Solo Female Travel to San Diego – Things to Do and Safety
With its nearly perfect weather and stunning landscape, San Diego is perfect for solo female travelers who want to enjoy city life without losing the beauty of nature. Featuring over 70 miles of a beachfront, active nightlife, incredible food, parks, shopping, and attractions, Forbes ranks San Diego as one of the top ten cities to visit for solo female travelers.
Before you can make your dream vacation to San Diego reality, there are a few things you should know to prepare. To help you, this travel guide has everything you need to know about San Diego, including yearly weather, the best times to visit, safety statistics and tips, areas to avoid, where to stay, how to get around, current covid restrictions, must-see attractions, things to do, and a list of the most popular San Diego beaches.
Things to Know About San Diego, California
San Diego is nicknamed “America’s Finest City,” given the quality of weather, beaches, economy, attractions, and the overall attitude of locals. If you like guacamole, this is the place for you. San Diego has more small farms (over 7,000) and more avocado production than anywhere else in the United States. San Diego is also rated one of the most LGBTQIA+ cities in the country.
Over 35 million people visit San Diego each year, many attracted by San Diego’s amazing arts and culture scene.
If you want to visit Mexico but stay in the U.S, then this is the destination for you. San Diego is the southernmost part of California before reaching the Mexico border. While we won’t talk about it in this article, You can discover some of top attractions in Mexico later ! a day trip to Tijuana is feasible with the right planning.
Weather In San Diego
Weather is one of the primary reasons so many people love to visit San Diego, California. Summers are warm (not hot) with clear skies. Winters are cool and partly cloudy. The coldest month is December, with lows around 49F and highs around 66F. The hottest month is August, with highs around 77F, and lows around 67F. San Diego doesn’t get a lot of rain, which is great for vacation. There is almost always a calm breeze.
Best Time to Visit San Diego
Most people visit San Diego in September through November. There are many events during this time (like the international film festival) and the weather is most comfortable. The peak season is also the busiest so expect more lines, extra expenses, and larger crowds. If you want to visit the beaches, the best time to visit is in the summer when the water is warmest.
The cheapest months to visit San Diego are December and January.
Is San Diego Safe to Visit Alone?
San Diego has a crime rate 15% lower than the national average and is ranked as very safe for tourists. Women traveling solo should still practice precaution, but if you stick to tourist attractions, you won’t have any problems.
Safety Tips for Visiting San Diego Alone
San Diego does have a few problems that you’ll want to be aware of during your visit. This is inherent to any city, but still, better safe than sorry. Women are generally targeted more than men, especially while traveling solo.
Some things to watch out for:
- If you use a taxi/rideshare service, make sure the meter is running or else you will get overcharged.
- Don’t leave your things unattended, even at the beach. Unattended items are frequently stolen.
- Follow all fire safety rules.
- Stay hydrated.
- Rip currents (underwater currents that pull you deep to the ocean) are common and dangerous. Don’t swim without other people nearby and make sure a lifeguard is on duty. Don’t go swimming at night.
- Use plenty of sunscreen. Don’t worry, you can still tan with sunscreen, but skin cancer is no joke.
- Don’t walk alone at night.
- Watch your drinks at clubs and bars.
Areas of Caution in San Diego
Despite the safe reputation, there are still several areas you’ll want to avoid. The following areas have higher than average crime rates which are mostly crimes of petty theft. However, as a solo traveler, you’ll want to avoid walking alone in these neighborhoods as you’ll be a higher target.
The most dangerous parts of San Diego are Kearny Mesa, East Village, Midtown District, Mission Valley, Mountain View, Oak Park, Webster, and Cortex Hill. Little Italy is walkable, but muggings do occur.
Safest Parts of San Diego
The safest neighborhoods in San Diego are: Del Mar Mesa, Via de la Valle, San Pasqual Valley, North City Future Urbanizing Area, La Jolla, Black Mountain Ranch, and Torrey Hills.
Where to Stay in San Diego
Safety isn’t the only factor to consider when planning your trip to San Diego. You’ll also want to be close to attractions, public transportation, and nightlife (if that’s your thing). When looking to book your hotel you’ll need to decide whether you want to be closer to downtown or whether you want to be closer to the beach. Smaller “town” areas are much safer than bigger downtown areas but offer fewer accommodations.
Best Downtown Areas
The best downtown areas to stay at are Little Italy (trendy but with high crime), the Embarcadero, and Gaslamp Quarter.
Best Beach Areas
The best beach areas to stay at are Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado, and La Jolla.
Outside of San Diego
If you don’t want to stay in the city, San Diego has a few beach towns that are smaller, calmer, and pack more personality. Each of these towns is also famous in its own way, so don’t think you’re getting cheated if you stay there. These towns are Del Mar, Encinitas, Oceanside, and Carlsbad.
How to Get Around in San Diego
If you plan on staying within the center of the city, public transportation is the best way to go. San Diego’s public transportation includes buses, trollies, coaster trains, and a sprinter light rail train. Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are popular, as are the iconic “Pedicab” bicycle cabs. Taxis, rental bicycles, and even ferries are also available.
If you’re looking to go outside the main attractions of the city, or if you want to see less popular sites, a car might be a better option. Public transportation in San Diego isn’t as developed as in other cities, so some of the stops won’t always get you as close to where you want to go. Be aware, if you choose to drive, that rush hour traffic becomes extremely backed up.
Covid Restrictions and Guidelines
Masks and vaccinations are no longer required in public spaces but are still strongly recommended. Individual establishments may have their own requirements for masks, social distancing, and proof of vaccination for entry.
7 Must See Attractions in San Diego
Like with any trip, a destination is defined by the quality of its attractions. San Diego does an excellent job offering various attractions to suit the tastes of its many diverse visitors. That’s part of what makes it so great for solo female travelers–you can choose whichever activities fit your preferences, and all of them are fun to do alone or with a tour group.
The San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park San Diego, is home to over 12,000 animals. The Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top five zoos in the country and sits on about 100 acres of land. Most visitors spend at least three hours, but you can also plan a whole daytrip out of it.
As a blend of Theme Park and Aquarium, SeaWorld San Diego offers a unique and memorable experience to all lovers of aquatic life. They have plenty of “up-close” interactions, tours, shopping, dining, and even an “in-water” dolphin encounter.
Balboa Park offers something for everyone. With over 16 museums, year-round events, fine-dining, and shopping, you can’t visit San Diego without spending a day in Balboa Park. Hotels are also available directly in the park. Balboa Park also offers a variety of tours for visitors.
Like Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter is another of San Diego’s most popular districts for tourists. While Balboa Park offers more attractions to visit, the Gaslamp Quarter offers a better selection of restaurants, shops, and nightlife.
- Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
The Midway Museum is a full-sized aircraft carrier turned museum. The tours help visitors learn more about world history and military technology. Adult tickets run about $30.
Seaport Village is like a mall made on the ocean. You can enjoy shopping, dining, and even local art. The shops here are all local, so if you’re wanting something less commercial, this is the place to go.
The San Diego Museum of Art is one of the best art museums for Spanish art, but with a collection of over 20,000 objects, the collection features art and culture from 3,000 B.C. to the present. We can’t recommend Art Museums enough for solo female travelers because they allow you to go at your own pace. Tours are available.
Things to Do in San Diego
San Diego doesn’t get a top tourism ranking for nothing, there is so much to do and see.
- San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
- Biking, Hiking, Jogging, and Walking
Best Beaches in San Diego
San Diego is most famous for its pristine beaches. With the moderate climate, solo travelers can sit on the beach without worrying too much about getting cooked or frozen. Be aware that the California ocean water is cool (as in cold), so if you are planning on swimming during winter months, you may want to look at wetsuits. The water remains gets a little warmer in summer but will still be a bit colder than beaches like in Miami. Explore some of the best places to visit in Miami during the season. Many hotels are available along the beachfront if you prefer to be next to the ocean rather than in the heart of the city.
The following are the top-rated beaches of San Diego:
La Jolla Cove Beach is smaller in terms of beaches, but it offers some of the clearest water, making it a great place to snorkel or scuba dive. Sometimes you can see right to the seafloor without any equipment at all.
La Jolla Shores Beach is one of the longest and widest beaches on the San Diego coast, with plenty of space for sunbathing and swimming. This is also one of the best beaches for surfing or kayaking.
The Coronado Central Beach parallels Ocean Boulevard and has one of the best backdrops of luxury hotels and houses.
Pacific beach isn’t the cleanest beach, but it is the best for nearby eateries, bars, and clothing stores. If you’re looking for great nightlife, this is the place to go. This is also rated the best beach for learning to surf for the first time.
Flat Rock Beach is in Torrey Pines State Beach and requires a bit of walking but is worth the effort. The beach itself is wonderful for all normal beach activities, but what makes this stick out how incredible Flat Rock Beach is for hiking or exploring for exposed sea caves.
Ocean Beach is a nice beach with a long pier, making it great for photography. There are parts of the beach with flat rock shelves which are fun to look at and take pictures of.
- Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Beach isn’t the most swimmable, but it is the best place to visit for those with an interest in seeing more than ocean and sand. It’s the most photogenic area, which sandstone cliffs, and, as the name suggests, incredible sunsets.
By far the most crowded of the beaches in San Diego. With Belmont Park and Ocean Front Walk just minutes away, it’s like getting three attractions in one. It is one of the prettiest beaches, which explains the popularity.
Bermuda Beach isn’t as wide as other beaches in San Diego, but the big rocks and short cliffs give off their own vibe which make it great in its own sense. It’s one of the less busy beaches which makes it nice for more peace and quiet.