San Diego Recreation and Parks
San Diego is one of the few places in the world where within a few miles you can surf, downhill ski, hike in old-growth forests, drive in the desert dunes, golf on world-class courses, and fish in either the ocean or a clear mountain lake. The variety of outdoor adventures available in San Diego year-round is a major enticement for those looking to relocate to the area.
There are opportunities to hike, bike, and ride horses along trails ranging from cliff tops along the coast to winding mountain trails that show the varied landscape and eco-systems found in San Diego. Camping, fishing, boating, and off-road vehicle adventures are also popular and there are plenty of public and private organizations that specialize in getting you out to enjoy San Diego’s great outdoors.
Within the county of San Diego are more than ninety parks and recreation areas covering 40,000 acres with more than 100 miles of trails. The county does an excellent job of maintaining the parks and putting on special programs staffed by volunteers and service organizations. There are even areas along the coast designated as “dog” beaches where you can take your pet to romp with other dogs in the surf.
Perhaps the most ambitious project within the San Diego area is the Trans-County Trail which, when completed, will allow you to hike or bike from Del Mar on the coast to the Salton Sea in the desert, almost 110 miles, with camping sites along the way. This project is proof of the tremendous support in San Diego for preserving the environment and enabling access to backcountry areas for recreation, leisure, and learning.
The City of San Diego maintains pools, golf courses, and recreation centers throughout the city, as well as open-space areas such as Mission Trails Regional Park, home of a state-of-the-art visitor and interpretive center that has attracts school children from all over who learn about the indigenous Kumeyaay Indian population and how they lived in the natural environment.
In addition to the many city, county, and state parks in the area, there are private and non-profit organizations that run recreation centers. The YMCA has fifteen branches within San Diego County, including an award-winning facility in Encinitas that includes an Olympic-sized pool and programs that range from pre-school outings to senior citizen fitness programs.
There is also a thriving running, biking, and triathlon scene that includes world-class marathons, bike clubs, and amateur organizations that encourage physical activity and enjoying the San Diego environment. The San Diego Triathlon club has a membership of over 1400 athletes, as young as 7 and as old as 83, and the Rock-n-Roll Marathon and San Diego Marathon attract more than 70,000 runners each year.
There is no better place in the world to enjoy the outdoors year-round than San Diego. The commitment by the public and private sectors to provide accessible, affordable, and world-class facilities to the general population means that anyone can take advantage of the great weather, the beautiful environment, and the endless opportunities for fitness and fun.