San Diego attracts visitors from all over the world who travel there specifically for its incredibly consistent warm and sunshine-soaked days. For those that live in San Diego, getting out to enjoy the surroundings that make their home so special borders on an obligation, with time inside often coming with a fair bit of guilt. Having lived in San Diego for long enough to call it home, I’ve had the opportunity to capitalize on the heaping loads of incredible weather, and in the process, have narrowed down what I believe are the best places to spend a day in the sun. The following outdoor spaces are sure to leave you wondering if you can stay forever, and, best yet, they are within 15 minutes of downtown. This convenient reality means that they are close enough that they can be considered an option even if life has other plans for the majority of your day.
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre oasis of culture tucked only minutes from the center of the city. More extensive than Central Park in New York, Balboa park boasts everything from gardens and green spaces to museums and a zoo. The best news? There are walking paths throughout this enormous park, meaning you can spend an entire day there without ever having to get in the car!
Ocean Beach Fishing Pier
The Ocean Beach Fishing Pier is truly a sight to behold. Tucked along the shores of the sleepy, hippy-influenced beach town of Ocean Beach, the walking pier stretches out into the sea an astonishing 1971 feet. Take a stroll out to the end, admiring the dedication of the many fishermen hoping to pull in a lunker along the way, and enjoy some of the best views of San Diego’s vast coastline. Stop on your walk back for a snack at the pier’s restaurant, serving up seafood that may have recently been swimming just below you!
Comprised of over 7,000 acres of protected land, the foothills and coastal desert ecosystems of San Diego, which existed well before people are excellently showcased here. With seemingly endless trail miles at your fingertips, you could easily spend a day here exploring all that the park has to offer. Up for a challenge? Try to touch the five major peaks in the park in one day, recognized by the park as the Five Peak Challenge!
Cabrillo Monument is the California Historical Landmark that protects the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. This stip of land jetting out from San Diego Bay is the landing point for the first European settlers, led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, as they came to America to settle and explore the West Coast. Preserved to be just as it was discovered in 1542, the park highlights not only the ecosystem but also pays tribute to the military history of the area and the point’s famous lighthouse.
San Diego and its propensity for sunshine mean that it is the perfect city to get outside and explore. Luckily, there is no shortage of ways to spend a day in the sunshine without traveling too far from the city. Don’t miss your opportunity to see the sights and enjoy the weather in America’s greatest city.