Hawaii on the mainland

Save dollars and find island-style fun (snorkeling, surfing, and Mai Tais) in San Diego

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48 hours of aloha in San Diego

Friday: Two tropical-themed spots to stay are Paradise Point Resort & Spa, a waterfront oasis with a Balinese-style spa and five swimming pools (from $259), or the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa (from $249) with koi ponds, gardens, and a beach on Mission Bay. Hit the Catamaran Resort first for lei-making (3:30 Fri through Sep 4; $10), then stay for the weekly Friday-night luau with Hawaiian music, fire dancing, and hula (6 p.m. Fri through Sep 4; $35, $15 ages 5–12; nonguests $58, $25 ages 5–12); 3999 Mission Blvd.; tickets at catamaranresort.com/luau).

Saturday: Kayak to see the La Jolla Caves with OEX Dive & Kayak Center (tours 11, 1, 3; from $40; 2158 Avenida de la Playa; 858/454-6195). Have lunch at Aloha Sushi Lounge ($$; 7731 Fay Ave.; 858/551-5000). Drive to the nearby Pacific Beach neighborhood to Motu Hawaii (4150 Mission Blvd., Ste. 115; 858/272-6688), where you can buy a fresh flower lei (from $10). Just blocks away is the gargantuan Pangaea Outpost (909 Garnet Ave.; 858/581-0555) with more than 70 spaces, some selling tropical soaps or tiki partyware.

Sunday: Take a private surfing lesson at the La Jolla Shores Beach with Surf Diva ($83 for 1-hour lesson; reservations required). Treat yourself to a pedicure in a private cabana at Spa Tiki day spa (from $50; 200 Harbor Dr., Ste. 200; 619/231-4363) downtown, then head to Buster's Beach House & Longboard Bar ($$; 807 W. Harbor Dr.; 619/233-4300) for a tropical drink and an order of Hawaiian pork luau.

More:  Discover the West's top 10 beaches

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