Monday, October 20, 2008

ON THE ROAD: SoCal residents looking to San Diego as closer getaway

The water was a chilling 58 degrees at Pipes in Encinitas yesterday, but I didn't care. I borrowed a wetsuit from my cousins and paddled out past the breaking waves.

Since I moved to San Diego two months ago, I've been enjoying the beaches on the coast and hiking in East County for only the cost of gas getting there.

Apparently, I'm not the only Southern California resident to notice what San Diego has to offer for free.

John Rogers and his wife created the Web site San Diego Beaches and two others to provide online information to tourists about the county's beaches.

The bulk of hits on the websites are from Europe, Asia and Australia -- But they've noticed that more and more Southern Californians are checking out their site compared to years in the past.

Tourism is the third largest segment of San Diego's economy, according to The City of San Diego.

In fact, it was one of four segments still growing in San Diego's economy, according to a North County Times article.

With a slowing economy, more and more Southern Californians are looking locally for vacations.

"It seems over the last six months we've seen a lot of visitors from Southern California and other cities within a days drive of San Diego," Rogers said.

The Rogers' three sites attract nearly 700,000 visitors annually:
As I paddled to catch a wave without too many other surfers nearby, I realized just how much I secretly want to keep San Diego's beaches to myself.

*A surfer gets ready to paddle out in Encinitas, California/Photo by Jessica E. Davis.

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