Soon our beaches will be filled with families, both local and from neighboring states, all embracing our sunshine and warm springtime breezes. Whether you’re visiting with a big group, or it’s just you and your favorite 10-year-old, San Diego has plenty of outdoor spring activities for everyone.
Here’s some fun outdoor facts about America’s Finest City:
- San Diego has 70 miles of coastline
- Two-thirds of San Diego County is undeveloped backcountry comprised of mountains, canyons and rolling hills
- With low rainfall and an average temperature between 65-75 degrees, March and April are perfect months to visit
- A wide variety of animals call San Diego County home- from California brown pelicans to coyotes, leopard sharks to ospreys, big horn sheep to bobcats
With an influx of visitors to San Diego this time of year, we often have to plan our activities well in advance. Keep in mind more popular destinations, like the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Sea World or Legoland tend to be busier this time of year as well.
Planning your adventure
Here’s our Top 10 spring activities in San Diego. Also check out the Visit San Diego website for current events, weather, travel tips and tons of ideas for fun day-trips throughout San Diego County.
Top 10 Spring Activities in San Diego
1. Whale Watching by Boat, on Land or by Kayak
From December through April, gray whales swim past San Diego’s coastline on their annual 10,000 mile round-trip migration from Alaska to Baja California. In the calm, warm waters of Baja’s lagoons, female gray whales give birth to calves, and then the entire pod makes the slow parade back to Alaska in the Spring. The chance to see a mom and her calf frolicking in the Pacific Ocean is truly memorable, and San Diego offers several options for viewing.
2. Pedal the Bayshore Bikeway and Pacific Coast Highway
Is traveling by bike your favorite way to get around? If so, pedaling to Coronado via the Bayshore Bikeway and the Silver Stand is a great way to see downtown San Diego, and the quaint community of Coronado. This 24-mile ride combines bike paths with surface streets, most of which have dedicated bike lanes. We recommend starting near Waterfront Park or Little Italy, and then finishing off with a ferry ride back to downtown. Ferries depart the Coronado Ferry Landing frequently, and it’s a quick trip across to either the Broadway Pier or the Convention Center.
Are you hesitant about riding on surface streets? Take the ferry across to Coronado first, then ride on the bike path down to the Silver Strand. Turn around when you get to the end of the path on West Frontage Road and Main Street in Chula Vista. Less than 25 miles round trip!
Do you live in North County or closer to La Jolla? If so, then pedal along the Pacific Coast Highway. We recommend starting in Solana Beach and heading north through Encinitas to Leucadia. Going by bike allows you to enjoy the scenery, and you’ll have no problems finding parking in front of the dozens of cafes, shops, restaurants and bars along the way. Bring along a backpack with sunblock, water, bathing suit and a towel, and you can swim at Fletcher’s Cove, Moonlight Beach or Swamis!
Need to rent a bike? Starting this month you can pick up a bike in most neighborhoods and return them anywhere you please thanks to Lime Bike and Ofo.
Remember to pick up a helmet and bike lock, along with front and rear taillights if you plan to stay out past sunset.
3. San Diego Padres Baseball
Springtime in San Diego means the start of baseball season! The San Diego Padres will kick-off Opening Day on Thursday, March 29th with their first game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Check out the full Padres schedule, or head downtown March 30-31st for the free, family-friendly East Village Opening Day Block Party.
4. Earth Fair in Balboa Park
On April 22nd San Diego will host it’s 29th Annual Earth Fair in Balboa Park. This FREE event will feature hundreds of exhibitors, a children’s activity area and plenty of entertainment for the whole family.
5. Kayaking at La Jolla Shores
Are you and your kids ocean lovers? Well then head over to La Jolla Shores for some of the best kayaking in Southern California. In addition to kayaking, you can also enjoy snorkeling, standup paddle boarding and surfing!
Wildlife sightings may include harbor seals and California sea lions, brown pelicans, cormorants, bat rays, bright orange garibaldi and leopard sharks. The leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores are fairly harmless, and are more afraid of you than you are of them. These beautifully spotted creatures congregate in the shallow, calm waters in front of the Marine Room Restaurant at La Jolla Shores. They range in size from 1-6 feet in length, and they feed on bottom dwellers in the mudflats, like shrimp, worms, crabs and fish eggs.
If you have small children, La Jolla Shores is a great place for them as the waves are smaller and the beach entry is gentle. Parking is free at Kellogg Park. Check the surf conditions and the tide a few days before you plan to go. There’s better visibility at low tide with calm seas and little to no wind.
Here’s a few of the best places to rent kayaks and other gear at La Jolla Shores:
6. Fallbrook Avocado Festival
Looking for springtime activities outside of San Diego? Take a day trip to the 32nd Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival on Sunday, April 15th. There are dozens of activities, food and craft vendors, entertainment, and all for FREE!
7. Spring Flower Blooms, Stargazing and Sculptures in Anza Borrego
Spring is one of the best times to visit Anza Borrego Desert State Park. When we have good rains, like we did this week, the desert comes alive. Come prepared with plenty of water and everything you need for a day trip or an overnight stay. The Visitor Center in Borrego Springs is a great place to start.
Borrego Springs is also home to 130 metal sculptures by local artist, Ricardo Breceda. If you’re staying overnight, be prepared for a spectacular nighttime sky show! Borrego Springs is California’s only International Dark Sky Community, making it an ideal location for stargazing. One of our favorite spring activities is to take a Night Sky Tour with the fam!
8. Visit Balboa Park Museums and Trails
With more than 16 museums, along with the San Diego Zoo, and hundreds of acres of trails, Balboa Park is a great place to enjoy several spring activities all in one place!
Do you love trail running and mountain biking? If so, there are gentle rollers with wide open trails or single track with steep switchbacks and rock gardens. It’s also dog-friendly, so you can walk, run or bike with your favorite furry friend, on a leash of course!
From the Golden Hill Trails Gateway to Morley Field, there are several access points to get you off the pavement and into the dirt. You will pass through oak groves, dry stream beds, eucalyptus trees and cactus gardens. Bordering the trails are the Morley Field Sports Complex and Dog Park and the Balboa Park Golf Course. Both locations provide access to even more activities – tennis, swimming and a driving range!
9. Easter Brunch
Are you and your family searching for a place to enjoy Easter Brunch? Well San Diego has plenty of options for brunch! Read up on our favorite comfort food restaurants or make reservations at the Del Coronado, which offers an Easter Egg Hunt for hotel and brunch guests.
10. Outdoor Outreach Summer Adventures
While not part of our springtime activities, we couldn’t wait to share that this summer you can adventure with us! Children ages 11-17 can explore San Diego via kayak, surfing and stand-up paddle boarding while creating friendships and developing leadership skills for all of life’s adventures.
Registration is now open and tuition assistance is available! Check out our summer camp webpage and FAQ to learn more.
Meredith McConvill is a volunteer with Outdoor Outreach, and the Co-Founder of Top Rope Media. She enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding and cycling in Southern California, or wherever her work projects take her.