With its year-round near-idyllic climate, varied terrain and abundance of outdoor activities, San Diego County offers recreationalists a vacation experience like no other. You'll find adventures on land, sea and air, including surfing, hiking, biking, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, rock climbing and tide pooling. Here are some of our favorites.
Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, stretches up the San Diego coastline alongside the Pacific Ocean and passes through some of the area's most beautiful beach towns like Del Mar, Leucadia and Encinitas. The 27 miles of winding, paved bike paths that circle Mission Bay are car-free and provide a favorable location for family bike rides, leisurely biking and sightseeing. The Bayshore Bikeway is a 25-mile ride along San Diego Bay. The majority of the ride runs along bike lanes or separated bike paths, and the scenery varies en route. Riders generally start at the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego and head south through National City and Chula Vista, before looping around San Diego Bay into Imperial Beach, and then catching the Silver Strand into Coronado.
Mission Gorge Mountain is San Diego's oldest and most popular climbing area for climbers of all skill level. Climbs average 30-70 feet with opportunities for guests to free climb along custom made paths. Sitting 3,000 feet above El Cajon and Lakeside in San Diego's East County, El Cajon Mountain, nicknamed "El Cap," promotes challenging and steep climbs with rewarding panoramic views of the ocean and valleys below. Front Range Climbing San Diego offers visitors half- and full-day trips and classes in Mission Trails Regional Park, a 5,800-acre park of rugged hills, valleys and open areas, and Mount Woodson, located between Poway and Ramona, where hundreds of strewn granite boulders offer routes that rock climbers of all levels can enjoy.
Guests can kayak along San Diego's tranquil waters alone or with many companies that offer instruction, such as Aqua Adventure Kayak Center, Hike Bike Kayak San Diego, La Jolla Kayak, Mission Bay Sportcenter, and OEX Dive & Kayak Centers. Just off the coast of La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove, kayakers routinely glide over the clear blue waters of the Pacific, paddling up to tidal caves and small inlets, as curious sea lions swim alongside and bright orange Garibaldi dart in and out of the kelp beds below. The La Jolla Cove Ecological Reserve, protected since 1929, offers kayakers an up-close experience with the marine animals.