San Diegos Mission Bay Offers Sun, Fun and Palms

By: Cary Ordway

If you're finding that you can't quite afford that Hawaiian vacation this year, take heart: there's another destination that will be easier and less expensive.. And if you're already in Southern California, it's just a few hours' drive.

San Diego's Mission Bay, along with Pacific Beach, may not have the 80-degree water, or the hula girls, but there is plenty of water, swaying palm trees and consistent weather that practically guarantees you'll get all the time you need to bake in the sun. It's easy to leave the everyday grind of work behind and settle into a vacation frame of mind.

The comparison with Hawaii is particularly apt at a hotel like the Hilton San Diego Resort, a sprawling campus of both high and low-rise accommodations, many with views of Mission Bay. Location and landscaping are what make this resort special. With its own docks on Mission Bay and a fleet of various water craft available for rent, water activities are never far away. And with the lush gardens, ubiquitous palm trees, mega swimming pool and island music, the resort takes on the feel of a true Hawaiian resort.

The resort also is nearly surrounded by Mission Bay Park, a popular playground for San Diego County residents who flock to the acres and acres of green lawns, waterfront and recreational areas. The Mission Bay area was developed several decades ago from a tidal marsh where the San Diego River drained into the Pacific Ocean. About 25 million cubic yards of sand and silt were dredged to create the land forms in the park, which are almost entirely manmade. The area has restrictions on development that ensure that it will remain available for the public to use.

And use it they do. Whether it's day camping on Fiesta Island, or walking or riding along the many miles of bike paths skirting the bay, or simply picnicking on park property with dramatic views of the bay, San Diego residents and visitors alike have taken a liking to Mission Bay.

We spent considerable time poolside at the Hilton San Diego Resort

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