Where To Ride With Spectacular Views Of Beaches, Boats & More
San Diego bike trails, biking, bicycles, locals guide
By Kevin Wilkerson, San Diego Blogger
In an area with scenic views that can boggle the mind with their beauty, there are bike trails that get you right up to seaside cliffs, along an expansive bay and by beaches.
Here are three great coastal bike trails with scenic views in San Diego County. All of these rides are easy and can be enjoyed at a casual pace. The purposed of this post is to take in the scenery – heck, even stop and have a couple of cocktails along the ride – and not to go out for a physical hardcore workout.
I did not include the beach boardwalks in Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, for I will save that for another post.
• Coronado Bike Trail
This bike ride is like a walk through the park. Or, really, a ride through a park.
And along a golf course, the famous Hotel del Coronado and the ferry landing.
This is an easy, flat ride in which the biggest challenge is dodging the strollers and kids at the ferry landing and adjacent park. Otherwise, it’s a breeze.
You start off at he ferry landing, which is full of activity and is like a busy little village and roll through a park, along a golf course, past a marina and by the Hotel Del where the path is right on the sand.
Suggested Route: Off the ferry landing ($5 each way), I suggest heading to your left and making the loop around the park and golf course. From there, go along the marina to City Hall and turn around at the park with a small beach.
You do need to be careful crossing the street when you get to the somewhat confusing intersection at the marina because it’s along a road and there is traffic.
Head toward the Hotel Del, which has a bike path right on the sand. From there, make your way up Ocean Blvd. At some point, you’ll need to head inland to Orange Ave., to get back to the ferry dock.
If suggest leaving the Silver Strand trail for another day. This is a long ride along a two-lane highway. Eventually – more than five miles – you’ll run into scenic Silver Strand Beach and a marina, but it’s a long and lonely (as if nothing really to see) ride between there and Coronado.
Ride Time: Approximately 45 minutes with no stops. Plan on half a day.
Difficulty: 1 on a scale of 5.
• North County Beaches Coastal Bike Trail
This is the most beautiful of them all, with one scene spot after another.
It goes from Oceanside to Solana Beach and takes in Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas and Cardiff By The Sea.You can take Amtrak or the Coaster (a commuter train that’s half the coast of Amtrak) from downtown San Diego and then back again and that is how I do this ride.
If you’re not up to the entire ride, the train also stops in Encinitas and Carlsbad. Along the
You will want to go from north to south, for that puts you on the oceanside part of the path. Along the way you will go along eaches, parks, campgrounds, the oceans and the towns.
Biking this trail is like driving through Big Sur – you will be tempted to pull over and stop and look at the scenery seemingly every five minutes. And that’s okay; just keep the time in mind if you are taking the train back to your original destination.
This is mostly a flat ride, tho there are some hills, three in fact. They are not really too steep – I went up all of them on a beach cruiser (with some heavy breathing on a couple I must say) – ….
Ride Time: Approximately two hours from Carlsbad to Solana Beach with no stops. Plan for all day, tho.
Suggested Route: Get on the wide bike path and stay on it. Stop at will at parks, camping spots and scenic lookouts.
Difficulty: 2.5 on a scale of 5
• San Diego Bay Bike Trail
This bike trail – which is really a path – goes from the Embarcadero to Point Loma and Shelter Island.
This is not so much as trail as it is riding along a wide sidewalk for much of the trip.
Suggested Route: Starting from the Embarcadero, head to the north. You will have to get off the bike and walk through Seaport Village, but you don’t want to be zipping past that place anyway with its many small shops and places to eat and drink with view of the bay.
If you’re there on a Saturday morning, walk along Tuna Pier for the weekly fish market.
Get on the bike again at Tuna Pier and turn left at the entrance to the parking lot (just a few blocks) and check out the WWII “kissing statue,” as well as the Bob Hope veteran’s memorial.
Circle back and pass past the USS Midway, the Broadway Pier, the Portside Pier restaurants and the San Diego Maritime Museum. You’ll be dodging tourists – many of which are on the surrey bikes – and strollers to be on the alert.
Once you break into the clear, keep riding. At the U.S. Coast Guard station the path loses its water view but you gain it back along the back bay, which is also along a park called Spanish Landing.
I suggest peeling off and going up Harbor Drive to Shelter Island. There’s a traffic island that will steer you the right, tho I suggest looking carefully to cross the street and head south instead of north. In less than a mile you will run into a pair of restaurants at the end of the island. Note you cannot ride on the sidewalk on Shelter Island.
Back on the bike path at Spanish Landing, you can stop and have a picnic, have a swim at the small beach or keep pedaling. If you cross the street at the end of the park it will take you up and over a bridge with wide bike lanes to Liberty Station, an area with shops, restaurants, a Von’s, Trader Joe’s, a wine shop and a brewery. Stay to the right and there’s a huge park on your left with water on your right.
Alternately, you can ride under the bridge, where you will encounter a biking a pedestrian bridge. Pick your way through the edge of Liberty Village and onto Nimitz Blvd. Cross the street at the first available light to avoid traffic and onto the bike lane; in a few minutes you will be at the Point Loma Marina.
The Point Loma Marina is the location of the fishing charter boats and has several restaurants on the water, including the famous Point Loma Seafood, which was featured in the Food Network show “Diner, Drive-Ins And Dives.”
You can make this your turnaround point or keep pedaling around the harbor and soon enough you will be on Shelter Island.
Ride Time: Approximately 1 hour to Shelter Island with no stops.
Difficulty: 2 on a scale of 5. It’s flat but small parts of the path require riding on streets.