EV Trip: San Diego to Oceanside

By · June 25, 2014

Warm weather, great beaches, and proximity to top tourist destinations make San Diego a great spot for an EV getaway. With lots of charging opportunities situated along the coast, you’ll have easy access to hiking on seaside cliffs, building sand castles on the beach, and experiencing laid-back surfer culture. More adventurous EV drivers, willing to push the limits of range, are only a charge or two away from inland spas and state parks, as well as the desert oasis known as Palm Springs (125 miles northeast of San Diego).

EV Trips: San Diego, Torrey Pines and Oceanside

Source: Google Maps

1San Diego Zoo, and the Beach

San Diego Zoo and Charger

The world-famous San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park, is home to more than 3,700 animals—and five Level 2 EV chargers. The zoo’s chargers utilize energy generated from solar photovoltaic canopies in the parking lot.

The San Diego Zoo is the largest zoological member association in the world. The San Diego Zoo's approach to creating habitats for thousands of creatures—avoiding cages in favor of open-air naturalistic exhibits—pioneered a revolution in the field. There’s a lot to see, providing hours of engagement and plenty of time for your car to charge. Don’t miss the three adorable Giant Pandas.

After the zoo, it’s time to hit the beach, 10 miles to the west. If necessary, you can top up with a DC quick charge at Fashion Valley Mall on 7007 Friars Road. (It's an eVgo station that includes plugs for SAE combo cord ports.)

Consider the stretch of beach across from the 4300 block of Ocean Boulevard. At 4306 Ocean, you can find JT Estrela, San Diego's resident sand sculptor. His fantastical sand castle creations will delight you. If you get inspired, JT offers classes in which you create your own sand sculptures with his guidance.

Alternatively, consider a visit to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a 68-acre regional park along the western shoreline of the Point Loma peninsula. This unique coastal environment features expansive ocean views, dramatic cliff formations, and caves. The California Gray Whale can sometimes be seen offshore, in its annual migration to Baja California.

Before leaving town, make sure to sample one (or more) examples of San Diego’s signature food: the fish taco. Choose from among the dozen top-rated fish taco options enjoyed by locals.

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2The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Lodge at Torrey Pines and EV Charging

After a busy day in San Diego, you can retreat and recharge at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. There are three Level 2 charging stations in the parking garage—one near the entrance and two on the fourth floor. It will be difficult to find more delightful EV-friendly accommodations. Sunset Magazine recognizes The Lodge as a “Worlds Best Hotel.”

Overlooking a golf course, and with a view of the ocean, this La Jolla hotel features Craftsman-era design in 169 guest rooms and suites. The feeling is carried throughout the facility, with its beautiful grounds, Stickley-style furnishings, and an inviting fireplace in the lobby. There’s little reason to leave the hotel—with spa and dining on premises, and its golf course a few steps away. Yet, with replenished batteries, downtown La Jolla—five miles to the south—offers countless dining and shopping opportunities.

Make the time to check out the Torrey Pines State Reserve. A 20-30 minute walk to the reserve from The Lodge will put on one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast. There are eight miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, and guided nature walks through the area’s chaparral plant environment. Discover rare Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon populated by migrating seabirds.

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Oceanside, Carlsbad and nearby EV Charging

To extend your trip, head north along the coast to Oceanside. It’s only 20 miles away, but just past the halfway mark, you can gain access to DC quick charging—and great shopping—at Carlsbad Premium Outlets in Carlsbad.

The Oceanside Transit Center is five blocks from the beach. It offers seven Level 2 chargers powered by a 75kW solar canopy. Enter from Tremont Street.

Oceanside is home to the California Surf Museum. The museum serves as an international repository and resource center on the lifestyle sport of surfing. It captures, preserves and chronicles its culture, heritage, and art. To experience the sport first-hand, book a surfing lesson at Surfin Fire in Carlsbad. It’s a top-notch surfing school and camp run by local surfers, lifeguards, and firefighters. (Oceanside also offers traditional culture—at the Oceanside Museum of Art and the Mission San Luis, founded in 1798.)

Oceanside makes a good day trip from Torrey Pines, but if you feel like staying in Oceanside, consider the Southern California Beach Club, or Marriott Residence Inn San Diego Oceanside—both within walking distance from charging at the Transit Center. Or directly adjacent to the pier, there’s the Wyndham Oceanside Pier, which offers a Level 1 outlet for EV owners.

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4Backtrack to San Diego, or Travel East

Pechango Resort and Casino EV Charging

Weekend travelers can simply backtrack 40 or so miles to San Diego, but drivers wanting a bit more fun and adventure, can ponder a 30-mile excursion northeast to Temecula—and further to Palm Springs.

In Temecula, there are six AeroVironment charging stations—no RFID card required—located near the red card parking area of the Pechango Resort and Casino (shown above). Entertainment schedule in summer 2014 includes BB King, Lewis Black, and Smokey Robinson.

History buffs can take a stroll through Temecula Old Town—established 1859—and its historic bank, stores, schoolhouse, and jail.

Top up your EV at the casino, or between 9 am and 9 pm, get a DC quick charger at Quality Nissan on Motor Car Parkway. From there, it’s 68 miles to the Palm Springs resort area—where there are nearly 50 Level 2 charging spots, and another fast charger at Torre Nissan on Highway 111. Getting back to San Diego from Palm Springs requires a little planning and patience.

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New to EVs? Start here

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  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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