5 Exciting Outdoor Adventures to Try in San Diego

5 Exciting Outdoor Adventures to Try in San Diego

California is known for a number of things, from excellent wine regions to some of the best theme parks in the entire country. One of the qualities that has made this state so renowned among tourists is its excellent weather, which is perhaps best exemplified by San Diego. This city has warm, sunny weather virtually year-round, which means there is pretty much no bad time to visit. While in San Diego, individuals should try to take advantage of this great weather with an outdoor adventure. Luckily, the area provides a number of exciting opportunities for outdoor adventure, including the following:

1. La Jolla Sea Caves

Not far from the shoreline of La Jolla is an ecological reserve that houses one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in all of California. In this area, sea caves cut into the coastline. People can take a kayak to explore the caves and see some exciting wildlife, like dolphins, seals, sea lions, and a number of different kelp-dwelling fish, up close. Several species of sea birds can also be spotted around the caves, and migrating gray whales can be spotted in the distance between December and March.

La Jolla Sea Caves
Photos By Clark | Flickr

Visitors may want to bring some snorkel gear to get in the water and explore further, but those who want a more structured experience can hire a local excursion company to go through the area with a guide. The benefit of this option is learning about the history and biodiversity of the area.

2. San Diego Bay

Opening out into the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego Bay is a beautiful and peaceful body of water that is best explored on a sailboat. San Diego Harbor features a number of companies that rent sailboats and offer sailing instruction for beginners.

People who want a more luxurious experience can book a catamaran trip that moves around the bay. Another option is the Stars and Stripes racing yacht, which raced in the 1992 America’s Cup and can be ridden at high speed around the area. This adventure also provides some basic instruction on sailing so that guests can be actively involved if they wish. While an afternoon trip provides more visibility, a sunset sail can prove extremely romantic. Many of the smaller ships can be outfitted with adult beverages and snacks.

3. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Torrey pine, a rare tree, served as inspiration for Dr. Seuss and his fantastical plants. This tree grows only on Santa Rosa Island, part of the Channel Islands, and San Diego. To get a glimpse of the tree, visitors should head over to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for a hike. During the trip, they may see some other exciting flora, such as ferns, black sage, and coastal prickly pear.

Many people report seeing coyotes, gray foxes, skunks, and more. Most of the trails at the reserve are short loops that culminate in breathtaking views of the ocean. Some of the top choices include the Guy Fleming Trail, the Parry Grove Trail, and the Beach Trail. Free guided tours are offered on the weekends and on public holidays.

4. Coronado Municipal Beach

Any list of outdoor adventures in San Diego would be remiss not to mention the beautiful coastline and its many beaches. There is a wide range of beach options, depending on what people are looking for, but a good place to start is Coronado Municipal Beach, widely regarded as one of the top 10 beaches in the entire country.

This beach is actually not along the San Diego shoreline; it is instead part of the seaward side of Coronado Island. The beach is kept extremely clean and has long stretches of picturesque white sand. The northern part of the beach has emerged as a top choice for surfers and is also the dog-friendly portion of the area. Coronado Central Beach is the most crowded part, largely because it is the easiest to access. From here, individuals can wander over to downtown Coronado to grab some food or do some shopping.

5. Paragliding

Adventurous tourists should try a favorite of locals: paragliding. Using these parachutes to float over the coastline is one of the most unique ways to see San Diego and appreciate the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Since the city typically has more than 300 flyable days in a given year, it is highly likely that visitors will have the chance to go paragliding during their visit.


The majority of paragliding flights leave from Torrey Pines Gliderport, which has operated for more than a century. This launching point has its own unique history. Several aviators, including Charles Lindbergh, launched their first flights from these cliffs. People of all ages can opt for a tandem flight with an instructor. The adventure includes a 20-minute flight over the cliffs and on-ground training prior to takeoff. Those with experience can take advantage of more challenging trip options.