San Diego County is known for great outdoor experiences, from coastal beach going to picturesque mountain hiking – there is truly a lot to do outside. If you’re interested in something a little “off the beaten path,” we have you covered. Our list of unique outdoor experiences in San Diego County include events and activities you may have never heard of – that is – unless you’re a local.
1. Equestrian Activities & Horseback Riding
San Diego County has a long history as an equestrian hub in Southern California. Events like the Ramona Rodeo, Del Mar horseracing, and the National Horse Show all take place within San Diego County. There are also thousands of miles worth of public and private horse trails and parks to ride. Check out private horseback riding tours here.
2. Wine Tasting
San Diego County has more distinct microclimates than any other single county in the United States. This means that winegrowers can choose from over 60 different varietals to grow and make wine. Popular San Diego wine tasting areas include the 67 and 78 highway corridors between Ramona and Julian, as well as the San Marcos and Escondido areas to the north.
3. Motorsport Events
Got the need for speed? Check out Fox Raceway in Pala for some professional and amateur motocross events. Fox Raceway is also open to public riding and camping at certain times. There are three courses all with different degrees of difficulty.
Four-wheeled enthusiasts can find drag and clay-oval racing in Barona, less than an hour north-east of downtown. Check out the Barona Speedway here.
What’s agritourism? Agritourism is any event or business conducted by a farmer for the enjoyment and education of the public. Check out farm tours in San Diego County. Examples of San Diego Agritourism include the Carlsbad Flower Fields, Summer’s Past Farms, the Julian Apple Orchards, and the Oasis Camel Dairy off Highway 78.
5. Hunting and Fishing
If you’re looking for hunting in San Diego, we’ve got you covered! Check out our blog here with San Diego hunting seasons, permit info and where to go.
As for fishing, there’s a ton of great options for both salt and freshwater. Visit one of over a dozen public fishing piers along the San Diego coastline or within the bays here. Freshwater fishing is popular too! Tons of local reservoirs and lakes mean that you can freshwater fish all across this great county.
6. Outdoor Concerts
Live music is back! Amphitheaters are slowly reopening after COVID – check out the Cal Coast Credit Union or the North Island Credit Union Amphitheaters for concert schedules. Petco Park is also slotting in big names for this concert season.
Smaller venues like the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Waterfront Park, Embarcadero Seaport Village, and Humphrey’s on the Bay all offer fantastic outdoor concert series.
We’ve also covered backcountry music venues in our Things to do in Julian blog.
7. Drive-in Theaters
Feeling nostalgic? Drive-in movie theaters and popups have new and throwback movies scheduled throughout the summer and into the fall. Check out Santee or South Bay Drive-in Theaters for showings. There are also popups and weekly venues like the Pearl in Point Loma, Dinner & A Movie on the Bay, and the Rockin Retro Drive-In at Cal State San Marcos.