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The 7 Best San Diego Parks for an Outdoor Workout
Health & Fitness

The 7 Best San Diego Parks for an Outdoor Workout

Work up a sweat in the fresh air at these San Diego parks best suited for outdoor workouts.

Palig Dzadourian


4 min read

September 12, 2022

The second most populous county in the state, not only is San Diego known to be a tourist magnet, but also a great place to settle in. What’s not to love? With sun-kissed beaches, desert oases, buzzing urban centers, and relaxing oceanside towns, San Diego is someplace that will attract just about anyone. 

With the rise of remote and online jobs, the need to go out and stretch your legs once in a while has also gone up. Thankfully, a lot of cities around the state have ideal outdoor workout spaces for anyone. San Diego is no exception, with so many parks and beaches, finding a place outside to exercise is not difficult at all. 

Balboa Park

Location: El Prado

Balboa Park is always filled with people getting active, it is sure to get you in the mood too!

Balboa Park, originally called “City Park”, is rich with history and culture, and is considered to be one of the gems of these parts of the State. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Balboa Park has made the rounds and throughout the years has become a truly incredible park. 

This 1200-acre urban cultural park has plenty of areas meant for either intense workouts or regular fitness exercises. Many local visitors recommend starting from Bea Evenson Fountain, right between The San Diego Natural Museum and The Fleet Science Center. You can use the fountain to do a bunch of exercises like upper and lower bodywork. 

Looking to bring your kids in on the fun? You are in luck! Balboa Park also offers kid-friendly fitness activities such as geocaching. Geocaching is basically a digital version of a treasure hunt, replacing the maps with GPS tracking devices. This is a very fun way to keep your mind and body active while bonding with your kids all the way. 

Morley Field Sports Complex

Feel like some tennis? Morley Field has the freshest courts in town

Location: Morley Field Drive

Morley field sports complex is located within Balboa Park and is considered to be one of the best outdoor workout areas. This vast space provides endless opportunities to get active, with 25 tennis courts, Bud Kearns swimming pool, a multi-purpose ball field, a fitness course, and so much more.  

This major recreation center is sure to make you feel the burn of an intense outdoor workout. So if you are within the area and wish to get active, Morley field sports complex is the way to go!  After all, there aren’t many workout parks that have this many amenities to help you out with your sportive endeavors. 

Mission Trails Regional Park

Of the 65 trails to choose from, Cowles Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in Mission Trails and San Diego.

Location: One Father Junipero Serra Trail

Still, looking for a park to work out in? Mission Trails Regional Park is where adrenaline seekers go to brave the mountains and the environment. More than 8000 acres and 65 trails await your arrival at Mission Trails Regional Park, making it one of the largest urban parks in the country. The hike up Cowles Mountain is also the most popular hike in the city, providing you with that adrenaline rush along with some breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. Explore other wonders such as the San Diego River, two pretty lakes, and a California State Historical Landmark: The Old Mission Dam. 

This is the perfect park to get a whiff of some clean air away from the city below and get your daily dose of exercise. 

Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park 

Location: 5115 Soledad Rd.

Named after the famous horticulturist Kate Sessions who was dubbed the “Mother of Balboa Park” and was responsible for planting exotic plants all across San Diego. Enjoy striking views of Mission Bay, along with the ocean and the city right below. And although this is not a full-on outdoor workout park, exercising is commonly practiced by many here. Dogs are also welcome, and you will find many visitors running around with their pups, or going on hiking trails available at the park. 

Grape Street Dog Park

Bring your puppers along for your work out at the welcoming Grape Street Dog Park.

Location: 1998 28th St

This one goes out to all the pup owners out there who want to exercise with their four-legged friends. Grape Street Dog Park is one of the largest dog parks in San Diego, located just outside Balboa Park, this is basically an exercise park with the added fun of dogs running around. Surrounded by eucalyptus trees and evergreens, it provides the perfect amount of sun and shade for both you and your dog. There are a few amenities available to visitors, which include restrooms, doggie bags in case you forgot to bring some, and two dog water fountains. 

Grape Street Dog Park is also an amazing place for family outings, where you will be able to exercise, play games, and run around under the sun-kissed weather of San Diego. 

Ellen Browning Scripps Park 

Location: La Jolla 

Ellen Browning Scripps Park is considered to be one of the most photographed spots in San Diego and is also quite a popular wedding location. It can be found right above La Jolla Cove, where you will be able to see vast stretches of lush green grass and beautiful trees. This area is used by many visitors for games, picnics, and various types of workouts. 

Right below this stunning park is also where you will be able to spot La Jolla’s Sea Lions. The convenience of the Ellen Browning Scripps Park is quite uncanny, as it is a walking distance from not only La Jolla Cove, but also Boomer Beach and Shell Beach. A dip in the cool waters is a great way to end your arduous workouts after all. 

Tecolote Shores Park 

Workouts are always more fun when done outdoors!

Location: East Side of Mission Bay 

Tecolote Shores Park is a great place to get some outdoor exercise done. Its location near the Bay provides an amazing backdrop while you can start your park workout, then head over to the beaches if you so wish. There are multiple playgrounds, picnic areas, and fire rings here as well, a lot more can be done before or after your exercises. Jogging and bike riding are also possible at this park, as there is a trail that is made for these activities specifically.

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