7 Outdoor Adventures in San Diego

Get outside and explore San Diego’s terrain with these unique excursions.

 San Diego’s great outdoors are beckoning. We admit to being big kids who love to play in our own backyard, and we invite you to do the same. Here are seven of our favorite reasons (in no particular order) to step outside. Adventure awaits…

Warner Springs Ranch Resort 

Take a trip out to northeast San Diego County to discover the countryside tranquility that is Warner Springs Ranch Resort. The historical property, once a working ranch in the mid-1800s is now a 2,500-acre, western-style ranch resort that is being renovated in phases. Tee off on an 18-hole champion golf course, enjoy its quaint casitas and restaurants, and go horseback-riding. Available to the public, the experience includes a two-hour, guided trail ride aboard a seasoned horse through the Julian foothills. Expect stunning scenery and a unique adventure through this rural pocket of the region. 31652 Hwy. 79, Warner Springs, 760.782.4200

La Jolla Zip Zoom 

Get your heart pounding with a one-of-a-kind zip line experience at La Jolla Zip Zoom. The outfit takes guests down four zip lines that, totaled together, are more than 6,000 feet long—making it the longest zip line in California. Located on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, the zip line offers scenic views of Palomar Mountain and Pauma Valley—while reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour. Later, if it’s warm enough, rent some rubber tires at the nearby La Jolla Indian Campground and cool off by rafting in the San Luis Rey river. 22000 CA-76, Pauma Valley, 760.742.3776

Torrey Pines Gliderport 

Glide like a bird above the majestic bluffs overlooking Torrey Pines State Beach aboard a hang glider or parasail glider. The Torrey Pines Gliderport offers tandem rides by experienced instructors about 300 days a year. The 20-25 minute flights show off the coastal cliffs, the Torrey Pines Golf Course and some of the region’s priciest real estate. Usually, you’re lucky enough to land right where you started. Occasionally, light winds mean you land below at Black’s Beach, where clothing is, uh, optional (though not officially sanctioned). Just a warning. 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, La Jolla, 858.452.9858

Jetpack America 

Blast out of the water as high as 30 feet in the air with Jetpack America, based on Mission Bay. Riders strap on harnesses attached to two powerful water jets that push them above the water as well as through it and under it. With a little practice—you wear a helmet equipped with a headset through which an instructor guides you along at all times—guests can rocket all over the water up to 30 miles per hour and experience a sensation similar to flying. Mission Bay Sports Center, 1010 Santa Clara Place, Mission Bay, 888.553.6471

Coast to Crest Trail Hike

Take in the diverse landscapes of San Dieguito River Park—which includes Lake Hodges and Bernardo Mountain—with a hike along 45 miles of a planned 70-mile trail known as the Coast to Crest Trail. The trail (also popular with equestrians and mountain bikers) starts in Del Mar (the coast) and reaches the summit of Volcan Mountain (the crest), north of Julian. Accessible trailheads located in in Del Mar, the Del Dios Gorge, at Lake Hodges, and in San Pasqual Valley. Hikes range in difficulty and terrain, as does the landscape, which becomes more rugged and remote as you head east. Bring plenty of water.

SoCal Surf Lessons 

Catch a wave in Carlsbad with SoCal Surf Lessons—a seasoned surf school offering both private and group lessons, as well as surf camps, for beginners and advanced surfers. Open seven days a week and year-round, its bonded and insured instructors offer more than 10 years of teaching experience, and they guarantee you’ll be standing up your first lesson, or the next one is free. Lessons take place at a very beginner-friendly surf spot just off Carlsbad State Beach, perfect for laughing and falling amid gentle waves as you learn. 760.672.2770

La Jolla Kayak 

Discover La Jolla’s spectacular sea cliffs, the Seven Caves and the La Jolla Underwater Park’s abundant marine life from the unique perspective of a kayak. Suitable for all skill levels, kayaking one of California’s most beautiful natural wonders is easily accessible with La Jolla Kayak’s expertly guided tours or self-exploration rentals. The Original Kayak Tour is a thrilling two-hour kayak experience that explores some of the finest scenery and most active marine life in the county. Kayakers have been known to spot everything from dolphins and sea lions to leopard sharks and garibaldi. Bike tours and rentals are also available, or add on a snorkel experience to get even closer to La Jolla’s sea life. 2199 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, 858.459.1114

Article by Sarah Daoust, adapted from WHERE San Diego magazine for SoCalPulse. Reprinted with permission.