I may be a bit biased, but San Diego is the place to enjoy all of your favorite outdoor adventures. With sunny skies and temperate climates almost all year round, you’ll be itching to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
I would love to say this list of the best San Diego outdoor activities applies to only locals, or only tourists, but honestly there’s enough love to go around for everyone.
Whether you’re a local or tourist, this list applies to you! Here we have an (awesome!) list of the best San Diego’s outdoor adventures.
So what are you waiting for? Get outside and enjoy. 🙂
San Diego’s Top 12 Unbeatable Outdoor Adventures (for locals & tourists!)
1. Go for a Hike
There are so many great hikes around the San Diego area. If you don’t have all day to devote to a hike, I would definitely recommend the trails at the Torrey Pines State Park to be at the top of your list.
Great San Diego hikes:
- Torrey Pines State Park – Multiple trails (easy/moderate)
- Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson – 7.5-mile roundtrip (moderate)
- Cowles Mountain – 3 miles roundtrip to San Diego’s highest point (moderate)
- Three Sisters Falls – 3.5 miles roundtrip, best April-October (hard)
2. Paddle Boarding
There are many locations to paddle board, but I would recommend the San Diego Bay Harbor as a favorite. You have the San Diego bay on one side with great views of the downtown skyline and Coronado Bridge.
If you don’t have your own paddle board, renting and lessons are available really cheap through this link.
It seems like just about everyone surfs in San Diego. The below photo was taken at La Jolla Shores, which happens to be a great surf spot. You can take lessons as well which is super fun. Check out this company here to learn from some of the best instructors in San Diego. Just be sure to wear a wetsuit, the water’s freezing!
4. Free Outdoor Yoga
I love doing outdoor yoga! Especially when it’s overlooking San Diego’s gorgeous beaches.
There are 2 free yoga classes you can join:
- Pacific Beach Yoga – This class meets at Palisades Park every Saturday and Sunday at 10am. The yoga class is “free”, however I’d recommend making a $5 donation.
- Sunset Cliffs Yoga – is also amazing! This class meets every Wednesday at 5:30pm and Friday at 11am. It’s a great workout with a spectacular view!
5. Bike the Pacific Beach Boardwalk
6. Take a Harbor Cruise
Take a tour of San Diego’s waterfront and bay aboard the popular Hornblower or Flagship cruises!
These cruises are super fun! This link is for the 1-2 hour harbor cruise I did. For the romantics out there, you might be interested in the luxury dinner cruise which offers amazing sunset views over the downtown skyline.
One of my favorite bucket list San Diego adventures is the San Diego whale watching cruise here.
7. Trail Running
Forget the treadmill, in San Diego there’s no excuse not to enjoy the scenic trails. San Diego has temperate climates nearly all year round and breathtaking running trails. Going for an afternoon jog has never been easier. 🙂
Some of my favorite trail running spots in San Diego are:
- Sunset Cliffs – There are paths to jog right along the cliffs
- Torrey Pines – Many people not only hike but jog along the trails
- Tecolote Canyon – A bit more difficult and steeper, this is a great trail running path (I ran this one all the time while training for a marathon)
- Penasquitos Canyon Trail – If wanting to get in some long miles, this path is great!
8. Hang Gliding/ Paragliding
At the Torrey Pines Gliderport, paragliding and hang gliding has never been more scenic. You can fly tandem, or even earn your wings and get certified.
9. Sea Kayaking
Sea kayaking is one of my favorite San Diego outdoor adventures! At La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks you can take a tour around the beautiful La Jolla Shores. You’re likely to see the sea lions, leopard sharks, and of course, the caves!
10. Go Sailing
Sun, sea, and sailing. I ask you, is there anything better?
Set sail on the Pacific Ocean with the many sailing tours available. The options are endless! I’ll give you a few options that you can book to get out there and sail the ocean blue.
- 2.5-hour sunset tour (includes wine, beer, and light snacks)
- 3-hour day sail (I did this one! It includes beverages, bottled water, and snacks)
- 2.5-hour private sunset sail (this is great for a group of friends or to impress that someone special ☺️)
- Half-day marine wildlife tour (this is a whale watching tour on a vintage yacht – includes lunch!)
11. Temecula Hot Air Balloon Ride
Who wouldn’t want a hot air balloon ride over Temecula wine country? I would HIGHLY recommend California Dreamin’ as a great company to go with. I tried to go a few times, but unfortunately wasn’t able to set sail with them due to weather. But if you do go, just remember to bundle up; those sunrise tours can be chilly!
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Temecula Valley
12. San Diego Parks
There are so many beautiful parks in San Diego! Come to relax and enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun. 🙂
My favorite San Diego Parks:
- Mission Bay Park is one of the most popular spots to just be outside and enjoy the gorgeous San Diego sun. The options are endless here! What do you want to do? Have a picnic, create a bonfire, bike along the pathway, go paddle boarding, play volleyball, or you can even sail. Mission Bay Park has it all!
- Balboa Park is another gorgeous area to explore! Here there are a plethora of museums, parks, gardens, and beautiful Spanish architecture.
- La Jolla Cove parks also can’t go without mentioning. There’s a large park for picnicking and here you can get up close and personal to the seals and sea lions that sunbath on the rocky shores.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of San Diego’s best outdoor adventures! Doesn’t it make you just itch to go outside and do something!? San Diego is the best. I hope whether you’re a tourist or a local you have an amazing time! But I mean, it’s San Diego – so how could you not? 😉
Going to San Diego? Check out these popular posts:
- 20 Things to Tick Off Your San Diego Bucket List
- 10 of the Best Beaches in San Diego
- San Diego’s Most Instagram-Worthy Spots
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What are your favorite San Diego’s outdoor adventures? Love to know below!
Tiffany created Lavender Vines as a place to share her love for Jesus and adventures from around the world. She has a slight obsession with salted caramel lattes, Japanese kimonos, and an ongoing love affair with NYC and Paris.