San Diego is home to lots of popular attractions, like beaches, SeaWorld, and the zoo. While these are definitely great places to visit, you might want to see something a little lesser known and locally coveted. Here are some of San Diego’s best kept secrets that are surely a sight to see.
The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was built in 1912 as a way for pedestrians to cross Kate Sessions Canyon. Now it serves as a historic display that attracts those that are not faint of heart. It is 70 feet above the canyon and can sway slightly by wind or foot traffic, so be cautious of movement when you’re on the bridge. It gives you a great view of the canyon that you can also explore by taking the trail down at the end of the bridge. In the canyon there are cacti, eucalyptus trees, and a “hobbit house” made of woven tree branches that is fun to explore. The bridge is a romantic, secluded spot not well known throughout San Diego, but worth the discovery.
Three Sisters Falls is one of the more impressive waterfalls in San Diego. Named after the 3 successive waterfalls that make up the fall, Three Sisters is a delightful sight at the end of a 4 mile round-trip hike. The hike itself is considered moderate on many hiking websites, but many have also taken their children and have successfully accomplished the hike. Just be sure to bring snacks, water, and good shoes before attempting. It is mainly downhill, and ropes are provided where the trail gets a little steep. Remember the hike back to the car is going to be uphill, so get plenty of rest once you reach the falls. There is a good size pool of water that the falls cascade into that you are able to swim in if you want. The waters flow best after rain, so the end of winter and early spring would be the best seasons to visit.
The La Jolla Caves are a spectacular view if you choose to visit via kayak or access through The Cave Store. For $10, you can enter The Cave Store and descend a 145-step staircase down to the biggest cave, the Sunny Jim Sea Cave. The other seven caves need to be reached by kayak. Some are big enough so you can explore the inside of the cave, and sometimes you might even see sea lions perched on the rocks outside of the caves. You can take a guided tour (which is recommended) offered by La Jolla Kayak, Bike and Kayak Tours, and La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks, all located on Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla.
Also in La Jolla are the secret swings. One is located by going south of the Birch Aquarium parking lot, and then walking uphill the small path. It only takes a few minutes of walking to reach the swing. This one has arguably the best view of San Diego, overlooking miles of the ocean that it takes up half of the sky. You’ll feel like you are about to swing right into the water, and get to see all of La Jolla Shores. The second swing is located off of La Jolla Coast Walk Trail behind The Cave Store on Coast Boulevard. You will have to climb over the white pedestrian bridge and walk down, but there are ropes to help guide you. This swing also has enormous views of the ocean and makes for a great photo op.
Palm Canyon is a short, but flourishing trail in Balboa Park that is filled with 450 palms of almost 60 different species. The trail connects to the Old Cactus Garden, which features a stunning wooden footbridge surrounded by green foliage. There are a beautiful variety of wild,
tropical plants that spruce up the Palm Canyon trail, full of radiant colors and different textures.
No matter where you walk there are bound to be many different plants and exquisite braided trees to be seen. It is just over half a mile, so this short adventure is perfect for a quick walk after lunch or coffee at one of Balboa Park’s many eateries.
There are plenty of secret nature parks and quirky sightings to behold in San Diego, and here was a list of a few of them. San Diego has no shortage of amazing new spots to explore, so even as a local there will always be an exciting new location to discover when you are in need of a quick adventure or a longer getaway.
Jordyn Reardon | UCLA alum English Major | San Diego native with an affinity for adventure. Loves discovering hidden gems across Southern California and writing about them for the greater community.