By Lauren Dyer, Marine Spouse

If you happen to be lucky enough to get stationed at MCAS Miramar, then you’re in for a treat.  There are an endless amount of activities for every type of person.  Whether you like to spend a night on the town or spend the day outdoors, there is truly something for everyone.

The Great Outdoors

Hiking Trails

Whether you are starting out as a beginner or consider yourself an advanced hiker, there are hiking trails for everyone in San Diego. If you want an easy hike, then you should check out Sunset Cliffs.  The hike is fairly simple, and you can probably guess from the name that you’ll want to go so you can see the sunset over the ocean.  Torrey Pines is also a great place for beginners since this “hike” would actually be more of an easy walk compared to other trails.  If you’re looking for something more difficult, then you need to hike Iron Mountain.   This is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego and makes for a great Miramar day trip.

San Diego Zoo

The Zoo, located in Balboa Park, is a great place to go if you’re trying to keep your children entertained or if you want to spend a day with just your spouse.  The San Diego Zoo has recently changed their policy so that active military members get in for free, while their dependents get in at a discounted price.  Safari Park is an extension of the zoo that is located in Escondido.  It’s a little farther away, but the park is much larger than the zoo and is well worth the short drive.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

In just under two hours, you can get to the Anza-Borrego Desert where you can take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife.  There are many hiking trails and sites to see.  The flower fields are also quite beautiful, or you could take a hike up to the beautiful Palm Oasis and hopefully see some Bighorn sheep.  If you don’t feel like hiking, you could also go to the recreational vehicle area to drive around your ATV.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld is only about 15 minutes from Miramar, and service members and their dependents get in for free once a year.  This is the place to go if you want to experience a theme park, an outside aquarium, and a marine mammal park.


Hornblower Cruise

Hornblower Cruises allow you to have a fancy dinner while you’re traveling through the bay on a boat.  This cruise can be a little on the expensive side, but the food, entertainment, and view are all amazing.


Seaport Village

Located right on the water, Seaport Village is full of cute shops and restaurants if you want to spend a Miramar day trip shopping or walking next to the water.

Petco Park

Petco Park, located downtown, is the home of the San Diego Padres.  For baseball fans, it’s a great place to see a game.

The New Children’s Museum

Also located downtown, the New Children’s Museum is an educational, yet fun, day trip for you and your family.  They recently added a café inside the museum where families can have a playful dining experience.

A Day at the Beach

San Diego is full of beautiful beaches. A few of the most popular ones are highlighted below.

Imperial Beach

Located in the South Bay region, Imperial Beach is about 5 miles north of the Mexico border.  It’s only about a 30-minute drive from the Miramar base and is a great place for surfing, sport fishing, or riding a horse along the edge of the tide.  You can also find the Tijuana River National Estuary here, which is a great place if you like bird watching.

Coronado Beach

If you own a dog that loves the beach, then Coronado is the place to go.  The North beach is dog-friendly, so you can always find sweet puppies and their owners here.  The waves are a little calmer here, which makes it a great spot for paddle boarding or boogie boarding.  There are also tide pools during the low tide.

La Jolla Beach and Reefs

Depending on where you go in La Jolla, you could see long shores, rocky cliffs, coves, or reefs.  La Jolla Beach has a little bit of everything, which makes it a go-to spot if you want to explore.  If you decide to visit La Jolla, make sure you stop by Sunny Jim Sea Cave.  This small store has been known to have sea lions roaming around inside occasionally.

Pacific Beach

P.B., as the locals call it, is the favorite spot among college students and young adults.  If you want to be a part of a party atmosphere, then Pacific Beach is the place for you.

A Short Drive Away

Los Angeles, California

LA is a 2-hour drive north of Miramar.  You can spend the day walking down Rodeo Drive, which is a memorable experience.  You can also visit the infamous Hollywood sign or go down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

These are only a few of the many activities and sights in and around the San Diego area. Enjoy your time in sunny southern California!


Located in Anaheim, California, Disneyland is 1.5 hours away from the Miramar base.  You can choose to go the Disneyland Park, Disneyland California Adventure, or both.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios is located in Los Angeles County and is a 2-hour drive from MCAS Miramar.  One of the most visited attractions here is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and they’ve recently added the new The Walking Dead attraction.

Legoland California

Only a 30-minute drive from base, Legoland is located in Carlsbad, California.  This is an excellent place to take your children since not only is it a theme park, but it has a miniature park and aquarium as well.

Headed to Southern California? Head over to first and read reviews on real estate agents, base housing, neighborhoods and more!

Lauren Dyer, is a Marine Corps spouse, freelance writer and newbie blogger, with more than 1,000 views each month on her blog Paws for Thought. She enjoys spending time at the beach with her husband and dog, Abbey. Her hobbies include reading, taking photos, and of course, playing with her sweet puppy. She has resided on both the east coast and west coast but is currently enjoying her time in Sunny San Diego.