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The Best Water Activities in San Diego
Health & Fitness

The Best Water Activities in San Diego

From kayaking, to sailing, to surfing, here are the best water sports activities to enjoy in San Diego. Team


4 min read

February 12, 2024

Disclaimer: is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Warm days and mild surf call for swimsuits and extravagant San Diego water activitiesWith a plethora of activities such as surfing, bodyboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing, wakeboarding, kayaking, and even snorkeling, there is no shortage of fitness opportunities in the city’s blue waters. Though each activity has different demands as far as equipment and location, the 70-plus miles of coastline in San Diego County presents the ideal conditions for every water sport.

With the wide coastal stretch giving birth to multifarious beaches, you can ride the San Diego waves at any age.


Among all the San Diego water activities surfing is the city’s first love. With various surf conditions, including calmer waters in the north and larger swells in the south, it is easy to find the ideal wave for any skill level. At its core, surfing is simply riding a board on the surface of a wave, making it approachable for people of most ages. Popular surf spots in this California city, include Ocean Beach, Tamarack State Beach in Carlsbad, Black’s Beach in La Jolla, Windansea Beach in La Jolla, and La Jolla Shores.

Splash the blue swaths while you set sail on your belly with the unlimited water activities in San Diego.


If you are exhausted from surfing the San Diego waves, or too tired to stand up on the board, fun water activities are too many to pick from. Try the less strenuous bodyboarding–aka boogie boarding–to ripple the deep-blue layers of the ocean. This sport allows riders to lay on the three-foot board with their torso and ride the waves toward the shore. For the best spots to go boogie boarding, head to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Pacific Beach in Carlsbad, and Marine Street Beach in La Jolla if you’re up for an extra challenge.


With San Diego water sports depicting the essence of the city’s vibes, there’s no questioning how much more is on the table. Stand-up paddleboarding—also referred to as SUP—is a more relaxing way to take on the water. Using a long, floating board and a canoe-like paddle, riders navigate through calmer waters with the benefit of riding waves longer than traditional surfing waves. Tranquil waters can be found in the marinas throughout San Diego and at La Jolla Shores, just past the wave break.

Enjoy the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and beat the heat with some swimming.


Although sporty fun activities in San Diego seem most appealing, a simple time spent swimming can offer you a delightful experience. A feeling of serenity flares up by taking the time to break the waters with your palms and dive into the blue swath. Enjoy the San Diego beaches, including–Moonlight State Beach, popular for volleyball, Fletcher Cove Beach, and Warm Water Getty Beach.  You can also head to Del Mar Beach, which grants you access to the smoothest waters, and sandy shores.

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While sailing is often considered a leisurely activity, pulling in the sheets and steering with a tiller is hard work. Sailboats for rent are available at the Marina, and many rentals provide sessions, allowing you to take on this activity in San Diego even without a skipper. Take the boat out toward Coronado Bridge or the San Diego skyline for the best views—and waves that will test your skills.


One of San Deigo’s water activities you shouldn’t miss out on is well known for being an extreme sport. Pump your adrenaline to its all-time high, as you feel like flying over the San Diego clouds with this state-of-the-art fun water activity that will knock your socks off. Try the Luxury Jet Ski Rentals and Aquatic Aviation for rentals, or San Diego Powerboating academy to slip in a few techniques and take on flyboarding as your new hobby.

Take on the extreme sports challenge with the ultra-modern water sports on San Diego waters.


Wakeboarding is a sport that requires some extra planning. Wakeboarders are towed behind speedboats, much like water skiers, and thus need at least two people. Wakeboards are short surfboards with foot straps on their rigid surfaces, and they are used closer to the boat than water skis so that the rider can experience the small undulations of the boat’s wake. The best places for wakeboarding are away from the beaches, in the wide open water. Head toward the skyline for an extra touch of beauty.


Along with many others, kayaking is a popular sport in California. With its adaptability to be performed on various aquatic pools such as an open ocean or inside bays and lagoons, kayaking has become one of the major San Diego water activities. This water sport is easier than many other options and is perfect for sightseeing adventures. Popular excursions include paddling around Mission Bay, through the sea caves in La Jolla, and around the Carlsbad Lagoon.


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore San Diego from a whole new angle. Grab your snorkeling gear or rent some from the area and dive into underrated water sports in San Diego as you uncover a world of tranquility and grace. With its flowery world and hidden underwater treasures, snorkeling in San Diego presents a unique experience that you will not soon forget. Take time to observe see seals, fish, stingrays, and reef sharks, while snorkeling in La Jolla Cove, where the journey feels worthwhile.

Find the feeling of tranquility you’ve been craving as you sail off into the mesmerizing San Diego sunset.


Calmer experiences await aboard as you lay back and relax while plunging into a more placid activity in San Diego. Enjoy the gratis wind roaring in your ears, and the gentle sunrays refracting from the depths of the ocean as you set sails on the city’s vast seas. Whether you want to head to the deeper ends of the horizon, cruise the San Diego harbor, or rent a private yacht with a skipper, the choices are endless. Enjoy a stunning view of the sunset while the sun slowly fades, living your canvas warm and blue.

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