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Only 20 miles lies between downtown San Diego and the border with Tijuana, Mexico. Despite being surrounded by two major international cities, South Bay San Diego is home to large swaths of protected habitat known as the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
The Chula Vista Nature Center and Tijuana River Estuary Visitor Center highlight the unique biodiversity of the San Diego area. (San Diego County is home to more endangered species of animals, plants, and fish than any other county in the United States.)
The open lands farther to the east house the only year-round U.S. Olympic Training Training Center, Knott’s Soak City, and other visitor attractions.
Often overlooked, the attractions in the South Bay area of San Diego are worthy of a visit. Learn more by selecting each of the picture tabs above. Enjoy your travels.
Location: Chula Vista (9 Miles / 12 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Hours: Daily 10AM – 4PM
Cost: $14 ($9 for Children 4-17, Students with ID, Seniors 65+)
Features: Wetland of International Importance; Petting Pool with Stingrays and Sharks; Up-Close Views of Endangered Green Sea Turtles, a Bald Eagle, and Golden Eagles; Butterfly and Humming Bird Garden; Nature Trails
Location: South San Diego Bay (9 Miles / 12 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Hours: Varies by Location
Features: Four National Wildlife Refuges; Two Nature Centers; 370 Species of Birds; Guided Nature Walks
Location: Imperial Beach (15 Miles / 20 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Visitor Center Hours: 10AM – 5PM Wednesdays through Sundays
Features: Wetland of International Importance, 370 Species of Birds, Exhibit Center, Hiking, Guided Nature Walks
Location: Imperial Beach (18 Miles / 25 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 9:30AM – 5PM (Occasionally Closed Due to Conditions)
Cost: $5 for Parking on Weekends
Features: Most Southwest Corner of the United States; First Boundary Marker Established at the End of the U.S. – Mexican War; Border Fence; Hiking; Horseback Riding on the Beach; Picnics.
Location: Chula Vista (20 Miles / 25 Minutes Southeast of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 9AM – 5PM; Guided Tours take place 11AM on Saturdays
Features: Tour the Only Year-Round U.S. Olympic Training Center
Location: Chula Vista (17 Miles / 25 Minutes Southeast of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: Memorial Day (Late May) – Labor Day (Early September); Generally 10AM – 6PM (7PM during middle of summer); Open additional weekends during May and September.
Cost: Several options starting at $25.99 ($22.99 for Kids ages 3-11 and Seniors 62+); Parking is $14
Features: Two Dozen Water Slides; Family Rides, Thrill Seeking Rides, and Little Kids Slides.
Location: National City (7 Miles / 10 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Hours: 9AM – 5PM Thursdays through Sundays
Features: Restored 1882 Santa Fe Station is the Oldest Railroad Structure in San Diego; Vintage Trolleys and Electric Rail Cars
Location: San Ysidro (17 Miles / 20 Minutes South of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 10AM – 9PM (7PM on Sundays)
Features: 125 Outlet Stores including Nieman Marcus Last Call, Polo, Haggar, Lane Bryant, and Nike
Location: San Diego County Coastline from South San Diego Bay to the Mexican Border (11 Miles – 18 Miles South of Downtown San Diego)
Features: Learn about the Beaches in the South Bay, Each With Its Own Character; Get Information on Attractions Near Each Beach, including Horseback Riding on the Beach.
Location: La Jolla Shores, Mission Beach, and Other Coastal Locations.
Features: Wreck Alley, La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve, Kelp Beds, Very Large Diving Community
San Diego offers a number of airports for private plane travel. Below, you will find general location information, Google Maps, and web site links for each of the airports.