United States

San Diego, CA

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

San Diego, located in southern California near the Mexico border, is one of our favorite cities in the world for running.  The combination of great weather, varied geography from harbor to beaches to inland canyons, make for fantastic running. Our guide to running in San Diego includes the city proper, and then extending north to La Jolla, with sections for the North County communities of Del Mar, Solana, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside.

What’s especially nice is that travelers staying near downtown/airport/convention center have access to some great routes. Some of the best places to run in San Diego include numerous options around the Mission Bay, Balboa Park, and Sunset Cliffs. There are many scenic, runnable beaches in San Diego. There are also some areas worth a special trip, such as La Jolla and Torrey Pines. There are also great opportunities for challenging trail running in the canyons mountains to the east. In the North County area, there’s wonderful coastal running in Solana, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. Note: If you’d like to have a guided running experience in San Diego, we highly recommend our affiliate partner Go! Running Tours

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in San Diego, CA

Balboa Park

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such... 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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Balboa Park

San Diego, CA

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such as the Zoo, and several museums. Many options for running, from trails by the sites to more wooded routes.
Explore

Mission Bay

San Diego, CA

A 46,000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on well-marked off-road paths, with water views, lovely parks, beaches, bridges, and an island.
Explore

San Diego River Trail

San Diego, CA

A good option for runners who want a long, flat, off-road trail in the Mission Bay/Mission Valley area. We've mapped a 7.5 mile one-way route from Ocean Beach to I-805 in Mission Valley. The westernmost 3 miles is the prettiest section.
Explore

Torrey Pines

San Diego, CA

A beautiful State Preserve of 2,000 acres, 5 miles north of San Diego, incorporating the rare Torrey pine. Run-nable hillside hiking trails with great ocean views. Also great running on the beach here.
Explore

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve

San Diego, CA

Some scenic, gentle trail running in the Sorrento Hills/Mira Mesa area! Nice variety of canyon/ranch type terrain, gorgeous live oaks and sycamores. Easiest is the 5+ mile Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail. There are also more challenging options.
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Miramar Reservoir/Lake

San Diego, CA

A 5-mile loop trail around a reservoir in the Scripps Ranch area, northeast of downtown. Popular spot for running, bicycling, and other activities. Paved park service road is relatively traffic free. Nice views to water and valleys.
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Best Runs in the Carlsbad Area

San Diego, CA

Great running options in this coastal town include ~6 miles of coastal road/path between Ponto State Beach and Carlsbad Village with unobstructed water views, the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail, some nice beach running, and trail running at Lake Calavera.
Explore

Balboa Park

San Diego, CA

A gorgeous park, featuring 65 miles of trails through gardens, groves, and important San Diego sights such as the Zoo, and several museums. Many options for running, from trails by the sites to more wooded routes.
Explore

Mission Bay

San Diego, CA

A 46,000 acre aquatic playground. We’ve mapped a well-known 12-mile loop, almost all of it on well-marked off-road paths, with water views, lovely parks, beaches, bridges, and an island.
Explore

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.

sandiegostay

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.

Get the guide to the best races in this area from our friends at RaceRaves! You can sort by highest rating, date (i.e. ‘upcoming’), or race name.

Browse RaceRaves 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