Posted March 4, 2019

Surf, Sail and Sun: A Guide to Outdoor Activities in San Diego


Sunny and 60 is a chilly day in San Diego. Whether you’re craving some vitamin D or planning a spring break, the laid-back SoCal city provides plenty of opportunities to get outdoors.

Make your home base the modern surf-inspired Kimpton Hotel Palomar in the Gaslamp Quarter. Our downtown  hotel is ideally located for exploring the city and taking advantage of the region’s watersports, golf, and iconic waves celebrated by The Beach Boys— oh, and did we mention the year-round outdoor pool?

kimpton palomar pool lounge image credit whit preston

Pack shades and a good book, then spend a day luxuriating poolside at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego. Image Credit: Whit Preston.

Surf’s Up

In San Diego, see and be seen while you surf and sunbathe, or hike to more hidden shores. Either way, head to the beach and take advantage of SoCal’s year-round sunshine.

la jolla cove image credit tonythetigerson via twenty

Fancy a walk on the wild side? La Jolla Cove provides spectacular views just as Mother Nature intended. Image Credit: @TonyTheTigersSon via Twenty20.

La Jolla Shores is consistently ranked one of the top San Diego beaches. The family-friendly stretch is ideal for swimming, surfing, and kayaking, no matter your experience level. Nearby La Jolla Cove is a dreamy albeit well-known spot for snorkeling and exploring sea caves, where you’re likely to spot leopard sharks and vibrant orange Garibaldi fish, California’s state fish, which inhabit the cove’s kelp forests.

rocky shores of la jolla image credit mimithian via twenty

Brave the rocky shores of La Jolla and claim your reward: sea caves, kelp forests, and the gentle sound of waves lapping at your feet. Image Credit: @mimithian via Twenty20.

If you’re looking to escape the tourists, locals recommend No Surf Beach, near Sunset Cliffs. This cove with otherworldly cliffs and tide pools feels worlds away—but you’ll have to brave a fairly steep hike to get there. And in-the-know surfers hike to Black’s Beach, three miles north of La Jolla Shores, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego. Here, you’ll find impressive waves and no crowds due to the extremely difficult hike required to get there.

Top-Rated Tee Times

San Diego has close to 90 golf courses, including three renowned municipal courses. At Torrey Pines Golf Course, host of the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open, play among rare Torrey pine trees overlooking the ocean or take a lesson with some of the world’s top instructors. The centrally located Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center has night lighting so you can play until 9:30pm daily, while the Maderas Golf Club, the top-rated course in the county, has striking mountain views.

Adrenaline Lovers Wanted

Mission Bay is home to one of the largest water sports centers in the world, offering lessons and rentals for sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, jet skiing, and more, plus programs for children. San Diego’s adventures continue out of the water, too, with excursions like parasailing 600-800 feet over the ocean, or, for the fearless, paragliding over Torrey Pines.

sailing in mission bay image credit tonythetigerson via twenty

Take to the water for a sunset sail and end your perfect day outdoors with a riot of colors. Image Credit: @TonyTheTigersSon via Twenty20.