I stayed at the Omni Hotel, a high-rise that overlooks the 42,000-seat Petco Park, the new home of the San Diego Padres baseball team. Being a big baseball fan, I was sad to see the Padres were on the road. But I did tour the stadium, and was impressed that one of its most popular features is Park at the Park. For $5, you can bring a picnic basket and sprawl on a grassy hill overlooking the outfield. The views are better than from the outfield seats in many stadiums where the seats are much more expensive.
The pandas were the prime attraction at the San Diego Zoo.
We couldn’t leave San Diego without a visit to the world-renowned zoo, home to 4,000 animals in habitats that try to replicate their natural environments. Like most of the zoo’s visitors, I was most enchanted by the pandas, so much so that an employee had to gently urge me to move along so that others could shoot pictures of the adorable bears.
A coastal view of Laguna Beach.
We then headed about an hour north to the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, a stunningly located cliffside resort just south of Laguna Beach. To get to the beach 200 feet below, you can hop on a golf cart or walk the steep, lushly landscaped paths. But I spent my days sitting atop the cliff in an Adirondack chair, reading, snoozing and watching dozens of wetsuit-clad surfers who looked like bobbing harbor seals from that vantage point.
The view from the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has a commanding clifftop view.