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best locations in san diego to walk

Best Locations in San Diego to Get Your Daily Step Quota

Are you falling short of your 10,000 steps a day? Maybe it’s time to try something new. Give yourself a break from simply going to the gym or taking a walk around the neighborhood—spice it up and go a little farther afield. San Diego is a great city for walking! Our mild weather and year-round sunshine make exercising outdoors a breeze. Whether you love hiking or prefer sticking to a paved road, San Diego has plenty of locations that are perfect for getting your daily step quota in.


Torrey Pines State Reserve

Take a walk at Torrey Pines State Reserve, a 1,500-acre space full of native plants and the Torrey pine that the area gets its name from. There are many trails to choose from, and all have incredible views of the ocean. If you take the Beach Trail, you’ll descend down the cliffs and end up right along the water.  

Scripps AMG tip: Torrey Pines State Reserve has trails of varying difficulty, so it’s good for people of different ability levels.


Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs has a trail right along the edge of the cliffs that is perfect for walking or jogging and upping your daily step quota. For an even more incredible view of the water and cooler temperatures, go right before sunset.

Scripps AMG tip: The trail runs dangerously close to the cliffs at some points, so be careful to stay far enough back and don’t walk in the dark.  


Balboa Park

You may get in even more than your 10,000 steps at Balboa Park! Stroll through the many gardens, the Botanical Building, and the lily pond to see beautiful plants and flowers. Combine exercise and learning by visiting a couple of museums. Residents get in free to select museums on Tuesdays.

Scripps AMG tip: Get in some extra steps by climbing the California Tower. It’s 125 steps up to the viewing deck, where you can see as far as Mexico.

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Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park has something for everyone. It’s home to Cowles Mountain, a popular destination for hikers. Mission Trails also includes nearby Lake Murray, which has a paved path around the lake that’s 3.2 miles one way.

Scripps AMG tip: Motivate yourself by taking the 5-Peak Challenge. The goal is to climb Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay, South Fortuna, and North Fortuna.


Embarcadero Marina Park

Head downtown for a walk at Embarcadero Marina Park North and South, which you’ll find by the Convention Center. There are wide grassy areas and a paved path right next to the water. You can also stroll through the adjacent Seaport Village.

Scripps AMG tip: Walking isn’t the only way to get your steps in! This park has basketball courts as well.



Poway has over 55 miles of trails to explore. Experienced hikers will want to check out Mount Woodson, a rigorous 8 mile round-trip hike that includes the famous Potato Chip Rock, a thin slice of protruding rock that makes the perfect photo opp.

Scripps AMG tip: This trail gets very crowded, so it’s best to go at off hours.


Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve

Take on the trails of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. The views around the preserve include a waterfall, freshwater marsh, sycamore grove, and more.

Scripps AMG tip: Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is ideal for nature lovers and history buffs—the area is home to 500 plant species, 175 bird species, and adobe ruins dating back to the 1800s.


With so many great locations for walking in San Diego, we know you’ll be hitting—or exceeding!—your daily step quota in no time. For more suggestions on maintaining an active lifestyle, check out other Scripps AMG articles.


CATEGORIES: Healthy LifestylesLocal Activities


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