Whether you consider a staycation a local or at-home affair, or a nearby getaway that’s only a couple of days, we have a few great ideas when you’re on a budget. Sometimes you just need a break but can only spare a day or two at most. An alternative to booking airline travel and spending lots of money is the now-popular staycation. Here are some things to do in San Diego and beyond for rejuvenation when you’re short on time and money.
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
My personal favorite staycation spot is right down the street. In just 10 minutes, I can sink into an impossibly comfortable couch or chaise lounge on the grounds of the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. It is FREE to meander the grounds, relax near the grand fountains, and peruse their boutiques and coffee shop.
This is truly a place I can spend an entire day listening to the gurgling of enchanting fountains, letting all my cares slip away. The coffee shop is just around the corner and offers great coffee, smoothies, and treats.
If you’d like to splurge on yourself while you’re there, the onsite spa offers a citrus and kale facial for 50 minutes at $165 or a 50-minute La Costa relaxation massage for $165 which includes all-day access to the spa, sauna, whirlpool, and swimming pools (there are eight).
The La Costa Resort also offers a birthday special with $35 off of any spa service on any one day during your birthday month. They also offer monthly specials, so check their website often for the spa deal of the month.
This resort also offers some FREE activities for the community. Home to the renowned Chopra Center for yoga, meditation, and general wellbeing, the resort offers a donation-only yoga class on Saturdays from 10:30 am-11:30 am. The Spa offers a FREE 45-minute class on aromatherapy each month with July’s focus on immune system support on Thursdays at 12:00 noon. Check their website often for various monthly classes.
San Diego Wineries/Vineyards
For another beautiful and relaxing staycation close to home, schedule a visit or tour and a tasting at a local winery. Our list includes some of the most lovely and budget-friendly wineries, but it’s only a small list of many possibilities.
Espinosa Vineyards in Escondido specializes in Spanish-style wine and offers a tour of their grounds and vineyard with $10 tastings for five samples. Feel free to make a day of it by bringing a picnic lunch and soaking in the views of the San Pasqual Valley from their covered patio.
Tastings are Friday through Sunday 12 noon – 5:00 pm and by appointment only Monday through Thursday. Tasting is FREE if you purchase a bottle to take home. A lovely way to spend a day away without going very far or spending a fortune.
Milagro Farm Winery is situated in the rolling hills just east of Ramona, 50 minutes east of San Diego. Milagro is 110 acres of stunning views, nut and fruit orchards, and hiking trails. If you choose to spend a day at Milagro, you can try your hand at Bocce Ball which is a family pastime, hike the extensive vineyard trails, and of course, enjoy their exquisite wine.
Tastings are $12 for six pours or $2 per individual pour and they are open Friday – Sunday 11:30 am-5:30 pm with live music and food throughout the summer.
Orfila Vineyard and Winery is a 70-acre spread located just south of Escondido in San Pasqual Valley. It is a popular spot for events and weddings and a great place for a bargain staycation. The cost is $15 for six wine tastings with a take-home logo glass thrown in for FREE. Tours of the grounds are FREE and begin daily at 12:00 noon for a 30-minute walking tour. Comfortable shoes recommended. Tasting room hours in Escondido are daily 11:00 am-7:00 pm.
Two-day getaway to the Danish Village of Solvang
If you’re wanting to spend a little more time and money, but not as much hassle as flying away somewhere, try the Danish Village of Solvang near Santa Barbara. If you’ve never experienced Europe or Scandinavia, this little town will transport you to a different world. You’ll definitely feel like you got away.
About an hour north of Santa Barbara, you can experience delectable Danish pastries, stroll through historic Scandinavian culture and architecture, and shop for treasures to remind you of this old-world experience. Stop in at the famous Mole Hole shop where whimsical and practical treasures abound. I can still remember the charm of this place though it’s been years since my last visit.
Another shop not to miss in Solvang is Pebble People which has been family-run for over 40 years. They offer a huge selection of handmade German Cuckoo Clocks, music boxes, jewelry and much more. Truly an old-world and fun experience for the kids as well.
Travel possibilities from San Diego include driving your own car or riding the train. The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner combined with a short bus transfer to get into Solvang will run you about $100, but be sure to check the Amtrak site for current rates and periodic deals. Hotel prices in the area vary and you can choose to stay in Solvang or 45 minutes away in Santa Barbara. A two-night stay in either area is around $300 including tax but there are discounts for various groups such as AAA members, seniors, military etc. Do some shopping around online and you may find even better deals.