Easy and Enjoyable San Diego Walks

posted by Sharon June 19, 2020 20 Comments
San Diego Walks - Torrey Pines

San Diego walks will certainly be part of your itinerary in this city. Skies are so often sunny, temperatures are moderate year-round, and you can happily be out in nature and enjoy the fresh air. With beaches, mountains, and miles and miles of trails, San Diego welcomes you to take in coastal views and tree-filled, peaceful places as you amble along.

Sometimes you will be looking for a short, easy walk on fairly flat terrain. Longer, steeper trails may be for another day. While the choices for walks are endless, I have a few favorites to recommend. I am fortunate to call this city my home, so I’m out and about often. Here are San Diego walks I recommend in a variety of settings.

Coronado Beachside Walk

Coronado is my first choice for a getaway from everyday life.  This island is just a few minutes’ drive from downtown San Diego over a curving bridge. Its flat streets lined with gentrified homes and lovely gardens whisk you away to a relaxing world.Coronado San Diego Hotel del CoronadoThe gem of Coronado is the fabled Hotel Del Coronado, which has hosted visiting dignitaries through the decades. Presidents Taft, FDR, Ford, and Carter were here. Famous folk such as Charlie Chaplin and Charles Lindbergh are in the visitors list. Marilyn Monroe filmed “Some Like It Hot” here in 1958. Author L. Frank Baum lived at the hotel while he wrote some of the Wizard of Oz books.

Park at the Hotel Del Coronado or nearby on side streets. Walk around to the beach side of the hotel and start your walk on the paved path. Head north and soon you’ll be walking on the sandy shore of the wide beach. Coronado San Diego Coronado San Diego Hotel del CoronadoCoronado San Diego Hotel del CoronadoCoronado San Diego Hotel del Coronado

If you want to stroll along for about a half hour, you’ll arrive at Coronado Dog Beach. Smile at the pups dancing in the waves. And of course, if you are with your own dog, you will love this place. A fountain with a hose will help wash the sand off your pooch. If you start your walk here and go toward the hotel, park on the nearby streets.Coronado San Diego Dog Beach

A fun secret about this walk is that the dunes just north of the hotel spell out “Coronado.” It’s hard to see when you are on the ground, but if you know to look, you’ll get it.

Seaport Village and San Diego Bay

Downtown San Diego borders San Diego Bay. For a bayside walk with views of the Coronado Bridge and the island of Coronado, walk along the water in Seaport Village. Sailboats and kayaks glide by, and the Harbor Cruise chugs back and forth in these waters.Seaport Village San DiegoSeaport Village San Diego

This waterside village also makes a fun place to walk around. Stores offer kites, hammocks, and homemade fudge. A historic carousel fills the air with music. And the most popular place on a warm day is the ice cream shop.Seaport Village San Diego

Seaport Village San DiegoA lawn area between the bay and Seaport Village is where you can spread a blanket and picnic or fly that kite you just discovered in the store.

For a longer walk, continue north along the waterfront of the Embarcadero. Sights include the USS Midway aircraft carrier, the Maritime Museum with the iconic Star of India sailing ship, and the World War II statue of The Kiss.Star of India San DiegoSan Diego Bay Embarcadero

The Embarcadero also includes the San Diego County Waterfront Park. If young ones are in your group, they can romp on the creative playground and cool off in the splash fountains.

Torrey Pines State Beach

This is one of the San Diego walks that will take your breath away with panoramic views of the ocean from atop the cliffs of Torrey Pines.San Diego Walks - Torrey PinesIf you drive up the wide hill from the beach parking lots, you can use the parking lots at the top and keep your walk easy.

Five trails give you options for how long and how strenuous your walk will be. The Guy Fleming Trail is a loop that’s just two-thirds of a mile and features two scenic overlooks. Wildflowers, ferns, and Torrey pines line the trail.San Diego Walks - Torrey PinesSan Diego Walks - Torrey PinesSan Diego Walks - Torrey Pines

The fascinating fragile cliffs look lacy. Be sure to stay on the trails because the land is unstable. Check out this website for more information on each trail.San Diego Walks - Torrey PinesSan Diego Walks - Torrey Pines

Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma

If you are a fan of lighthouses, like me, you will love the Bayside Trail at the Cabrillo National Monument.Cabrillo National Monument Point Loma

Visitors flock here to see the lighthouse and museum, and many don’t know that there is also a short hike with spectacular vistas. Look for signage on the bay side of peninsula in front of the lighthouse and start walking down the hill toward the water. The elevation gain is just 400 feet, so it’s easy to walk back up the hill from the bottom. Views feature Coronado and downtown San Diego. This peninsula was used as a lookout during World War II, so you will find a bunker here and a searchlight shelter. The trail is two miles long.Cabrillo National Monument Point LomaCabrillo National Monument Point LomaThis area is part of the National Park system, so you can enter with a pass or buy a day-use ticket for a small fee.

Mission Trails Regional Park

Enter Mission Trails Regional Park and you will immediately leave behind all the noise and busyness of urban life. This park contains more than 7,000 acres of land that includes hills, valleys, and the San Diego River. It’s just eight miles from downtown on the freeway, so it’s easy to drive here and spend an hour or a day out in nature.Mission Trails San Diego Walks

Run by the San Diego Park System, Mission Trails is crisscrossed by more than six miles of trails. Some trails are steep and long, but if you’re looking for an easy, pleasant walk, you have a couple of wonderful options. The loop trail from the visitor center can easily be walked in about an hour. You’ll see parts of the river, and the trail is flat.Mission Trails San Diego Walks

Mission Trails San Diego WalksThe walk I most often choose is along the road out of the visitor center to the Old Mission Dam. The road is blocked to traffic on one side, so you can walk without watching for cars. Look for desert plants as well as trees and brush, as this area is essentially desert. The Old Mission Dam was built to store water for the Mission in San Diego.Mission Trails San Diego Walks

This area was home to the Kumeyaay, and you can see their grinding rocks along the river. Imagine living outside here in a community. Exhibits at the visitor center show what life here was like long ago.Mission Trails San Diego WalksMission Trails San Diego Walks

These are five of my favorite San Diego walks. Are there any places in your hometown where you love to walk?San Diego Walks

Read More About San Diego!

The Historic Hotel Del Coronado

The Coronado Ferry Landing

Exploring Mission Trails Park

How to Tour the USS Midway Museum

Views on a San Diego Harbor Cruise

PIN IT FOR LATER!!!

San Diego Walks - Exploringrworld.com

San Diego Walks Torrey Pines - Exploringrworld.com

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20 Comments

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Lauriane June 20, 2020 at 9:06 am

Hi Sharon :). Thank you for this post ! What a pity when we did our last trip in California we didn’t include San Diego. We will have to come back :). You have some stunning photo but among all my favourite one is the one from Torrey Pines State Beach – it looks awesome!

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Taylor June 20, 2020 at 1:13 pm

Ah I love San Diego! One of my favorite cities in the United States! All of the places you mention in this article are so beautiful. I’ve been to San Diego a few times and the last time I visited Torrey Pines and Point Loma and they were both breathtaking! Coronado is also very beautiful too and will always love that hotel! 🙂

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Nina Out and About June 20, 2020 at 3:53 pm

As a walk-a-holic this is my dream list to use for a vacay. Can’t wait to put it to use after the pandemic!

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Ashley June 20, 2020 at 6:45 pm

I live so nearby San Diego, and seeing these made me so disappointed in myself! How have I not taken the time to visit these places that are close to home! I suppose during these travel restricted times, I can start checking some off my list!

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Arielle Kurtze June 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm

I love San Diego and these are great walks! We will definitely need to incorporate them the next time we visit. Loved the photos and thanks for sharing!

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Mohana and Aninda June 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm

Sunny and colourful, San Diego goes gorgeous! I’d love to hike along the coast and explore the Missions Trail Regional Park.

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin June 21, 2020 at 2:51 am

What a beautiful place to explore!!
One day, when travel is a thing again, I hope I can get there!

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Digitaldaybook June 21, 2020 at 3:55 am

Aww I just love this post so much! Definitely inspired!!!

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Tina June 21, 2020 at 9:54 am

A couple of years ago I did a solo trip to California where I started in Los Angeles, rented a car and drove all the way to San Francisco. I always regretted not starting that trip in San Diego. I’ve heard so many great things! These beautiful pictures make me want to go back to California even more! 🙂

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Francesca June 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I love going on walks in San Diego! The area around Coranado is my favorite. I’ll have to try the Mission Trails Regional Park next time I am down there.

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Ann June 23, 2020 at 11:38 pm

I just love the house with the quirky red roof, it really sparked my imagination, I would love to enter 😀 Do you know what it looks like inside?

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Portia Jones June 24, 2020 at 4:03 am

Oh I miss San Diego, I had such a great time when I visited. Definitely pinning this post for my next trip over. x

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Justine June 25, 2020 at 1:11 am

Everyone should take some kind of walk when visiting new spots. Love to find local spots where sometimes the tourist don’t go. Thanks for the walk highlights of San Diego.

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Jenn | By Land and Sea June 25, 2020 at 3:06 am

I love San Diego! We have walked around a few of these areas but I would love to get up to Torrey Pines the next time we visit! And, the dog areas!!

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Coralie June 25, 2020 at 4:05 am

Those steps down to the beach remind me of so many cliff paths at “home” in Jersey. Hard work, but excellent for conditioning the thighs 🙂

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bye:myself June 25, 2020 at 11:41 am

I love San Diego – there are all those wonderful beaches. I also like the Mexican heritage – and a trip across the border to Tijuana is a must. Wonderful memories.

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Sue June 26, 2020 at 1:17 am

It’s always good to get tips from a local! I’ve enjoyed San Diego many times but not for a few years now. I love the Hotel Coronado & was thrilled to visit as “Some Like It Hot” is one of my favourite films! However, having read this I think Torrey Pines would be my first choice for a walk – it looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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Jay Artale June 26, 2020 at 11:56 pm

When we lived in LA we used to have weekend breaks down to San Diego, for a city it still seems to have that small-town charm, and of course the coastline along this stretch is dramatic and very walkable. That Torrey Pines walks looks fabulous .. last time we went to San Diego, my husband played there and I sat in the club house … but wish I’d known about the walk, I’d have done that instead.

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Yukti Agrawal June 27, 2020 at 1:25 am

Taking beachside walks in San Diego is really beautiful thing to do. All walls looks very picturesque and I love such walks. Torrey Pines State Beach looks very photogenic and it would good to take some stunning captures from the cliff. Seafort beach walk looks very vibrant.

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kmf July 5, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Love San Diego…these are fabulous recommendations!

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