Top budget travel picks: Raleigh to San Diego

Have you been craving a California getaway, without the congestion of LA? San Diego offers plenty of sandy beaches and sunny days, with an even more laid-back vibe and the best border town tacos you can find.

The city's top-rated local craft brewing industry is a major draw, along with the famous San Diego Zoo, other amusement parks and many historic sites from the city's Spanish and Mexican heritage. And San Diego's deep-water harbor supports a wide range of coastal activities, including sightseeing cruises, whale-watching and Southern California's largest sport fishing fleet.

It's more doable than you think. According to travel site Skyscanner, there are plenty of flights from Raleigh to San Diego in the next few months, and the prices aren't too shabby.

So if you're looking for a change of scenery, here are some deals to put on your to-do list.

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Cheapest San Diego flights

Currently, the cheapest flights between Raleigh and San Diego are if you leave on April 27 and return from California on April 30. Frontier Airlines currently has roundtrip, nonstop tickets for $202.

There are also deals to be had in May. If you fly out of Raleigh on May 1 and return from San Diego on May 4, Frontier Airlines can get you there and back for $217 roundtrip.

Top San Diego hotels

Regarding where to stay, here are two of San Diego's top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do and customer satisfaction.

The Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, consider The Hotel del Coronado. The hotel has a 4.6-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $290.

The U.S. Grant (326 Broadway)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

There's also the 4.7-star rated The U.S. Grant, which has rooms for $159/night.

Set in the heart of San Diego, this hotel is close to the Westfield Horton Plaza, Petco Park, as well as the San Diego Convention Center. Other attractions include the San Diego Zoo.

Featured San Diego food and drink

Don't miss San Diego's food scene, with plenty of popular spots to get your fill of local cuisine. Here are a few of the top-rated eateries from Skyscanner's listings.

Extraordinary Desserts (2929 Fifth Ave.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Let's start with the essentials: dessert. For a popular option, check out Extraordinary Desserts, which has an average of 4.7 stars out of 160 reviews on Skyscanner.

"This is a very nice place to hang out with friends and share some beautifully decorated treats. I loved the fresh fruit tarts," wrote visitor Roque.

The Prado at Balboa Park (1549 El Prado)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

One of San Diego's most popular restaurants is The Prado at Balboa Park, with 4.6 stars from 133 reviews.

"There is a breeze blowing even on the hottest days, and you might even get to watch a wedding take place in the garden below if you sit outside. We love the fried green beans and the potstickers," wrote reviewer Sandra.

In-N-Out Burger (2005 Camino Del Este)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Also worth considering is In-N-Out Burger, with 4.6 stars from 98 reviews.

"This is my favorite place to grab a burger, and it is so cheap," wrote Kim.

What to see and do in San Diego

Not sure what to do in San Diego, besides eat and drink? Here are two recommendations, provided by Skyscanner.

The San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Drive)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is The San Diego Zoo, with 4.8 stars from 1,035 reviews.

The San Diego Zoo houses over 4,000 animals from more than 800 species. At over 100 acres, the zoo offers exhibits that run the gamut of the world's ecosystems: rainforest, savanna, desert and more.

Balboa Park (1549 El Prado, San Diego)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Balboa Park is another popular destination. It also checks in with 4.8 stars, out of 815 reviews on Skyscanner.

Balboa Park is an urban park. Along with countless green spaces and gardens, the park is home to multiple museums, shops, restaurants and, most famously, the San Diego Zoo.

This story was created automatically using flight, hotel, and local attractions data, then reviewed by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.