San Diego for Nature Lovers

Nature lovers flock to San Diego annually. With one of the most temperate climates in the entire nation, San Diego offers an outdoor lifestyle 365 days of the year. Whether you’re in flip-flops, hiking shoes, bathing suits or jackets or spending your days on the trails or at the shore, outdoor adventure and the ability to get up close to nature is always available. Although the region is known the world over for the rocky coastline, endless sunshine, year ‘round swells and a world-renown golf course abutting a breathtaking nature reserve, it’s the access to nature and its proximity to everything that entices visitors.

Here you’ll find natural elements intertwined in everyday life. Even within the downtown area, nature reigns supreme. Walk along the Embarcadero Park to the sounds of the bay, sights of the neighboring sea life and views encapsulating open sky. Head to San Diego’s epic green space, Balboa Park, to wander the trails, visit with the fish in the gleaming koi pond, take in a picnic while listening to the sounds of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion or learn astronomy with telescope lessons from Science Museum experts under a sparkling night sky. Get outside, enjoy the natural world… San Diego is always open – where would you roam?

la jolla cove in san diego aerial view

  • La Jolla Underwater Park: Encounter marine life, wildlife of all sorts and discover the seven sea caves of La Jolla Cove

  • Sunset Cliffs’ Hidden Sea Caves: Hidden beneath sandstone bluffs at the southern end of Luscomb’s Point, dive deep into the hidden caves of Point Loma
  • Scripps Pier: Take in views of the Pacific Ocean amidst architectural delight
Hotel del Coronado from the ocean

  • Coronado Beach: Wander the boardwalk alongside the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean, visit the dogs down at Dog Beach or hit the walking path on the bay side for views of the San Diego Bay and giant wildlife encounters

  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve: Grab gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, find six hiking trails and a lodge set atop scenic La Jolla cliffs while you take in the sounds of nature and the scene of gliders in flight
  • Potato Chip Rock: On the Mt. Woodson Trail, this photo op is a hike about three hours up and one hour down through a winding maze of giant granite boulders
  • Annie’s Canyon Trail: Annie’s Canyon Trail is a newly restored trail in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve – the 200 foot climb to a point of panoramic views of the Pacific is totally worthwhile
  • Cedar Creek Falls: This is a six-mile return hike over hills to an 80-foot waterfall; hikers need a permit to head off on this trail
  • Anza Borrego Desert State Park: National Geographic calls it ‘one of the most pristine desert parks in the world’. The largest state park in California is filled with canyons, caves, oases, wildflowers, look out points and endless rugged peaks; keep an eye out for reptiles and always remember to bring water
  • South Fortuna Mountain Trail: This special mountain trail is a six-mile hike with a 1.5k feet elevation in Mission Trails Regional Park
  • Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserves: 4,000 acres of preserved lands with hiking and biking trails on mainly flat stretches that pass through a waterfall in the center of the preserve
  • Cuyamaca Peak Loop: This loop trail provides mountain-top views on a moderately difficult hiking trail with trees and lots of rocks
san diego botanic garden exterior

  • San Diego Botanic Garden: Visit this beautiful garden setting north of the city
Balboa Park pond

  • Balboa Park: San Diego’s epic green space is filled with nature at every turn. Grab some photo time at the koi pond near The Prado or get your zen on with a walk through the Japanese Friendship Garden. At any given time, there are picnics to be had, eucalyptus to smell and hiking paths on which to wander

  • Cabrillo National Park: Take a trip to Point Loma to find Cabrillo National Park. Hike the trails, explore the tide pools or wait and watch to spot the whales as they make their way along their journey