View Attractions Related to: Parks – Local, State & National

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Explore the Activities at San Diego’s Major Parks

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San Diego attracts people who love the outdoors. The Mediterranean climate and the variety of topography from ocean beaches and coastal canyons to the mountains and desert makes for great, year-round hiking, biking, and much more to explore the outdoors.

From Torrey Pines State Park sitting above the beach bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean to one of the largest state parks in the country, Anza-Borrego, located in our desert, San Diego offers a variety of state parks for recreation, camping, and exploration.

From Cabrillo National Monument overlooking San Diego Bay to the Cleveland National Forest in our local mountains, San Diego has something for everyone.

The adventurous love to hike from the mountains down to the desert, explore mud caves, and go scuba diving in deep underwater canyons. The rest of us enjoy meandering along trails full of flowers while looking out over the ocean for passing dolphins, sailing through the calm waters of San Diego Bay, and going for a drive through the mountains of dense forest and desert overlooks.

Start exploring outdoor San Diego by selecting each of the picture tabs above.

Mission Bay Park Beach Activities

Location: Mission Bay (7 miles / 8 minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Features: Largest Man-Made Aquatic Park in the Country; Nearly 20 Miles of Beaches and Paved Trails

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La Jolla Shores

Location: La Jolla Shores (12 Miles / 20 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Features: Beach area offers Playground, Calm Surf, Kayaking, World-Class Ocean Swimming, Scuba Diving, Panoramic Views, Long Walks; Accessible on a Sightseeing Tour from downtown San Diego

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Cleveland National Forest

Location: Cleveland National Forest (1 Hour Drive from the Coastal Areas of San Diego)

 

Cost: Most Visitors Will Need An Adventure Pass – $5 per Day or $30 per Year.

Features: Mountains, Meadows, Views of Ocean and Desert; Scenic Drives; Eagles; Falcons; Trails for Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding; Campground & RV Sites

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Location: Anza-Borrego Desert (Visitor Center is 93 Miles/ 2 Hours from the Coastal Areas of San Diego)

Visitor Center Hours: 9AM – 5PM; Thursday through Monday From October to May; Weekends from June to September.

Cost: Free (Except for $6 per day parking at 3 Campgrounds)

Features: Sonoran Desert Meets the Peninsular Mountain Ranges Creating the Most Diverse Desert Landscape in the World and offering Hiking, Camping, Horseback Riding, Desert Wildflower Viewing, Stargazing, and Geological Exploration.

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Cabrillo National Monument

Location: Point Loma (9 Miles / 20 Minutes West of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 9AM – 5PM (last entry 4:30PM)

Cost: $5 per Vehicle

Features: Best Views of Downtown San Diego, San Diego Bay, and the Pacific Ocean; Tidepools; Hiking; Lighthouse Tour; Whale Watching; Visitor Center Exhibitions and Films about Juan Cabrillo, the First European Explorer to Arrive in California.

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Torrey Pines State Park

Location: Torrey Pines (19 Miles/ 20 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Dawn – Dusk

Cost: $8 per Vehicle / Free if You Park on Torrey Pines Road.

Features: Beautiful Landscape of Canyons and Beach-Side Cliffs; Panoramic Ocean Views; Beach; Hiking Trails; Popular Cycling Route; Dolphins, Whales

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Palomar Mountain State Park

Location: Palomar Moutain (77 Miles / 1 Hour and 45 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Dawn till Dusk

Cost: $6 per Vehicle; $15+ for Camp Sites

Features: Pine Tree Forest with Hiking Trails, Trout Fishing, and Camping.

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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Location: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (14 Miles South of Julian and 48 Miles / 55 Minutes Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Dawn to Dusk

Cost: $6 per Vehicle; $15+ for Camp Sites

Features: Mountains, Meadows, and Woodlands Ranging from 4,000 – 6,512 Feet Above Sea Level; Mountain Top Vistas; Trails for Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding; Campground & RV Sites

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Lake Cuyamaca – Mountain Lake

Location: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (9 Miles South of Julian and 53 Miles / 1 Hour Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 6AM – Sunset

Cost: $6 Minimum for each Car. (See Fee information below.)

Features: 4,600 Feet Above Sea Level; Surrounded by a National Forest; Fishing; Boating; Bird Watching; Hiking Trail; Tent & RV Camp Sites

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William Heise County Park

Location: Julian (57 Miles / 1.25 Hours Northeast of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: Dawn – Dusk

Cost: $3

Features: Good Place for a Hike with Mountain and Desert Views

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Agua Caliente – Desert Hot Springs

Location: Anza-Borrego Desert (94 Miles / 2 Hours East of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 9:30 AM – 5PM from September 1 – May 31; Closed During Summer

Cost: $5 per Vehicle, Extra for Camping

Features: Indoor and Outdoor Mineral Hot Springs; 142 Camping Sites; County Park; Hiking; Scenic Vistas

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