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5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Orange County Instead Of San Diego This Year

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“Sunny San Diego”, as it's commonly known, is often seen as one of the best beach getaways on the West Coast.

Most years it lives up to the hype, but 2024 even has locals (such as yours truly) up in arms with frustrations both old and new.

Scenic coastline of Laguna Beach, CA

Those looking to head West for a beach trip may want to go an hour or so north of America's Finest City for a better vacation.

Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Orange County instead of San Diego this year:

Sewage Spewage

Border wall dividing Tijuana, Mexico and Imperial Beach, California

Lots can be said about California in terms of how they handle things.

Beach closures during the pandemic, gas prices the highest in the nation, banning plastic bags while everything sold in stores is plastic…the list goes on and on.

One thing California can't control is the constant sewage spilling into San Diego's oceans and seemingly creeping up further north year by year.

So much so the Port of San Diego has declared a local emergency. Normally, the southernmost beach town Imperial Beach is rarely swimmable given it neighbors “The Wall”.

What isn't normal is how far north unsafe bacteria-infested waters are reaching to the point of closing down popular beaches, such as Coronado, home to the iconic Hotel del Coronado.

While California says its hands are tied while awaiting funding from Congress, it wouldn't be fair to throw Mexico's lack of sufficient infrastructure under the bus as San Diego has had similar incidents to the point of being fined $4.6 million.

At least twice in the past year, the city has spewed contaminated raw sewage into its own bodies of water, including the very popular Pacific Beach.

The whole situation just stinks.

Welcome To The Apocalypse

Homeless encampments in downtown San Diego

Welcome to the apocalypse, it's all fun and games. Okay, those aren't quite the lyrics and the truth is San Diego is fun and games…if you can ignore the eyesores.

The popular beach city passed a new law in June 2023 banning public campsites, which was supposed to clean up city streets.

The truth is there was a noticeable difference in the following weeks after passing the law, but it seems city officials and law enforcement have a short memory.

Homeless encampments resembling a zombie invasion are still lining streets throughout Downtown the most, but are easily noticeable at beaches, in the ‘burbs, and along your journey to all of the above as many overpasses are visible makeshift shelters.

Not So Sunny

Flooded boardwalk at Mission Beach in San Diego

Ever been to a destination that hasn't quite lived up to its name?

That may be the case should you book a trip to Sunny San Diego this year.

While it's common for May and June to be a bit moody with locals giving those months the names of “May Gray” and June Gloom”, the other 10 months have no excuse.

With more and more rainy days resulting in severe floods and even a tornado warning, vacationers are at risk of spending their days indoors.

The Airport Is A Madhouse

Plane landing at SAN

Southern Californias are used to airport frustrations as many of us make the dreadful trip to LAX for more, and oftentimes cheaper, flight options.

That being said, since San Diego's airport (SAN) is undergoing construction for a brand new terminal, traffic can be an absolute unpredictable nightmare.

Lanes have been narrowed and rearranged turning Harbor Drive into a standstill during peak flight times.

The good news is it was recently announced the project is on time and 60 percent complete, so this won't last too much longer.

The OC Is A Better Value And Experience

Aerial view of San Clemete pier

It's hard to knock San Diego, but travelers should definitely be aware of what they're signing up for vacationing here this year.

Just an hour away, Orange County has clean beaches, a smaller airport with new, cheap flights, and let's be real – have you ever seen a homeless encampment at Laguna Beach?

Nope. It just doesn't happen. From San Clemente, and Dana Point, to the ritzy beach towns of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, vacationing here is a safer bet without year-round concerns of beach closures.

Plus, San Diego sure tries with LEGOLAND, Belmont Park, and Sesame Place, but Disneyland will always trump them all.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.