arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Exploring San Diego

Beyond the Beach in the Pursuit of Happiness

San Diego has emerged as a youthful, energetic city filled with an outdoor-loving population, pursuing their own happiness and hoping you'll come along for a visit.

Discover San Diego By Land and By Sea

Topping many "It Lists" of late, San Diego has shed its beach bum reputation in favor of a more active outdoor lifestyle, where non-stop sunshine makes it easy to access 70 miles of coastal waters, inland valleys and mountains, desert landscapes, eclectic neighborhoods and so much more. It’s a slice of utopia that’s just waiting for you.

You always have a friend with a boat in San Diego

Sportfishing

While lying on the beach may be good enough for some, we've got a few other ways to enjoy the coast. Consider sailing along the stunning coast until the sun sinks on one of the many charter sailboats around Shelter Island. Or find out why San Diego was named No. 1 sportfishing city in America by booking a sportfishing excursion that can take you through the Coronado Islands or even into Baja.

La Jolla

Experience the magic of the water in a kayak off La Jolla's rugged coastline. Enjoy close encounters with sea lions, explore sea caves, or be humbled by a glimpse of a giant gray whale.

Mission Bay

Looking for your favorite new sport? Explore the calm waters of Mission Bay on a stand-up paddle board. Glide across the water standing on a huge surfboard, paddle in hand. Lessons are fun and affordable.

Whale Watching

Witness the majesty of the 10,000+ whales that migrate past San Diego in the Winter (Grey Whales) and Summer (Blue Whales) aboard a daily whale watching cruise. Popular cruise operators include Flagship Cruises & Events and Hornblower Cruises & Events.

Happiness is a pair of sneakers

Marathons & More

With mountains, valleys, deserts and lagoons, it's no wonder San Diego is one of the top marathon cities in the country and the birthplace of the famous Rock-n-Roll marathon.

> Discover the best places to run in San Diego

Hiking

For water views and coastal eco-culture, you can't beat Torrey Pines Reserve State Park with its rare pines, other worldly sandstone formations, canopied trails, lagoons and million dollar ocean views. Spanning over 2,000 acres, it preserves its namesake, the Torrey Pine tree, and other indigenous wildlife in its native environment. Among the eight miles of trails, guests can encounter native chaparral plants, wildflowers, birds, reptiles and butterflies. The reserve also includes a visitor center and hosts guided nature walks on weekends and holidays to view points overlooking Peñasquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

Aptly named Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach is another local gem with 68 acres of bluffs and walking paths high above the Pacific Ocean. A large sandy beach also offers surfing, swimming, volleyball and other recreational activities, perfect for getting your heart pumping while surrounded by panoramic ocean views.

Looking for something completely different? Head two hours east to the dramatic desert landscape and brilliant wildflowers of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California with over 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and numerous hiking trails. Amid the untouched wilderness, you'll encounter soothing warm desert breezes and a beautiful barren land teeming with wildlife like roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes and bighorn sheep.

> Explore San Diego on a Hike

Find your Zip-a-dee-doo-dah

Sure we ride waves, but San Diegans are also very attached to their bikes. Whether on a mountain bike or a beach cruiser, a bike tour is a great way to experience this city - from La Jolla to Mission Bay to Coronado Island.

Want another way to explore the eclectic neighborhoods and burrows of the city? Hop on a segway and zoom along for a guided tour. Or grab a helmet and rent a bright yellow GoCar for a custom-narrated, GPS-guided tour of the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Little Italy or even the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Urban Explorers: A Spotlight on 7 Neighborhoods in San Diego

Little Italy

 A charming waterfront area with fantastic Italian restaurants and delis, authentic gelatarias, upscale boutiques, a Saturday farmers market and a lively dinner scene.

North Park

This up-and-coming hipster neighborhood bustles with independent boutiques, imaginative restaurants, cozy coffee shops, sophisticated beer bars and local watering holes.

La Jolla & Del Mar

Two seaside enclaves boasting beautiful parks and walkable, waterfront downtowns with upscale shopping, galleries and fashionable eateries.

Balboa Park

The original site of the 1915 Panama-California Exhibition, this beautiful urban park is considered the cultural heart of the city and packed with Spanish architecture, fountains, gardens, over a dozen museums and the Old Globe theatre.

Hillcrest & University Heights

Considered particularly gay-friendly, these adjoining neighborhoods have quaint breakfast spots, independent movie theaters, unpretentious wine bars, and good secondhand and vintage shopping.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

3rd Night Free Golf

Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Valid: Jan 18 - ongoing

Experience a San Diego golf vacation with four rounds of play and a complimentary third night at the luxury Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort. Off the course, golfers can enjoy an array of grand moments:...

Trains

Passengers w/ Disabilities Save 15%

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
Valid: Jan 4 - ongoing

Take the scenic route to San Diego.  With large picture windows, accessible restrooms, spacious seating, free Wi-Fi and other amenities, the Pacific Surfliner offers a comfortable journey. ...

Accommodation

How Suite it Is

La Valencia Hotel
Valid: Jan 9 - ongoing

Save 30% on suites with a three-night minimum stay based on availability and get more room for less.

Events to check out

Event

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Dec 27, 2019

Don't miss America's Finest Bowl Experience! This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and...

Event

Gray Whale Migration Winter/Spring 2020

Newport Landing Whale Watching
Dec 1, 2019 - ongoing

Over 20,000 gray whales migrate annually from the summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea, to the winter grounds of the Baja California lagoons, and back again, along the Southern California coast.

Event

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec 8 - Dec 15, 2019

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see.

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish