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Scenic Drives in San Diego

San Diego is mostly known for its destination attractions like the Air and Space Museum or the San Diego Zoo. The truth is, though, that the gorgeous natural surroundings and temperate climate make San Diego a great city in which to enjoy a long, leisurely drive. This guide will walk you through the official 59-mile scenic driving tour of San Diego.

The Drive

The official starting point for this driving tour is the Embarcadero. You can stop in and explore the visitor center, which is open year-round, or check out some of the more famous sites. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego offers a variety of modern works in contrast to the Spanish Mission Colonial style architecture. The Embarcadero is also home to the USS Midway Museum, where visitors can learn more about the 47-year history of the ship. The floating Maritime Museum of San Diego is another must-see for any naval enthusiast.

The drive then continues along Harbor Island, where driver and passenger alike can enjoy incredible views of Downtown San Diego as well as the expanse of San Diego Bay. From there, you can continue on to Shelter Island, which houses multiple marinas, restaurants and hotels. As you continue toward Cabrillo Memorial Drive, you can see the military cemetery en route to Point Loma, a destination for surfing enthusiasts and home to the historical Point Loma Lighthouse. The view from the lighthouse when looking back toward the city offers unparalleled views of the skyline and the bay.

The scenic drive continues along past the Ocean Beach Municipal Fishing Pier, where you may want to take advantage of the fishing or bird watching. Surfers can also be spotted in the wild from the view off the Pier. As the drive continues, you'll pass Mission Bay Aquatic Park, which boasts 27 miles of beaches within a 4600-acre aquatic playground. This is also where you can take a quick detour to SeaWorld.

For the next leg, you’ll head back through such prestigious residential areas like La Jolla and Hillcrest, and pass more well-known landmarks such as Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

Planning Ahead

If you’re in a rental car, be sure to check ahead of time whether your car insurance quotes in San Diego, CA offer coverage on your vehicle before your trip. If not, you will have the option to get car insurance quotes in San Diego, CA car rental agency offices directly when you pick up the car. During your trip, be prepared for lots of tourist traffic, but other than that, sit back and enjoy the sights.