If you are stationed at Camp Pendleton, count your lucky stars! Many people vacation to San Diego and Los Angeles, so you are living in a prime destination area. Camp Pendleton has endless miles of coastal waters, beautiful climate, and numerous activities.
The weather here is almost always beautiful. The winters do get down in the 40’s but the afternoons tend to be sunny and warm. If you live on the coast, you will get the marine layer in the mornings, which usually burns off by mid-day. We do experience “June gloom” where the skies are overcast and it tends to be colder most of the days. The summers average 80-85 degrees inland and dip down to the mid 50’s. It’s a perfect place to live. We are not close to a fault line, but do get small mini-quakes. Best to be on the safe side and have a plan with food and water stored just in case.
South of Camp Pendleton Activities
What is there to do around Camp Pendleton you may be asking yourself?
Sea World: Parking is pretty spendy ($12)… Get discounts on admission at the ITT ticket office or 20% at the gate.
Wild Animal Park (west) and San Diego Zoo (south): If you are going on a one-time trip,get discount tickets at ITT. If you are stationed at Camp Pendleton, you may want to consider buying a family pass. Two adults in the same household can get a yearly pass for approximately $89. 1 adult pass is $71. Koala club for kids $24 (ages 3-11) and $28 (ages 12-17). When you become a member, you also get 2 free tickets for guests to come in. Click here to become a member or get more information. One trip to the zoo and one trip to the Wild Animal Park a year pays for itself by being a member. Parking is free at San Diego, $6 or $8 at the Wild Animal Park. Active duty military get in free.
Lego Land: Great theme park for children under 8. Tickets are very expensive, more so than the other parks in the San Diego area. Get discounts on admission at the ITT ticket office.
Padres Games: The San Diego Padres as a great way to spend an evening at Petco Park. The trolleys and trains run to the park nightly on game nights. Get discounted tickets at ITT.
San Diego Chargers: The San Diego Chargers games are a lot of fun…
USS Midway: The aircraft carrier has been fully restored and is a great way to spend the afternoon. Active duty members get in free, dependents get a discount.
Seaport Village: A great place to visit and check out many of the unique stores and walk along the ocean.
La Jolla Cove: A neat place to spend some time along the water. It offers a children’s beach, a seal beach, and a free protected park for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can walk along the rock beds and look for crabs and enjoy the beautiful weather.
East of Camp Pendleton Activities
Bates Nut Farm: Really great family place for Halloween and Fall festivals, arts and crafts shows as well as car shows.
Big Bear: Approximately 2 hours away. Big bear is known for its ski resort and lake and the military has discounted cabins for rent up there. It’s a quick drive up there. Check out ITT on base to book.
The Dinner Detective: America’s largest murder mystery comedy dinner show! You’ll solve a hilarious murder case while you enjoy a fantastic four-course plated dinner. A tantalizing Prize Package awaits our Top Sleuth of the evening. But be careful! everyone in the room is a suspect, even you, and the killer might be at your table!
North of Camp Pendleton Activities
Zoomars Petting Zoo: Park and walk to the petting zoo and enjoy for an hour or two. Afterwards, walk the area of downtown San Juan Capistrano and hit one of the many terrific restaurants or possibly the movie theater.
Irvine Park Railroad: Train rides, bikes and paddle boats, pony rides, orange county zoo, horse rentals and hiking. Also has a seasonal pumpkin patch.
Ocean Institute: Join scientists on a ship (Sea Explorer) for an in-depth study of whales, dolphins and sea lions using state of the art equipment. They also have exhibits and displays on site and several excursions available.
Aquarium of the Pacific: A fantastic aquarium located in Long Beach with lots of exhibits as well as a shark lagoon. You can feed lorikeet birds or opt to take a harbor cruise.
Knotts Berry Farm: Over 165 rides, shows and attractions located in Buena Park.
Disneyland: Located in Anaheim (about 1 hour 30 minutes from north Camp Pendleton). The tickets at ITT only save you a couple bucks, but they do get occasional military specials, so always check with them. Sometimes you can get better deals on Disneyland.
Island Express: Take a scenic helicopter ride to Catalina or take an aerial tour of Hollywood, Coastal California, and more!
Desert Activities (East 2+/- hours)
Riley’s Farms: A wonderful time to be had by all any time of the year. Year round civil war adventures, gold rush and homesteading acts. They have a pick-your-own-seasonal-fruit all throughout the year.
Cochella Fest: Annual festival in Indio, awhere you can enjoy music for three days including rock, indie, hip hop and more.
Stagecoach Country Music Festival:Annual festival in Indio (April) where country music fans flock for three days of music.
Cabazon Outlets: The place to go for a day of shopping, just outside of Palm Springs. Top it off with a visit to the local casino just minutes away for a night of gambling and entertainment.
Palm Springs Aerial Tram: This place is awesome. In the midst of summer heat, you can go up the tram and see and play in snow! The tram rotates and provides a fantastic view. Discounted tickets available for military. One of my husband’s platoons hiked from the bottom to the top! That’s impressive!
Palm Springs Resorts: So many great places to go check out for a weekend get away. We loved to take the kids down and buy day passes for the pool, enjoy the sun and eat poolside. Top rated resorts: Miramonte, Hotel Zoso, Parker Palm Springs, Viceroy Palm Springs, Rancho Las Palmas, Renaissance Esmeralda, La Quinta, JW Marriott.
LA / Hollywood (North 1 +/- hours)
Hollywood: Any girl whose seen pretty woman wants to go check out the Hollywood scene. “What’s your dream!?!” Most requested activities include the Hollywood sign, walking along the stars, seeing a film at the Kodak Theater. If you plan your visit right, you can attend a game show or talk show!
Original Farmer’s Market: Way cool shopping day. Located next to great stores for a day of walking. This farmer’s market isn’t like most you know. This is a fantastic place to discover a hundred different kinds of food from small vendors and unique shops.
Beverly Hills: If you want to experience everything that is beautiful about LA (including beautiful people, cars and total luxury) check out this place and Rodeo Drive.
Santa Monica: Check out this laid back place and discover Venice Beach (where people work out on the beach and there’s a long sidewalk along the beach next to eclectic shops), Third Street Promenade (great food, farmer’s markets, and street performers).
Griffith Park: Check out the Griffith Park Observatory, LA Zoo, The Autry, Griffith Park, Greek Theater, and Forrest Lawn Museum.
Universal Studios: Great place to get away with the family or bring out your inner kid.
The Getty: World famous museum housed in a beautiful building and grounds.