While San Diego’s calling card may be its wide-open, sand-swept beaches, the city boasts a treasure trove of outdoor experiences away from the Pacific shores. Non-beach, outdoor options are plentiful, and many of the top spots are included on the 7 Natural Wonders of San Diego list.
“The majority of the 7 Wonders are enjoyed inland, thus providing visitors a look at a completely different side of our destination,” says Benjamin Eastman, director of tourism development for the San Diego Tourism Authority. To learn more, email him or go to sandiego.org.
Potato Chip Rock This Instagrammable spot, located on the east side of Lake Poway, is reached by a long hike on the Mount Woodson Trail. The giant boulders along the path also are photo-worthy.
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve Hikers can journey along Annie’s Canyon—a true slot canyon—in the reserve, which is one of the largest remaining wetlands in San Diego.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park The largest state park in California, Anza-Borrego is home to 12 wilderness areas. It teems with desert wildlife and, in the spring, thousands of wildflowers.
Sunset Cliffs’ Hidden Sea Cave Tucked away below an oceanfront neighborhood that is a top sunset watching spot, this fascinating cave is at the southern end of Luscomb’s Point.
Cedar Creek Falls Located in the Cleveland National Forest in rural East County, this spectacular set of falls rewards those who make the 6-mile round-trip trek.
Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve The reserve, one of only two places where you can find the Torrey Pine tree, has six hiking trails with views of sandstone rock formations and the ocean.
La Jolla Underwater Park The first coastal underwater preserve on the U.S. West Coast, the park is inhabited by marine life that includes orange Garibaldi, octopus, sea turtles, and more.
Top photo: Potato Chip Rock
Photo by Luis Garcia