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15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Del Mar, California

15 Fun & Best Things to Do in Del Mar, California

For those looking for a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego, there is the beautiful town of Del Mar, located less than 30 minutes from downtown San Diego but still in San Diego County. Del Mar is known for its beaches, as well as the Torrey Pines State Beach and Reserve, which is home to land untouched by man and overlooks gorgeous cliffs.

There are lots of activities to do here in Del Mar, including taking a trip through Torrey Pines and hiking its trails or going through the Del Mar Plaza for shopping. One of the best things to do in Del Mar is also visiting the San Diego County Fair when it’s in town!

Looking for a place to stay in Del Mar? You can book any room in nearby San Diego, or you can also book a room here at the L’Auberge Del Mar or Del Mar Beach Hotel! Wherever you choose to stay, know that there are lots to explore, so get ready to have fun on the beaches of beautiful Del Mar, California.

Best Western Premier Hotel Del Mar
1. Best Western Premier Hotel Del Mar Top Recommendation

Best Western Premier Hotel Del Mar is the perfect place to stay when visiting the quaint seaside village of Del Mar. The hotel offers a relaxing outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as easy access to the Del Mar Racetrack and Del Mar Fairgrounds. rooms at Best Western Premier Hotel Del Mar feature free WiFi, air conditioning, a refrigerator, an iPod docking station, a 42-inch flat-screen cable TV, and more.

Les Artistes Inn
2. Les Artistes Inn

The rooms at Les Artistes Inn are truly art-inspired, with 12 vibrant and colorful options to choose from. Each room comes equipped with cable TV, a microwave, and a comfortable seating area. But the best part of this inn is its lush surroundings. With stone walkways and beautiful gardens,Les Artistes Inn is the perfect place to take a stroll and get away from it all.

Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar an IHG Hotel
3. Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, an IHG Hotel

If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation experience, look no further than the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar. Nestled in the beautiful California coastline, this luxurious hotel offers everything you need for a perfect getaway. From its two stunning outdoor pools to its world-class spa facilities, the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar has it all.

TLDR

  • Most significant landmark – Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • Best park – Powerhouse Park
  • Best free activity – Del Mar Public Library
  • Best activity for kids – San Diego County Fair
  • Best activity for adults – Del Mar Racetrack
  • Best food – Zel’s Del Mar
  • Best nightlife – Del Mar Plaza
  • Best all-around accommodation L’Auberge Del Mar

Fun & Best Things to Do in Del Mar, California

1. Visit the San Diego County Fair

San Diego County Fair

Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

The San Diego County Fair occurs every year during the summertime and makes its home right here in Del Mar, California. If you’re in town just for the fair, we recommend finding accommodation nearby so you can relax, unwind, and enjoy the sights and sounds throughout the fair!

One such place is the L’Auberge Del Mar, a swanky spa and hotel where you can get your fill of relaxation massages and be pampered like the king or queen you are! The L’Auberge Del Mar also has a new dining room called Adelaide. You can enjoy fine dining overlooking the ocean and unwind after a long day at the fair.

At the fair, there are lots of fun activities and things to try, including different foods, games, and prize-winning competitions. For science buffs, there’s also everything from gems and minerals shows to chair-making shops and presentations from the San Diego Police and San Diego Sheriff’s Department. There’s something for everyone here, so make sure you visit their website to book early and get your tickets!

See Related: Things to Do in San Diego, California

2. Hike Through Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines

Address: 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of the most carefully guarded and cared-for parks in the entire San Diego area and Southern California region. There are hiking trails that allow you to explore this once-remote area and get a feel for the massive beauty that is the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The famous Torrey Pines Golf Course is also nearby.

Torrey Pines sits alongside beautiful cliffsides, offering breathtaking views of the expansive Southern California Pacific Ocean. While it is incredibly beautiful, it’s important to remember that this reserve has the name “Reserve” because it is protected and has special regulations in place. The reason it is protected is so that it continues to remain untouched, as it was, and exemplifies the geological history of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding areas.

As such, you can feel free to walk, hike, or visit many of its trails with family and friends and see the magnificent coastal wilderness for yourself. However, there are no pets allowed, no trash, no camping, and also no overhead drone footage. Visit their website for more information on rules, restrictions, and more.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Roseville, California

3. Visit the Del Mar Racetrack for Exciting Horse Races

Del Mar Racetrack

Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014

If you’re someone who loves to watch horses race and wants to experience the very best in exciting races, then look no further than the Del Mar Racetrack! This is one of the best areas for horse enthusiasts and owners alike. Members get exclusive access on opening day, and there are ample drinks, beers, and safe gambling opportunities for you to win big.

This is a historic area where betting on horses is tradition and where you can view the most talented, up-and-coming, or seasoned jockeys and their horses battle it out on the field. For more information on the season, how to get tickets, and information on how to gamble safely, we recommend visiting their website online.

See Related: 12 Fun & Best Things to Do in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

4. Visit the Del Mar Farmers Market

Del Mar Farmers Market
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: Civic Center, 1050 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

The Del Mar Farmers Market is the perfect place to get a taste of the local foods, see local artisans, and get a feel for the very best this beach town has to offer! It is held every Saturday afternoon at the Civic Center from 1 pm to 4 pm.

It’s one of the best places to get a fill of your local goods, buy fresh produce and fruits that are certified organic, and mingle with local residents. There’s also free parking nearby, making this the perfect place for you and your little ones to explore Del Mar!

This is unlike any other farmers’ market you’ve seen. The reason being is that you can enjoy culinary foods from all over the world, including Chinese food, seafood, hummus, kettle corn, cheese, baked goods, and so much more.

Best of all, the farmers market itself is non-profit, so they donate heavily to support local California Farmers. Visit the Del Mar Farmers Market website here for more information and to view the products that are currently being sold here.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Redding, California

5. Go Paddle Boarding at La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

Address: 2261 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037

To start your unforgettable journey at Del Mar, we recommend visiting La Jolla Shores Beach to get a small taste of the warm waters and ample opportunities for outdoor activities and water sports in the area! Located just over 20 minutes from Del Mar, La Jolla Shores Beach is one of the top beaches in the area.

If you want to tour the area further, you can paddle through the La Jolla Sea Caves and also explore the La Jolla ecological reserve. You’ll have so much fun paddle boarding by yourself or with a partner! Visit this site to book your tour of the sunny Southern California waters in La Jolla, San Diego!

See Related: Best Day Trips from San Francisco, California

6. Walk through Seagrove Park

Seagrove Park

Address: 15th St & Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

Seagrove Park is one of the many Del Mar beaches that is open to the public and also for private events! Seagrove Park is open every day from sunrise until around 10 pm. It is also one of the perfect spots for people that want to plan an event since it can accommodate up to 24 guests without a special event permit.

This is the perfect spot to take your loved one to explore the beautiful ocean views of Del Mar and San Diego. It is nestled between gorgeous palm trees and is one of the best places for photo opportunities! Visit their website for more information and details on how to host your event here.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara, California

7. Visit Del Mar Dog Beach

Del Mar Dog Beach

Address: 3902 29th St, Del Mar, CA 92014

If you’re a dog lover or if you’ve brought your little furry friend along with you, then Del Mar Dog Beach is going to be the best spot to sit back, relax, and unwind. The Del Mar Dog Beach is one of the best spots in the area to unleash your dog, let them roam free, and also make sure they are getting the best exercise.

The Del Mar Dog Beach is just one of many popular dog-friendly beach locations in the area! There is parking that is free along 29th street. It is just west of North City and is the perfect place to stop by before you go shopping at Whole Foods Market, just minutes away. Visit their website for more information.

8. Explore the Free Flight Bird Sanctuary

Free Flight Bird Sanctuary
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

The Free Flight Bird Sanctuary is open to the public but is by appointment only. Nevertheless, it is one of the most exciting and fun things to do for kids and adults alike! The Sanctuary has exotic birds that have been rescued and are now living peacefully in their beautiful aviary.

The Free Flight Bird Sanctuary is on a mission to re-house, re-socialize, and help exotic birds that have been abandoned or left as strays find their forever homes again while also educating the public on the importance of various bird species.

If you’re interested in adopting a bird, the sanctuary can also help by providing you with a bird that has been well-trained, re-housed, and socialized, so you can rest assured it is safe to be around friends and family. Want to learn more about the Free Flight Bird Sanctuary? Visit their website to plan your visit and get more information on adopting your very own bird.

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9. Read at the Del Mar Public Library

Del Mar Public Library
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 1309 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

At first glance, you might mistake the Del Mar Public Library for being just a regular house in the middle of the street! However, the Del Mar Public Library is home to literary masterpieces, books, and toddler storytime classes to make it fun for everyone! It is a perfect place for parents and adults alike to explore the beauty of literature while taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding beaches.

They also have chair yoga, so make sure to check out their website for the latest on when it’s being held, as well as for more information on the many available story time appointments. There are also other amazing services here, such as immigration citizenship courses, as well as educational literacy programs.

10. Shop at the Del Mar Plaza

Del Mar Plaza
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

If you’re looking for a more traditional area where there are ample areas to shop, boutiques, and high-end restaurants, then look no further than the Del Mar Plaza! This is one of the best shopping areas in Del Mar and for a good reason. Ample nightlife experiences are here to help you unwind while taking in the panoramic ocean views. There are always events, music, and singing to enjoy here at Del Mar Plaza.

For people that want to shop for beauty and wellness, there are also shops like Urban Girl Accessories or CoCo Rose. These are high-end shops where you find the best, high-quality accessories and beauty products. There are also lots of areas to dine, including the Monarch Ocean Pub and Kini Koffee! Visit their website so you can get the scoop on events happening now and for more information on the best shopping center in Del Mar.

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11. Take Surf Lessons at Del Mar Surf School

Del Mar Surf School
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 151 10th St, Del Mar, CA 92014

Have you ever wanted to learn to surf but just don’t know where to start? That’s exactly why you need to take surf lessons at the Del Mar Surf School! This is a surf training program made specifically for Del Mar residents and tourists who have no idea how to start.

All surf instructors have around 10 years of experience or more, so you’ll be in safe hands while learning. This is more fun than beach volleyball and is a memorable experience for anyone at any age! Remember that all classes are 90 minutes, so plan for this if you’re planning on continuing lessons or if you simply want to take advantage of being in one of Southern California’s best places to surf.

Look at their website for more information on how to book a surfing class. These classes are private and 1 to 1, so you can have all the attention you need to learn how to surf like a pro. Del Mar Beach hotel is close by just for you to take some rest.

12. View the Pacific with Magical Adventure Balloon Rides

Magical Adventure Balloon Rides

Address: 153 S Sierra Ave #505, Solana Beach, CA 92075

Magical Adventure Balloon Rides is one of the most trusted and well-established tourist attractions in Del Mar. If you’ve ever dreamt of going for a hot air balloon ride, one of the amazing things about Del Mar is the ability to hop into one of these air balloons and get breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. These hot air balloon rides are 45 minutes to an hour in the air, but the experience itself will be 3 hours, so plan accordingly.

You can meet with the instructor and have a peaceful experience up in the air, or even book this as a special gift for your wedding anniversary or another special event. Make sure to work with your instructor for any limitations, and enjoy the very best sites anywhere in San Diego. See their website for more information on how to book your air balloon ride today!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Oceanside, California

13. Visit the Grand Golf Club

Grand Golf Club
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130

For those that want to find the best golf courses in the area, we recommend visiting the Grand Golf Club as your number one spot for golfing. Because of the sunny weather in San Diego, playing golf has never been easier, and there is always an opportunity for you to hit the course and enjoy the very best playing at the Grand Golf Club.

You can play here if you have a membership to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. This is a great membership since it will give immediate access to families, gives you access to tons of fitness classes, and allows you access to their 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art clubhouse. To learn more about membership opportunities, and to find the best deals for your membership, check out their website and schedule your next visit here. You can book the Best Western Premier Hotel Del Mar for another exciting time.

14. Have a Picnic at Powerhouse Park

Powerhouse Park
Image by Seojoohyun/ Public Domain

Address: 1658 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

Powerhouse Park is considered one of the best parks in Del Mar. There are restrooms located throughout the park, as well as a huge playground, so you can have fun while also taking your kids to play and get out all of that energy.

Powerhouse Park is also open for guests so that you can invite as many as 24 people at a single time for a private event. If you are booking an event with alcohol or with more than 24 people, you’ll need to have a permit. Nevertheless, it’s worth it to book an event here and enjoy the sights and sounds of San Diego, the surrounding Pacific Ocean, and the shores of Del Mar.

Visit their website to get more detailed information on amenities, visiting hours, and how to book a reservation for events. The park is also ADA friendly, making it a great spot for family gatherings and those with disabilities, mobility issues, and who need ADA-accessible amenities.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Cambria, California

15. Eat at Zel’s Del Mar

Zel's Del Mar
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 1247 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

Zel’s Del Mar is the perfect place for you to stop by, have a quick bite to eat, and enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Del Mar. They have been serving food to California residents for the past 10 years, with no signs of slowing down.

What people enjoy most about this restaurant is its drinks, casual atmosphere, and ability to offer high-quality food without being too upscale. This restaurant perfectly encapsulates California living and is the perfect spot for people that want to sit back, relax, and take in the sites and sounds of Del Mar.

You can choose from various cocktails and oysters and visit during happy hour for special pricing. Live music from Thursday through Sunday nights also makes this one of the most unforgettable places in Del Mar! Visit their website for more information on menu options and to find the best options for parking and hours of operation. Currently, they are open for dinner after 4 pm.

Getting Around Del Mar, California

Although Del Mar is a beach town, that doesn’t mean your only method of transportation is surfing! This beautiful modern town is home to loads of transportation options.

Ride Sharing Options for Solo Traveling in Del Mar, California

Del Mar is a somewhat smaller town in San Diego County, but it is quite expansive. Therefore, it’s best to consider a ridesharing option if you aren’t renting a car and still want a way to get around the city. Uber and Lyft are both good options.

Booking a Car Rental in Del Mar, California

If you are looking to book a car rental in Del Mar, visit this site to find the best choices in the area.

Using the Public Transportation System in Del Mar, California

Del Mar also has public transportation options available. Catching the bus is also a great, eco-friendly way to travel and is one of the best ways to save money while on your vacation. Check out these public transportation options for Del Mar.

FAQ

What is the best thing to do with kids in Del Mar, California?

One of the most fun things to do with kids in Del Mar, California, is to visit the San Diego County Fair! This fair only happens once a year during the summertime, so it’s one of the best destinations for travelers that want to experience the very best of San Diego. Make sure to book your tickets in advance online and look at a schedule of events, so you know what to expect when visiting the Fair from out of town.

What are some fun things to do in Del Mar, California?

One of the best things to do for entertainment and fun in Del Mar is to attend the Del Mar Racetrack. The racetrack is always full of exciting happenings, beer, betting, and heart-pounding races for adults to enjoy. You can also bring children so long as they are accompanied by an adult at all times, making this one of the best family activities in Del Mar as well.

What are some things to do in Del Mar, California, when it’s raining?

On a rainy day, we recommend visiting the Del Mar Public Library. This is a great place to curl up with a good book and bring the family. The library is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

If the library is closed and it’s raining, we recommend visiting one of the many shops or restaurants at the Del Mar Plaza. Restaurants here have covered patios, so you can enjoy food and drinks while being sheltered from the rain.

What are the best tourist attractions in Del Mar, California?

In addition to the San Diego County Fair, open once a year, the Torrey Pines State Reserve is another big attraction near Del Mar. It’s only 7 minutes from the city, and it is one of the most well-preserved areas in California and the United States, thanks to its official designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1977.

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