San Diego City Guide

Current Weather:
Current Weather: Cloudy
Photo by: Joe Jiang (CC BY 2.0)

Visiting San Diego

Picture year-round mild weather, miles of multi-purpose trails, one-of-a-kind sights and a mountains-to-coast terrain with small hills, short hills, large hills and long hills—all interspersed with acres of level land. If you see a pattern here—best described “perfect”—you’ve captured San Diego County’s biking and hiking scene.

Accordion

A county of 4,200 square miles, its open-to-the-public, out-of-doors options are impressive. According to San Diego County Parks and Recreation: “The park system features more than 100 locations across 50,000 acres of land, including 36 local day-use parks, 19 regional parks, a number of open space preserves and several registered historic sites. Some 350 miles of trails take visitors through multiple climates and habitats.”

A well-known magnet for beachgoers, imagine exploring its water-lined perimeter from atop two wheels or on your own two feettrekking around Mission Bay, alongside San Diego Harbor, around Harbor and Shelter Islands, upon the Silver Strand’s straight stretch that parallels the sea or to the southernmost tip of Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument (San Diego downtown and bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other).

Continuing north are such distinctive on-the-sea and along-Pacific-Coast-Highway towns as La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas and Carlsbadall with their own characteristic vibe. From La Jolla’s sophisticated French Riviera-like backdrop complemented by Torrey Pines State Reserve, Del Mar’s old Hollywood history and racetrack scene, Encinitas’ laid-back skateboard and surfboard setting and Carlsbad’s trendy but traditional downtown area, the atmosphere is as attainable as the miles you wish to travel.

Bikers can take the Coaster commuter train from downtown to Encinitas, Carlsbad (either station) or as far as Oceanside and bike back along the Pacific Coast Highway (locals called it PCH) to the Solana Beach train station for the return trip home. Hikers can ride the Coaster from downtown to Solana Beach, head a couple of blocks west to Fletcher Cove Beach, then walk south on the beach as far as La Jolla Shores.

Inland, it’s a different environment with such varied terrain as rugged mountains, off-the-beaten-path canyons, wildlife-laced estuaries and peaceful valleys, including an über-cyclist’s dreama 13-mile, unrelentingly steep ascent to the world-renowned Palomar Observatory and the Hale Telescope atop a 6,140-foot peak and its harrowing return.

Cycling opportunities abound for road bikes, mountain bikes and beach cruisers. You can rent bikes or bring your own and hop aboard many forms of public transport with your cycle in tow.  

Hiking is equally as varied. It can be as relaxing as miles of uninterrupted beach walking or as demanding as traversing high-elevation, landscape-challenged terrain. Though note that in warm weather, mornings are your best inland choices, with coastal options year-round.

Bottom line: Regardless of the time of year, whichever route you select and whatever transport you chose, bring along a healthy dose of go-with-the-flow attitude to best enjoy San Diegoa California Dreamin’ kind of town.

 

Planning your visit

weather

Weather

Summer really begins at the end of June with the months of July, August and September San Diego’s warmest. Biking and hiking during these months should be early morning to avoid the afternoon heat which can be 90 degrees or more. A prime time to visit this region is between November and April (especially with spring’s flowers) with temperatures typically ranging from 65 to 70 degrees.

transport

Public Transportation

While cars still rule in Southern California, public transportation is a good way to get to and from several areas of San Diego. While you can hop on the Coronado Ferry, Coaster (commuter train), city buses and trolleys with a bike at no additional fee, capacity is limited on the buses and trolleys.

bicycle

Bike-Share Program

San Diego has a bike-share program called Discover Bike. To use one of the bikes, you can become a member of the program, or rent them by the hour. Docking stations to pick up or return the bikes are located throughout the city. For more details, please visit discoverbikesandiego.com. Note that California requires all bicyclists under the age of 18 to wear a helmet.

transport

Getting There

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is only about 3 miles from the city center. You can ride the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) 992 bus, which takes about 10 minutes to reach downtown. There’s also a complimentary airport shuttle which runs to Middletown Station, where you can pick up MTS’ Green Line Trolley to head downtown. For more information, visit sdmts.com.

Travel Resources

Check out these helpful websites for planning your travel in San Diego.

Self-Guided Tours

Self-Guided Bike Tour

15 miles

From challenging mountain biking treks and road-cycling rides to care-free cruising on multi-purpose trails, San Diego is emerging as a pedaling destination.

Things to see and do in San Diego

Hub + Spoke Cycleworks

1545 Tidelands Ave., CA, National City,
www.hubandspokecycleworks.com

Read More

Hub + Spoke Cycleworks

1545 Tidelands Ave., CA, National City,
www.hubandspokecycleworks.com

Moment Bicycles

2816 Historic Decatur Rd., S, CA, San Diego,
www.momentbicycles.com

Read More

Moment Bicycles

2816 Historic Decatur Rd., S, CA, San Diego,
www.momentbicycles.com

Bikes & Beyond

1201 First St., CA, Coronado,
www.bikes-and-beyond.com

Read More

Bikes & Beyond

1201 First St., CA, Coronado,
www.bikes-and-beyond.com

Belmont Park

3146 Mission Blvd., CA, San Diego,
www.belmontpark.com

Read More

Belmont Park

3146 Mission Blvd., CA, San Diego,
www.belmontpark.com
Read More

May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden

1450 El Prado, CA, San Diego,
www.sdmart.org/may-s-marcy-sculpture-garden

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

1080 Gunpowder Point Dr., CA, Chula Vista,
www.fws.gov

Read More

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

1080 Gunpowder Point Dr., CA, Chula Vista,
www.fws.gov

USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum

910 North Harbor Dr., CA, San Diego,
www.midway.org

Read More

USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum

910 North Harbor Dr., CA, San Diego,
www.midway.org
Read More

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

2816 Historic Decatur Rd., #, CA, San Diego,
www.stonebrewing.com/visit/bistros/liberty-station

Sea 180

800 Seacoast Dr., CA, Imperial Beach,
www.piersouthresort.com/dine-drink.aspx

Read More

Sea 180

800 Seacoast Dr., CA, Imperial Beach,
www.piersouthresort.com/dine-drink.aspx

Hodad's Ocean Beach

5010 Newport Ave., CA, Ocean Beach,
www.hodadies.com

Read More

Hodad's Ocean Beach

5010 Newport Ave., CA, Ocean Beach,
www.hodadies.com

Miguel's Cocina

1351 Orange Ave., CA, Coronado,
www.miguels-cocina.com

Read More

Miguel's Cocina

1351 Orange Ave., CA, Coronado,
www.miguels-cocina.com

Cosmopolitan Hotel

2660 Calhoun St., CA, San Diego,
www.oldtowncosmopolitan.com

Read More

Cosmopolitan Hotel

2660 Calhoun St., CA, San Diego,
www.oldtowncosmopolitan.com

Crystal Pier Hotel

4500 Ocean Blvd., CA, San Diego,
www.crystalpier.com

Read More

Crystal Pier Hotel

4500 Ocean Blvd., CA, San Diego,
www.crystalpier.com

Pier South Resort

800 Seacoast Dr., CA, Imperial Beach,
www.piersouthresort.com

Read More

Pier South Resort

800 Seacoast Dr., CA, Imperial Beach,
www.piersouthresort.com

Les Artistes Inn

944 Camino Del Mar, CA, Del Mar,
www.lesartistesinn.com

Read More

Les Artistes Inn

944 Camino Del Mar, CA, Del Mar,
www.lesartistesinn.com

Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Ave., CA, Coronado,
www.hoteldel.com

Read More

Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Ave., CA, Coronado,
www.hoteldel.com
Accordion

Bayshore Bikeway

California - 17.1 miles

Coastal rail-trail experiences don't get much better than this—a long, smooth, palm-tree-lined trail with stunning views of the Pacific, San Diego Bay...

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

OR