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Healthy Travel Guide: San Diego

As if the surfing, incredible Mexican food, and awesome nightlife weren't enough to lure you to sunny San Diego, here's another reason to get you to visit one of the best cities in SoCal: The Healthy Living Festival. Focused on how to eat healthy, find a healthy weight, and keep a healthier home, this free festival in Del Mar will offer up demos in belly dancing, yoga, and qigong from March 21-22, and give you the chance to sample organic foods, beverages and skin care. Ready to book a wellness weekend in America’s Finest City? Here’s a rundown on how to make it amazing:

What to Pack

Your swim suit, water-proof/sweat-proof sunblock, and sunglasses (because, hey, it’s always sunny here!).

Sleep Well

The Pantai Inn (pictured above, right) feels like you’re staying in Bali, but is located in lovely La Jolla, a few miles up the coast from San Diego. The gorgeous-but-affordable resort offers a Mind, Body & Spirit package: one-hour private yoga instruction on the property’s grassy knoll, a spa treatment and massage for two in your guest suite, and a healthy lunch for two prepared a personal chef, all for $250 (exclusive of accommodations).

If you prefer luxury lodgings, The Grand Del Mar (pictured above, left) is the area’s top resort, and you’ll get a fair amount of fitness bang for your buck. As a guest, all of your exercise classes—including an array of yoga classes, Latin cardio, cardio tennis, and “basic training” bootcamp—are free. The Grand Del Mar also offers complimentary nature hikes through the adjacent Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve every Saturday morning. And for an additional fee, you can play golf on its Tom Fazio-designed course, take tennis lessons with a pro instructor, and even go horseback riding at the resort’s equestrian center.

Meanwhile, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort (pictued above, center) in San Diego offers a variety of ways to get enjoy the surf and sand. Located on Coronado Island just over the bridge from San Diego, you can learn to sail like a pro, enjoy biking or walking on trails surrounding the property, and participate in beach yoga and Watsu therapy. The hotel even has a Navy Seal Boot Camp on the beach. One of our fave things about the Loews Coronado Bay: the resort has a variety of partnerships with local farms to provide local, quality ingredients to guests, including an herb garden on property. Don’t forget to hit Juice Therapy, the on-site juice bar. (And check out these 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Vacation.)

Stay in Shape 

San Diego is a fitness mecca, so it’s not tough to find calorie-torching activities. Our picks: sign up for a lesson at Surf Diva in La Jolla, the “original surf school for women.” Build up your arms by kayaking the famous Seven Sea Caves of La Jolla with a kayak rental and tour from Everyday California. Or work on your core and overall balance with stand-up paddleboarding or ocean yoga with SUP Coronado (pictured above) or San Diego Paddle Yoga on Mission Bay.

Fuel Your Trip

Healthy and fast? Yes, please! Check out the new SOLCAL Café (pictured above) in downtown’s East Village (they make their own almond milk!). And at veggie cafe Evolution Fast Food, you can indulge in vegan burgers, wraps, sweet potato fries, and organic juices. Need something spicier? Satisfy your craving for awesome SoCal Mexican food while staying healthy at Pokez. (And here's Why You Should Be Stricter with Your Diet When You Travel.)

Pit Stop!

This year, iconic Balboa Park (pictured above, right) celebrates its 100th anniversary. Check out some of the 65 miles of hiking and biking trails (some are dirt trails through remote areas of the park while others go past museums and performing arts venues). And a trip to SD isn’t complete without a visit to the Zoo, which is located inside Balboa Park. While you’re there, duck into Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (pictured above, center). The exhibit runs March 14–April 12 and features thousands of beautiful butterflies in an aviary that includes birds, lush greenery, and flowers.

Splurge

If you have the extra time, hike up the beautiful coastal bluffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, known for its spectacular cliff-top setting. Then tandem paraglide or hang glide from the cliffs of Torrey Pines at Torrey Pines Gliderport, America’s most popular coastal soaring site. Nothing beats flying over the Pacific at sunset!

Recover Right

The Spa at Rancho Bernardo Inn (pictured above) uses fresh, organic ingredients in many of their treatments (like avocado, strawberry, yogurt and honey), so there’s a good chance you’ll be hungry after your massage or facial. No worries—spend the rest of the day at the sublime spa pool, where you can bask in a cabana while you order up deliciously nutritious bites like salads and wraps.

Enjoy Date Night

Newly-minted hotspot Parq opened this past fall in downtown San Diego. Half-nightclub and half-restaurant, the eatery fuses contemporary cooking with farm-to-table, organic cuisine. Headed by Chef Errol LeBlanc, winner of Food Network's Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell, the interiors alone are worth getting a reservation: The gorgeous space features indoor trees with twinkling flowers with stunning vaulted ceilings. A more laid-back option: the newly award-winning Tidal restaurant on Mission Bay. Chef Amy DiBiase offers fresh, local “craft and catch” cuisine (which translates into fresh seafood catches and craft beverages). Set in what was a private beach house in the 60s, we love the fire pit-dotted deck and 180 degree views of Mission Bay. 

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