We spent about 2 and a half months in our van in San Diego. It really brought us back to our early days in the van, beach bummin’ around Australia. The good vibes were high in San Diego it was a hard place to peel our selves away from. Here are five of our favorite spots to hang out in the van during the day.
#1 - Law Street Beach, PB
Law Street in Pacific Beach, if you were looking for us, you could probably find us here. We would get up at 5 am to get our choice of the perfect parking spot here. Why was this our favorite spot?
The Beach is at your doorstep, yoga is at your door step, the Tuesday Farmers Market is right down the boardwalk away, you have your choice of two laundry mats that are both a walk away (so you don’t have to lose your parking spot). Too many reasons to name why this place is awesome.
Surf at Law Street BeachOne of which is that Law street Beach has Parallel Waterfront Parking for about 15-20 cars. So, get there early. This is a local surf spot. So people come here all throughout the day to surf and check the surf. Neighbors will arrive by golf cart when it is looking good to squeeze in parking anywhere. If you don’t know how to surf, there is the San Diego Surf School that gives lessons if you are into learning to surf.
Yoga on the Cliff with @namasteveyoga
If you do get one of those parking spots on Tuesday’s, Thursdays (@10am), Saturday, and Sunday’s (9am) @namasteveyoga puts on a “by-donation only” Yoga session on the grass overlooking the water down below. It is probably my all time favorite yoga class I have ever been to! He says things like, “Yoga poses are simulated stressful events, if we can learn to breathe in stressful poses, here, we can learn to breathe in stressful situations in life. This is a practice.”
Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmer’s Market
On Tuesday’s, on Bayard St between Garnet and Grand, from 2pm-7pm, year-round, rain-or-shine, Farmer’s Market goes down with some yummy local delicacies.
Laundry is a thing that we van lifers do during the day so why not make it near a cool beach where you park your car next to your other van friends, right? Well this one is about a 8-10 minute walk from Law Street. There are two laundry mats, one next to the Little Caesar’s and Cass Cleaners, on the corner of Cass St and Loring St. That one has the best wifi chill area and their Laundry machines take debit and credit cards! No more scrounging for change in the van!
The other laundry mat, across from Java Earth Cafe, next to the 7/11, there’s that one, but it is a standard laundry mat, change nothing special to say about it other than it is close to your Law street parking. Change only.
#2 - Ocean Beach, San Diego
Dog Beach in OB
If you own a pup and live in your van, this place is great! There is a dog beach where all the dogs can run wild, dig holes, chase balls, hump other bigger dogs, show em who’s boss, you know dog things. They can do them all here, just remember to pick up after your dogs, unless they bury it! I’ve seen that and I’m alright with that catlike behavior ;)
There are heaps of sand volleyball courts here. I don’t play volleyball, but there were heaps of people out playing for fun on a weekend day.
Cafes and Shops:
There is a Apple Tree Supermarket on Newport. If you need re-stock on some food items and don’t want to lose your parking spot, you can hit this place up. This OB area is also one of those places where if you get a spot, and good one, keep it. You can walk, bike, skate anywhere you need. There are heaps of cool little beach shops and vibey little shops along Newport, as well as some great bars for Live music.
Farmers Market Wednesdays
If I am in the San Diego area and I am not at this Farmers Market, I am either blowing it or I am at the Carlsbad Farmers Market, another one of our favorites. But, OB Wednesday night farmers market has heaps of endless samples for your Vanlife empty belly. There is live music and at the end of Newport, on the grass before the beach, there is a drum circle that goes until 10pm. There are fire spinners, hula hoopers, dancing children, slack liners, anything and everything self expression. This is probably one of my favorite things to do on a Wednesday in San Diego. So many things going on in OB on a Wednesday. There is usually a live music Show at Winston’s after the drum circle is broken up, if you want to keep the party going!
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
If you want to go a little farther past OB, there is awesome area called Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. There are little parking lots off to the west side of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Many people chose this area for quick awesome weddings. We’ve seen a few. While you are there, check out Sunset Cliff Cave and Cabrillo National Monument!
Mission Bay- Slack-lining, waterfront Van chillin, community fire pits, and Van Meetups!
Mission Bay this place was another place we chilled at a lot. Bonita Cove, Mariner’s Point Park, Mission Beach, Fiesta Island. There were really too many places to name where we felt like home.
Some of the highlights in this area include: Slack Lining, Waterfront Chillin’ with plenty of nearby public restrooms, Fiesta Island Van Meet up.
In Bonita Cove, there is a pretty legit sand pit with poles for rigging up some slack lining. Lots of really talented people slacking it up.
If you are a van lifer or interested in Vanlife, there is a sweet meet up that happens every other month, on the last Saturday of the month at Fiesta Island. It is put on by @theladiesvan, from Instagram, and tons of people show up! Fiesta Island is also an amazing place to pull up on to mission may beachside and chill all day and cap off the day with a fire pit chill session.
Almost every beach in Mission Bay has a community fire pit. If you are trying to stay warm outside of your van, there are plenty of welcoming people you can share a fire with or make your own!
#3 - Carlsbad, CA
We love us some Carlsbad chillin. We usually park on Carlsbad Blvd overlooking the water and again, walk every where that we want to go.
One place in particular we always want to go is the Carlsbad Wednesday Farmers Market on State Street, from 3-7pm. There is live music, great samples, and local yummy foods.
Don’t forget to hit up the Choice Juice Container! That place has amazing raw food, smoothies, and smoothie bowls.
#4 - Swami’s Sunday Drum Circle in Encinitas,
So if you went to the Farmers Market In OB and enjoyed the Drum Circle, there is another Drum Circle at Swami’s in Encinitas. Smaller more intimate drum circle than the Ocean Beach Drum Circle. Jump in, dance, hula, juggle, self express!
Swami’s is also a notorious local surf break. So bring your wetty and board and be ready to hit some all time waves with awesome coastal views.
#5 - Blacks Beach, San Diego
Blacks Beach is a great place to Surf (not exactly for the beginner tho), watch the sunset, or watch paragliders taking off and flying around like kites in the air. When we were at this particular beach for the first time, there happened to be some music and vendors in the Park. There were people twirling ribbons, dancing and having fun until the sun went down.
On another particular time, we were at Blacks Beach and we saw some Bio-luminescence in the water at night. Needless to say Black’s Beach hasn’t let us down and has been quite manageable!