With excellent weather and beautiful outdoor scenery, San Diego is the perfect city to visit when you want to get outside and enjoy nature. With so many parks to choose from around the city, you might have a hard time deciding which ones to explore during your visit. If you want to see the best San Diego has to offer, take some time to visit these top parks.
Image via Flickr by nick.amoscato
Perhaps the most popular park in San Diego is Balboa Park. That’s because this 1,200-acre urban park is home to over 16 museums, beautiful gardens, multiple performing arts venues, plenty of open space areas, and miles of walking paths. While you’re visiting the park, take some time to see the world-famous San Diego Zoo, walk through the peaceful Japanese Friendship Garden, go for a ride on the Balboa Park Carousel, and take a tour of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a coastal state park that covers 2,000 acres of one of the wildest stretches of the Southern California landscape. If you’re looking to go for a hike, you’ll find eight trails that vary in terms of difficulty, length, and scenery. One of the easiest trails is the 0.7-mile Guy Fleming Trail, which offers views of La Jolla and whale sightings in the winter. If you’re interested in something slightly more challenging, the 1.4-mile Razor Point Trail is a loop that provides scenic views of the ocean, ravines, and badlands.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
If you’re searching for some of the most dramatic views in San Diego, you can’t beat Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The 68-acre park includes rugged coastline and a hillside area. During your exploration of the park, marvel at the beauty of sea caves, coastal bluffs, and arches carved out from thousands of years of pounding waves. As you stand on the cliffs, you can take in panoramic ocean views, colorful sunsets, and occasionally spot migrating California gray whales.
Mission Trails Regional Park
The 7,220-acre Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. No matter what type of outdoor activity you enjoy, you’re sure to find it here. The park offers a campground; around 60 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails; a rock climbing area; boating, fishing, and swimming on Lake Murray; and more. If you’re interested in visiting Mission Trails Regional Park, you can get an early start by staying in a hotel in nearby La Mesa.
Mission Bay Park
Situated near the heart of San Diego, Mission Bay Park consists of over 4,235 acres in almost equal parts water and land. Here you’ll find 19 miles of sandy beaches with eight designated swimming areas. You can head to the west end of the park to watch the windsurfers or rent a bike to explore the 14 miles of bike paths along Mission Bay.
Whether you’re interested in taking a hike or touring a museum, these top parks around San Diego are worth exploring during your visit.