If you’ve never been to Del Mar—or horse racing—it’s worth the experience. Del Mar is like no other track in the world; it’s where the horse racing community comes to vacation.
Believe it or not, it’s a great drive to the track, if you know how to get there. For readers of my Quintessential California book for Kindle, they’d be driving down the old Coast Highway from Oceanside and avoiding the idling in traffic on I-5. Sure, it’s stop and go and traffic can be busy on the old road, but it’s much more enjoyable to be sitting with a view of the beach than just the view of the other cars.
For folks headed south from the Los Angeles/Orange County area, pull off at Oceanside and take the Coast Highway. Get out a little early and you can stop for lunch; most days, Del Mar’s first post time (race) is at 2 p.m.
Folks coming from coastal San Diego can jump off I-5 at Genesee Avenue and head north to Torrey Pines Road and Del Mar. From inland San Diego County, take Via de la Valle west to the track. It’s a swell day trip.