track and Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club are within minutes of the resort.

But for OUR money, tennis is the big recreational draw here. Rancho Valencia features 18 beautiful hardcourts situated in a magnificent garden setting. While my daughter is blasting balls from the baseline, I get lost in the acres of lush greenery. Other courtside amenities include iced lemon water and fresh towels, and several full-time pros can arrange everything from hitting clinics to private lessons. Tennis Magazine has voted the facilities and programs here to its “Top 10 Tennis Resorts in the U.S.”

Four Seasons Resort Aviara
Located just up the road from Rancho Valencia, this is one of the finest resort experiences in California. They just do things differently at Four Seasons. Even my usually boisterous brats bring it down a notch upon entering the hallowed halls here. The casual elegance of the property is accentuated by the natural setting, which includes lots of wildflowers and even wildlife. It’s not uncommon to have hawks soaring overhead or to spot a coyote trotting across a fairway. One of our favorite activities is to hike around Batiquitos Lagoon among the eucalyptus trees and unique flora. We usually stop in at the interpretive center to view the mounted animals and to learn more about the local ecology.

Also new at Four Seasons is its Beach Butler. This service includes complimentary transportation to the beach (a five-minute trip) with all the necessary amenities: Chairs, umbrella, towels and blankets. The Beach Butler can also recommend preferred locations and contacts for kayaking, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing excursions and other aquatic activities. You may also have the Beach Butler bring ingredients for your morning coffee, afternoon picnic or sunset snack. Choose from a wide variety of light fare, sandwiches or full-scale ocean-side entrees.


Four Seasons Resort Aviara
7100 Four Seasons Point, Carlsbad
(760) 603-6800

Hotel Del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado
(619) 435-6611

La Valencia Hotel
1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla
(858) 454-0771

Omni San Diego Hotel
675 L Street, San Diego
(619) 231-6664

Rancho Valencia
5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe
(858) 756-1123

Photo by On Shot

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