Aerial view of people walking along the La Jolla coast on a sunny afternoon with green grass and palm trees in the distance.

Top Outdoor Adventures in San Diego

Aerial view of people walking along the La Jolla coast on a sunny afternoon with green grass and palm trees in the distance.

Top Outdoor Adventures in San Diego

On land or sea, San Diego serves up plenty of outdoor adventures. Here are our top three favorites to add to your upcoming California travel itinerary.

San Diego is a stunning coastal town, with some of the most exciting action taking place outside. Whether you’re on the water, on two wheels, hurtling along at high speeds, or pedaling or paddling at a steady pace, you can experience the top outdoor adventures in San Diego, a city custom made for high-action fun on land and sea.

1. Cycle Down Mt. Soledad to the La Jolla Coast

If the thought of racing on a bike down a mountain along the gorgeous coastline of La Jolla gives you a thrill, then this 10-mile guided tour is tailor-made for you. After drinking in the panoramic views from San Diego’s highest coastal mountaintop, where your tour transport drops you off, you’ll wheel down to the coast at your own pace on a Bianchi hybrid bike with your head safely strapped into a helmet.

Once you’re seaside after an exhilarating 3.5-mile ride, you can make your way on foot through a tunnel to explore one of La Jolla’s famous sea caves and visit beaches like Seal Beach, where the harbor seals make their home. Discover the tidal pools of La Jolla Cove and Ecological Reserve, and then take in the tranquil beach towns on the way back from your La Jolla coast bike adventure. Bottled water and snacks are provided to keep you hydrated and fueled for prime coastal action.

Red kayaks float on the water near the coastal caves at La Jolla, California, on a sunny afternoon.

2. Explore Sea Caves by Kayak

The joys of spelunking aren’t just limited to land in La Jolla. This spectacular two-person guided sea cave kayak tour teaches you fascinating facts about sea caves, as well as marine plants and animals and their habitats. Stops include La Jolla’s incredible Seven Sea Caves and giant marine kelp forest. You might spy sea life — leopard sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins, and maybe even whales — during your exciting nautical explorations. Naturally, you’ll receive kayak safety training from expert guides before they lead you and your partner in a double kayak through the gorgeous waters of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve.

A grey whale breaches the surface of the ocean water along the California coast on a bright afternoon.

3. Spy Whales from a Jet Boat

There are few marine animals as awe-inspiring as gray whales, and this 3.5-hour whale-watching tour takes you from San Diego’s Navy Pier along the Pacific Ocean route that these magnificent creatures take on their annual 6,000-mile trip to Baja, California, from the Arctic.

The crew provides intriguing details about whales and other sea life in the area, including seals and dolphins. If you don’t see any whales on your tour — they’re free wild animals, after all — you get a voucher for another tour at no cost.

After your wondrous whale-watching excursion, get ready to rev up the pace and hold onto your hat for a high-octane ride on a 1,400-horsepower jet boat known as the Patriot. The captain takes the boat through thrilling turns and spins on a 30-minute tour that zooms to the San Diego waterfront and past iconic landmarks like Coronado Island, the USS Midway, and the Embarcadero.

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