If you plan to cover all of the San Diego County attractions in a more relaxing way, you should have at least three days on hand. San Diego is about 2 to 3 hours drive from Los Angeles and there are plenty of interesting places to visit along the way. It doesn't get much better if you're traveling to San Diego as a family with children, but you don't need to have children to enjoy this gigantic zoo. So if you're trying to find the ideal San Diego itinerary for you and your family or you're not sure if spending 2 days in San Diego is enough or if you'd rather make time to spend 3 or 4 days in San Diego or more, then you've come to the right place.
If you want to venture out of the city center, even to the beaches, having a car in San Diego will be the most convenient way to get around. If you want to visit the zoo and museums of Balboa Park, this is where the San Diego Go Card can be really useful and end up paying for itself, as many of these attractions are included in it. While you can spend a full day snorkeling in La Jolla, if you like hiking, you'll love the Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, a short drive north of La Jolla and one of the best hiking spots in Southern California. San Diego is on native land, home to the Kumeyaay who were displaced by Spanish colonizers after living here for 10,000 years.
In this case, follow the itinerary proposed above to visit San Diego in one day and dedicate the second day to the theme park. Planning the perfect 2-4 day itinerary in San Diego isn't always an easy task with so many things to do in the city. If time and energy allow, hop on the ferry back to downtown to start the night in the Gaslamp Quarter, where locals and tourists come to relax and have fun any day of the week. Plus, you'll need a car in San Diego to get to the highlights, so you've checked that box with a rental car.
Gaslamp is the beating heart of 16 square blocks of San Diego, the focal point that draws tourists like an unstoppable gravitational force. For a more complete experience of the city, excluding theme parks, I recommend you spend at least two full days in San Diego. San Diego was formerly owned by Mexico, and before Mexico was colonized by Spain it was populated by indigenous communities. San Diego's crown jewel is surrounded on three sides by the ocean, but it stretches 7 miles along the coast to encompass Torrey Pines (think of the best golf courses) and many educational institutes.
In the late afternoon, when dinnertime approaches, you can head to the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego's most famous neighborhood.