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Old 07-31-2017, 07:41 PM
 
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Just thought of another possibility: Catalina Island. Go To Catalina

That would probably check off: beach, rural (outside of town), scenic, quaint, and other points as well. Would take longer than an hour and a half to get to from San Diego, but part of the trip involves an ocean ferry trip.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
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Can't really add more to what's already been said. Borrego and Temecula are good suggestions. Although getting to Borrego in January could mean driving thru snow in the mountains. I might add Palm Springs, but it's about a 2 hour drive from SD.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:55 PM
 
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Idylwild, but 2 hours
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:49 PM
 
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OP, if you're feeling adventurous you can go down to Mex and hit up Ensenada for the beach and the Valley de Guadalupe for its wine. It's the only area around SD that has the beach and wineries in close proximity.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurbanite View Post
Can't really add more to what's already been said. Borrego and Temecula are good suggestions. Although getting to Borrego in January could mean driving thru snow in the mountains. I might add Palm Springs, but it's about a 2 hour drive from SD.
It is possible to go out on 8 to Ocotillo and then north through the southern part of Anza Borrego to Borrego Springs from there. Usually snow involved. But the route through Julian is probably better if you want to see trees.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSR13 View Post
OP, if you're feeling adventurous you can go down to Mex and hit up Ensenada for the beach and the Valley de Guadalupe for its wine. It's the only area around SD that has the beach and wineries in close proximity.
Great suggestion.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
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Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
It is possible to go out on 8 to Ocotillo and then north through the southern part of Anza Borrego to Borrego Springs from there. Usually snow involved. But the route through Julian is probably better if you want to see trees.
True. Don't forget how crazy traffic can get when it snows in the mountains.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:58 AM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
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Originally Posted by Axxlrod View Post
Not to somebody from New Jersey whose backyard is most likely a forest compared to those mountains. It's all relative.
Right, that's exactly what I said. They *are* wooded areas, nut just "rural desert", just not like what the OP is used to
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
Just thought of another possibility: Catalina Island. Go To Catalina

That would probably check off: beach, rural (outside of town), scenic, quaint, and other points as well. Would take longer than an hour and a half to get to from San Diego, but part of the trip involves an ocean ferry trip.
This is sooo true. Last time I was there was in 1958 but still remember the trip and time spent there and I was 11 at the time.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:06 AM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
Absolutely agree that our mountain areas are beautiful -- Mount Palomar, Mount Laguna, Julian. I love them!

However, in January, when this poster is visiting, chances are it will be cold and possibly even snowy (as one of your great pictures shows) in the mountains. Someone from New Jersey might have had enough of cold and snow by January and be looking for a more warm weather get away.

That's one of the reasons I suggested Anza Borrego. Depending on which route he takes, he can still get a taste of the mountains by passing through Julian (or Mount Laguna) on his way out to the desert. He could even stop at a few of the wineries in Ramona on the way. But, then, he can enjoy the warm, sunny weather and fantastic scenery out in the desert, which really is something he can't see in New Jersey.

Speaking of weather, I also think the beaches in Southern California are beautiful any time of year. However, unlike Florida or the Caribbean, the poster may or may not be aware that the ocean here is usually too cold for swimming in January (unless you have a wet suit, of course). So, if the poster just wants to stroll on the beach, a beach town would be great. But, if he's picturing laying out in the sun and swimming, the desert may be a better option in January (there's always Palm Springs too). He also requested uncrowded and rural; I wouldn't call any Southern California beach town "uncrowded" or "rural" really, although they're all lovely.

Another possibility for the poster that hasn't been mentioned yet: just stay put for a few nights at the same hotel, and do day trips. All of the places mentioned above are all very do-able as day driving trips from downtown. That way, you can fit in a little of everything.
I agree with the desert, if only for the OP to experience a landscape totally different than what they're used to. I took a friend from DC out on a desert road trip last year and she was completely blown away by the wide-openness of it, Plus, there's so much to see between the coast and the desert here!

As an example: On Sunday I did a mini-road trip from North Park through Ramona (needed honey from Trumper's honey shack on the 78), a stop at Dudley's to pick up a sandwich, up Sunrise highway to Mount Laguna and a picnic lunch at the Desert View picnic area, then out to the Desert View Tower in Jacumba, then back along old highway 80/the 94 through Campo with a stop at the motor transport museum. If I'd remembered to put my swimsuit back in the car (where normally it lives all summer, that's what I get for washing it) I would have stopped at Jacumba Hot Springs for a dip in one of the outdoor pools. This is a route I've taken lots of visiting friends when they want to see the back county but maybe only have a day to do it
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