Tag Archives: san diego sky tours

My six favorite San Diego vista points

Out & About

The following are my six favorite places from which to view San Diego:

San Diego Sky Tours

San Diego Sky Tours takes you on a 20-minute flight over downtown San Diego, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers), Sports Arena (home of the Los Angeles Clippers when they were the San Diego Clippers), SeaWorld, Coronado Bridge, Hotel Del Coronado, beaches, San Diego River, and more! Take a ride in a biplane, a tour aircraft, or a helicopter. Nothing quite like it. Rates start at $124.

Remember, too, that if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the airplane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are coming in for the landing is not to be missed!

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Soledad

A very popular tourist vista because it’s just minutes north of downtown San Diego, and downtown La Jolla, one of the area’s best tourist venues, is on the north side.

Mount Soledad rises about 823 feet above the coastline. There is a huge cross and Veterans Memorial at the top. On a clear day you can see Tijuana, Los Angeles, and probably Tokyo!

View from Mount Soledad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Helix

The most popular vista point in East San Diego County. Mount Helix rises 1,365 feet above sea level. It’s about 14 miles inland but you can see the ocean on a clear day. There is am amphitheater and large cross at the top. Along with Easter Sunrise Service, there are usually theater presentations during the summer. Right now the only thing I see on the Mount Helix calendar are weddings and Power Yoga.

Mount Helix is my favorite place to see the sun rise.

Sunrise from the top of Mount Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

In downtown San Diego on the harbor front. Comprising two towers, the older one, at 497 feet tall, has a vista point bar at the top. Unfortunately, it is way too small and crowded all the time. Be sure to visit Seaport Village at the foot of the towers.

Downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Tower

The California Tower is 198 feet tall and located in Balboa Park.  While it is not as tall as the other vistas, the views are spectacular.

After having been closed for eighty years, it opened again on January 1, 2015. If you go, and I highly recommend that you do, make reservations and buy tickets online. They sell out far in advance, and it’s not even Tourist Season yet!

You won’t go to the tippy top because it’s not safe yet, but you won’t be disappointed. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

California Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coronado

A trip to Coronado has to be on everyone’s list of places to visit while in San Diego. You will travel over the very beautiful Coronado Bridge on your way to see the Hotel del Coronado, one of the most famous hotels in the world; Frank Oz’s house where he wrote much of “The Wizard of Oz”; Coronado Beach, one of the best beaches  in the United States according to those who rank such things; and downtown San Diego from across the harbor. If your budget includes splurging at a restaurant, splurge at Peohe’s.

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Downtown San Diego from Marriott Coronado Island Resort

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Skip the traffic and see San Diego from the sky!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although San Diego’s traffic isn’t anything like Los Angeles, Houston, or Boston (three that I’m intimately familiar with), it still takes time to get around and see everything. Might I suggest, then, a tour by airplane?

Downtown San Diego:

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and downtown San Diego:

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocean Beach in the foreground and downtown San Diego in the background:

Ocean Beach and downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego International Airport and Harbor Island marina:

San Diego International Airport from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld San Diego. You can see one of the Shamus in the pool at center left:

SeaWorld San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Old Point Loma Lighthouse. First lighted on November 15, 1855, the lens was 462 feet above sea level, making it visible for 28 miles. Unfortunately, when the marine layer rolled in each evening, the light could not be seen, making it visible for 0 miles when it was most needed.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1891 at about 20 feet above sea level. Although you can visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument, the new lighthouse is not accessible to the public.

New Point Loma Lighthouse from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The end of the Ocean Beach Pier, the longest pier on the West Coast at 1,971 feet.

Ocean Beach pier from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And a 29-second video coming in for a landing at Montgomery Field after a San Diego Sky Tour:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For more about exploring San Diego from the sky with San Diego Sky Tours, see Explore San Diego…….from the sky.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego with San Diego Sky Tours

Explore San Diego……….from the sky!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There were just over 31 million visitors to San Diego in 2011. Most visitors come during Tourist Season, defined pretty much as Memorial Day to Labor Day, with some stragglers coming a couple of weeks early or leaving a couple of weeks late.

With most tourists back in their own homes now, and more not expected until mid-November for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and college football bowls (Poinsettia Bowl and Holiday Bowl), you have about six weeks to explore San Diego County.

One of the best ways to explore is to take to the sky, and the best sky company here in San Diego is San Diego Sky Tours!

San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Sky Tours offers several tours of 20-, 30-, or 60 minutes — Downtown Fly-Around, SoCal Classic, North County Medley, San Diego Flyover, and Sunset Escape. If one of those doesn’t fit your style, you can always create your own sky tour. Simply tell them where you want to go and, excepting any FAA restrictions, they can take you there!

Each sky tour plane has window seats for everyone. You also get headphones so you can ask questions of the pilot and listen to communications with flight controllers. A special experience over a special County!

Following is a picture of SeaWorld San Diego taken on my own recent sky tour with San Diego Sky Tours (click on the picture for a larger version; maybe you’ll see Shamu!).

SeaWorld San Diego with San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you live in San Diego and have never seen this beautiful county from the air, now’s the time for a San Diego Sky Tour. If you’re coming to San Diego for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or a college football bowl, skip all the ground traffic and see San Diego from the sky!

Call 619-757-6419 today to make your reservation! Ask for Ryan and tell him that you found out about San Diego Sky Tours from Russel Ray’s blog. If he gets enough reservations from my blog, maybe he’ll give me a free sky tour (hey, I’m not too proud to beg when it comes to seeing San Diego from the sky!).

San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Sky Tours flight crewSan Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)…. from the sky!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

Yesterday’s 25-minute flight on a Cessna Stationair over San Diego took us near the 32nd Street Naval Station, Miramar Marine Corps Air Base, and the North Island Naval Station — we have a lot of military stuff here in San Diego.

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), a Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier is parked over at the North Island Naval Station:

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

 

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

 

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

 

Geologists might remember the USS Carl Vinson as that which provided significant earthquake relief to the victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

After the United States Special Operations Forces rid the world of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the USS Carl Vinson hosted his body while it was given religious rites and then buried at sea.

College basketball fans might remember the USS Carl Vinson as the ship that hosted Michigan State and North Carolina in the inaugural Carrier Classic on November 11, 2011, to open the 2011-2012 NCAA basketball season. The USS Carl Vinson left San Diego shortly after the Carrier Classic for a six-month deployment to the Middle East, returning just a couple of days ago.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)USS Carl Vinson Fast Facts:

  • Ordered by Congress on April 5, 1974
  • Launched March 15, 1980
  • Commissioned March 13, 1982
  • 1,092 feet long, 252 feet wide
  • Powered by two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors and four steam turbines
  • Maximum speed of 37 mph
  • 90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters
  • Crew of 3,200 with an air wing of 2,480

The sky tour I went on was provided by San Diego Sky Tours. Check them out! They are awesome! 20-minute tours as low as $154.99 per person.

San Diego Sky Tours crew

 

If you decide to go, tell them Russel Ray sent you their way. They have not promised me any compensation for referring people to them, but if they get enough referrals from me, maybe I’ll get a free sky tour. Next time I’m sitting on the left side so I can get pictures directly above downtown.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
use Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

San Diego River from the sky

San Diego River — from the sky!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

Being the devious person that I am, late last year I arranged for an airplane flight over San Diego as part of my 18th anniversary of meeting Jim. Didn’t say anything to him until we arrived at our destination at 12:30 p.m. today. All I can say about the flight is, Wow!

In a 25-minute flight on a Cessna Stationair (ours was a Cessna 206), major attractions (for me) that we saw were:

  1. downtown San Diego
  2. Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres)
  3. Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers)
  4. Sports Arena (home of the Los Angeles Clippers when they were the San Diego Clippers)
  5. SeaWorld
  6. Coronado Bridge
  7. Hotel Del Coronado
  8. San Diego River

I took exactly 100 pictures on the 25-minute flight on what the pilot called a “machine” — I call it an airplane……. 🙂

Following are three pictures of the San Diego River as it reaches the Pacific Ocean. (I don’t want to hear any laughing by those who have visited the Mississippi River, Nile River, Amazon River, Ohio River, Colorado River, etc.)

The first four pictures are two pair, each pair showing the picture with text and without.

San Diego River from the sky

 

San Diego River from the sky

 

San Diego River from the sky

 

San Diego River from the sky

 

This last picture is looking east, while we were over the Pacific Ocean, with a better view of Dog Beach.

San Diego River from the sky

 

Look closely and you can see the dogs!

Dogs on dog beach from the sky

 

The tour we went on was provided by San Diego Sky Tours. Check them out! They are awesome! 20-minute tours as low as $154.99 per person.

San Diego Sky Tours crew

 

If you decide to go, tell them Russel Ray sent you their way. If they get 100 bookings from me, Ryan (guy in the middle in the picture above) has promised me my own Cessna Stationair! Right, Ryan? 🙂

 

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
use Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions