5 Reasons to RV Snowbird In San Diego

Playing with pooch at Fiesta Island

I have to admit that San Diego is a darn nice place to get stuck for a while. It’s the kinda spot where everyday is an “ooooh, it’s just sooooo nice today!” kinda day. It’s one of the many reasons we decided to slow it down for a few months here and in fact it’s so glorious that I think you ought to try it too. So in that light, let me give you 5 reasons why…

1/ The Weather, The Weather, The Weather

Just another perfect forecast

The near-pristine weather in San Diego would probably suffice 5 reasons alone for most folks to winter down here. And it really is true. As long as we’re not having an El Niño moment (which brings out the wet), your typical winter day will be just around the perfect 60-70°F (15-20°C), beautifully sunny, low humidity and clear skies. And, as long as you stay by the coast, you can enjoy similar weather almost year-around.

2/ Winter Is The Low Season

Half-empty for winter at Mission Bay RV Park

For some inexplicable reason (at least to me) winter is considered the low-season for RVing in San Diego. Every other SW location (AZ, CA) gets bombarded and rates ramped for winter snowbirds, but here in San Diego it’s peace and quiet. What that also means is that you can get some great park discounts. Now, this is city camping so don’t expect ultra-cheap but you can spend a month in green Santee Lakes for $670 (+electric) or a month in peachy-prime bayfront/beach property at Mission Bay RV Resort for $800 (elec. included). San Diego has also got some great county parks worth the visit. We’re in Mission Bay right now (I’ll be doing a full review soon) and half the park is completely empty.

3/ It’s Super Dog Friendly

Hanging out at Coronado Dog Beach
A rig parked for the day on prime beach at Fiesta Island

San Diegans love their pooch’s and there are lots of ultra-dog friendly beaches along the coast as well as tons of in-land hiking and a plethora of fun pet events throughout the year (the Ugly Dog Contest and Dog Surfing being just a few).

And then there’s Fiesta Island which I venture to declare may well be the most amazing city dog spot in the world! The entire island is a pristine urban escape dedicated to off-leash pooches and offers miles of beach, water and trails right in the center of Mission Bay. It’s open from 4AM-10PM, allows beach-front fishing & campfires and has so much space and sand you can even park your RV right on the shore for free (it’s the nicest day-parking spot for RVs in the city, in my mind). It’s dog-gone RV pooch heaven and we go there literally everyday!

4/ City, Beach, Mountains – You Got It All

Hiking in the remote Santee hills just 15 miles from downtown
Gorgeous Sunset Cliffs in La Jolla

One thing you’ve got to love about San Diego is the variety. From coastal beach to mesas and beautiful rolling hills it’s really got it all. Downtown San Diego is a city, but the rest of the coast sports little “coastal communities” that all have their own special vibe and cater to surfers, kayakers, shoppers and beach lovers. So, taking a day-trip to laid-back Ocean Beach is a whole different experience than going for a jaunt to upscale La Jolla. Should you want to get away from it all just drive ~15 miles inland to Mission Trails, hike for a day in a slew of great areas or drive an hour to the desert for complete and utter isolation. For those with kids San Diego has the added attraction of Legoland, Sea World, and (my personal favorite) The Wild Animal Park.

5/ It’s A Golf-Lovers Dream

San Diego’s impressive map of Golf Courses (from golfnow.com)

Now, I didn’t really expect golf to make my top 5, but Paul’s newfound interest in the sport has made me a rather interested side-observer. As it turns out San Diego has over 90+ Golf Courses (!!)within a 40-mile radius including an impressive array of public courses. You can play like a PGA pro in coastal splendor at one of the finest municipal courses in the nation at Torrey Pines, or go for an easy and cheap game ($30 or so a pop) at any one of the many Executive Courses around town. If you’re flexible on your tee-times you can get great deals at golfnow.com, and if you don’t golf (like me) many of the courses are scenic enough that they’re even worth the ride around in the cart.

So, did I manage to tempt you?

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    It’s tempting. Not sure what lies ahead, but it sure is fun to live vicariously through your photos and witty repartee. (that is an actual word. Really.)
    You make it easy for the ‘arm chair traveller’. For this I am entirely thankful. Your contribution is entirely appreciated. Thanks.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh, repartee…I LOVE that word!! I have got to find a way to weave that into a blog post :) Very happy to have you along for the ride, even if it’s just on the blog.

  2. says

    We have avoided San Diego for years because of 1) the traffic and 2) what we thought would be pricey RV parks. Thanks to your great review we will surely reconsider. We do so love the ocean! Have a great time. Lynda

    • libertatemamo says

      The traffic can get a little maddening during rush-hour, but we tend to avoid those times and find it a really easy city to get around the rest of the time. The ocean is dog-gone wonderful :)

  3. says

    Have never been to southern CA, Nina. My daughter came back with the same impression that you have. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to share the dog friendly beaches with the kennel that’s making a list. It’s a good resource.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well CA fuel prices are higher, but that’s true of the whole State (not just San Diego). I find food and everything else comparable. We do most of our shopping at weekly farmer’s markets (there’s lots all around San Diego) which offer great deals and really fresh produce. For going out there are a ton of options to eat in the area incl. very inexpensive spots. Good deals on groupon and sites like that too.

    • libertatemamo says

      Hey I don’t blame ’em. It’s a really, really nice city. If you ducks decide to come there are a couple of “sneaky” spots to boondock that I can give to you. And you can spend all day parked on the beach at Fiesta Island…it’s heavenly. Do Come….!

  4. says

    Hi, I was thinking of staying in California next winter. I have a small 24′ motor home and no tow car. I have been looking at the Google maps around Mission Bay RV Park – does Grand Avenue have sidewalks? I would be walking around the area or riding my bike to go to stores, etc or to the beach. Thanks for any info you can give me.

    • libertatemamo says

      There’s a great bike path all around Mission Bay and (even onto Ocean Beach) so you can literally bike right from the park all the way to the ocean. For sightseeing and being right by the water this place is great.
      For groceries it’s not quite as convenient. The closest stores are probably Pacific Beach which are too far for walking, but could be biked along the road (most of which has either sidewalk or bike-path). Also for some of the sights (e.g. going to La Jolla or into the mountains or to Cabrillo National Monument) it’s a longer haul. You might want to think about renting a car (even if it’s just a few days) to see some of the other sights while you’re here.

  5. says

    Oh…I so want to get back to San Diego. If life hadn’t taken its turn for us here as it did, I think we would have spent some of our winter there.

    We’re actually paying more for our crappy spot in Melbourne, FL than you are. Depressing (for us).

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh I feel you. We spent last winter in Florida and paid more than here too (PLUS we needed to book 6 months in advance). There are beautiful spots in FL and the State Parks are fabulous, but it is SO busy with RVers in winter that it can become overwhelming. We’re keeping all our fingers and paws crossed for your family.

  6. bob west says

    Spent two weeks in Chula Vista which was nice this winter as we were at the tourney at Torre Pines. Stayed at Santa Fe two years ago when we were here for the tournament. Not to fond of that one but found Chula to be nice. Great restaurants in Gas Light District. Yes it is a lovely place in winter but now we are back in WI and spring is close.

    • libertatemamo says

      We stayed at Chula Vista a few years back. Don’t like the location quite as much as where we are now, but’s it’s a good park.

  7. Kevin and Kim says

    Great posts! We love fiesta Island too. We took the kids to the Wild Animal Park now called “Safari Park” back in December . We were reminded how pricey this place is! We still enjoy it, but there are many other places to enjoy without breaking the bank. We stayed at Dixon Lake Campground. Fabulous views of the valley at night! This is not a dog friendly place so Bridgette had to stay at home… :( We also love Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo proper in addition to the Safari Park. We never tire of things to discover in the area. Palomar Mountain Observatory will take you into the hills for more places to discover too.

    • libertatemamo says

      You know it’s funny. I just stumbled onto the website for Dixon Lake the other day and it looked like an awesome spot…if it weren’t for the no dog policy it would be on our list for sure.
      GOT to make it to Palomar. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. says

    If you are out this way next year, try The Orange Grove RV Park, in Bakersfield. This is our first time here, but you pick the best, juiciest, sweatiest oranges, right outside your door. The monthly rent this year is $450, including everything. Get here abut November and have fresh oranges until the middle of April. Long term residents get their own trees, that no one can pick, and that’s plenty!!

    • libertatemamo says

      Wow…what a great deal (and love the sound of those oranges). Thanks for the tip! We will add it to our list for the area.

  9. Tim says

    Can’t wait to get out there. Never been to So Cal – it will definitely be a destination during our 1.5 year-long FT trip! Thanks for sharing!!


  1. […] We’re staying for a month in Mission Bay RV Resort which I’ve always described as a so-so park in an awesome location. It’s one of the two parks we prefer (the other being Santee Lakes) when we’re in the area. With winter low-season the park is less than half full and if you add in the decent monthly rates and the location (right by the water) it’s a pretty sweet deal. I totally dig being able to walk out the RV gate to the sound of lapping water and the sweet, salty smell of the bay. Plus there are alot of very good reasons to snowbird in San Diego. […]

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