San Diego is one of my favorite SoCal cities. It offers everything from nightlife to beaches and food trucks to craft breweries. You’ll find a mix of historic neighborhoods and seaside retreats, and that’s just part of what makes vacationing here so great. You can explore the city in style and balance your visit with these seven outdoor adventures.

San Diego Surf

Whatever your skill level, you’ll find the perfect wave in San Diego. Serious surfers will love the breaks at Tourmaline Surfing Park Beach, while those preferring more novice waves should visit Silver Strand State Beach. For a variety of activities, Ocean Beach City Beach is popular among locals for its smooth waves and dog-friendly pet policy.


Hike Torrey Pines

Want picturesque water views during a challenging hike? Head to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for incredible scenery and wild landscapes. This stretch of land has protected wildlife and plants, so you’ll want to keep your feet on the trail. For a little extra zen during your workout, join free Mindfulness in Nature walks the first Sunday of every month.

photocourtesy & Visit California

Snorkel Adventure

Join a guided snorkel tour of La Jolla Cove Underwater Park to see a stunning array of colorful fish. This moderate exercise is great for groups and families. You might encounter sea lions and harbor seals during your session. You’ll spend two hours in this ecological reserve. Bring an underwater camera to capture the aquatic friends you meet!

photocourtesy & Marty Snyderman

Airborne: Kiteboard

Looking to combine your love of water with your need for adrenaline? Try kiteboarding in the San Diego sunshine. Beginners will want to sign up for lessons, ranging from two to four hours in length. You’ll get hands-on instruction with all the equipment provided. Hooked on the feeling? You’ll be ready to go out on your own after a few lessons and can rent boards locally.

Cycle Challenge

If you ask a San Diego local about must-ride cycle trails, chances are Cabrillo National Monument will come up. Ride the challenging route up to the monument in a six-mile loop. From the view atop, you’ll take in a grand sight of downtown and Coronado Island. For a smoother ride, cycle the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Here you can let your hair flow in the ocean breeze as you people-watch and weave around joggers.

photocourtesy & Brett Shoaf

Horseback on the Beach

Take a scenic tour of River Valley Nature Preserve on a horseback ride with Pony Land San Diego. Here, you can ride horses along the ocean beaches, wandering in and out of the waves. The guided tour is great for riders of all experiences. You’ll likely spot wildlife along the route, too.

photocourtesy & Brett Shoaf

Beach Bum Workout

Want to catch some waves, but also pick up a game? Visit Coronado or Mission Bay. You’ll find soft sand for lounging or getting in on a beach volleyball game, plus smooth waves for boogie boards and open-water swimming. Water temperatures vary and winter waves require a wet suit, but during the summer? Bring on the sunscreen and enjoy a day skating, swimming or tossing the Frisbee.

For more travel tips and local maps, visit