Health + Fitness

Who Said Beaches Are Boring? Crank Up a San Diego Vacation With an Epic Adventure

Paragliders soar over the San Diego coastline. (Photo: Mark A. Johnson)

Beaches, sun and picture-perfect weather are the essence of the super-chill SoCal jewel, San Diego. However, there is another, adrenaline-pumping side to this Pacific paradise. For visitors interested in an exotic detour, this seaside haven is crammed with thrilling activities for the daring.

Get Sky High on a Hang Gliding or Parasailing Trip

If you crave adventure and excitement, Torrey Pines Gliderport hits the mark, with stunning vistas to boot. Adrenaline junkies have been flocking here since the 1930s to test their skills at hang gliding, parasailing, and flying radio-controlled planes. With the assistance of trained pros, novice flyers coast effortlessly on pure wind power.

Black's Beach, San Diego
A cheeky message in the sand at Black’s Beach, San Diego. (Photo: Weldon Thomson / Alamy)

Share the views and later, relive the experience, with the help of a helmet-mounted HD camera. For frugal daredevils, or those less inclined to jump off the nearest ledge, there are sights to see without taking flight, from gorgeous cliffs and seashores to impressive aircraft and daring revelers who frolic au naturel on nearby Black’s Beach.

Experience the La Jolla Caves

La Jolla cave
Kayakers row past the La Jolla caves. (Photo: JeepFoto / Alamy)

For those who prefer aquatic thrills, La Jolla Caves are among the most visually arresting features of the San Diego landscape. Carved into 75-million-year-old sandstone sea cliffs, seven caves are ready for exploration; six of the seven are accessible by water only. Experience the La Jolla Caves in a kayak, and be prepared to get a little wet. Don’t be surprised if you see gamboling otters or sunning sea lions leading the way.

San Diego’s Torrey Pines Golf Course

Torrey Pines North Course
Golfers tee off at Torrey Pines North Course. (Photo: Zuma Press Inc / Alamy)

If land-based thrills are more your scene, you’ll want to book a tee-time at San Diego’s Torrey Pines Golf Course. Set alongside the Pacific’s coastal cliffs, this picturesque, 36-hole public course has hosted such epochal events as Tiger Woods’ legendary 2008 U.S. Open victory on a broken leg, as well as triumphs and tragedies rendered by average guys doing their best amid the elements.

Whether you tend to birdie or bogey, Hole 6 is one of San Diego’s most beautiful sights. For many, pausing to take a picture or three before their warm-up swing is par for this hole.