Planning a Family Vacay with Capital One

Feb 02, 2018 | By Robert

This post has been made in partnership with Capital One and As always, all thoughts & opinions are our own.

We can’t believe it’s been three years since traveling to San Diego and seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  It was shortly after our move from the east coast to Phoenix, and our first time visiting California.  We had just started our blog and everything felt very new to us.  We hadn’t done a ton of traveling before moving out west.  There are so many great cities clumped together in the northeast and we didn’t stray too far from them, so we were definitely outside of our comfort zone.  In 2015, we took the five-hour drive over to San Diego, and in doing so, awoke our inner travelers.  We haven’t really looked back since, but recently decided that maybe we should.  I haven’t been on an actual trip with my family since I was a kid, so when Capital one asked if we would like to partner on sharing a past trip that we hold dear and revisiting that place with loved ones, we jumped on the opportunity to partner with them and to treat my family to a fun getaway.  When I was a kid, we used to pile into my dad’s van and road trip every summer, but it’s been a couple decades since we’ve done anything like that.  That’s why, we are extremely excited to be bringing along my parents to San Diego with us next month.  We’ll be showing them all of the great spots we visited on our first trip there and hoping that this trip gives them the same inspiration it gave us three years ago.

First we must plan! Not sure about you guys, but we are big-time planners.  We like to have a pretty big list with us when we visit cities.  It’s usually categorized by coffee, brunch, dinner, shopping, and sightseeing.  Those are the big ones for us and what we tend to focus on when we travel, so we like to stick to those categories.  Of course, once we’ve mapped out the city and where we plan to go, we pick a place to stay.  It’s super important to us to find a hotel that is near many of the things we want to do and see in order to save a bit of time while we go-go-go. has been great for locating that perfect sweet spot right in the middle of the city.  We have our eyes on a few boutique hotels and are excited to share the experience with our family…the four of us have never been on a trip together, so we’re really looking forward to it.  Also, we have obsessively been using and counting our miles with our Capital One Venture card…not sure where that little gem has been all our lives. We earn two miles for every dollar that we spend, so we’re hoping that they’ll add up to a free trip real soon 😉 Fingers crossed! We just got into the whole points thing this year and it’s been a game changer for traveling. If you’re interested in hopping on the miles train, why not start now? Capital One and just announced they teamed up and now when you pay with your Venture card at you could also earn 10x miles on your stay — and you can add this on top of the Rewards program.

My east coast parents are pretty excited to escape the New York winter with this trip to southern California, so we cannot disappoint being their tour guides.  We’ve compiled a quick list of favorites from our last trip with a few new spots to try as well.  We’d love to hear some of your favorites places to check out while we’re there.  Here’s what we have so far…

(Christina made the fun map above.)

James Coffee Co.
Coffee & Tea Collective
Communal Coffee
Coava Coffee
Copa Vida

The Cottage
The Mission

Tribute Pizza
Lucha Libre
Buona Forchetta
Bronx Pizza

Seaport Village

Little Italy
Balboa Park
San Diego Zoo
Coronado Island
La Jolla Cove






12 comments on “Planning a Family Vacay with Capital One”

  1. How exciting! We just moved to San Diego and have been trying out new spots 🙂 Check out the Great Maple for brunch and Oscar’s Mexican for some really good, fresh seafood ceviche and tacos ????????

  2. I second Oscar’s Mexican! As well as Better Buzz Coffee. They have several locations in SD but the one in Hillcrest is their newest location and has a lot of cute photo spots! Also check out RakiRaki if you love ramen/Japanese food!

  3. Lol I just moved to San Diego 3 weeks ago, and haven’t explored at all lol, but I hear Tacos El Gordo is amazing. Have fun out here!

  4. I absolutely love living in San Diego, ya’ll have some great to do on your lists. I would add a few things to your list. Breakfast Republic has some of the best brunch foods, they are always busy so I be prepared to wait 30 minutes depending on the time that you go and they have several locations around the city. There are so many great restaurants to pick from some of my favorites are Neighborhood, Ironside, City Taco, Born and Raised, Tajima and Taka. You should also check out Dark Horse for coffee and Fashion Valley for some great shopping. Make sure you check on Sunset Cliffs for sunset, they have the best view in the city. There’s also a light house not to far away that you can get a great view of downtown San Diego and Coronado Island.

  5. Come up to North County San Diego! There’s lots to see up here like La Jolla Cove and in Encinitas where we’re located, check out the meditation garden at the Self-Realization Fellowship, a yogi temple with a dome like the Taj Mahal. We’d love to host a photo shoot with you guys at our succulent nursery & venue space ☺️????–Kristi, Barrels & Branches Nursery

  6. How great to bring your family along to visit. I would say Extraordinary Desserts, Cafe Bassam located near Balboa Park. For dinner, Soda & Swine & Lestats (amazing chai tea) in Normal Heights. Enjoy!

  7. Drinks:
    Counterpoint (seat yourself but they come to you)
    You and yours (vodka and gin distillery with the best decor)
    Moniker Bar (so cute and down to earth)
    Kettner Exchange
    Craft and Commerce
    Ballast Point (brewery)
    Vino Carta for wine

    Great Maple
    Craft and Commerce
    Fig Tree Cafe
    Breakfast Republic
    Herb and Eatery (casual order at the counter)
    The Patio
    Prep Kitchen Little Italy

    Trust reataurant (gourmet type – so good)
    Starlite (in line with Trust)
    Buona Forchetta (both are the same but south park is the original)
    Prep Kitchen
    Cafe Gratitude
    Raki Raki Ramen (casual)
    Bankers Hill Bar and Restaurant (good brunch too)
    Georges at the Cove
    Taco stand (casual – one in north park now)
    Salud (tacos)
    Mitchs Seafood (casual local spot in point loma)
    OB noodle house
    Nicos in OB for mexican food
    Humbertos in Golden Hill for Mexican
    Meze for mediterrenean american fusion
    Herb and Wood

    All you have listed plus:
    Copa Vida
    Bird Rock
    Moniker General (they have a bar, coffee and general store – my brother manages the store… you would love all of it)
    James Coffee
    Por Vida
    Lofty Coffee

    Sights and attractions:
    San Diego Museum of Art (Panama 66 is an outdoor restaurant next to it – grab a snack and drink before)
    Museum of Photographic art
    Explore the Balboa Park Gardens! They are across the bridge that is over park boulevard, past the fountains
    The Zoo (of course)
    Take the ferry from the embarcadero to coronado… so fun! Coronado brewing company is near the ferry landing ????????
    I also recommend the trolley tour day one if you can. It stops at most hotels so you can hop on and it is a hop on hop off tour so you can go at your leisure and see it all!
    Mimi & Red, Pigment and Shop good are my favorite stores in North Park
    Kuyaking in La Jolla
    Old Town is great for grabbing tortillas at Cafe Coyote and walking around (and for margaritas)
    Cedros BLVD is a cute shopping area

    So much more… let me know if you har questions!

    1. Ooh! I’m going there next month as well!
      I’ve heard great things about the San Diego Museum of Man, and they have some really cool exhibitions on right now!

  8. Hi there! We moved from the east coast to San Diego 7-8 years ago and never looked back! Here are some places (some mentioned in your post/other comments) that you would love!

    -South Park: creperie-Cafe Madeline, small business boutiques-Graffiti Beach & Gold Leaf, vintage shop-Bad Madge, and an ice cream parlor with dog friendly treats!
    -North Park: Communal Coffee (“Coffee & Flowers”), Breakfast Republic, City Tacos, Pigment, Influx, and some other great local businesses.
    -take a drive up the coast to Cardiff/Encinitas/Leucadia for Patagonia, VG Donuts/Leucadia Donuts, lots of surf shops, vegan food at Mozy Cafe, Coffee Coffee/Surfy Surfy, and vintage shop Seaweed and Gravel.

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