United States

San Diego, CA

Includes Cities North of San Diego: Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside

San Diego is one of our favorite cities in the world for running.  The combination of great weather, varied & scenic geography from harbor to runnable beaches to inland canyons, and an excellent network of multi-use paths and trails add up to heaven for runners. Our guide to running in San Diego includes the city proper, and the North County communities from La Jolla to Oceanside.

In the downtown/airport area, there’s nice waterfront running along the Embarcadero and the Mission Bay/Mission Beach area. Balboa Park is one of the most beautiful urban parks in the country. Coronado Island is a destination itself for running! For fantastic coastal sunset views, run Sunset Cliffs or La Jolla Cove. North of San Diego, there are fantastic beaches, scenic coastal roads, and lagoon trails in Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, & Oceanside. Just inland, there’s scenic trail running for all abilities featuring hills, canyons, & grasslands in Los Peñasquitos Canyon, Mission Trails Regional Park, Tecolote Canyon, and Guajome Regional Park. For trails around lagoons and lakes, enjoy Lake Murray, Miramar Reservoir, San Elijo Lagoon, Batiquitos Lagoon, and Tijuana Slough.

San Diego has famously fantastic weather year-round, though runners should note there’s often a difference in temperature between the coast and just inland.

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in San Diego, CA

Balboa Park

One of the great urban parks of America, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and... more...

Mission Bay

A 46, 000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on... more...

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Central San Diego is quite compact. Stay near the airport, convention center, and downtown/gaslamp area provides good access to waterfront running. Balboa Park is 1–2 miles west of downtown/Gaslamp district. Mission Bay is 5–6 miles from downtown and there is a good selection of hotels there, and also near Pacific Beach. There aren’t many hotels right near or in Balboa Park. There are also a few hotels in La Jolla & Torrey Pines.


There don’t seem to be as many local running stores as some other cities, but there are several that have a great reputation.

Road Runner Sports Locations in San Diego, Solana Beach, and Carlsbad.

Milestone Running Shop. Group Runs Wednesday 6pm.

San Diego Track Club. Group runs: Tuesday 6pm track workouts Balboa Park. Free for visitors.

Run San Diego.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in San Diego, CA

Calendar of running events, courtesy of the San Diego Track Club

Carlsbad Marathon – January. Well, how many North American cities can have a marathon in January? This is 30 minutes north of San Diego

Rock ‘N Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. June

Electric Run: (November) A run that celebrates the night life, this race happens from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and has neon lights, glowing tunnels and club music as you run. Sign up: electricrun.com

La Jolla Half Marathon. June. Vert pictureque area

San Diego Half Marathon. March

Silver Strand Half Marathon & 5K: (November) A race from Coronado to Imperial Beach that welcomes runners, walkers, wheelchair athletes and even in-line skaters. New this year is a 10-mile race for those not quite ready to conquer the half’s 13.1 mile route.

Father Joe’s Thanksgiving 5K: One of the city’s most popular 5Ks attracts thousands of people each Thanksgiving in a race that benefits San Diego’s homeless population. Sign up: thanksgivingrun.org.

America’s Finest City Half Marathon. August. Starts at the Cabrillo Monument on Point Loma