Del Mar and Torrey Pines, California, USA (Our Home Town)

Del Mar and Torrey Pines, California, USA (Our Home Town) - We lived in Del Mar for 27 years. Del Mar is so wonderful that when we travel to wonderful places in the world, we still love to get back to our “reality”.
View from Our Home Los Penaquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines Beach
View from Our Former Home 
- Los Penaquitos Lagoon & Torrey Pines Beach

It amazes us that people around the world know Del Mar because it is so small with a population of only 4,500. Maybe we shouldn’t - Del Mar is a very special place! It lives up to its slogan... Where the surf meets the turf.

Downtown Del Mar Americana Restaurant California
Downtown Del Mar - Americana Restaurant
Del Mar Race Track Del Mar California USA
Del Mar Race Track - 
Del Mar, California, USA

Del Mar is a charming, laid back town known for its exceptional weather, quant village and homes, world famous racetrack, the San Diego county fair, and fabulous beaches. Located 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego, Del Mar has a Bavarian-style village and one of the prettiest beaches in California with views up the coast to Orange County and down the coast to La Jolla. Del Mar is well known for the Del Mar Race Track and thoroughbred horse racing in July and August (see the interesting history of Del Mar and the race track below).

Seaside Concert at Seagrove Park Del Mar California
Seaside Concert at Seagrove Park 
- Del Mar, California
Famous for its weather, Del Mar's climate is considered sub-tropical with warm dry summers and milder winters, and is considered one of the most desirable in the United States. Del Mar rarely gets above 85 °F and rarely below 60 degrees – most days year round are in the 70’s.

Beautiful Del Mar Beach Del Mar California
Beautiful Del Mar Beach - 
Del Mar, California
Young Surfers at Del Mar Beach Del Mar California
Young Surfers at Del Mar Beach -
Del Mar, California
Del Mar Beach with Seagrove Park is one our favorite beaches in San Diego. With 2 miles of coastline with gentle waves, it is an ideal destination for beach lovers. I love to beach comb picking up shells and beach glass and enjoying some of the most beautiful people in San Diego. Surfers also love Del Mar for its good waves. You can watch them almost every day. There is even a small dog beach. During the summer, Del Mar runs its own world-class lifeguard programs making the Del Mar Beach one of the safest in California. The Jake’s and Poseidon restaurants right on the beach with valet parking offer very nice dining watching the waves roll in.

Downtown Del Mar Del Mar Flower Company
Downtown Del Mar -  
Del Mar Flower Company
The historic downtown Del Mar village dates back to 1880’s (see interesting history below) and has 22 restaurants, some with sidewalk sitting and others providing outside patios overlooking the ocean. The main part of Del Mar is at the corner of 15th Street and Camino Del Mar. Park anywhere you can but keep in mind that they ticket right on time for parking time limits. Paid parking is usually available under the Del Mar Plaza at the northeast corner of the above-mentioned intersection.

Del Mar Plaza Downtown Del Mar California
Del Mar Plaza - Downtown Del Mar
Restaurant Overlooking Del Mar Beach California
Restaurant Overlooking Del Mar Beach
The Del Mar Plaza is unique and has more than 160,000 sq. ft. of public space incorporated with comfortable seating and panoramic ocean views. With 22 distinctive stores and boutiques, you can shop for designer clothing and shoes, fine jewelry, artwork, and home décor. The Del Mar Plaza has several very good restaurants including some of our favorites: Il Fornaio, Pacifica Cafe, Pacific Breeze, and Rendezvous. Eating at these restaurants includes validation for parking fees. There is a Starbucks on that corner and the Americana restaurant across the street is very nice for breakfast. We enjoy En Fuego down the street for good Mexican food.

Lovely Seagrove Park Del Mar California USA
Lovely Seagrove Park - 
Del Mar, California, USA

Located above Del Mar Beach with spectacular ocean views, Seagrove Park and adjoining Powerhouse Park are ideal grassy locations for a picnic or a wedding, walking a dog, catching a romantic sunset, or for simply gazing at the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Throughout the summer there are free concerts in the park.

Torrey Pines Beach California
Torrey Pines Beach - California
Torrey Pines Beach State Park in Spring California
Torrey Pines Beach & State Park in Spring
Just south of the village of Del Mar is Torrey Pines Beach and State Reserve where we live next to. This area is outstanding and is one of San Diego’s best attractions! You can park at one of the two lots at the beach or drive up the Torrey Pines hill and park in the parking lot in the State Reserve. From these parking lots you can explore the beach and/or State Reserve.

Guy Fleming Trail Torrey Pines State Park California
Guy Fleming Trail - 
Torrey Pines State Park
At Torrey Pines, 2000 acres of land are as they were before San Diego was developed with the chaparral plants, the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds. The walking trails up in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve are wonderful. We especially like Guy Fleming trail that takes you through pine trees to an overlook for breathtaking ocean views.

Torrey Pines Tree Torrey Pines State Park California
Torrey Pines Tree - 
Torrey Pines State Park
The endangered Torrey Pine tree is the rarest pine tree in North America growing naturally only in Torrey Pines State Reserve and one island off the coast from Santa Barbara. Exposed trees battered by coastal winds are often twisted into beautiful sculptural shapes resembling large bonsai and rarely exceed 40 tall.

Torrey Pines State Beach California
Torrey Pines State Beach - California
Torrey Pines is famous for the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course, home of the 2008 U.S. Open. Situated atop cliffs towering above the Pacific Ocean, golfers can marvel at the views of the coastline, deep ravines, and classic championship golf holes.

We believe nearby San Diego is one of the best cities in the world – OK, we are a bit prejudiced. San Diego is home of the world famous San Diego Zoo (it is wonderful), Safari Park, Sea World, Legoland, art and anthropology museums in Balboa Park, beautiful La Jolla, downtown Gaslamp Quarter, many great beaches, Padres baseball, amazingly diverse dining and shopping, and much more.
Old Town Trolley in Gaslamp Quarter San Diego California USA
Old Town Trolley in Gaslamp Quarter 
- San Diego, California, USA

San Diego’s Old Town Trolley, a hop on / hop off small bus-like vehicle, goes to many of San Diego's attractions where you can get on and off and visit a number of fun and interesting places (i.e. Hotel Del Coronado, downtown Gaslamp Quarter, Embarcadero (Star of India & USS Midway Museum), Seaport Village, Balboa Park, Old Town, Little Italy). It is fun just to ride it because the drivers give a fun history of San Diego.

Some other San Diego favorites of ours are: La Jolla is beautiful. Mission Beach is a popular beach with a boardwalk and s mall amusement park and rollercoaster (Belmont Park) – great for the whole family. As far as eating, San Diego is a complete yum! We do fish, Mexican, and Asian well here and have every kind of food you can think of. Try fish tacos.

Los Penaquitos Lagoon Torrey Pines State Park California
Los Penaquitos Lagoon 
& Torrey Pines State Park
Some Del Mar history... (Note: If you are interested in seeing interesting original photos of the history of Del Mar and the celebrities that made it home, check out the historical hallway that can be accessed at the back of the Americana restaurant at the corner of 15th Street and Camino Del Mar.)

Moon Over Donut Hole Torrey Pines State Park California
Moon Over Donut Hole  -
Torrey Pines State Park
In 1882, Theodore Loop came to southern California to build a railroad connecting Los Angeles and San Diego. He liked the area so much he told people that he had “found the most attractive place on the entire coast”. Del Mar was named by Loop’s wife, Ella, from a popular poem titled The Fight of Paseo Del Mar. Jacob Taylor purchased 338 acres in 1885 and began building a new resort town. To entertain visitors, Taylor built a dance pavilion on the beach and a large swimming pool that went out into the ocean called a Natatorium. Del Mar became a popular vacation destination.

Sunset Over Torrey Pines Beach Los Penaquitos Lagoon California
Sunset Over Torrey Pines Beach 
& Los Penaquitos Lagoon
In 1900 the South Coast Land Company purchased a large part of Del Mar. Their first project was the grand resort hotel called the Stratford Inn built on the hill overlooking the beach. This is where L’Auberge Hotel is today. When the beautiful Stratford Inn opened for business, it was a world-class hotel built on 10 acres and quickly became the desired destination for Hollywood’s silent film stars. The now revered Stratford Square was built at this time.

The Del Mar Fair opened to great fanfare in 1936, a yearly tradition that continues. The mile-long oval thoroughbred racetrack was completed a year after the fair opened. One of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s prominent founders, singer Bing Crosby, became the President of the Turf Club and movie star friend Pat O’Brien became the Vice President. Crosby coined the famous lyrics, which live on today, “Where the surf meets the turf, down in old Del Mar”.

Multi-Million Homes Del Mar Beach California
Multi-Million Homes on Del Mar Beach
For decades the summer racing season has brought crowds to Del Mar along with many Hollywood celebrities such as Pat O’Brien, Jimmy and Marge Durante, Lucy and Desi Arnez, Burt Bacharach, and Angie Dickenson. All made Del Mar their second home and it continues to remain a favorite of many celebrities today.

In the 1970’s the emphasis of the local Del Mar government shifted towards slow growth, open spaces, and preservation. Because of the efforts of an active group called the Friends of Del Mar, there will never be high-rise apartment buildings or billboards in the Del Mar.

Please see our other 11 blog posts on beautiful California:

Santa Barbara, California

San Francisco & Berkley, California

California Driving Trip of the Northern Coast and Wine Country – Highway 101, Napa, Sonoma, & Mendocino

Hollywood Walk of Fame - Hollywood, California

Coronado Marriott Resort - Coronado, California

Laguna Beach, California

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