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LGBTQ+ Outdoor Recreation Guide

Active by Day, Spectacular by Night

San Diego's healthy SoCal lifestyle keeps you active during the day, so you look fabulous at night. With 70 miles of beautiful coastline, and diverse terrain, San Diego offers outdoor recreation galore, from swimming at one of the world's most beautiful gay beaches to kayaking along La Jolla Cove to America's Finest City Softball League.

Hit the Beach

The 33 beaches throughout San Diego boast distinct personalities that offer LGBTQ+ travelers everything from quietude to "Baywatch"-like action. Whether you prefer throwing down a beach towel in the company of other LGBTQ+ beachgoers or amid families and youthful sunbathers, a perfect spot awaits.

Black's Beach

One of the most beautiful gay beaches in the world, Black's Beach is known as San Diego's nude beach, although nudism is unlawful in San Diego. Located north of luxurious La Jolla, this beautiful stretch of sand is hugged by towering cliffs, and access to the beach can be challenging for some beachgoers.

The north end of Black's is where the LGBTQ+ community traditionally frequents. Throughout the year, you'll find colorful umbrellas, lively gatherings of friends, surfers and swimmers enjoying the ocean, and an endless parade of beachgoers strolling along the water's edge.

More Beach Options

If you're seeking a different beach experience from Black's, here are a few options:

  • La Jolla Cove is a small patch of sand tucked between weather-sculpted sandstone cliffs. Buoys dot the waters for long ocean swims, and the Cove is popular for snorkeling and diving in the La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Preserve.
  • Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are connected by a popular three-mile boardwalk filled with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners and bikers – and young beachgoers just wanting "to be seen." Both beaches have designated areas for swimming and surfing.
  • With a 1960s hippie vibe, Ocean Beach (O.B.) is home to a large sandy beach offering surfing, swimming, volleyball, and other recreational activities. O.B. is also home to Dog's Beach, where four-legged friends are permitted to roam leash-free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Popular for families and rated one of the Top 10 beaches in America by Tripadvisor, Coronado Beach offers miles of white sand beach and the added distinction of being the official training grounds of the U.S. Navy SEALs.

Go Outdoors and Play

There are plenty of non-beach activities to enjoy in San Diego's great outdoors, from biking and hiking to volleyball and golf. Here's a short list of activities to check out.

Take a Hike

Located above Black's Beach, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve — home of the rare and elegant Torrey pine tree — abounds with scenic hiking trails.

> Explore San Diego's Hiking Trails

Go Golf

Set on the bluffs above Black's Beach, Torrey Pines Golf Course is a golfer's paradise. San Diego is home to more than 70 golf courses.

> Tee off in San Diego

Roller Skate

Looking to skate while taking in the SoCal beach vibe? Head down to Mission Beach, where you’ll find sunbathers, surf shops, restaurants and a 3-mile-long, smooth boardwalk with ocean views. The two-way path is a hot spot for joggers, cyclists and skaters.

Ride a Bike

Lots of scenic sites and eye candy can be seen when biking along the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach boardwalk and the bike paths around Mission Bay.

> Discover San Diego's Bike Culture

Play on Mission Bay

Paddleboarding is popular in the calm waters of Mission Bay. Water enthusiasts also can enjoy water skiing, sailing, jet skiing, kiteboarding and kayaking.

> Make a Splash on the Water

Play Volleyball

On many weekends, friendly, noncompetitive volleyball games can be found in Balboa Park. Gay men can be seen spiking and bump-passing on the grassy lawn located between Sixth Avenue and Balboa Drive across from Olive and Nutmeg streets.

Go Kayaking

Kayaking off the coast of La Jolla Shores and along the tidal caves of La Jolla Cove is a fun outdoor activity, perfect for dates and groups of close friends.

> Explore 70 Miles of Coastline on a Kayak

LGBTQ+ Sports Leagues

San Diego's LGBTQ+ sports leagues provide lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and meet new friends regardless of whether you're in the middle of the action or cheering from the sideline.

America's Finest City Softball League

America's Finest City Softball League (AFCSL) is San Diego's largest LGBTQ+ sports league. Founded in 1981, AFCSL is San Diego's oldest recreational softball league. The club boasts nearly 40 teams and more than 600 players, managers, and coaches.

Varsity Gay League

San Diego's LGBTQ+ community is part of the Varsity Gay League (VGL), the nation's original Queer+ recreational sports league. Founded in 2007, VGL represents over 25,000 LGBTQ+ and allied athletes across the nation. Activities range from dodgeball and kickball to soccer and indoor volleyball, and everyone is welcome, regardless of experience or identity.

Front Runners & Walkers San Diego

Formed in 1981, Front Runners & Walkers San Diego (FR&WSD) is one of more than 100 Front Runner clubs worldwide. FR&WSD provides running and walking activities for lesbians, gay men and non-gay family members and friends, and the club welcomes runners and walkers of all abilities, from beginners to experienced athletes.

Strokes Swim Team

Swimmers of all levels head to the pool with the Different Strokes Swim Team (DSST), a member club of U.S. Masters Swimming. DSST promotes swimming as a form of exercise and to create lifelong friendships, regardless of age (18+), gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability.

San Diego American Flag Football League

The San Diego American Flag Football League (SDAFF) is home of California's premier 7-on-7 flag football league. The SDAFFL is one of the largest flag football leagues of its kind in the nation with over 200 players; it is also home to the five-time National Gay Flag Football League national champion San Diego Bolts.

San Diego Armada

The San Diego Armada is an inclusive rugby union club that welcomes all players and supporters regardless of skill level, orientation, gender identity, religion, or national origin. The primary goal of the social club is to have a great time and make friends by playing rugby.

San Diego Surfers Women's Rugby Club

The San Diego Surfers Women's Rugby Club is the only women's club in San Diego. Founded in 1975, the Surfers were invited to join the Women's Premier League (WPL) in 2010. WPL features the nation's top women's rugby talent and is the highest level of senior club 15s competition in the U.S. with 10 teams from coast to coast.

San Diego Tennis Federation

The San Diego Tennis Federation (SDTF) attracts LGBTQ+ tennis players and fans from throughout the San Diego area. SDTF provides playing opportunities for all levels of tennis enthusiasts, from beginners to Open players. The flagship annual event is the San Diego Open, a premier tournament on the GLTA World Tour.

For additional information about the LGBTQ+ sports leagues, visit the San Diego LGBT Pride organization.

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