High tide and big surf hit Solana Beach. (Photo by Peggy Peattie/San Diego Union-Tribune (c) Peggy Peattie/U-T San Diego/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News)
Tired of snapping pics of a city’s most obvious sights? If you’ve been posting Instagram photos of San Diego’s major must-sees (we’re looking at you, PETCO Park and “Star of India”!), your social media feed might be a snooze. Instead, dig deeper and discover this six-pack of unexpected San Diego photo ops.
Balancing Rocks at Seaport Village
Head to Seaport Village and keep an eye out for Rabi Sarkar’s Balancing Rocks. Sarkar has gained notoriety for building elaborate towers of teetering rocks along the sidewalk. Perched precariously upon each other, the rock towers look as though they could topple with the slightest breeze — but incredibly, they don’t. Sarkar claims he can create the towers because he is a Reiki master. Still, you can try to construct your own towers, and snap photos of your wildest creations.
Keep Your Eye on the Sky
Visit the Embarcadero in San Diego, and watch planes landing and taking off over the water. Sound cheesy? Maybe, but the juxtaposition of aircraft and ocean makes for gorgeous contrasts, especially at sunset. Or book an airborne tour in a vintage biplane for bird’s-eye shots of San Diego beaches.
Seek Solitary Beauty in Fletcher Cove Park
Tiny Fletcher Cover Park in Solana Beach is generally uncrowded, especially during the week. Forget about working on your tan, because you’ll want to arrive here in the early evening. The park offers San Diego’s best sunset views from a dramatic clifftop perch. A mosaic mermaid and landscaped gardens add to Fletcher Cove’s photogenic appeal. Head down a ramp to the beach to snap surfers riding the waves, then walk along the shoreline for dramatic shots of crumbling cliffs.
Hike to Potato Chip Rock
Located in nearby Poway, this slender cliff, shaped like a potato chip perched over an abyss, is quickly becoming a must-snap social media sensation. If you want to take your own photo, arrive early. Depending on traffic, the drive from downtown San Diego to the Mount Woodson trailhead is about 30 minutes. Once there, you’ll face a challenging 4-mile hike to the summit of Mount Woodson, where you’ll find the rock. Then, of course, there are the camera-toting crowds. Bring water and snacks, and plan your shot as you wait in line to capture this memorable selfie.
Cool Off at Devil’s Punch Bowl
A difficult hike along Saddleback Trail rewards visitors with views of stunning Cedar Creek Falls, better known as the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The falls cascade 75 feet into a natural pool of chilly water. After you’ve captured vivid photos, jump in the swimming hole to cool off. Because of high fire risks, check with the San Vicente Fire Station before attempting this hike in the summer. Pro tip: You must obtain a permit to visit the falls.