Sun Lover's Road Trip: Coronado to Julian

Travel to world-famous attractions, perfect beaches, and majestic high country on this sun-splashed drive.

Trip length: 3 days
Total distance: 165mi/266km

CORONADO. Show the kids the Hotel del Coronado , a 125-year-old classic with a movie-star past. Swim at ultra-family-friendly Coronado Central Beach. INFO San Diego Tourism Authority ; 619/232-3101

BALBOA PARK (6mi/10km; 12min). See koalas at Conrad Prebys Australian Outback , San Diego Zoo’s newest exhibit. Munch on mahi mahi tacos at The Prado at Balboa Park. INFO Balboa Park

MISSION BAY PARK (9mi/15km; 12min). At SeaWorld San Diego , zoom on the Manta mega-coaster, then see Shamu, or take a behind-the-scenes tour to see belugas. INFO SeaWorld San Diego ; 800/25-SHAMU

LA JOLLA (8mi/13km; 8min). Paddle on a guided snorkel or kayak trip with San Diego Bike & Kayak Tours . Dig into comfort foods at hip Prepkitchen . INFO La Jolla Village Merchants Association ; 858/454-5718

TORREY PINES (8mi/13km; 17min). Learn about the nation’s rarest pine tree at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Putt and drive at legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course . INFO Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ; 916/653-6995

DEL MAR (2mi/4km; 7min). Browse in boutiques in the village, romp on the beach, then head to Jake’s Del Mar for hula pie. Watch horses thunder by at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club . INFO San Diego Tourism Authority ; 619/232-3101

CARLSBAD (17mi/27km; 22min). Experience LEGO Legends of Chima new 4-D film at LEGOLAND California . Sound off at Museum of Making Music , filled with instruments and exhibits. INFO San Diego Tourism Authority ; 619/232-3101

ESCONDIDO (20mi/32km; 25min). Feed nectar to lorikeets and watch a cheetah sprint by at San Diego Zoo Safari Park . Walk among sparkling statues at Queen Califia’s Magical Circle garden . INFO San Diego Tourism Authority ; 619/232-3101

PALOMAR MOUNTAIN (32mi/51km; 58min). Follow trails through towering conifers at Palomar Mountain State Park. Learn about the fascinating Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. INFO Palomar Mountain State Park ; 760/742-3462

JULIAN (63mi/101km; 1hr36min). Pull over for fresh pie in this apple-licious alpine town. Teach the kids to arch their pinkies with afternoon tea at Julian Tea and Cottage Arts . INFO Julian Chamber of Commerce ; 760/765-1857