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3 Epic Experiences for Adrenaline Junkies in San Diego

Three Epic Experiences for Adrenaline Junkies in San Diego California

San Diego, California is one of the most beautiful destinations you can visit. My wife, daughter, dog, and I explore it every weekend we can because of how much there is to do.  It’s an adventurer’s paradise offering life-lasting memories and experiences. If you are an adrenaline junkie like I am, San Diego is definitely the place to get your fix! Below are my three favorite San Diego experiences that get your heart beating and your adrenaline pumping. 

1: Surfing

Surfing in San Diego

Anyone that knows me knows that surfing is one of my absolute favorite things to do. It is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Nothing gets your adrenaline pumping like paddling for and dropping into a wave. If you are a surfer, you know exactly what I’m talking about, that feeling of riding a wave perfectly and it’s one that you’re always trying to duplicate.

If you aren’t a surfer, you should get out there, and try it out! I promise that you will get a good workout, have a few (or many) wipeouts and be shredding in no time. 

Luckily for you, there are some amazing surf spots in San Diego for all skill levels:


If you’re a beginner and thinking about taking a lesson, I highly recommend the guys at PB Surf Shop. It’s located in Pacific Beach, which offers some fun, consistent and playful waves that break year round. If you’re young and looking for a place to party after, this is the neighborhood beach to be at. Highly recommend Maverick’s Beach Club for a rowdy time.


Windansea Surfing

If you are an intermediate/maybe a little advanced surfer, then the surf at Windansea Beach is for you. This reef-break packs a punch and is one of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego. Keep in mind though it’s a smaller beach (unlike PB or La Jolla Shores) and there’s not a ton of room for throwing a football, so your primary focus will be on the waves.  Also, don’t forget to get a picture at the iconic surf hut!


Surfing Blacks Beach

Black’s Beach is arguably the best spot in San Diego County. However, beware of two things: 1) It is a heck of a hike down and even worse coming back up with a surfboard on your head. 2) It is a nude beach, full of old men, so go at your own risk. If you do end up going, it is a wave you will never forget!

2: Paragliding/Hang gliding

Paragliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport

A few years ago, I got a great deal on Groupon and was able to go skydiving in Virginia at a very cheap price. The feeling of free-falling from a plane is indescribable. You feel your stomach in your throat up until the parachute cord gets pulled. Then it is a peaceful descent, as you are gliding through the air, soaking in the views, and significantly less worried about smashing into earth.  Something I loved equally as much as the actual skydiving portion, was the parachuting part. Insert paragliding!

If you’ve ever gone surfing or galavanting in the nude at the last place I mentioned, Black’s Beach, then you probably parked at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. At the Torrey Pines Gliderport, you can paraglide, hang glide and fly remote controlled gliders.   I am lucky enough to have the best wife in the world, and she surprised me with a tandem paragliding flight for my birthday. The awesome thing about it was that she did it too!

Torrey Pines Gliderport

I guess I could probably pause right now and explain the differences between paragliding and hang gliding. Paragliding is where you are suspended in a harness below a fabric wing (parachute). You are basically a seated position and utilize the pressure of air entering and going around the wing to move. To turn, you control the chute with your hands. For hang gliding, the wing is significantly more rigid, and you fly it in a laying down position, shifting your body weight to turn. 

I can’t speak as to what it’s like to hang glide. But I can, however, say that paragliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport was an incredible experience. You fly over some of the most incredible views I have ever seen, and if you’re lucky, a bunch of naked old men at Black’s Beach. The instructor, KJ, I was partnered with was amazing!. You can expect to float effortlessly through the air for about 20-25 minutes depending on wind and weather conditions. If you really want to have a good time, tell your instructor to try to make you throw up. They will start doing some insane acrobats in an attempt to make you hurl. He almost got me.

Paragliding and hang gliding at Torrey Pines is pretty pricey, but it is definitely a San Diego experience worth checking off of your bucket list!

3: Snorkeling with Sharks

Snorkel with Leopard Sharks

Every single year from June through October, thousands of leopard sharks call the warm La Jolla water their home. Each year, the leopard sharks migrate to the area for mating season. This provides an incredible opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive with these beautiful and docile creatures.

Leopard sharks are roughly 4-7 feet in length and are carnivorous. However, have no fear because there have been no reported fatal leopard attacks. In fact, the “reported attacks” are probably just a shark bumping into a human. They are striking creatures with very unique features, colors, and patterns.

One of my favorite heart pumping experiences in San Diego was when I donned my Oceanic mask, snorkel, and fins and hopped into the water in search of the sharks. Luckily for me, I went in August which is one of the best times to see them. I entered the water at the Marine Room and swam southwest towards La Jolla Cove. The first leopard shark I saw caught me off guard. It was about five-ish feet long, and even though you know they aren’t going to hurt you, it’s still difficult to not get a little anxious swimming with something as big as you. That day I was pretty lucky and probably saw around 20-30 leopard sharks. I also saw a ton of Garibaldi fish which are pretty rad, like goldfish on steroids.

A few tips to ensure you have a great trip.  First, always go with a buddy. It’s safer, and you have someone to share the experience with. Secondly, use Fog Gone or another anti-fog spray to make sure you can actually see the ocean life. After all, isn’t that why you wanted to go? Lastly, check the dive report or call the San Diego Lifeguard Conditions Report at (619) 221-8824.

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Surfing, paragliding and snorkeling are just three of my favorite San Diego experiences. However, this list is certainly not exhaustive of all the fun things to do and experience in this great city. Comment below if you have participated in any of these heart-pumping activities or if there’s anything else I should try out!

If you liked this post or found it helpful, you will definitely love the Top 20 Things to Do in La Jolla, California! If you want to explore more incredible places in California check out: Fall Getaway in Big Bear Lake, California, Lassen Volcanic National Park: California’s Forgotten National Park, You Don’t Want to Miss These Spots in Joshua Tree National Park, and The Best Things to do in San Luis Obispo!

Andrew Schloe

I love surfing, scuba diving, and soaking in a good sunset at the beach. There is a good chance you will find me by water. Favorite Destination: Great Ocean Road, Australia.

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