windansea beach and bluff with clear blue skies

San Diego’s Off the Beaten Path Adventures

There are so many amazing things to do in San Diego and the surrounding areas! From popular theme parks like SeaWorld San Diego to local landmarks like the San Diego Zoo,there’s something for everyone. But beyond these well-known spots, there’s also a plethora of hidden gems in San Diego that you definitely don’t want to miss during your stay at Humphreys Half Moon Inn. Many of these hidden treasures are just a hop, skip, and a jump from your room, making your adventure both convenient and fun! From breathtaking viewpoints of the San Diego skyline to quirky local shops perfect for great photo opportunities, be sure to add these off-the-beaten-path experiences to your “to-do” list. If you’re looking for a true San Diego adventure, unique experiences await in our beautiful city by the bay.

Get Off the Beaten Path with these Non-Touristy Things to Do in San Diego

Sunset Views at Trumbell and Ullman Streets (1.1 Miles to Hotel)

Looking for a great spot to catch the sunset during your San Diego visit? Instead of making your way to the stunning, yet popular Sunset Cliffs area, head off the beaten path just over the hill from our hotel to one of our local’s best-kept secret spots. Just over the hill from our hotel, where Trumbull & Ullman Streets meet, is a great hilltop view of San Diego’s skyline. Snap a sunset photo that not many tourists will have in their camera roll!

Wonderland in Ocean Beach (3.3 Miles to Hotel)

This oceanfront restaurant is just minutes from Humphreys Half Moon Inn, making it a “must-do” for at least one evening during your visit to San Diego. A local favorite, it offers a unique nightly tradition: a sunset toast. Join in the fun at Wonderland in Ocean Beach, where you can enjoy a shot and toast the sunset along with the entire bar. With beautiful sunset views and fantastic happy hour specials, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

cocktail overlooking beach and sunset in ocean beach

Harper’s Topiary Garden (5.0 Miles to Hotel)

Topiary, the art of shaping bushes and hedges into whimsical forms, is alive and well at Alex and Edna Harper’s Mission Hills home. Harper’s Topiary Gardens is a fun, manicured showcase of plants that are expertly trimmed into the form of geometric shapes, human figures, and animals, and is open for visits from well-mannered visitors throughout the year.

Topiary garden

(Photo: @yayitzel)


Spruce Street Suspension Bridge (5.2 Miles to Hotel)

This non-touristy adventure is tucked away in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego. Spanning 400 feet across Sessions Canyon and 70 feet above it, the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was built in 1912 in order to get to the new trolley stops and is now a place locals like to visit for a little heart-racing excitement and great photo ops!

spruce street suspension bridge


Verbatim Books in North Park (10.4 Miles to Hotel)

This local San Diego bookstore is a fun escape from traditional tourist attractions. With a cool and funky vibe, Verbatim Books offers a unique shopping experience beyond your typical Barnes & Noble bookstore and features a fun book sculpture background that is perfect for social media posts featuring eclectic and non-touristy things to do in San Diego.

girl standing in front of verbatin books sculpture


Pinpoint Cafe (12.3 Miles to Hotel)

This beautiful open-air hilltop café in La Jolla is one of the best hidden secrets in San Diego. Its picture-perfect location perched on top of a hill with breathtaking views of the ocean and Scripps Pier is magical. Choose from healthy menu items like acai bowls and avocado toast as well as handcrafted coffees, juices, and smoothies – all with beautiful ocean views.

(Video: @krimandsugar)


Trilogy Sanctuary (12.7 Miles to Hotel)

Located in La Jolla, Trilogy Sanctuary is a rooftop cafe and outdoor yoga studio that was created to provide a place that inspires people to lead a healthy lifestyle, nurtures balance, and helps to be one with nature. The vibrant wellness center offers yoga studios, aerial yoga, a rooftop vegan and organic café, spiritual counseling, juice cleanses, and even a fun boho boutique and event venue! Nourish the mind, body, and spirit at Trilogy Sanctuary.

(Photograph of Trilogy Sanctuary by Gricelda Alva Brito: @somatic_restorative_healing)


Best Secret Beaches in San Diego (10 to 50 Miles to Hotel)

Our 70 miles of coastline in San Diego offers some of the best-kept secret beaches that are definitely worth visiting during your stay at Humphreys Half Moon Inn. Locals love these private beaches that offer gorgeous views and fewer crowds for the perfect beach day. Add Swami’s Beach, Fletcher Cove Beach Park, and Windansea Beach to your list of best beaches off the beaten path!

WIndansea Beach


San Diego’s Best Waterfront Hotel is Humphreys Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island

Guests have easy access to all the amazing hidden gems and non-touristy spots in San Diego during a stay at Humphreys Half Moon Inn. Relax in our spacious and inviting guest rooms and suites and enjoy deluxe amenities and a modern tropical décor that reflects the essence of a tranquil island retreat. Our waterfront Shelter Island location is the perfect summer escape for adventures to all of the best hidden secrets in San Diego. From waking up to serene bay views to rocking out at Humphreys By the Bay concerts, there is no better place to be than Humphreys Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island. Book your waterfront San Diego vacation today!