Summer Outdoor Activities

Explore the Best Summer Outdoor Activities in San Diego

San Diego’s fantastic weather means we are lucky enough to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Yet, something about the summer months makes being outside even sweeter. Maybe you want to try a new activity or plan a memorable summer adventure for the whole family. There are so many beautiful ways to spend summer in San Diego! Here are a few summer outdoor activities that will keep you entertained all season long!


Go Kayaking

Sliding a kayak into the bay or ocean is a great way to spend the day, exercise, and see new marine life and coasts while you’re at it! One of the best places to kayak in San Diego is La Jolla Cove, where you can explore the Underwater Park and the La Jolla Sea Caves. You can make new friends like Garibaldi — California’s state fish — elephant sharks, sea lions, or dolphins.

For an even more adventurous experience, consider joining a guided kayak tour. These trips cater to all skill levels and often include interesting lessons about the local marine ecosystem, making them perfect for a family outing.


Go for a Hike

San Diego has many great hikes and options for all members of the family, including pups! From oceanfront adventures at Torrey Pines to the winding roads of Mission Trails, San Diego has a path for everyone. Check out this article for the top 7 hiking trails in San Diego. Want a nice walk while exploring the city? Try the Seven Bridges Hike for an urban stroll through central San Diego. Oh, and of course, don’t forget that San Diego has many lovely lakes you’ll love seeing as you go hiking or walking. 

For families, try the gentle, scenic trails at Balboa Park, which are perfect for little legs and packed with educational stops. Additionally, consider joining a guided night hike to see a different side of San Diego’s natural landscapes under the stars.


See an Outdoor Movie

Watch a movie under the stars! Check the schedules at the Rooftop Cinema Club at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown, Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills, or the South Bay Drive-In in Chula Vista for a unique outdoor viewing experience.

Enhance your movie night with a meal at a nearby local restaurant before the show, or pack a themed picnic to enjoy during the film. This can turn a simple movie night into a memorable culinary adventure.


Learn to Paddle Board

If you’ve ever been to Mission Bay or La Jolla Shores and saw someone standing on a board, paddling through peaceful waters on a sunny day, and thought, “That looks nice,” get out there and join them! A quick internet search will help you find many places that rent paddleboards; many offer lessons. Paddleboarding is an excellent form of exercise for both adults and children. Take the whole family out to learn something fun together!

Look for paddle-boarding classes that offer ecological tours. These outings can provide an insightful peek into the local aquatic life and environmental conservation efforts.


Have a Day at the Beach

San Diego County has over 30 beaches — make a game of visiting a new one each time you’re in the mood for a beach expedition and find your favorite (for this year, anyway). Pack a picnic, put on sunscreen, and enjoy what countless tourists pay good money to experience for free! If you need ideas for a fun day at the beach for the kids, check out these fun beach activities for the whole family

Take eco-friendly beach items like biodegradable sunscreen and reusable water bottles. Safety tips should also be considered, such as monitoring rip currents and applying sunscreen regularly.


See a Baseball Game

Grab tickets and take the family to a Padres game. Check their schedule for various promotions and theme days. Make sure to eat there — Petco Park has an impressive collection of eateries. You can get everything from classic ballpark hotdogs to hearty fish tacos and gourmet pizza!

Enhance your visit with the pre-game stadium tour and learn about the park’s history and features, or try to catch a game on a promotional night for special giveaways or events.


Attend a Local Street Fair

Many communities throughout San Diego County host street fairs during the summer months. Depending on the event, you may see musical acts and meet vendors selling various art, crafts, and exciting items. It’s an excellent time to eat classic festival food, visit multiple beer gardens, or ride giant carnival rides. 

Check out local event calendars for San Diego street fairs for details. Attend an event in a part of town you don’t usually visit to experience more of your home city!

Visit fairs in different neighborhoods to learn more about the local culture. Each has unique attractions and specialties, from artisan crafts to local performances.


See an Outdoor Concert

San Diego attracts musicians from all over the world! Summer is a great time to see one of your favorites perform live outdoors. You can even take the family to one of the free events around the city. Head to Balboa Park to check out the free Spreckels Organ Concerts every Sunday at 2 pm, or spend a Friday evening in downtown El Cajon for the “dinner and a concert” series on the Prescott Promenade. If you’d prefer your music to be accompanied by the sounds of the ocean, you might like the Coronado Summer Concert Series, which takes place every Sunday evening through mid-September.

Explore various free concert series throughout the city, offering everything from classical to contemporary music. Arriving early can help you snag the best spots and make the most of the outdoor concert experience.


Try a Staycation Activity

If you want to mix summer outdoor activities with fresh ideas for entertaining the kids at home, check out this article full of staycation ideas to have a great time together, even if you never leave the house!

If you’re looking for a relaxed day, consider setting up a backyard campsite or creating a mini-water park with sprinklers and pools. Staycation activities can also include outdoor movie nights at home or DIY arts and crafts projects, perfect for keeping the kids entertained without leaving the yard.


Additional Summer Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in San Diego This Summer

San Diego’s vibrant landscape and culture offer many opportunities for recreation beyond typical summer outdoor activities. Here are some unique experiences to enhance your summer:


Cycling Along the Coast

Cycling along the scenic coast offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Rent a bike from one of the local shops and ride the Pacific Beach—Mission Beach route, perfect for all skill levels. Along the way, stop at local cafes and enjoy the sea breeze at parks near the beach.


Surfing Lessons

Ride your first wave with professional surfing lessons at popular destinations like Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach. These schools cater to all ages and skill levels, ensuring everyone can experience the joy of surfing. Post-lesson, relax at beachside fire pits or explore nearby local surf shops.


Gardening Workshops

Attend a gardening workshop at San Diego’s community gardens or nurseries. Learn about sustainable gardening techniques, native plant species, and creating a drought-resistant garden. These workshops are great for families who want to start their own garden or people interested in urban agriculture.


Bird Watching Expeditions

San Diego has one of the most diverse bird populations on the West Coast. Join guided tours to places like San Elijo Lagoon or Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. These tours usually provide binoculars and are led by experienced ornithologists who can help you spot and identify various birds.


Outdoor Yoga Classes

Relax with outdoor yoga classes at San Diego’s many parks and beaches. From sunrise on the beach to sunset yoga over Balboa Park, these classes offer the perfect combination of exercise while connecting with nature.


Culinary Tours

Explore San Diego’s diverse culinary scene with guided restaurant tours in neighborhoods like Little Italy or the Gaslamp Quarter. These tours allow you to taste local food and delve into the history and culture of the places, enhancing the dining experience.


Sailing Adventures

Set sail from San Diego Bay and experience the city from a different perspective. Choose from sunset cruises, whale-watching tours, or even hands-on sailing lessons. These are perfect ways to see marine life, enjoy panoramic views of the coastline, and learn sailing basics under the guidance of skilled sailors.


Insider Tips for Enjoying Summer in San Diego

Maximize your summer outdoor activities in San Diego with these local tips that can help you navigate the city like a pro:


Best Times to Visit Popular Spots

To avoid the big crowds, plan to visit popular attractions like the San Diego Zoo or Balboa Park in the early morning or late afternoon. Midweek tours generally see lower attendance, making for a more relaxed experience.


Smart Parking Strategies

Arrive early to find parking on beach days, especially at favored beaches like La Jolla Shores or Mission Beach. Consider using apps like Parkopedia to find the best parking options and fares in busy areas like downtown or near major events.



Utilizing Public Transportation

Take advantage of San Diego’s trolley system, which can get you close to many major attractions without parking. The trolley is perfect for events downtown or at Petco Park during baseball games.


Local Dining Discounts

Look for happy hour specials and weekday discounts at local restaurants. Many eateries in areas like the Gaslamp Quarter offer exceptional food and drink prices before 7 pm. It’s a great way to sample high-end dining without the high-end prices.


Lesser-Known Gems

Explore lesser-known areas, such as the hidden trails of Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve or the quiet beaches of Coronado Island. These areas offer a respite from the touristy areas and a peaceful retreat.


Festival Attendance

When attending popular summer festivals, plan your visit around early or late hours to enjoy cooler temperatures and smaller crowds. Also, check out local blogs or community pages for advice on must-see booths and performances.


Water Safety

Before surfing or swimming, check local surf and safety conditions. Lifeguard Services of San Diego provides daily water condition updates to help ensure a safe beach day.


Your Summer Awaits in San Diego!

With endless sunshine and plenty of summer outdoor activities, San Diego provides the perfect playground for summer adventures. Whether kayaking calm waters, exploring hidden hiking trails, or enjoying a family day at one of the many beaches, there’s something in San Diego for everyone to enjoy.

Dive into our blog for unique summer outdoor activities in San Diego, from local hidden gems to unmissable events designed to create lasting memories in our beautiful city. While enjoying the warmth of summer, remember to put your health first—don’t hesitate to consult a trusted health professional to stay active and healthy. Schedule your consultation today and find out more ways to enjoy your summer!

Embrace the spirit of summer and make every moment count. Discover, explore, and enjoy the best of San Diego!

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