Spend time outside exploring these natural resources within 45 miles of San Diego!


If you are looking to get out of the city for a while, or would just like to explore some new territory, then this list is perfect for you. San Diego is known for its great weather and beautiful coastline, but there are many other natural resources that lie within 45 miles of the city. From mountains covered in snow year-round to lush national parks with winding trails, these 11 nature resources have something for everyone!

  1. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines is a state natural reserve located just 12 miles north of San Diego. The park itself covers over 1600 acres, and it is most well-known for the Torrey pine trees that grow there. These rare trees can only be found in one other place on earth: Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico. The Nature Conservancy calls Torrey Pines "one of the rarest pine forests in the United States."

The reserve has two trails to choose from: North Trail and South Trail. Both are relatively flat but can be steep at times. You'll have views overlooking both beaches San Diego is known for - La Jolla Shores and Torrey Pines State Beach.

San Diego is known for having some of the most beautiful coastlines in all of California, but this park provides a great opportunity to explore an inland natural resource without leaving city limits!

  1. San Elijo Lagoon

San Elijo is a Nature Conservancy state site located just five miles north of San Diego. The lagoon itself covers over two square miles but the nature area stretches much farther than that, with trails and boardwalks meandering through wetlands full of plant life.

  1. San Luis Rey River

The San Luis Rey river offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, just minutes away from downtown! While this natural resource is technically not within 45 miles of San Diego, it's still relatively close by. The Nature Conservancy calls the San Louis Rey "one of Southern California’s last free-flowing rivers."

  1. Palomar Mountain State Park

Palomar Mountain is a Nature Conservancy state park located just northeast of San Diego. The mountain itself offers stunning views for those willing to make the climb, but there are plenty of trails winding through meadows and forests as well! You can also stay in both cabins or campsites, enjoy the fishing pond or take in the scenic coastal vistas.

  1. Black Mountain Open Space Park

Black Mountain is another Nature Conservancy park, located just east of San Diego. This open space covers over 1300 acres and combines natural beauty with recreational activities like mountain biking or hiking trails. You can also stay in the camping area if you're looking to spend a little more time exploring this natural resource!