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San Diego’s climate makes for green fields and colorful blooms year round!

Discover the beautiful and diverse array of San Diego’s botanical gardens, state parks, natural preserves and recreational parks.

A Place to Smell the Roses

Explore the 16 gardens within Balboa Park, including the Japanese Friendship Garden and Botanical Building with adjacent Koi and Lily Pond.  Also located in Balboa Park in the Pepper Grove Children’s Playground, named for the California Pepper Trees which provide shade to the expansive picnic area. 

A don’t miss for plant lovers, the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas encompasses four miles of garden trails, including the nation’s largest collection of bamboo species, plus workshops, plant sales, bird watching and a whimsical children’s garden. 

A Walk on the Wild Side

One of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park is dedicated to preserving its namesake, the Torrey Pine tree and other indigenous wildlife in its native environment. A coastal wilderness of pine forests and sandstone canyons, the park offers hiking trails that wind their way along the cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. 

In the spring, head out to East County for a spectacle of wild desert blooms, or walk a rainbow of colors at the famous flower fields in Carlsbad. No matter what time of year, there’s always a garden in bloom in San Diego.

For outdoor adventure and fun, plan an outing at one of the area's gorgeous parks and preserves. San Diego’s steep and varied topography combined with its proximity to the ocean create five different habitats within the county including tidal, marsh, desert, mountains and canyons. Explore endangered species of plants and wild animals in their natural settings. Take a hike along coastal wetlands and canyons or in one of San Diego's East County state parks. 

If you’re looking for fun at recreational parks, San Diego offers a wide range of interests. From theme parks, water parks, and skate parks, to Mission Bay Aquatic Park, the largest aquatic park in the United States, there are plenty parks to enjoy for kids of all ages.

Browse the articles and listings below to uncover more about San Diego's natural landscapes.

Related Articles and Features

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San Diego Botanic Garden
230 Quail Gardens Dr
Encinitas, CA 92024
760.436.3036
Region: North County Coastal

Explore four miles of garden trails, enjoy restful vistas, flowering trees, majestic palms, and the nation’s largest bamboo collection. Thanks...

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Lake Jennings Park
10108 Bass Road
Lakeside, CA 92040
619.390.1623
Region: East County

Lake Jennings is a recreational facility providing fishing, camping, hiking, and picnicking activities. The 98-space campground is open seven days a...

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Liberty Station
2750 Womble Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
858.558.6890
Region: Point Loma, Harbor Island & Shelter Island

A Military Base Transformed into New Urban Mixed Use Community The 361-acre Liberty Station community, which includes 125 acres of parks, open...

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
200 Palm Canyon Dr
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
760.767.5311
Region: East County

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. Five hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of...

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Balboa Park
House of Hospitality
San Diego, CA 92101
619.239.0512
Region: Downtown

Welcome to Balboa Park: the nation's largest "urban cultural" park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes—all in the beautiful and timeless setting of this must-see San Diego attraction

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Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Dr W.
El Cajon, CA 92019
619.660.1684
Region: East County

Conservation has never been as beautiful as the 5-acre botanical showcase that is The Water Conservation. Featuring meandering pathways through a...

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Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
9310 Fanita Pkwy
Santee, CA 92071
619.596.3141
Region: East County

Santee Lakes is located in the heart of the east county just outside of San Diego, in the city of Santee. A beautiful 194 acre park surrounds seven...

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The Flower Fields of Carlsbad California
5704 Paseo del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92008
760.930.9123
Region: North County Coastal

Every year Southern California welcomes in the spring season with a very special attraction - The Flower Fields® at Carlsbad Ranch one of the...

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Mission Trails Regional Park
One Father Junipero Serra Trail
San Diego, CA 92119-1008
619.405.0177
Region: East County

Mission Trails Regional Park is just 12 miles from downtown San Diego and is one of the nation's largest urban natural parks covering over 6,005...

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Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
301 Caspian Way
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
619.575.3613
Region: South Bay

The Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center (part of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve) is located at 3rd Street and Caspian Way in...

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Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr
San Diego, CA 92106
619.557.5450
Region: Point Loma, Harbor Island & Shelter Island

A visit to San Diego's "only" National Park offers tremendous views of the San Diego region and excellent opportunities to explore the natural,...

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Living Coast Discovery Center
1000 Gunpowder Point Dr
Chula Vista, CA 91910
619.409.5900
Region: South Bay

The Living Coast Discovery Center (formerly the Chula Vista Nature Center) The Living Coast Discovery Center offers an intimate nature...

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Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego
2215 Pan American Way E
San Diego, CA 92101
619.232.2721
Region: Downtown

The Japanese Friendship Garden is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city in Yokohama, Japan. It binds the two cultures to...

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