10 Active Things to Do in San Diego

San Diego’s Most Popular Activities

With beaches, mountains and canyons surrounding it, San Diego is an ideal destination for visitors looking for an active vacation. Get outside of your San Diego hotel and let the ocean wind tousle your hair as you surf, sail or bike in the warm California sun.



Whether you're a beginner or an old hat, San Diego has terrific waves for surfing. Lessons are available throughout the city, but the Pacific Beach Surf School provides the wet suit, the board, and even chairs and umbrellas for your companions. 

Location: 4150 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach 92109 , USA

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The steady wind and sunny skies of San Diego make it ideal for sailing. Even if you've never sailed before, you can rent a boat with a skipper or take a sailing lesson on the bay. There are dozens of companies to choose from, but Seaforth Boat Rentals has the largest selection. 

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Scuba diving or snorkeling

Choose from an array of diving locations or earn your scuba certification. Even if you don't have time for a dive, you can rent snorkeling gear and explore La Jolla Cove, or take a snorkeling tour from Scuba San Diego

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photo by SD Dirk (CC BY 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred



Consider taking a guided kayak tour. San Diego Bike & Kayak Tours specializes in ocean tours around the La Jolla Cove and its caves. Or just rent your own kayak. 

Location: 2222 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla 92037, USA

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Rock climbing

The oldest rock-climbing destination in the city is the Mission Trails Regional Park, with over 150 lead and top-rope routes. 

Location: 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail 92119, USA

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Flat trails along the ocean make for gentle rides, while the Cleveland National Forest’s trails are more rugged and challenging. Or rent a bike downtown from the San Diego Bike Shop

Location: 619 C Street, Downtown 92101, USA

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photo by Port of San Diego (CC BY 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Hang gliding

The cliffs overlooking the ocean in Torrey Pines have been a proving grounds for motor-less flight since 1928. The sea breezes and elevated grounds make this location top notch for gliding. Take lessons, rent a paraglider or consider a tandem flight. 

Location: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive, La Jolla 92037, USA

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Skateboarding or in-line skating

The city's skate parks have bowls, snakes and rail slides for hard-core in-line skaters. Other may prefer a more leisurely ride along the beach boardwalks. Both boards and skates can be rented from Cheap Rentals

Location: 3689 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach 92109, USA

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The mild weather and clean air make San Diego a hiker’s paradise, with rugged mountains in one direction and cliffside beaches in the other. And just a hop, skip and a jump from La Jolla are the trails of the Torrey Pines State Reserve

Location: 12600 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla 92037, USA

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photo by Tristan Loper (CC BY-SA 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Beach volleyball

Some of the best-kept nets are located on the south end of Mission Beach, where you can rent a volleyball nearby. Alternately, you might even be able to catch an impromptu game on the La Jolla campus of the University of California-San Diego. 

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