Unlike her big sister Los Angeles, just 100 miles to the north, San Diego is relatively free of smog and much more laid back.   Her 1.3 million people live all over the county in vastly different communities.  While only 10.7% are over 65, many retirees have settled in the east county area away from the beaches.   Here’s why; its warmer than the coastline which is often foggy and damp in the winter.   

The mean price of an owner occupied home in San Diego is $451,000 but in the great little town of Santee, about 20 miles east, it goes down to $330,000.  Santee rents go for $800+ a month.  The crime rate is relatively low and the town is on the trolley route. 

Most communities are now linked by the San Diego Trolley system which has a senior discount.  Be sure to visit Mission San Diego in old town, the first in a chain of missions stretching up the coast.  

There are two huge bays; San Diego Bay is home to the US Navy fleet, the city of San Diego itself, Coronado Island, yacht clubs, restaurants, and parks.   Mission Bay is a beach community on all sides with Sea World, camping, waterskiing, world class resorts, and access to some of the finest surfing in the area.  

The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park are two of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.   The Zoo also has a satellite venue in the north country with very large enclosures for the wildlife.  

But the most popular attraction is the sunshine.   Even in the middle of winter, San Diego weather is much better than most of the country and snowbirds flock from the north to bask in the sunshine.  

Free San Diego:   Any beach – any day.   Sunset at LaJolla Cove. Mission Beach Boardwalk.   Watch the surfing at Ocean Beach or any number of sites along the coast. Walk around Balboa Park or Old Town. Seaport Village downtown has street entertainers most weekends.   So see the Hotel Del Coronado.  (Not free, but fun.)  Ride the trolley to a town you’ve never visited.   Ahhh,  San Diego!

Photo By Rex Boggs via StockPholio.com