What are some quirky and/or beautiful destinations within a 2 or 3 hour drive of San Diego?
Lately, I've been pretty crazed with wanderlust. But while I have a flexible job, my SO doesn't, and often a 3 day weekend is the best we can do if we want to travel together.
So, we're seeking destinations within a 2 or 3 hour drive of San Diego. But not OC/LA city attractions or spots along the coast, unless they're really quirky or unexpected; the stretch between Santa Barbara and San Diego is super well-trod for us. Other than that, we're open to almost anything: cultural oddities, charming towns, weird ruins, natural beauty, forests, mountains, deserts, any kind of serendipity. We're cool with camping, but if there's a noncreepy motel or hotel nearby (bonus if it allows dogs
) it's more likely we'll make the effort. We like hiking and taking pictures and eating at random roadside diners, stuff like that.
We've already spent time in Palm Springs proper, Borrego Springs, Big Bear, Calico, Temecula and Julian. We've spent time driving in Mexico but are still a little skeeved out by it. I'm definitely planning a trip to poke around the Salton Sea & see Salvation Mountain (that kind of thing fascinates me). I've also never been to Joshua Tree National Park and know I should remedy that.
What are we missing?
(I should say the 2-3 hour limit isn't rigid; we're also interested in destinations within a 6 or 7 hour drive, but those are only worth it to me when SO gets a rare 4-day weekend, so closer = priority. thanks!)