How to Decide Between a San Diego or San Francisco Vacation

San Diego and San Francisco

California is an incredible place to visit, teeming with natural beauty, awe-inspiring landscapes and attractions, beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, plentiful entertainment, fun adventures and activities, and much, much more! 

Two of its most popular cities to visit are San Diego and San Francisco, and while they are both alluring vacation destinations, they offer completely different experiences and opportunities. 

Depending on the type of vacation you’re craving and your preferences, one may be more enticing than the other. Here’s what you should know before deciding between these two popular vacation destinations:

What to Expect 

San Diego

Renowned as “America's Finest City,” San Diego is a dynamic, sprawling metropolis with a unique culture and distinctively enticing offerings for visitors of all kinds. Its 70 miles of shoreline feature a diverse array of incredible beaches and warm, comfortable weather year- round, so visitors enjoy plenty of fun activities including surfing, swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking. 

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The city is also famous for its stunning collection of world-class, family-friendly attractions— including SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Sesame Place San Diego, and Belmont Park, among others. 

Explore the historic district of Old Town, the oldest neighborhood in the city and site of the first European settlement in California, with a scenic Old Town Trolly Tour

Walk along the rugged coastline of La Jolla for a phenomenal view of its serene seascape, and hike the picturesque trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for jaw-dropping stands of verdant pine trees and sandstone canyons. 

Spend a night out on the town in Little Italy, a lively, pedestrian-friendly community loaded with trendy cocktail bars, gourmet restaurants, upscale boutiques and markets, and live music and performance venues. 

When you’re ready to settle in for the night, book a stay at Hotel del Coronado for spectacular waterfront accommodations that will have you feeling like royalty. Part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the hotel features an elegant Victorian interior, breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding communities, amazing selection of fine-dining options, and top-of-the-line amenities including a wellness spa, outdoor pool, and more for a luxurious stay. 

With so many fantastic sights, phenomenal attractions and entertainment, you can be sure your San Diego vacation will be absolutely fantastic!

San Francisco

San Francisco stands as one of the most widely recognizable cities in the world. Nicknamed “The Golden City,” it’s known for its distinctive skyline, unique architecture, hilly streets, rolling fog, fresh seafood, and diverse array of amazing attractions. 

Explore the city and check out some of its captivating and world-famous sites, such as Golden Gate Bridge—a stunning spectacle connecting San Francisco to Marin County, hailed as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It also provides unforgettable views of the mile-wide Golden Gate straight and surrounding areas, including San Francisco Bay, the city itself, and more. 

Tour famous landmarks including the repurposed former prison Alcatraz, or stretch of pastel-colored Victorian homes lining Steiner Street, known as the Painted Ladies. 

Visit Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular tourist area packed with seafood restaurants, market stalls, souvenir shops, and beaches for a relaxing day out on the town. Lucky visitors can even catch  glimpses of frolicky sea lions, or set off on an exciting boat tour of the area!

Make a trip to Ghirardelli Square, the former chocolate factory-turned-landmark public square replete with shops, restaurants, wineries, and more. 

Peruse some of the cultural and historical neighborhoods around the city such as Haight-Ashbury, the birthplace of the 1960s counterculture movement, or the Castro District, a longstanding hub for LGBTQ culture. 

Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to San Francisco Botanical Garden for a look at the more than 8,000 different plant species from around the world—or check out the winding trails and natural wonders found at Golden Gate Park.  

Stay at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero in the heart of San Francisco's bustling downtown. It offers guests the heights of comfort and luxury, along with an extraordinary panorama of the city!

What to Consider 

Generally, San Francisco features more things to see, while San Diego boasts more things to do!

While both cities enjoy a Mediterranean climate, San Francisco experiences wet winters and dry summers, with temperatures typically between 45 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, it rarely rains in San Diego, with temps typically ranging between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Transportation, dining, activities, and accommodations in San Francisco can be pricier than in San Diego, according to travel guide and news site Champion Traveler—with the average cost of a week-long trip to the former around $2,200 for a solo traveler, $3,900 for couples, and $7,300 for a family of four. In San Diego, this would translate to around $1,900, $3,400, and $6,300, respectively. 

Besides overall costs, other important factors to consider include exactly what type of vacation experience you’re seeking. 

Families and adult groups will likely have more entertainment and activities to indulge in around San Diego, with its wide selection of theme parks perfect for visitors of all ages. 

Meanwhile, solo travelers and couples craving a romantic excursion will enjoy the wonderful sights and scenery, entertainment and dining, culture, rich history, and natural wonders found throughout San Francisco. 

Work With InteleTravel to Plan Your Dream California Getaway!

When it comes to making the most of your California vacation, the best way to ensure you see and do everything you’re looking forward to is by enlisting the help of an InteleTravel Advisor. 

Whether an exciting sightseeing train vacation or horseback riding adventure, InteleTravel Advisors have the knowledge and resources to arrange your ideal itinerary, book the various parts of your vacation, and provide support throughout your journey to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch. 

Our advisors can even secure valuable upgrades and travel bonuses whenever available to further enhance your experience and make you feel like a true V.I.P.!

Start planning your San Diego or San Francisco vacation by contacting an InteleTravel Advisor today!

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