We didn’t set out to go to Del Mar on this typical gray day in California but somehow we ended up driving through this southern coastal town located in San Diego County.
We had an activity planned but changed our mind, so we turned back towards Interstate 5 which was just a short mile away.
However, the freeway was going to have to wait as we came across a great little lookout featuring an expansive view of the San Dieguito Lagoon. There was a long wooden pier like structure that allowed us to walk out and gaze over the waterways. It was then and there that we decided to explore a little more around this area and the rest of Del Mar.
A few friendly locals were also enjoying the scene and let us know about all the different types of fish that wander through the canals. They also rattled off the many species of birds that call this place home including an often returning Blue Heron.
Amazingly, we were told of an Osprey nest about a mile away , so finding it was now our immediate mission. This is exactly why I like to talk to the people who live in the area because you find out about little tidbits like this.
So we set out in the general area and drove around until we saw the nest perched way up high on a super tall man-made pole. I strained my telephoto as far as it could go and definitely saw the Ospreys, all three of them.
The male sat at the very top post protecting and surveying the scene below while the female tended to the nest or maybe newborns? I moved a little closer to get a clearer shot even though I could tell the male was watching me closely to make sure I didn’t disturb his home and family. Pretty cool getting eye balled by an Osprey while I was about a quarter mile from the Interstate 5 and only a stones throw from Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Where the Surf Meets the Turf
Speaking of the fairgrounds, this is Del Mars claim to fame. These renowned grounds are the host to over 300 events every year. This includes the big draw events like, the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar thoroughbred horse races, the Scream Zone at Halloween, and the Holiday of Light show at Christmas. There are a multitude of shows for horses, home products, concerts, and much more.
The race track is a popular destination as every summer it comes alive with people of every age passing through its gates. The excitement begins as each race starts with the voice of long time announcer, Trevor Denman, declaring, “And a way we go!” So begins two minutes of pure excitement that will either end with money in your pocket or another ripped up ticket.
This beautiful facility is rich in history and can hold around 44,000 people, so it is no wonder that in 2017 it was selected to host the prestigious Breeders Cup.
No slouch itself, the San Diego Fair has well over a million people visit it every year. With tons of rides, top entertainment, great food, and interesting exhibits, the fair has something for everyone. Try a fried Twinkie, bungee jump, or browse through the wonderful photography exhibit, this is the place to be every summer…that is if you are not at the beach.
Surf and Doggies:
In all of my time in Southern California I have never set foot on a beach in Del Mar south of dog beach. Too bad, because they are beautiful with plenty of pristine sand that is not often found on some of the towns south of Oceanside harbor. It makes me want to come back for a visit in the summer.
Nearby is a favorite of the locals as well as our four legged friends, Dog Beach! Actually people come from near and far to give their furry friends a chance to run unimpeded on the beach with other dogs.
You get to enjoy your day on the coast and so do they! You have to love dogs as on occasion one might come by and give you a little gift near your towel. Or your newly applied sunscreen might get sand blasted by a digging canine. It’s all in fun and one of a few places in San Diego County where you can share the beach with man’s best friend.
The city of Del Mar in 2010 had a reported population of just over 4,000. It seems weird considering that millions of people converge on the city during certain times. Located about 20 miles north of San Diego, Del Mar is Spanish for ”by the sea” and is one of only two locations in California where the Torrey Pine tree grows.
The Coast Highway:
When I take the coast on my way to La Jolla or San Diego, I barely take notice of the small area they call the village. So for the purpose of this story I actually got out of the car to snap a few shots of the stores and restaurants along Pacific Coast Highway.
This coastal area of Del Mar is filled with unique stores, outdoor cafes, and bars with roof top patios looking over the village.
There are also several nice hotels that have great views and one in particular had its pool at street level so the sunbathers could look right out at the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
A roof top pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Down by the shoreline, the quaint Seagrove Park sits on a hill and overlooks the beach plus you can see up and down the coast in both directions. It was packed on this Mothers day Sunday so it made me wonder what it is like in summer.
Having a picnic with 100 of your closest friends
As the sun was finally making its first appearance for the day, the flowers looked brighter, the ocean looked bluer, and my skin was getting red, time to go. I wasn’t really dressed for the beach.
Looking north at Del Mar Beach
Looking South at Del Mar Beach
There are plenty of places to stay in Del Mar and an abundance of things to do in all seasons.
Bring the pooch because I read that there are over 18 dog friendly hotels in town. Bring the kidlets because there are tons of things to do with them in all seasons. Or, just simply treat yourself to one of many fine restaurants in town.
Del Mar is a big enough town that handles well over a million visitors a year, yet small enough to retain its small town charm.
I mean really, where else can you see million dollar horses, roller coasters, hot air balloons, lagoons, beaches, concerts, holiday lights, and…Ospreys!!!
Del Mar, that’s where.