Hotels in South Bay

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What you should know about South Bay

Tucked behind San Diego Bay as it curves southwards towards the border, the South Bay area includes thriving harbor-front communities, wildlife refuges, rolling hills and marinas. As well as being one of the most diverse and inexpensive parts of San Diego, South Bay cities like Chula Vista hold onto their own special charm, while still providing easy access to the bigger neighbor to the north. And of course to that even bigger neighbor to the south, Mexico, only a short drive away.

Hotels in South Bay

Because they're in an area often overlooked by visitors, South Bay hotels are generally on the inexpensive side. Chula Vista is the most popular, with a wide variety of inns, motels and bigger chains along its East Street. The most highly-rated hotel here is the Holiday Inn Express San Diego South, with superb service and excellent breakfasts often highlighted. The Hercor Hotel - Urban Boutique is another standout South Bay accommodation option, its contemporary twist on Art Deco stylings garnering much praise. In the hills on the I-805, the Comfort Inn Chula Vista has earned kudos for its helpful staff.

Things to see in South Bay

San Diego Bay is what unites the neighborhoods making up South Bay, and much of it has protected status as part of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Its salt marshes are home to some 200 species of bird, and at the Living Coast Discovery Center you can meet some of them. Rescued owls, roadrunners, and eagles all call this center home. The Bay is also home to the Chula Vista Marina. From here you can take trips around the Bay, or even go on whale-watching tours. Another watery-themed attraction to check out is the Aquatica Water Park in the Otay Valley. As well as its thrilling water rides, there is an aquarium here, and a chance to interact with dolphins and penguins. For a spot of history, the Chula Vista Heritage Museum provides an insight into the story of this city, from its humble beginning as a lemon plantation.

Good for budget travelers

For the budget-conscious visitor, it is the inexpensive South Bay hotel rates that make this area so attractive. As well as its affordable accommodation, South Bay cities like Chula Vista have many low-cost restaurants and food-stalls. Travel to South Bay from much of San Diego is also quick and cheap—the communities along the Bay are well served by the region's buses and trolley services, making a car unnecessary. And a little digging around can reveal a surprising number of low-cost attractions here too, from museums to nature reserves.

How to get to South Bay

San Diego International Airport may lie on the other side of the Bay, but its connections to South Bay are generally good. If you're hiring a car at the airport, you can choose to take the I-805 S, which skirts away from some of the busier parts of town, or take the I-5 S directly along the coast, with the risk of queuing. There are options for public transport to South Bay too. Take the bus from the airport to the City College Station, then catch either the Blue Line trolley service along the Bay, or the 929 bus service, which goes inland a little.