7 outdoor activities in San Diego for fall, from roller coasters to paragliding!

With September’s scorching heat wave a distant, clammy memory, we can finally enjoy the near-perfect San Diego weather it’s famous for — and there’s no shortage of outdoor fun along the SoCal coast. Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or fancy something a little milder, San Diego has an abundance of outdoor activities for everyone. Here are seven outdoor activities in San Diego that we love to do in the fall!

Credit: Volo Sports San Diego

Ready to win? Volo Sports hosts various sports leagues in the county most nights of the week. Players can dust off their cleats and get into games like soccer, pickleball, and volleyball with Vol‘s organized pickup leagues. Pickleball paddlers can team up and head to the Doyle Rec Center in La Jolla for Monday night games. Setters, defensive specialists and hitters can serve aces on the Saturday morning volleyball court at Ocean Beach. Players who need some friendly midweek competition can load up the Mira Mesa pitch with pick-up football matches on Wednesdays!

La Jolla Sea Caves Kayaking - outdoor activities san diego
Credit: La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks

Climb into a kayak and paddle through the beautiful La Jolla Sea Caves! These 90-minute tours will take you through the caves and along the coastline, offering stunning views of La Jolla’s natural beauty. Kayakers often spot sea lions, pelicans, leopard sharks and more, in addition to Garibaldi (aka Catalina goldfish).

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Potato Chip Rock - san diego outdoor activities
Credit: AllTrails

You ain’t a real San Diegan until you take a picture of the precarious Rock of potato chips. This iconic hiking landmark is making cameos on social media, dating profiles and hiking guides. Hike up Rock of potato chips can be a bit strenuous, so go early before it gets too hot, pack plenty of water and a snack or two, and don’t forget your sunscreen. The 7.4 mile hike takes about four and a half hours, not including waiting time to get your updated profile picture at the top of the rock.

outdoor activities san diego - Belmont Park
Credit Bhadri Kubendran

For the best Dole Whip outside of Disneyland’s Tiki Room, head to Belmont Park. Your inner child can let off steam enjoying carnival-style games, amusement park rides, cotton candy and boardwalk attractions. Parking is free and the activities are endless, from craft nights for kids to meals at happy hour and live music at the park’s restaurants. No visit is complete without a ride on the Giant Dipper: the iconic vintage wooden seaside coaster that reaches speeds of 45 mph.

Credit: Unsplash

If moonlight is more your thing, pack your comfiest blanket and meet your cuddly buddy at the box office. Cinema under the stars at Mission Hills is a unique outdoor movie theater. With a mix of cabanas and zero-gravity chairs, the theater seats 60 people to watch movies on their digital projection screen. The cinema has been operating in its current setting since 2005, showing classic films with traditional theater concessions.

For a moment of silence, the Meditation gardens at the Encinitas Self-Realization Fellowship promise peaceful spaces and a lush backdrop for quiet relaxation. Colorful and diverse plants punctuate the grounds along with meditation nooks, koi ponds, and calming views of the Pacific Ocean. The gardens are closed on Mondays and in inclement weather, but are otherwise available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Torrey Pines Gliderport - outdoor activities san diego
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Since the 1920s, the Torrey Pines Gliderport played a pivotal role in the Southern California aviation scene. Daredevils can take off from cliffs to ride paragliders, hang gliders, and gliders, as well as remote-controlled model airplanes. Courses, certifications, tandem flights, equipment sales and repair services are also available. Many inventions have also taken off in Gliderport, such as the Robinson variometer and the Zanoonia glider. Enthusiasts can also learn about aviation history on the site.


Jessica Young has lived in San Diego since 2003. She is a graduate of San Diego State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and anthropology from San Diego State University. She also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of California, San Diego. Young works as a journalism teacher at Orange Glen High School in Escondido, California.

Young is president of the San Diego Journalism Education Association and serves on the Board and Board of Trustees of the Quill and Scroll International Journalism Honor Society. She is an active member of the school journalism community and teaches at workshops and conventions across the country. She has been recognized as a “rising star” by the Journalism Education Association.

In addition to teaching, Young enjoys running with her adopted golden retriever, Maxwell. She conquered the Original Marathon course in Athens, Greece, as well as the Inca Trail in Peru. Young also enjoys baking and photography. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at: @racingcupakes.