Summer is here, and San Diego is coming alive. No matter what you’re interested in, there are San Diego activities for everyone, from the foodies to those wanting to remain active to those who’d like to lounge on the beach. Check out some of the fun summer activities San Diego residents and visitors alike can enjoy making use of those longer days this summer.
For the Outdoor Enthusiast: Hit the Trails
San Diego’s year-round sunny weather is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts who love starting a day with a hike. In the summer months, hikes at elevation will top outdoor activities San Diego residents enjoy and allow you to escape the heat a bit. Seek out trails that you know will offer some shade along the way, as well.
Palomar Mountain State Park is a bit of a drive from the city at about an hour-and-a-half of drive time up the mountain, but it’s well worth the effort once you’re there. Loop around the Doane Pond, take the Weir Trail to an old water gauging station, or stroll around an alpine meadow on the Doane Valley Nature Trail. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Deer, skunk, and other woodland critters are common here.
Closer to San Diego, Los Penasquitos Canyon offers quite a bit of shade along the way and a gentle water cascade at the end of the main canyon trail that runs throughout most of the year. Its proximity to the city makes it quite busy on the weekends, so it’s always best to start early and on a weekday if possible.
Finally, the coastal hikes along La Jolla and Sunset Cliffs will offer you that ocean breeze no matter the time of day. No matter where you go, bringing along plenty of water and sunscreen to protect yourself from the worst of the midday heat is always a good idea with summer hikes.
For Foodies: Explore San Diego’s Restaurant Scene
Explore new restaurants in San Diego or unique dining experiences as part of your summer plan, and take advantage of expanded outdoor dining that seems to be here for the foreseeable future.
To fully embrace those summer vibes, head to Miss B’s Coconut Club for tiki-style drinks and Caribbean eats or one of San Diego’s best fish taco spots for some of the city’s freshest seafood. Mitch’s Seafood always delivers on views, with boats docked alongside the harbor and good wildlife-spotting potential from sea lions tempted by fishing boat scraps.
For Beach-Lovers: Find Your Beach Crew
Summertime was made for the beach, and you don’t lack options when you’re in San Diego. The long stretches of sand on Coronado allow you to find your spot to gather, while Pacific Beach will surround you with food and drink options when you’re done with the sand. In North County, Carlsbad State Beach will offer up less competition for space than some of the more central beaches in the city, setting the stage for a perfect beach picnic.
If you’re looking to take things into the evening and plan a bonfire with your group, there are San Diego beaches that allow that, too. Ocean Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Mission Beach all have fire pits ready for you to use. Arriving earlier in the day will give you the best chance of reserving your spot once the sun goes down.
For Movie Buffs: Catch a Flick in Style
Streaming services have certainly made it easier to watch movies from the comfort of your own home. Still, it’s likely more fun to take advantage of San Diego’s mild weather and unique movie-watching experiences instead.
If you’re not done with the water after your day at the beach, San Diego’s pools offer expanded experiences in the summer months. See a dive-in movie at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma, complete with drinks and snacks. Sticking to the beach, the historic Hotel Del Coronado offers up movies on the beach and private bonfires to warm yourself up once the sun goes down.
The Rooftop Cinema Club at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown plays new releases and classics with the backdrop of the city surrounding you while you watch. Additionally, San Diego’s many city parks host outdoor movies in the park that are free and family-friendly.
For the Adventurer: Take a Weekend Trip
It may be too hot for hiking in the desert, but that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to go if you’d like to explore weekend trips from San Diego or enjoy the best San Diego road trips.
Julian and Idyllwild are great options at some elevation, meaning cooler temperatures once you’re there. Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, perfect for foodies looking for plenty of dining options, are just a short drive away.
To fully embrace the heat, the pools and spas of Palm Springs may be exactly what you need. The nearby Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness area will offer you a respite from the heat if it’s too much for you down below.
For the Sports Fan: Hit the Ballpark
Petco Park really gets into the swing of things once the summertime hits. Even if you’re not a Padres fan, you’ll be impressed by the ballpark, as it boasts offshoots of some of the best food and drink options throughout San Diego, like Phil’s BBQ, Pizza Port, and Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill, along with great views of the city no matter where you’re seated.
As you’ll be in the heart of downtown, you’ll find plenty to do before or after the game, too.
Summer San Diego Activities Await You Downtown
There’s no shortage of things to do in San Diego when you’re downtown. Chase the city lights with walking tours of your own making through Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Find your favorite rooftop bar downtown and see the sights from above. Living downtown will never leave you bored with nothing to do on a San Diego summer day.