With an abundance of diverse cuisines and hidden gems, San Diego truly has something for every budget-conscious foodie. From mouthwatering tacos to delectable burgers, I've scoured the city in search of the tastiest meals that won't break the bank.

After reviewing a whopping 13 eateries, I am excited to share my top picks for the best cheap eats in San Diego. So put on your stretchy pants and join me on this lighthearted journey filled with deliciousness!

The Crack Shack - Little Italy

The Crack Shack - Little Italy
🗺️ 2266 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-795-3299
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–9 PM
Monday: 10 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 10 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 10 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 10 AM–9 PM
Friday: 10 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–10 PM
Delicious sandwiches
Outdoor seating
Friendly staff
Extensive beer selection

Prepare your taste buds for a flavor extravaganza at The Crack Shack - Little Italy! This place is a hidden gem when it comes to cheap eats in San Diego. As soon as I stepped foot into this vibrant eatery, I knew I was in for something special.

Let's start with the star of the show: their delicious sandwiches. The menu boasts an array of mouthwatering options that will leave you drooling. From the crispy chicken oozing with flavor to the succulent pulled pork, every bite is a taste bud tango. Note to self: bring extra napkins next time.

One thing that sets The Crack Shack apart is its fantastic outdoor seating area. Picture yourself basking in the warm San Diego sun while indulging in a delectable sandwich. It's like having a picnic without any of the ants or annoying bugs!

The staff at The Crack Shack are not only friendly but also knowledgeable about their offerings. They'll gladly recommend the perfect sandwich and provide insights into their extensive beer selection. Trust me, there's nothing quite like enjoying a cold brew alongside a tasty meal.

In conclusion, if you're looking for an affordable dining experience that doesn't skimp on quality or flavor, make your way to The Crack Shack - Little Italy. With its delicious sandwiches, delightful outdoor seating, friendly staff, and extensive beer selection, you won't be disappointed. Just remember to arrive hungry and leave satisfied!

You might also want to check out the best cheap seafood in San Diego.

The Taco Stand

The Taco Stand
🗺️ 645 B St, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-546-0570
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 9 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 9 AM–9 PM
Friday: 9 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–10 PM
Fresh salsas
Friendly staff
Delicious burritos
Al Pastor taco

As I stepped into The Taco Stand, I was immediately greeted by the enticing aroma of sizzling meats and freshly made tortillas. The friendly staff behind the counter welcomed me with warm smiles, ready to guide me through their delectable menu.

One of the highlights at The Taco Stand is their selection of fresh salsas. From mild to spicy, they have a range of options that will satisfy every palate. As a salsa lover myself, I couldn't resist trying each one. Each salsa had its own unique flavor profile that complemented the tacos and burritos perfectly.

Speaking of burritos, let's talk about The Taco Stand's delicious burritos. Bursting with flavorful fillings and wrapped in warm tortillas, these culinary creations are a feast for both the eyes and taste buds. Whether you prefer classic carne asada or tender grilled chicken, their burritos are sure to leave you craving for more.

Now, let's not forget about their showstopper: the Al Pastor taco. Juicy marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit, topped with diced onions and fresh cilantro - it's like taking a trip straight to Mexico without leaving San Diego!

The Taco Stand truly embodies what this article is all about - finding the best cheap eats in San Diego. With their mouthwatering flavors and wallet-friendly prices, this humble eatery is a hidden gem that should not be missed.

So next time you're craving some authentic Mexican street food on a budget, head over to The Taco Stand. Your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best cheap eats in LA Jolla.

The Kebab Shop

The Kebab Shop
🗺️ 630 Ninth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-525-0055
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Monday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Tuesday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Wednesday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Thursday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Friday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 10:30 AM–10 PM
Super clean
Fresh and flavorful
Professional staff
Good Middle Eastern taste
Vegetarian options available

Let me start by saying that this place is super clean. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a refreshing aroma of spices and cleanliness. It's always a good sign when you can tell a restaurant takes pride in its appearance.

Now, let's talk about the food. Wow! The flavors at The Kebab Shop are fresh and flavorful. Every bite was a delightful explosion of Middle Eastern goodness. From the perfectly seasoned meats to the vibrant assortment of veggies, it was clear that quality ingredients were used.

The staff at The Kebab Shop were top-notch professionals. They were attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable about their menu. Not only did they offer excellent suggestions, but they also made sure my dining experience was enjoyable from start to finish.

One thing I appreciate about this place is that they cater to various dietary preferences. They have vegetarian options available for those who prefer plant-based delights. It's refreshing to see a restaurant that caters to diverse tastes.

Overall, my visit to The Kebab Shop left me feeling satisfied and impressed. It's no surprise that this place has gained quite the reputation for serving up good Middle Eastern taste at an affordable price.

So if you're looking for cheap eats in San Diego with a touch of exotic flair, don't miss out on The Kebab Shop. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best cheap eats in Chula Vista.

Lucky's Lunch Counter

Lucky's Lunch Counter
🗺️ 338 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-255-4782
🌐 Website
Sunday: 7 AM–3 PM
Monday: 7 AM–3 PM
Tuesday: 7 AM–3 PM
Wednesday: 7 AM–3 PM
Thursday: 7 AM–3 PM
Friday: 7 AM–3 PM
Saturday: 7 AM–3 PM
Bases Loaded Burrito
Fast-moving line
Non-pretentious vibe
Friendly staff
Huge pancakes

Walking into Lucky's Lunch Counter, I immediately knew this was going to be a home run of a meal. The non-pretentious vibe greeted me like an old friend, making me feel right at home. As I joined the fast-moving line, my excitement grew with each step closer to the counter.

The friendly staff behind the counter made ordering a breeze. They effortlessly juggled orders while cracking jokes that had everyone in line chuckling. Their efficiency was truly impressive, ensuring that even during the lunch rush, no one struck out hungry.

Now onto the main event – the food! Lucky's Lunch Counter knocked it out of the park with their Bases Loaded Burrito. Packed with flavor and generously portioned, this burrito hit all the right spots. The combination of juicy carne asada, savory bacon, and gooey cheese created a winning combination that left me cheering for another bite.

But let's not forget about breakfast – Lucky's serves up some seriously massive pancakes! These towering stacks were fluffy on the inside and perfectly golden on the outside. Warning: attempting to finish an entire plate may result in a pancake-induced food coma.

In conclusion, Lucky's Lunch Counter is a grand slam when it comes to cheap eats in San Diego. With their delicious Bases Loaded Burrito and larger-than-life pancakes, they are sure to satisfy any hunger without breaking your wallet. So grab your mitt and head over to Lucky's for a meal that will have you feeling like you just hit a culinary homerun!

You might also want to check out the best restaurants in San Diego.

Bud & Rob's New Orleans Bistro

Bud & Rob's New Orleans Bistro
🗺️ 815 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-542-9002
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 4–9 PM
Thursday: 4–9 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–9:30 PM
Saturday: 11:30 AM–9:30 PM
Amazing cajun food
Incredible jalapeño cornbread
Great service
Flavorful dishes

Let me start by saying, wow, just wow! Bud & Rob's New Orleans Bistro is a hidden gem when it comes to cheap eats in San Diego. As soon as I stepped inside, the aroma of amazing Cajun food hit me like a flavor tornado.

The menu is filled with an array of flavorful dishes that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of New Orleans. From jambalaya to gumbo, every dish is prepared with love and attention to detail. The flavors are bold and vibrant, leaving you wanting more with each bite.

But let's talk about their incredible jalapeño cornbread for a moment. Oh my goodness! It was like a warm hug for my mouth. The perfect balance of spicy and savory, with just the right amount of kick from the jalapeños. It paired beautifully with every dish I ordered.

Not only was the food outstanding, but the service was top-notch as well. The staff at Bud & Rob's were friendly and attentive, making sure that every customer felt welcome and satisfied.

In terms of value for money, this place is unbeatable. You can enjoy a hearty meal without breaking the bank. So if you're looking for an affordable yet exquisite dining experience in San Diego, Bud & Rob's New Orleans Bistro is definitely worth a visit.

Don't miss out on this little slice of Cajun heaven tucked away in San Diego. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best tacos in San Diego.

Empanada Kitchen

Empanada Kitchen
🗺️ 819 C St, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-228-9419
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–3 PM
Monday: 9 AM–7 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM–7 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM–7 PM
Thursday: 9 AM–7 PM
Friday: 9 AM–7 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–6 PM
Delicious meat pockets
Unique crimped empanadas
Broad selection of flavors
Excellent chimichurri sauce
Great vegetarian options

As soon as I walked into Empanada Kitchen, I was greeted by the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked goodies. The menu boasted an impressive array of delicious meat pockets that were begging to be devoured. The empanadas themselves were a work of art, with their unique crimped edges showcasing the care and attention to detail put into each one.

With options ranging from classic beef to adventurous flavors like buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese, there was something for everyone's taste buds. As a self-proclaimed carnivore, I couldn't resist sinking my teeth into their juicy beef empanada. The tender meat was perfectly seasoned and encased in a flaky pastry shell that practically melted in my mouth.

But fear not, my vegetarian friends, because Empanada Kitchen has got you covered too! Their selection of vegetarian options is just as impressive, with fillings like spinach and feta or black bean and corn. It's a great place to satisfy all your cravings without breaking the bank.

What truly elevated the entire experience was the excellent chimichurri sauce served on the side. Its tangy freshness added a burst of flavor to every bite and made me want to lick the little cup clean (which I may or may not have done).

In conclusion, Empanada Kitchen is a hidden gem when it comes to finding cheap eats in San Diego. With their deliciously filling empanadas and wide variety of flavors, it's hard not to fall in love with this place. Whether you're a meat lover or prefer your food plant-based, they have something for everyone. So why wait? Go ahead and indulge yourself in these delectable pockets of joy!

You might also want to check out the best sushi in San Diego.

Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food

Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food
🗺️ 1619 G St, San Diego, CA 92102
☎️ 619-494-7287
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:30 AM–7 PM
Wednesday: 11:30 AM–7 PM
Thursday: 11:30 AM–7 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–7 PM
Saturday: 11:30 AM–7 PM
Fresh and professional workers
Affordable soul food with an Asian kick
Delicious and well-seasoned dishes

Upon entering the restaurant, I was immediately greeted by a group of fresh and professional workers who exuded a warm and inviting atmosphere. The vibrant colors and lively music set the stage for what turned out to be an unforgettable culinary adventure.

Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food specializes in serving up affordable soul food with an Asian kick, and boy, do they deliver! The menu offers a variety of dishes that cater to both meat lovers and vegetarians alike. From their succulent honey garlic chicken wings to their flavorful vegetarian stir-fry, every item on the menu is crafted with love and attention to detail.

I couldn't help but indulge in their signature dish, the Soulful Bibimbap. This delightful creation combines traditional Korean bibimbap with a soul food twist. The tender marinated beef paired perfectly with the assortment of fresh vegetables, all topped off with a fried egg that added an extra layer of richness. Each bite was bursting with complex flavors that danced on my taste buds.

Not only were the dishes at Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food delicious, but they were also incredibly well-seasoned. The chefs have truly mastered the art of balancing spices to create dishes that are packed with flavor without overpowering the palate.

What impressed me most about this hidden gem was its commitment to affordability without compromising quality. You can enjoy a satisfying meal here without breaking the bank - it's like finding treasure at the end of a rainbow!

In conclusion, if you're looking for an affordable yet delectable dining experience in San Diego, look no further than Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food. With its fresh ingredients, unique fusion cuisine, and friendly atmosphere, this eatery has certainly earned its spot on my list of best cheap eats in San Diego. So go ahead and treat yourself - your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best restaurants in LA Jolla.

The Blind Burro

The Blind Burro
🗺️ 639 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-795-7880
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–11 PM
Monday: 11 AM–11 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–11 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–11 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–11 PM
Friday: 11 AM–12 AM
Saturday: 11 AM–12 AM
Great for kids
Quick seating
Friendly staff
Delicious drinks

Let me start by saying that The Blind Burro is not your average burrito joint. It's an experience that will leave your taste buds dancing and your wallet happy.

First of all, let's talk about the atmosphere. As soon as you step inside, you're greeted by a lively ambiance and a staff that treats you like an old friend. The place is perfect for families with kids, thanks to its spacious seating area and the friendly waitstaff who go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome.

Now, let's get to the food. The menu at The Blind Burro is a delightful mix of traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist. From tacos to enchiladas, each dish bursts with flavor and creativity. And let me tell you, their guacamole is the stuff of legends! Creamy, tangy, and just the right amount of spice - it's a true party in your mouth.

But it doesn't stop there. The drink selection at The Blind Burro is equally impressive. Their margaritas are to die for. Whether you prefer classic flavors or want to try something bold like their jalapeno-infused concoction, they've got you covered. And if tequila isn't your thing (although I can't imagine why), they have an array of other refreshing options too.

One thing that really stood out during my visit was how accommodating the staff was. They were more than willing to make adjustments to accommodate dietary restrictions or personal preferences. It's clear that they genuinely care about making sure every customer leaves satisfied.

In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun and affordable dining experience in San Diego, look no further than The Blind Burro. With its lively atmosphere, delicious food, and friendly staff, it truly deserves a spot on the list of best cheap eats in San Diego.

P.S: Don't forget to save room for dessert! Their churros are out of this world. Trust me, you won't be able to resist their crispy, cinnamon-sugar goodness.

You might also want to check out the best pizza in San Diego.

Doner Mediterranean Grill

Doner Mediterranean Grill
🗺️ 823 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-228-9997
🌐 Website
Sunday: 2 PM–2 AM
Monday: 10 AM–10 PM
Tuesday: 10 AM–10 PM
Wednesday: 10 AM–10 PM
Thursday: 10 AM–10 PM
Friday: 10 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 2 PM–2 AM
Massive gyro wrap
Fantastic tabouli
Fresh Greek salad
Delicious falafel wrap
Friendly staff

Let me start by saying that if you're looking for a massive gyro wrap that will leave you feeling like you've won the lottery, then Doner Mediterranean Grill is the place for you. Seriously, this thing is so big, it could be mistaken for a small child trying to hide in your hands.

But it's not just about size at Doner; quality matters too. Their tabouli is simply fantastic. It's bursting with fresh flavors and a delightful combination of herbs and spices that will make your taste buds dance with joy. Plus, their Greek salad is so fresh and crisp, it's like taking a stroll through a Mediterranean garden.

Now, let me introduce you to their falafel wrap – a true masterpiece. The falafel balls are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, creating an explosion of flavors in every bite. And let's not forget about their friendly staff who always greet you with a smile and make sure your dining experience is top-notch.

Doner Mediterranean Grill is definitely one of San Diego's hidden gems when it comes to cheap eats. With its generous portions and mouth-watering dishes, this place proves that delicious food doesn't have to break the bank. So grab your friends or even that small child-sized gyro wrap and head over to Doner Mediterranean Grill for an unforgettable culinary adventure. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best burger in San Diego.

Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails

Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails
🗺️ 1290 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-542-9155
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 11:30 AM–10 PM
Inventive and flavorful tacos
Quick service with short wait times
Beautiful light-filled atmosphere
Unique non-traditional taco options

Walking into Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails, I instantly felt like I had stumbled upon a hidden gem in the heart of San Diego. The beautiful light-filled atmosphere combined with the enticing aroma of sizzling tacos made me feel right at home.

When it comes to cheap eats, finding a place that offers both inventive and flavorful options can be a challenge. However, Lola 55 exceeded my expectations with their unique twist on traditional tacos. Each bite was bursting with a harmonious blend of flavors that left me craving more.

One thing that sets Lola 55 apart from other taco joints is their quick service. Despite the crowd, I was pleasantly surprised by how short the wait times were. This allowed me to satisfy my hunger without having to stare longingly at the menu for too long (a common occurrence when you're starving).

Not only does Lola 55 deliver on taste and efficiency, but it also provides an inviting and trendy atmosphere that enhances the dining experience. The light-filled space creates a warm and welcoming ambiance, perfect for enjoying a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

What truly impressed me about Lola 55 was their commitment to offering non-traditional taco options. From mushroom adobo to spicy Korean beef, there's something for everyone here. These unique creations push the boundaries of what a taco can be, and boy do they deliver!

Overall, Lola 55 Tacos & Cocktails is a must-visit spot for any budget-conscious foodie in San Diego. With its inventive tacos, quick service, beautiful atmosphere, and unique menu options, this place proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to indulge in culinary delights. So go ahead and treat yourself – your taste buds will thank you!

You might also want to check out the best seafood in San Diego.

Cocina 35

Cocina 35
🗺️ 1435 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-431-5611
🌐 Website
Sunday: 7 AM–3 PM
Monday: 8 AM–2 PM
Tuesday: 8 AM–2 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM–2 PM
Thursday: 8 AM–2 PM
Friday: 8 AM–2 PM
Saturday: 7 AM–3 PM
Delicious chilaquiles
Plenty of choices/toppings
Nice atmosphere
Yummy choices in drinks and other goodies
Incredible food

Let me start off by saying, Cocina 35 is a hidden gem in the world of cheap eats. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by the delicious aroma of their chilaquiles, and my taste buds started doing a happy dance.

The menu at Cocina 35 offers plenty of choices for even the pickiest eaters. Whether you want to stick with classic toppings like cheese and salsa, or venture into more adventurous territories with avocado or chorizo, they've got you covered. And let me tell you, no matter what combination I tried, it was a flavor explosion in my mouth.

The atmosphere at Cocina 35 is just what you'd hope for when looking for cheap eats. It's casual yet cozy, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a satisfying meal without breaking the bank. The friendly staff will make you feel right at home as you dive into your plate of chilaquiles.

But wait, there's more! Cocina 35 doesn't stop at serving incredible food; they also offer a variety of yummy choices in drinks and other goodies. From refreshing aguas frescas to creamy flan for dessert, this place has something to satisfy every craving.

So if you're on the hunt for affordable Mexican cuisine that doesn't skimp on flavor, make sure to add Cocina 35 to your list of must-try spots in San Diego. Trust me, once you've had their chilaquiles, you'll be planning your next visit before even leaving the restaurant.

You might also want to check out the best brunch in San Diego.

Hodad's Downtown

Hodad's Downtown
🗺️ 945 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
☎️ 619-234-6323
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–9 PM
Monday: 11 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–9 PM
Friday: 11 AM–9 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–9 PM
Best burger
Generous portions
Juicy and savory

Hodad's Downtown is a burger lover's paradise. As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in for a treat. The aroma of sizzling patties filled the air, making my stomach growl with anticipation.

When it comes to burgers, Hodad's Downtown truly lives up to its reputation as the best in town. The patty was juicy and flavorful, cooked to perfection. Each bite was a symphony of savory goodness that would make any foodie weak at the knees. Trust me when I say that this burger will leave you wondering how something so delicious could be so affordable.

One thing that sets Hodad's Downtown apart from other cheap eats joints is their generous portions. These burgers are not for the faint of heart or those on a diet! You'll need both hands (and possibly an extra napkin) to tackle these towering creations. But hey, who wants a dainty little burger when you can sink your teeth into something substantial?

What impressed me most about Hodad's Downtown was the attention to detail. From the perfectly toasted buns to the fresh toppings, each element of the burger was carefully crafted for maximum flavor impact. It's clear that they take pride in their work and want every customer to leave with a smile on their face.

If you're looking for a cheap eat that doesn't skimp on taste or quality, Hodad's Downtown is where it's at. So grab your appetite and head over there for a burger experience like no other. Just be prepared to loosen your belt a notch or two—you won't be leaving hungry!

You might also want to check out the best mexican restaurant in San Diego.

Las Cuatro Milpas

Las Cuatro Milpas
🗺️ 1857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
☎️ 619-234-4460
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 8:30 AM–3 PM
Tuesday: 8:30 AM–3 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM–3 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM–3 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM–3 PM
Saturday: 6 AM–3 PM
Delicious, cheap food
Authentic Mexican cuisine
Handmade tortillas
Fast-moving line

Walking into Las Cuatro Milpas, I was immediately hit with the intoxicating aroma of authentic Mexican cuisine. My taste buds were already doing a happy dance in anticipation of the food that awaited me.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fast-moving line. Now, normally standing in line isn't the highlight of my day, but at Las Cuatro Milpas it's part of the experience. It gives you ample time to drool over the sizzling pans and watch as they expertly handcraft their delicious, cheap dishes.

Speaking of handmade goodness, let's talk about those tortillas. Oh boy, these tortillas are like little circles of heaven. Soft, fluffy, and made right before your eyes. Trust me when I say they're worth every minute spent waiting in line.

As I finally reached the front, I eagerly ordered their famous rolled tacos drenched in mouthwatering salsa verde. The first bite sent my taste buds on a wild fiesta! The combination of flavors was a symphony of deliciousness dancing on my tongue.

But Las Cuatro Milpas doesn't stop there. Their menu boasts an array of delectable options from tamales to enchiladas that will make your stomach sing with joy. And did I mention how affordable it all is? Your wallet won't be crying tears of guacamole here.

So if you're looking for a truly authentic Mexican food experience without breaking the bank, make your way to Las Cuatro Milpas. Just brace yourself for the enticing aromas, long lines (totally worth it), and an explosion of flavors that will leave you saying "¡Ay caramba!"

You might also want to check out the best restaurants in Downtown San Diego.

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Brad Thomas

With a true passion for exploring all that San Diego has to offer, Brad takes great pleasure in discovering new spots and sharing his experiences with his readers. From hidden gems to tried-and-true favorites, he doesn't miss a beat when it comes to exploring different corners of town. When he's not writing or dining out, Brad can be found soaking up some sunshine at the beach or taking an outdoor adventure around SoCal.