Your Hour-by-Hour Guide for a Memorable Staycay With Your SO
From #robelife at a luxury resort to walks on the beach and Insta-worthy sunsets, the seaside town of Del Mar is the perfect couples’ getaway. Del Mar Itinerary
There’s nothing like a romantic weekend away to make lasting memories with that special someone, and with its oceanfront setting, Del Mar makes for a charming destination. It’s got a dash of Hollywood history too––traveling there was a summer tradition for movie stars who came to watch the horses at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club racetrack in the 1940s, and they would stay with their famous friends nearby. So while its resort vibe and seaside town setting draw the summer crowds today, with kids back in school and the beach much less crowded, fall is the perfect time to plan a romantic staycation in Del Mar.
Del Mar Itinerary
From the sharp Living Room lobby bar and coastal-chic guest rooms and suites to the new-look pool area flanked with cabanas and daybeds, L’Auberge Del Mar feels like a luxe coastal estate. Fresh from a recent top-to-bottom makeover with a price tag of $15 million, extra touches like branded Zybra beach cruisers, proximity to cafes and boutiques in the village and hiking trails in Torrey Pines only add to the appeal. Also pretty sweet? It’s pet-friendly and one of the best spots to watch the sunset in North County.
Take a Hike
Start your morning by grabbing pastries and caffeinated drinks to go from Lyric Coffee in the lobby, which partners exclusively with San Diego’s popular Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. After fueling up, head out on a leisurely hike to nearby Torrey Pines State Reserve. During low tide, you can walk all the way there and back along the beach in front of the resort; otherwise, head south through Del Mar Village until you can hop on the accessible path that hugs part of the bluff along Hwy 101.EXP 11/26
San Diego is blessed with beautiful beaches一perhaps nowhere more so than in Del Mar. A private footpath leads to the stretch of golden sand right in front of L’Auberge Del Mar, but the resort’s beach valet service means you can also jump in a golf cart for a ride there instead, which is perfect when hands are full with towels and umbrellas. Feel like catching a few waves? A lesson with local partners Fulcrum Surf School should get you both hanging 10 in no time.
Del Mar Itinerary
Roll Out Your Picnic Blanket
Just a stone’s throw from L’Auberge Del Mar and framed with the same postcard-perfect Pacific Ocean views, you couldn’t pick a prettier spot for a romantic picnic than the grass lawns of Powerhouse Park. Forget schlepping everything over there yourselves because the talented people at Pop Up Picnic Co. can do all that for you (Hello, gourmet grazing boxes filled with goodies!) in addition to styling things out with cushions, fresh flowers and ‘Gram-worthy table decor.EXP 10/15
A Feast for the Senses
There’s nothing like sampling tasty snacks or feasting your eyes on flowers, freshly baked bread, jars of honey and other locally made goodies. So, grab your canvas tote and head to the Del Mar Farmers Market on Camino Del Mar for a quick wander around the stalls. Held every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., shopping at the nonprofit market not only supports California farmers but gives back to local organizations too, including the Del Mar Library and Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley.
Del Mar Itinerary
Spa Experience for Two
Next, pop back to the resort and slip into a robe at Spa L’Auberge for some pre-treatment chill time in the al-fresco relaxation area before enjoying a side-by-side massage in a private couples suite. The beach house-inspired space also boasts a herbal-infused steam room should you prefer to relax muscles and detox a little before laying down. Additional spa services sure to leave you blissed out include an ocean-inspired body wrap and a bespoke apothecary facial.
Up, Up and Away
With some of the year’s best seasonal conditions, fall is a perfect time to grace the skies above San Diego. Reinvigorated after those massages, it’s time to take flight on a sunset hot-air balloon ride with Compass Balloons. Climb inside the wicker basket and watch your FAA-certified commercial pilot get the airborne adventure started as you float up and away over the canyons of Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas to enjoy 360-degree views of the Del Mar coastline all一while sipping champagne, of course.
6 p.m. Spice Things Up
Looking for more than just a sit-down dinner for two? Sure, a candlelit meal can be romantic, but if you’re up for a flavorful adventure, the all-new Sky Deck at Del Mar Highlands Town Center is a must-visit. This 26,700-square-foot culinary hub was artfully designed to resemble Barcelona’s El Nacional, a highly acclaimed gastronomic multispace where various cuisines are served under one roof. Since its opening earlier this year, Del Mar Highlands Sky Deck has taken the city’s culinary scene to new heights, offering the community a revolutionary new dining experience. Here, you and your date can taste a variety of different flavors that run the gamut. From Mexican-inspired bites from Urbana and Milano pizza from Ambrogio 15 to Greek street food from Zizikis and authentic Asian plates from Marufuku Ramen and Kiin Extraordinary Thai, you’re sure to find something that’ll please your palate. And if it’s American fare you prefer, Craft House Del Mar and J at the Sky Deck serve up a great selection of the classics, including burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.
In addition to the eight current restaurants that make up the collective, the Sky Deck also features a central bar called Understory and a Brewers Deck with both beer and kombucha on draft. And once you’ve finished your flavorful adventure, we recommend ending date night right by catching a movie at Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas!
Local Insight: Don’t miss out on authentic French desserts, macarons and pastries from Le Parfait Paris.
Del Mar Itinerary
It’s a Date
You’ll want to reserve seats on the ocean-facing patio for dinner at L’Auberge Del Mar’s sparkling new signature restaurant, Adelaide. It’s helmed by Executive Chef Nick Green, whose artfully presented dishes showcase fresh seafood and produce from farms and markets around San Diego. Standouts include the Italian burrata salad with beet sambal and Pacifico bass ceviche to start, followed by the Alaskan halibut with green curry butter. Pair it with a bottle of wine or signature cocktail like the Smokey Sunset, which is crafted with house-infused chipotle mezcal.
Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.