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7 Hidden Outdoor Gems to Explore in San Diego

February 28, 2019

Get Out of the House this Weekend!

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “Indoor Generation” to describe the vast number of individuals who opt to stay in rather than venturing outside? More than ever, people are spending a staggering amount of their waking hours indoors. As Bob Jenson’s Kevin Burns noted on Realty Times, the reasons for this shift include a decrease in the number of outdoor jobs (in industries like farming and agriculture), changes in transportation methods, and shifts in various forms of entertainment.

Unfortunately, being indoors for a majority of the time comes at a hefty price. Health implications include dangerous levels of indoor air pollution, short-term issues like headaches or irritated eyes, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to lack of consistent light exposure. While there are some things you can do within your space to improve air quality, nothing beats the age-old solution of simply spending time outside.

If you’re in the San Diego area and looking for ways to combat spending too many hours cooped up indoors, this list of outdoor hidden gems is sure to inspire you to explore a new place. After all, there’s a reason we’re one of the happiest cities in the country. These unique stops are perfect for San Diego natives and tourists alike.

Secret Swings

Are you looking for a tucked-away spot that provides great views while still feeling like a hidden treasure? You can find the “Secret Swings” on a La Jolla hillside above Scripps Pier near UC San Diego. This collection of handmade swings, complete with unique seats like benches and tires, is sure to provide some relaxation. The swings and locations are often on the move, so it’s a good idea to check out #secretswings on Instagram before you plan a visit.

Hidden Art Murals

When you think of San Diego, you might immediately think of the signature stunning landscapes and natural beauty. While that’s understandable, there’s also plenty of handmade beauty to check out as well. These man-made sights include several street murals found in La Jolla, Normal Heights, and North Park. You could even create a scavenger hunt so that you don’t miss any of the best art.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

If you’re a San Diego native, you might already have a favorite spot for watching the sunset on a warm day. If not, make time to take a drive to Torrey Pines: This natural reserve is known for the rarest pine tree in the nation and sculpted sand cliffs that are sure to leave you speechless. The picturesque landscape is one that you’ll want to visit again and again.

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Thrill seekers, locals, and tourists alike will enjoy the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. This dangling pathway was built in 1912, making it a historic “must-see” spot in the area. The unique walking bridge places you high above the treetops and provides a slight sense of danger as pedestrians wobble back and forth.

Del Mar Racetrack

Fond of all things equestrian? Be sure to plan a special visit to the Del Mar Racetrack, also called the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Popular among tourists, this venue offers an al fresco breakfast complete with views of the track and practicing thoroughbreds. It’s a unique way to get out of the house on a nice day.

The Meditation Gardens

If you’re looking for a spot with natural serenity, look no further than the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas. These gardens are tucked away within the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage but they are open to the public. Here, you can sit back and enjoy the natural views, fresh flowers, koi ponds, and Birds of Paradise, all while accessing some inner zen.

Sunny Jim Cave Store

A true list of hidden gems wouldn’t be complete without something a bit quirky. On the surface, the Sunny Jim Cave Store looks like the average beachside tourist shop, selling goods like souvenirs, trinkets, coastal-inspired jewelry, and surf gear. The true treasure lies behind the store itself, where visitors can head down a steep tunnel to reach the La Jolla sea caves. The cave entrance is known for being mysteriously soothing, with natural mineral colors sprinkled all around.

After spending after a full day of exploring hidden San Diego gems, you’ll realize how special this city we live in is and how good it is, mentally and physically to get fresh air and discover new things! Keep checking back with our blog for more awesome treasures to find in San Diego!


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About The Author

Bob Jenson

For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.


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