Most husbands find it a little tricky to pick out a gift for their wives. They think about getting jewelry, realize she probably won’t like it anyway. They might get roses, but those only last so long. Maybe a spa day or massage membership, but finding the time to use it becomes an issue. So, I have to say… my mom and I are very lucky that our husbands buy us adventures for our gifts!
One Sunday, as Mike and my stepdad, Paul, were golfing, they started talking about Christmas gift ideas for their wives. Mike was still really up in the air about what to get me, but he knew I preferred experiences over things. Paul started telling Mike about how cool it is to rent out yachts for a weekend. It’s romantic, adventurous, and quite an experience. Mike realized just how perfect that would be for me, so both my mom and I opened the same gift that Christmas – a yacht vacation in San Diego (thanks, Paul, for Mike’s inspiration).
We are all about experiences but also all about doing them inexpensively. So, I HAD to know the cost of my gift! It turns out, yachting in San Diego is totally affordable and much more memorable than a hotel stay.
So, what does it cost to stay on a yacht in the San Diego Bay? For a three bedroom yacht from Zolna Yachts, we paid $250/night (including taxes and fees). Just one room in a nearby hotel comes out to around $200/night and usually doesn’t even include parking! Ok, we rented a three bedroom for just the two of us, so you could definitely bring the price down even more with another couple or two!
Cost aside, the yacht was beautiful. It reminded us of a very upscale RV in that space was efficiently used and each detail was perfected to give it a luxurious feel. The owners of Zolna Yachts, Amos and Shari, gave a detailed tour and orientation of the yacht so we felt extremely comfortable using everything right away. There is a surprising amount of cooking space inside the yacht and seating both in the yacht and on the deck of the yacht.
Since we are the exploring type, so we didn’t stay on the yacht the whole time. And because the marina is located in such a central area, we didn’t have to worry about transportation. It was cheaper to Uber wherever we went than it was to rent a car for the weekend (not to mention we avoided the parking nightmare of Southern California). Each Uber we took was less than $10, even when we went out at night.
We visited all of our favorite places in San Diego: Point Loma, Liberty Station, Little Italy, Downtown San Diego, Pacific Beach, and a waterfront San Diego Bay walk. Typically, going to each of these locations is super expensive, but we let the discounts lead the way. We saved money by going to the grocery store upon our arrival to pick up the necessities (champagne, easy-to-prepare snacks, fruits, and some munchies for our nights out). *Shout out to The Spicy Apron for helping us come up with easy recipes with minimal cleanup!*
Overall, this was a 5/5 trip. It was exciting, relaxing, luxurious, and relatively inexpensive. If you ever want to experience the yacht life in San Diego, Zolna Yachts is a must! Although we didn’t charter a yacht this trip, there are many different options available if you want to truly experience the yacht life. Check out our pictures below for more details on each of our favorite places and email us at hi@RichLivingLessSpending.com for exclusive discounts for your very own yacht vacation. 🙂
- Point Loma
- Ordered: amazing seafood special of the day for lunch
- Price: $20-25 for both of us with plenty of leftovers
The Shout! House, Downtown San Diego (THIS IS A MUST)
- Ordered: two big ass beers (that’s what they are really called)
- Price: $8/ 32 oz. beer with $6 refills
We ended up spending the whole night here. It’s a fun dueling piano bar. We met up with one of my best friends who was doing travel nursing in San Diego at the time. She ended up taking her boyfriend the week after and her visiting friends the week after that! It is so fun and inexpensive. Mike’s aunt used to work here back in the day, so it has become a go-to spot for us each time we visit.
TIP: Get there super early to get a table. (Dinner time or earlier). Get there early just to get a spot to stand! We didn’t mind standing the whole time because it was fun to dance and sing along with the pianists.
Little Italy – walked to and from here from Shout House
- Ordered: AMAZING pizza at 2 am
- Price: who cares at that point? About $5/slice
Soda & Swine – Liberty Station
- Ordered: huge meatball sliders and milkshakes for lunch – they are sooooo filling. You really only need one slider each!
- Price: $4 per slider
San Diego Bay walk from Seaport Village to the marina
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes – you could spend hours walking around
- Price: free
The marina is located so close to some of the best sights in San Diego, so it’s a short walk to see whatever you want to along the boardwalk. We got to listen to live music, explore iconic San Diego sights, and see cool vendors along the way.
TIP: you don’t need to buy anything along the way if you don’t want to. This is a fun, cheap way to see a ton of cool stuff. I highly recommend doing this walk regardless of where you stay in San Diego!
Confession: We still play Pokémon Go. Yes, all my siblings think we are lame because that is SOOOO last year. Oh well! Pokéstops are a great way to find unique sites you would otherwise just walk past without even a second glimpse.
Pokéstops include statutes, murals, fountains, landmarks, and other random interesting sites. Mike is from San Diego, so he never really did the touristy stuff. While we played Pokémon Go, we found so many little bonus artistic sites that we wouldn’t normally even notice. I recommend playing Pokémon Go while on vacation to find cool, unique places. I don’t mean walk with your head down and ignore your surroundings, but I do think it’s worth opening the app to see what’s around you.
- Ordered: a romantic Italian dinner through Postmates
- Price: $30 and so nice to have a quiet evening on the water watching the sunset
TIP: I highly recommend staying on the yacht for breakfast to watch all the boats come in as well as having a few meals on board to enjoy the company of whoever you are with. Postmates was perfect since we didn’t have a car and wanted to have great food while on the water.
Pacific Beach vs. Mission Beach
Most Arizonans have heard of Mission Beach, San Diego. It’s a hot spot for spring breakers at U of A and ASU as well as high school students with forgiving parents. I had only experienced Mission in the typical “Go Wildcats” way until I met Mike. I had no idea that Pacific Beach, which is right next to Mission Beach, even existed (I was born in Manhattan Beach area and never ventured south of Orange County until college).
I totally wanted a relaxing beach trip and was not too excited about heading to that area because I imagined swarms of underage college and high school students everywhere. Well, Mike showed me that Pacific Beach is a calmer, less crowded alternative to Mission Beach. Don’t get me wrong, Mission is awesome! There are rides and shops on the beach, making it fun for families. I just wanted a calmer time on this trip after being in our relaxing yacht all weekend.
So, we walked along the less crowded Pacific Beach with ice cream cones and smiles on our faces. There is still a lot to do at Pacific Beach -just with a little less craziness. I’m sure some San Diego locals/frequent visitors may disagree, but I recommend visiting both for yourself. You could easily spend an entire day at each 🙂
Our next San Diego adventure will be renting a mansion for 15 people in Mission Bay! Stay tuned by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Email us at hi@RichLivingLessSpending.com for exclusive discounts for your very own yacht vacation.
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