Summer Fun | Island Palms Hotel and Marina | San Diego, California

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Beautiful scenery, unparalleled dining, and fast-paced nightlife make San Diego a good choice for a romantic getaway. Here are our picks for what to enjoy with your special someone in America’s Finest City.

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Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina

With multiple pools, tennis courts, complimentary bike rentals, massage services, and a private marina, the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina has everything you need for a fantastic summer vacation in San Diego. Island Palms is located right along the coast of Shelter Island, which means you’re just steps away from a number of exciting activities on the water! It’s also close to other great areas like Point Loma, downtown San Diego, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Book a romantic getaway with the Simple Pleasures Package, which includes water view accommodations, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and breakfast in bed.

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Blue Wave Bar & Grill

Indulge in California coastal cuisine at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Choose a table inside their elegant dining room, or relax outside on the deck overlooking the pool and marina. Grab a homemade quiche or breakfast burrito to start off your day, or enjoy fresh fish for dinner – we love the Seared Scallops, served with shellfish risotto, grilled asparagus tapenade, and parmesan cheese. You can get specially priced craft beer, cocktails, wines, and appetizers (like chowder fries and salmon tacos!) at their Island Time happy hour, every day from 4-7 pm. You won’t go hungry.

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Sunset Cliffs

Between Ocean Beach and Point Loma you’ll find Sunset Cliffs, an area that’s exactly what it sounds like – a stretch of coastline with plunging cliffs that looks especially beautiful during sunset. Sunset Cliffs is only about a 10-minute drive from Shelter Island, so it’s perfect for a quick outing. Go for a walk or jog right along the cliffs, or pack some snacks for a romantic sunset picnic.

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Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton arrived in the San Diego Bay in 1867, purchasing land and kicking off the development of the area we now know as downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter. This year, the Gaslamp Quarter celebrates its 150th anniversary. Learn about San Diego’s past and see historic buildings on a walking tour of this unique area.

Today, the Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s premier spot for nightlife. Enjoy a night out on the town by exploring a few of the area’s restaurants, bars, and clubs. Start out at The Tipsy Crow, comprised of three different levels: The Main, a pub-like area, The Nest, a cozy lounge with fireplaces and pool tables, and The Underground, with music and dancing.

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Petco Park

Catch a Padre game at Petco Park while you’re in town! The ballpark, located downtown, is a fun place to explore whether you’re a baseball fan or not. Skip the hot dogs – plenty of local eateries have set up shop in Petco Park, so you can try some of San Diego’s best grub (and beer). Grab a juicy hamburger at Hodad’s, Mexican fare at Carnitas’ Snack Shack and Lucha Libre, or amazing sandwiches at Gaglione Brothers or Board & Brew. You can view the game schedule here.

Blue Wave Bar and Grill at Island Palms | San Diego, California

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The Blue Wave Bar & Grill at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina offers handcrafted food and drinks, friendly service, and picturesque views. The on-site bar and restaurant features a marina view dining room and an outdoor deck overlooking the pool. The restaurant hosts a unique mix of hotel guests, locals, and crew members that have come to San Diego from all over the world. Executive Chef Christopher Spayde has created a contemporary California menu for all hours of the day.

Island Palms’ Shelter Island Escape Package offers guests the perfect way to experience the restaurant. In addition to complimentary parking at the hotel, you’ll be greeted with welcome beverages, receive a breakfast credit for two, and enjoy a 20% discount off of lunch or dinner at the Blue Wave throughout your stay.

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Lunch With a View

The outdoor deck makes the Blue Wave a perfect place for lunch. Take a seat overlooking the marina and enjoy one of their handcrafted cocktails with your meal. Our server Theresa was friendly and attentive, answering all of our questions about the menu and recommending some wonderful food and drink pairings for us. Blue Wave offers a variety of classic and California-inspired dishes, all freshly made with house sauces and condiments.

Try the Grilled Fish Tacos for a truly Southern California meal. Fresh Mahi Mahi is wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with homemade salsa and Jalapeno crème. The tacos are served with a side of house-made potato chips. Pair your fish tacos with a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 805 Blonde Ale, a refreshing and light California-style beer.

The Kobe Beef Burger is another one of Blue Wave’s most popular lunch options. The burger is cooked to your liking and piled high with cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and red onion. A delicious house-made garlic aioli is the perfect finishing touch. Be sure to ask for some crisp and flavorful French fries on the side.

If you have room, the lunch menu also includes tempting dessert choices including a Flourless Chocolate Torte and Carrot Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. They’re fun to share and it’s a great way to end your meal on a sweet note.

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Happy Hour

Happy hour at the Blue Wave is the perfect way to cap off a day of sightseeing around the city. From 4-7pm daily, enjoy $3 domestic bottled beer and Bud Light Draft, $4 house wines, and $3.50 wells. You can also get select craft beers for $4. Blue Wave has beer on tap from many of San Diego’s best breweries like Stone Brewing Co. and Ballast Point Brewery. The happy hour menu includes mini tacos, sliders, and wings. We recommend sharing the Half Flatbread with chicken, caramelized onion, goat cheese, tomato, mushroom, basil, and balsamic reduction. Enjoy happy hour outside in the refreshing ocean breeze on the Blue Wave’s deck. Check into the Blue Wave Bar & Grill on Facebook to receive a special $5 drink of the day.

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Fresh Cocktails

The Blue Wave specializes in classic cocktails with modern twists. They craft their drinks with freshly squeezed juices and house-made simple syrups. We love the Blood Orange Screwdriver, made with Tito’s Vodka, fresh blood orange juice, sparkling water, and house-made rosemary simple syrup. Another good choice is the Dirty Bird, a blend of Grey Goose vodka, olive juice, and blue cheese stuffed olives.

You don’t even have to wait until 5 o’clock. The Blue Wave has a full menu of breakfast cocktails that include traditional favorites like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Irish coffee. For something a little more adventurous, try the Peaches n’ Cream. It’s made with Absolut Apeach, peach liquor, orange juice, simple syrup, and half & half. If tequila is more your style, go with the Paloma, a refreshing mix of El Agave Silver Tequila, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water with a lime garnish.

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina | San Diego, California

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Shelter Island has a tropical style that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into your own personal paradise. Stay at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina, a waterfront hotel that encompasses three distinct building styles. Choose a room in the picturesque Island Palms, Mediterranean-style Casa Del Mar, or modern Casa Marina. Their expansive suites include fully equipped kitchens and a private patio or balcony. The hotel also features a private marina, a fitness center, tennis courts with complimentary racquet rentals, and a fantastic on-site restaurant. Enhance your stay with the Shelter Island Escape Package. It includes welcome beverages when you arrive, a breakfast credit for two, a 20% discount at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill, and complimentary parking.

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Rise and Shine

Wake up and venture out into the fresh morning air. Island Palms has its very own waterfront jogging path only steps away from your room. The 3-mile loop meanders around Shelter Island and is perfect for a walk or run. You’ll take in views of the marina, the water, and lush tropical greenery. The hotel also offers complimentary bike rentals for your enjoyment!

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Breakfast at Blue Wave

Island Palms’ onsite restaurant Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers marina views and plenty of breakfast options. Their Breakfast Value Menu offers classics like waffles, French toast, and oatmeal, while the Full Breakfast Specialties Menu has larger meals and more adventurous choices. We love the Breakfast Pizza, which has country gravy, bacon, tater tots, cheese and a poached egg, all topped off with arugula and drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. We also recommend trying a Blue Wave Bloody, hand-crafted with Stoli Jalapeno Vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix. Blue Wave takes this classic drink to the next level with homemade pickled vegetables and bacon salt.

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Sailing Adventure

Shelter Island is a departure point for boating excursions. Go on an adventure with Sail San Diego, conveniently located just steps away from Island Palms. Their 3-hour Sailing Tour is ideal for a day out on the water. Tours depart at five different times throughout the day. Enjoy complimentary beer, wine, sodas, and snacks as you soak up the sun and enjoy the sea breeze. Sail San Diego even provides hats, jackets, sunscreen, sunglasses, and binoculars to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

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Poolside Fun

At the end of the day, head back to the pool at Island Palms. Take a dip or relax with a good book on one of the many loungers surrounding the pool. Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers pool service and will bring an afternoon snack right to you. Kids will love the outdoor pool area and the fun toys provided by the hotel. The Blue Wave deck, overlooking the pool and the marina, is the perfect place to enjoy one of their refreshing cocktails. Blue Wave’s drinks are hand crafted with their own fresh-squeezed juices and homemade syrups. We recommend the tropical Mai Tai, made with Bacardi Light & Gold Rum, Captain Morgan, Myers, Amaretto, and pomegranate, orange, and pineapple juices.

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Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle

Across the street from the hotel you’ll find Fathom Bistro, a hidden gem frequented by locals. Right on the Shelter Island Pier, this unassuming bar has incredible views of downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bridge. Stop by for one of the many local craft beers they have on tap. Fathom Bistro is known for their homemade sausages and unique hot dog specialties. Try the Explodo Dog, a Vienna beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered with pepper jack, house made kimchi, and mustard.