Collection locations for car hire in San Diego
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Alamo/National opening hours: (young driver package available here)
- 04.00 – 23.59 Mon – Sun
Dollar opening hours:
- 04.30 – 23.59 Mon – Sun
Fox opening hours (off airport):
- 04.00 – 01.30 Mon – Sun
San Diego is the southernmost major city of California and home to the world renowned San Diego Zoo. SeaWorld San Diego is another strong lure with killer whales to be seen up close. But if you prefer your nature more natural – then you could try whale watching for real, off the coast here. Mexico is just a few miles away, and while rental cars generally can’t be driven into Mexico, you can get a taste of the country at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Places to visit
San Diego Zoo
This zoo is a wonderful place to take children – the zoo lays on lots of activities for them. The zoo is home to more than 4,500 animals from all corners of the globe: Giant panda’s from China, koalas from Australia, elephants and lions from Africa, tigers from Asia… The list goes on and on! But the absolute highlight for us was Shiley’s Cheetah Run. Using a similar technique to greyhound racing, a cuddly toy is drawn along the ground – with a cheetah in hot pursuit as it gets a chance to run at full pelt after the toy – 70 mph! The cheetah run is included with any of the safaris – and you have a choice which way you safari too. We chose the traditional, open tram, but you could take a Jungle Ropes walk safari or, for the truly adventurous, there is even an aerial zip-wire – Flightline Safari! Rather you than me for that one!
SeaWorld San Diego
We love SeaWorld Orlando, so we had to visit SeaWorld San Diego whilst we were here. Shamu and his family perform the beautiful One Ocean display, the Manta roller coaster glides through the park (still not brave enough to ride it!) and Journey to Atlantis is here in all its wet glory!
Legoland is perfect for younger children, perhaps up to the age of 12 at the top end. The mini replicas of San Francisco, New York and Las Vegas are quite inspiring. The rides here are much tamer than you will find in other theme parks – but there are still height restrictions which can be a little frustrating. Still worth a visit though if your Lego fan is the right age.
We visited these attractions and more, using the Go San Diego card – which includes admission to 45 area attractions. As the Safari and the Zoo are separately ticket attractions – the Go San Diego card really made financial sense.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
In return for the visits to the zoo and Legoland, we felt we were entitled to a little history and culture, so we headed to the Old Town to immerse ourselves. Here museums and historic buildings illustrate the different periods of San Diego’s history, under Mexican rule and American rule. There are also lots of touristy shops and restaurants, but it does get busy in the evenings – so if you have a family you may want to eat relatively early.
Temecula wine region
The region between San Diego and Los Angeles is known as the Temecula wine region and back in the 19 th Century, Southern California was the main producer for wines from this state. Calloway winery is just one of over 25 wineries in the region where the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes are predominent. Drinking and driving a hire car would completely invalidate your insurance packages if your Blood Alcohol Concentration exceeded 0.08 percent – so that you don’t miss out, you can sign up for the Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle which will guide you around the vineyards of the region offering as much or as little involvement in your day as you would like. When you are tasting the wines don’t forget to hold your glass by the stem – the heat from your hand will raise the temperature of the wine if you hold it by the bowl!