Del Mar is Spanish for by the sea, but it might as well be Spanish for “pile of money.” This luxe Southern California beach town is home to the ultra-rich yet remains a great place to visit – even if you can’t afford to live there. Here are 3 unique things to do in Del Mar, California.
Del Mar is known for three things: Horse Racing, Beaches, and rare Pine Trees. Oh, and money…lots of it. This upscale community isn’t very large, but, as with most beachside communities, it ain’t cheap to live in. However, the town remains a popular destination for visitors. From great beaches, hiking options, amazing horse races, and lots of people watching, Del Mar is a fun place to visit when in the San Diego county area.
Del Mar is one of two places where the unique and rare Torrey Pine tree resides (the other is the Santa Maria island). This rare pine tree is also the namesake of the popular golf course which is home to locals and major golf tournaments. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a wonderful place to visit and is included on our list of unique things to do in Del Mar, California.
Unique Things to do in Del Mar, CA
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit and stay in Del Mar again. It had been a while since I spent any meaningful time in this lovely town and although I am a California resident I am about an hour or so away from Del Mar.
However, with the US Open Golf Tournament in town, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to really double click on Del Mar. After a great day on the course, I spent time exploring Del Mar and spent the night at one of the local Hilton Properties. Indeed, I’d forgotten just how nice this place is.
My explorations led me to uncover several interesting things to do in Del Mar, but we’ve culled it down to just our top 3. After all, our series of “unique things to do” is based on the rule of 3. Here are 3 unique things to do in Del Mar, CA.
Attend a Horse Race at the Del Mar Racetrack
As the second-largest horse racing venue in the country, the Del Mar Racetrack is an amazing place to see the horses run. The community of Del Mar and some of the neighboring communities have a lengthy appreciation and involvement in the horse racing business. A day at the tracks is a blast and the Del Mar Racetrack makes it a fun, unique and memorable experience. Racing runs from the middle of July to around Labor Day.
Don’t forget to buy your Derby hat!
Book your Del Mar Racetrack tickets here.
Hike Torrey Pines Nature Reserve
The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of the more popular California state parks given its accessibility. After all, the park is located within the San Diego city limits making it easy to get to for the millions of residents who live in the area.
Despite its proximity to a big city, the park is a stunning display of wild beach nature. Notably, the preserve exists to help protect the rare Torrey Pine tree, found only in two places on earth.
With hiking trails, great views, pleasant weather, and easy access, it is no wonder this park remains so popular. Despite its popularity, the park is big enough to not feel crowded (except, of course, for parking…always a problem in SOCAL). For a unique adventure, be sure to visit the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
For more information, visit the park’s website here.
Finally learn how to surf at the Del Mar Surf School
If surfing is on your bucket list, then why not spend the morning finally taking those surf lessons you’ve always found a reason not to take. In fact, the Del Mar Surf School is an excellent place to test your mettle as your wobbly knees build the courage to hit the bigger waves.
Surf’s up in #SanDiego! Beautiful #sunset in Del Mar! #travelwriter #travel #surfboard #surfing #sunsets pic.twitter.com/lx8ObMTtqiâ Noreen Kompanik (@noreenwriter) October 26, 2017
Prices are reasonable and they offer classes for a variety of ages. Book your class here.
Additional Things to do in Del Mar, CA
Still looking for things to do in Del Mar? No worries, here’s a few additional ideas:
- Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride along the coast – the amazing trip of a lifetime right here.
- Visit literally any (heck all!) of the Del Mar Beaches – the beaches in Del Mar are exquisite and of course if you are traveling with a puppers be sure to visit the Dog Beach and let ’em frolic.
- Attend the San Diego Fair (formerly known as the Del Mar Fair) – considered the largest fair in the United States, the San Diego fair easily suprasses 1m attendance and is wonderful experience for families. Unfortunately, the fair is only open for a few weeks in June, usually closing around the 4th of July.
- Eat Fish Tacos & Cajun Fries from Jimmie O’s – the infamous taco joint becomes a nightclub where all the beauitful people hang out. But those fries…mmmm!
Final Thoughts on visiting Del Mar, CA
Del Mar is beautiful just like so many of the lovely Southern California beach communities that dot to the coastline. What it may lack in quaintness or laid-back-ness it makes up for with other things. Horse racing, beaches, grub, hiking, and more make Del Mar worthy of your visit.
Be sure to check out all the great destinations in our “Unique Things to Do” Series and take a step out of the ordinary on your next trip.
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