Cruising along on two wheels is one of the best ways to take in San Diego’s scenery and stubbornly delightful weather. The region is crisscrossed by innumerable miles of paved, dirt, and mountain bike trails, perfect for any cyclist. With your own bike, one from a rental shop, or a bike share company, there are more options than ever to get rolling.
Explore the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk
Where: Ocean Front Boardwalk, South Mission Beach Jetty to Law Street
Neighborhoods: Mission Beach and Pacific Beach
Beaches, bars, an amusement park, a pier—this ribbon of pavement boasts a lot in its 3.5 mile stretch. Bring a fishing rod and cast off the jetty or the Crystal Pier. Pack a blanket and find a patch of sand as the sun dips toward the horizon. Or pedal to the iconic Belmont Park for a ride on the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed, and with all the foot, rollerblade and skateboard traffic, don’t expect to go very fast by bike. But that’s not the point of this quintessential California beach ride.
Cycle the Pacific Coast Highway
Where: Del Mar to Oceanside
Cycling the Pacific Coast Highway is as easy as this: Load up your road bike on the Coaster train (free with train fare), ride the rails as far as you like, then pedal back. Customizing your cycling journey is easy with eight stops between downtown San Diego and Oceanside. Riding southbound puts you on the road shoulder closest to the beach for unobstructed ocean views. Follow your hunger or thirst to countless places in easy pedaling distance from the highway in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, or Del Mar.
Tour Neighborhoods Along Quaint Adams Avenue
Where: Adams Avenue, between Park Boulevard and 42nd Street
Neighborhoods: University Heights, Normal Heights, and Kensington
Three undeniably quaint San Diego neighborhoods—University Heights, Normal Heights, and Kensington—are linked by a 5-mile stretch of Adams Avenue, perched on the mesa above Mission Valley. With plenty of stop signs, traffic moves at a casual pace, passing an impressive array of coffee shops, restaurants, bars, boutiques, and parks. Start wherever you’d like. On this flat ride, the most difficult thing will be choosing between ramen, Vietnamese, or Thai. Or would you prefer Mexican, pub fare, or gourmet meatballs? Pro tip: Explore quiet, leafy streets north of Adams Avenue to the many overlooks offering sweeping views of Mission Valley.
Take On Penasquitos Canyon
Where: Black Mountain Road
Neighborhood: Sorrento Valley
Bring a sense of adventure on this fire road that follows Penasquitos Creek to a year-round waterfall, and beyond. Find a trailhead at North of the Border Bike Shop on Sorrento Valley Boulevard. From here, you can ride 8 miles of moderate terrain through Penasquitos Canyon, inhabited by native Americans some 7,000 years ago. Keep an eye out for bobcats, reptiles, and migrating birds as you breeze past live oaks, sycamores, and volcanic rocks.
Neighborhood: Mission Bay & Beaches
Mission Bay has so much scenic coastline, why not ride it all? This flat, 12-mile, nearly car-free circumnavigation follows paved paths that never leave the waterfront. You can stop to take a dip or have a picnic pretty much anywhere. Bird lovers will get the most out of riding at low tide, when shorebirds are busy. Stop at the viewing deck at Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve to see in-tact wetlands, and head to Crown Point Park for vistas of the downtown skyline.
Where: One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Neighborhood: Mission Valley and East County
Mission Trails Regional Park is a 5,800-acre open space preserve within the city of San Diego. Whether for an easy ride around Lake Murray or an expert-level mountain bike excursion, this 5,800 acre city park is an adventure waiting to happen.
Where: Starts at Coronado Ferry
Neighborhood: Coronado, Downtown, and South Bay
24 miles of scenic, sunny, flat terrain surround the San Diego bay on the Bayshore Bikeway. Half of the route is car-free – and worry free – so grab the kids and enjoy the outdoors in San Diego! Enjoy traveling through Coronado, the Silver Strand, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista. Although on-street routes require skill and experience, families with kids can enjoy a loop back on the paved secure lanes.