San Diego Vacations

With so many different things to do, you'll need TWO San Diego vacations!

San Diego vacations come in all shapes in sizes. Movie buffs, military history enthusiasts, and those who just like sun and beaches, all have a reason the take San Diego vacations.

Lights, Camera, Action: San Diego Vacations!

Most families have one. You know who I mean...that person who approaches their home movies with the same artistic eye and attention to detail that are the hallmark of award-winning filmmakers. From finding that perfect, picturesque backdrop to staging the scene for maximum effect, the family filmmaker ensures that the amazing vacation experiences are captured forever in a way that evokes the magic of the trip itself.

When Hollywood goes looking for the perfect setting for their next big screen flick, they look no farther than San Diego. The area’s spectacular natural beauty, friendly locals and wealth of colorful and unique attractions have made it the film industry’s go-to location for creating movie magic. Why not cast San Diego in a starring role in your family’s next vacation blockbuster?

I feel the need...the need for speed

Those eight words earned 1986’s "Top Gun" on the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 film quotes of all time. Filmed at area landmarks including the former Naval Training Center and Miramar National Air Station, the box office hit drew the world’s attention to San Diego's rich military history.

While the Miramar National Air Station isn't regularly open to the public, consider planning your San Diego vacation around its annual MCAS Miramar Air Show, held in early October. Maverick and Goose would have certainly found a receptive crowd for their highflying antics at this award-winning air show, featuring the best in marine aviation.

While many of the actual movie locations are not open to the public, the area offers many interactive tributes to America's military. Explore the 4-acre flight deck of the USS Midway and experience first-hand what life on this floating city was like for the Navy personnel stationed on board. Offering more than 60 exhibits and 25 restored aircraft, you won't want to miss the self-guided audio tour narrated by the Midway veterans who called the massive ship home during its 47-year tour of duty.

Fan of military history? Another not-to-be-missed attraction while on your San Diego vacation is the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation. As the only museum dedicated to the preservation of U.S. Marine Corps aviation history, it houses a unique collection of vintage aircraft and military memorabilia dating back to the earliest days of the Corps.

From Red Hot to Emerald Green

While on their own San Diego vacations, Hollywood royalty often found their way to the Hotel del Coronado. Built in 1888, the grand lady has seen her fair share of screen time — most notably, in the classic 1959 comedy "Some Like It Hot" starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Considered by many to be the film's other leading lady, the resort’s iconic Victorian architecture and relaxing setting were said to bring out the best in Marilyn, who was notoriously difficult on movie sets.

The hotel's peaceful setting was also credited with helping another famous name find his muse. An inspired L. Frank Baum is said to have written "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" during his months-long stays at the Hotel del Coronado, even modeling Oz after the resort. Now you can experience the property much the way the stars did on a one-hour guided tour offered exclusively by the Coronado Museum of History and Art.

Spectacular Spectres

Filmed for $11,000 in the director's two-story house in a quiet San Diego neighborhood, the 2009 indie blockbuster "Paranormal Activity" picked up where "The Blair Witch Project" left off. While that house’s hauntings may be more special effect than spectre effect, you don't have to look far to find a haunted house with a strong ghostly presence. The Whaley House on San Diego Avenue is the most haunted house in America according to the Travel Channel's "America’s Most Haunted." Built in 1841 as a private residence, the house is now a museum. If you're brave of heart, you'll want to take the late-night Ghost Hunting Tour, offered the last Friday of each month.

Where the Bison Roam

Just a short ferry ride from the Southern California coastline lies an island paradise that is a perennial Hollywood favorite. Picturesque Santa Catalina Island has served as a backdrop for more than 225 films, earning it the distinction of being "Hollywood's exotic back lot." What made it popular with filmmakers is what also makes it popular with visitors — its untouched mountains and stunning beaches offer limitless possibilities.

Less than a mile from the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter and the famed attractions of Balboa Park, WorldMark San Diego is the perfect base for a film lover’s exploration of the city.

As swashbucklers, Charles Laughton and Clark Gable battled it out in Catalina Harbor in 1935's Academy Award-winning adventure "Mutiny on the Bounty." When filming ended, all remnants of the movie's tall ships and re-created Tahitian village went with it. That was not the case for all movie productions taking place on the island. Legend has it that the herd of North American Bison that freely roams the hills of Catalina were brought to the island during the filming of Zane Grey’s "The Vanishing American" in 1924. While the film's island scenes landed on the cutting room floor, the bison bring an enduring touch of the surreal to the island's charm.

Setting the Stage for Your Picture Perfect Vacation

When casting the role of your home-awayfrom-home in the area, you can choose between the historic, Art Deco-inspired WorldMark San Diego in the heart of the city or the relaxing, suburban vibe of WorldMark San Diego – Mission Valley.

WorldMark San Diego (Ask about availability) is a part of the city's history. Built in 1928 using a rich, rose mason brick, the resort’s subsequent renovations haven’t sacrificed its genteel charm.

"With its unique abstract carpet designed specifically for the resort by Italian artists, polished brass railings, mosaic glass, polished woods and romantic lighting, the resort itself is a work of art," says Resort Manager Thomas Stuart with obvious pride. “And my staff and I treat it as such with its upkeep.”

As a complement to the area's outstanding restaurants, the resort's 69 studio and one-bedroom units offer fully equipped kitchens for those quiet nights spent dining in. Considered by many to be the resort's best feature, the rooftop deck couples an elegant, yet homey design with breathtaking views of some of the city's landmarks. From comfy lounge chairs, you can reflect on your day in "America’s Finest City" with the Coronado Bay Bridge and Balboa Park as your scenic backdrop.

What the property lacks in amenities — a pool and on-site parking — it more than makes up for with its prime location. Less than a mile from the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter and the famed attractions of Balboa Park, WorldMark San Diego is the perfect base for a film lover's exploration of the city.

Nestled in the San Diego suburb of the same name, WorldMark San Diego – Mission Valley (Ask about availability) is a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its Spanish-inspired architecture and its naturally warm color palette, the resort is an oasis for your San Diego vacation.

This resort's 167 one- and two-bedroom units each come with a fully equipped kitchen. You'll also be able to take full advantage of San Diego's famed sunny weather at the property’s outdoor pool and spa. An easy 10-minute drive from the sights and sounds of downtown San Diego, WorldMark San Diego – Mission Valley truly offers you the best of both worlds when it comes to directing your own San Diego vacation experience.

This article on San Diego vacations is based on an article in our timeshare owner's magazine.

Ask about enjoying your San Diego vacations at WorldMark San Diego and/or WorldMark San Diego – Mission Valley
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