I don't live in SD, but used to work in Vista; about 100 miles from my home, and about 50 to 60 miles from downtown-if I'm not mistaken.
Like someone mentioned, there is the drive to Julian on HWY 79. It's a beautiful drive, and a beautiful little town.
I used to go to Coronado Island. The hotel is the best place to enjoy an afternoon sunny day, while drinking a Mojito. The beach is just down right paradise.
I like downtown SD; so many restaurants to choose from, and bars, etc...
G/L on your move and schooling.