Stay, Eat, Do: San Diego, California
Stay > Beachfront
>> Situated on the tip of Shelter Island overlooking Point Loma, the 1950s-era Kona Kai Resort & Spa completed a $27 million renovation a couple of years ago, giving it a fresh feel.
>> Teal wallpaper, colorful area rugs and nautically inspired light fixtures brighten up the 170 modern rooms. Junior suites have hand-hewn wooden beams, dual-sided gas fireplaces, soaking tubs and balconies with views of the yachts and bay.
>> The newish Paloma Bar is by the adults-only pool, and the Tiki Bar, which has mocktails for the little ones, is by the family pool. You can rent a private cabana with lounge chairs, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, bottled water, chips, cookies and towels at both.
>> When you’re not learning to sail, you can lounge on the beach, eat s’mores by the firepit at night, get a massage at the spa, bike the island on a cruiser, or rent a paddle board or kayak to explore the bay.
Eat > Waterfront Views
>> Ketch Grill & Taps at the marina is a great spot for happy hour after a day of sailing. Shucked oysters, freshly baked sea salt pretzels and crispy Buffalo cauliflower are among the small plates that receive raves. Salads and heartier fare, like a blue cheese wedge burger and “ketch of the day” served on a salad, as a sandwich or in tacos are also among the offerings. Wash it down with a local craft beer or a mojito made with freshly squeezed lime juice. The upper deck is first-come, first served.
>> Bali Hai Restaurant is an iconic family-owned establishment on the northern tip of Shelter Island. The restaurant has been serving Polynesian-inspired cuisine and tiki drinks for 50 years in a building constructed in 1953 with more than 15 types of wood. The bay views from the outdoor deck are fantastic, the drinks are potent (beware of the Mai Tai!), and the food is (usually) satisfying.
Do > Learn to Sail
>> During J/World Performance Sailing School’s “Learn to Sail” course, you will spend six hours on the water every day for four days (Monday through Thursday) on a 26-foot tiller-steered keelboat.
>> The curriculum has been refined over the years to give you a solid grounding in the basics and a boatload more, including learning to gybe and tack, seamanship skills, navigation and rules of the road. At the end, you’ll receive the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.
>> J/World also offers cruising and racing courses for more experienced sailors as well as private instruction.
>> The San Diego school is located at the marina on Shelter Island, the home of three America’s Cups. Bring deck shoes, a windbreaker, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, sailing gloves, a watch and water.