While back-to-school time can be fun with new clothes and fun supplies, it also means mom is working overtime as a chauffeur, lunch lady, soccer mom, and the like. Before you reach the point of burn out, grab a few girlfriends and make some walking and relaxing time for yourself. Try one of these five beautiful, easy walks followed by a coffee or treat. The weather is San Diego perfect and the tourists have gone home. Enjoy one of these beautiful gems now and put your health on your to-do list.

LibertyStationPhoto Credit: Kelly J. via Yelp 

Convenient Parking and Dining: Liberty Station NTC Park
This park is a perfect place for a walk anytime of day. Located right next to the waterfront, you’ll enjoy the view and the cool air. The long stretch of paths are both paved and gravel. You never have to worry about parking at Liberty Station NTC Park because they have tons of spaces available. After your stroll, hit up one of the great restaurants in the area. We love Tender Greens because they offer healthy, affordable food that won’t make you feel guilty when you buy yourself lunch. You can order farm fresh chicken, beef, or fish as a sandwich, part of a hot plate, or a salad.

Insider’s Tip: Sundays are typically crowded at this spot because of its proximity to “The Rock” church. If time is limited, be prepared to deal with Sunday traffic.

Liberty Station NTC Park
2455 Cushing Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92106

sunsetcliffsPhoto Credit: Jack M. via Yelp 

It Doesn’t Get More Laid Back Than This: Sunset Cliffs
This Ocean Beach spot is paradise within your reach. Explore as much of the cliffs as you have time. Any time of day will do, but of course they don’t call it Sunset Cliffs for nothing. Try to schedule at least walk when sun is going down.

If you manage to walk in the morning, stop by Shades Oceanfront Bistro on Newport Ave. Who can resist eggs benedict with crab cakes served up with a view of the surf? If you’re walking after work, pick up a tasty, healthy meal at Rancho’s Cocina on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to bring home to your crew. The Mexican food here won’t weigh you down and includes terrific tasty choices for everyone in the family.

Insider’s Tip: Be sure to check the signs for areas that can be dangerous, and make sure you wear closed-toe walking shoes.

ljcovePhoto Credit: Janice C. via Yelp

Celebrate Why You Live in San Diego: La Jolla Cove
Who can resist a stroll at La Jolla Cove? It’s the perfect place to soak in the sun, smell the ocean air and remember why you live in San Diego. Walk along the cove all the way to the Children’s Pool and you’ll find sea lions basking on rocks. After your walk, meander to a relaxing spot with a killer view. Goldfish Point Cafe (located near the entrance to the cove and across from Sunny Jim Cave) is a great place for a chat and a great cup of coffee. Order a light breakfast or lunch while you enjoy views from the patio that are truly a gem.

If you’re meeting for a walk after work and aren’t thrilled about making dinner in a hot kitchen, pick up a meal to go at Girard Gourmet just up the hill. Your family will think you slaved over that beautiful, heaping plate of sandwiches or even hearty beef burgundy. You can smile, savoring the time you saved and the time you took to spend with a friend.

Insider’s Tip: This walk is better to do on a weekday because of super busy weekends which making parking here a hassle on Saturdays and Sundays.

trailsPhoto Credit: Roehl A. via Yelp

A Great Workout: Cowles Mountain
This busy, popular walk offers spectacular views and quite a workout. You’ll want to start at the Golfcrest trailhead and hike up 1.5 miles to the peak. On a clear day, you may be able to see all the way to the ocean. Yet an overcast morning can bring a beautiful fluffy marine layer as your reward for making it to the summit.

If your hike leaves you hungry, treat yourself to a meal at The Trails Eatery, located just west of Cowles Mountain at Jackson Dr. and Navajo Rd. You know the food is awesome because owner Stacey Poon-Kinney was a final contestant for Food Network Star. Try the cinnamon roll pancakes for an out of this world treat.

Insider’s Tip: This is one of the most popular trails in all of San Diego so the parking lot is usually full. You can park on Golfcrest Dr., but beware radar is used frequently and the speed limit is 25mph. If you like the hike, but want a quieter version, park at the trailhead near the intersection of Boulder Lake Ave. and Barker Way. From here, you can hike as far up the mountain as you like.

AlbertsRest2Photo credit: Joanna P. via Yelp

Animal Adventures for Mom: San Diego Zoo
The zoo without the kids? Why not? Any mom who has pushed a stroller up the zoo’s many hills knows this place is great for a workout. With it’s lush gardens and foliage – and awesome animals too – the Zoo is a great place for moms to take a walk and enjoy the beauty without the little devils in tow.

After your workout, sit beside a waterfall, listen to exotic birds, and enjoy bottomless mimosas at the San Diego Zoo’s Albert’s Restaurant. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or a cup of coffee. If you want to make it a really special day, check out their Sunday brunch (served from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Be sure to call ahead to reserve a table on the patio for you and your friends that love a good laugh.

Insider’s Tip: Plan to visit the Zoo when it first opens. You’ll avoid the crowds and there’s still quite a bit of shade on those hilly climbs.

Albert’s Restaurant
2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-685-3200
Online: sandiegozoo.org/zoo/alberts/

What are your favorite go-to spots for mom time? Tell us in the comments!

– Cherie Gough