Anza-Borrego puts on its annual pre-spring flower show, and given the coronavirus, social distance is possible in the desert. Here, families take photos among desert sunflowers, sand verbena and dune evening primroses. Photo by Chris Stone

Here’s the thing. At this point, you may be very seriously focused on establishing social distance to protect yourself and the most vulnerable around you from the coronavirus, especially as its numbers grow in San Diego.

Maybe even in essence sheltering in place. Netflixing, Hulu’ing, Priming – take your pick.

Our region fortunately, is a place where you can enjoy several options where open air is plentiful and social distance is achievable – our beaches, trails and large regional parks. 

In fact, nature therapy is a thing. Studies have shown it can ease anxiety and stress, which, face it, we have plenty of right now.

On Thursday, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to place curbs on large gatherings, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. the Shamrock Gaslamp celebration and the Latino Film Festival were canceled or postponed.

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. Photo by Invertzoo via Wikimedia Commons

No one’s canceling nature though. Since the governor’s decision applies through the end of March, until then we’ll remind you of some of San Diego County’s most dependable outdoor comforts. Better yet, no admission fee required (weather permitting, of course, which it should by midday Saturday):

Balboa Park – It’s noted for its destinations like the San Diego Zoo, but the attraction also boasts 1,200 acres (!) of urban parkland ready for exploration or to “cop a squat,” as Pretty Woman would say. Signs mark the trail system, with one entry point on the southeast, the Park Boulevard Trails Gateway, opening to four paths. The hikes range from easy to difficult. Also, on the Park Boulevard side, there’s the Inez Grant Park Memorial Rose Garden. Roses typically begin to bloom this month.

Encinitas – The North County community boasts lovely beaches, from the famous Swami’s, where surfers rule, and Moonlight Beach, to charming neighborhood view corridors (H, I and J Streets). These offer expansive sights of the sea below, without having to fight crowds of beach-goers over a patch of sand. The parking’s easier too.

Anza-Borrego blooms – The desert, known for its blankets of spring flowers, isn’t yet covered but there are early blooms, reports the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association. What’s been spotted? Why, brittlebush, desert marigolds and five spots and canterbury bells, to name but a few.

Stay-at-home crowd – Polygon lists the 10 most popular Netflix offerings of the week. This week it includes lots of animation, some sci-fi and a seriously dark documentary. We say lean hard toward the cartoons, like the silly The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Space Jam, because with all the sports on hiatus, at least we still have Michael Jordan.

– Staff reports

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