Visiting one of the largest cities in the US – the beautiful city of San Diego – is always a unique experience every single time. Perhaps it’s because there are so many things to do and so many places to visit in San Diego that every time I visit this city, I manage to discover something extraordinary which is rare in any other part of the world. This time I decided to explore the popular national parks which lie within the city limits and I was completely enthralled by the experience. The national parks are so near the city but once you’re inside them, you would feel as if you are far away from civilization – that’s how amazing the parks are.
THE TORREY PINES STATE NATURAL RESERVE
This was the first place where I decided to go. When I checked the website of the reserve for details, I found them describing the park as a “wilderness island in an urban sea”. Trust me when I say I realised just how true it was! The reserve’s ecosystem is home to the rarest pine tree species in the country – the Pinus torreyana. It is truly a marvellous sight with countless pine trees stretching on for what seems like miles and miles. When I had visited the place, I had the fortune of witnessing the clouds mingling among the trees and the green tip of the trees fading off into the misty whiteness of the clouds. It was incredible!
Since the reserve is open to visitors only during the day, I had to begin early in the morning. I decided to have a heavy breakfast in San Diego since no food is allowed inside and the after paying a reasonable fee of $10 (for a day-long pass) I enetered the beautiful Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Apart from the rich but fragile ecosystem in the reserve-which I feel would be extremely educational as well as entertaining for kids-I discovered the most popular region of the reserve. They were the beaches – long, clean, uncrowded, unspoilt beaches. This was heaven for a person like me who just loves water and the marine animals were equally fascinating as well.
On going a little farther I found the lagoon which is also a popular site. Though I couldn’t identify many of them, there were lots and lots of colourful birds which were definitely worth visiting this part of the reserve. Though I didn’t find any food inside the park, the visit was totally worth the hunger!
MISSION TRAILS REGIONAL PARK
I visited this park the next day and was surprised to find such open spaces just a few minutes away from all the downtown San Diego companies! There are valleys, hills and the popular open spaces which are used for camps, running, hiking and even riding bikes. I found the park to be huge! Later, I found out that the park is spread over 5800 acres and is one of the largest urban parks in the US.
I found the picturesque Kumeyaay Lake to be very fascinating and enjoyed the boating experience on Lake Murray. Then I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the equestrian area and then spent the remainder of my time fishing in the lake!
San Diego is truly lucky to have these marvellous parks so close to the urban jungle of the city!