17 INCREDIBLE Tours in San Diego [March 2020]

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San Diego is one of California’s most exciting destinations! This city is known for its wonderful beaches, parks, and its unique atmosphere. The downtown area of the city is full of activity, and there are plenty of museums and famous attractions to enjoy. However, it is the overall laid-back vibe that you feel across San Diego that really gives the city its character. 

If you are after the best things to do in San Diego, then taking a tour is always a great idea. The city hosts a number of fantastic guided tours that will help you to discover all the best landmarks, sights, and activities on offer.

If you are planning a trip to this fun and adventure-filled destination, then check out some of these tours of San Diego for the ultimate experience. 

#1 – San Diego Harbor Cruise

San Diego Harbor Cruise

  • $
  • 1 – 2 hours
  • Enjoy a harbor tour of San Diego Bay
  • See the city’s best sights from a luxury ship

Possibly the best perspective that you could get of San Diego is from a boat ride in the harbor. This boat cruise tour allows you to pass the most important landmarks in the city, from the comfort of a modern yacht. 

You will see the Coronado Bridge, San Diego Downtown area, the Midway Aircraft Carrier, and plenty more! This is all narrated by an insightful tour guide to make sure that you gain a better understanding of the city. 

 

Ready to book? Here are our favorite areas to stay in San Diego!

#2 – Old Town San Diego Hop-On Hop-Off Narrated Tour

Old Town San Diego Hop-On Hop-Off Narrated Tour

  • $
  • Valid 1 – 2 days
  • Explore San Diego at your own pace
  • Make use of the trolleys that travel around the city

Enjoy the ultimate convenience of the hop-on-hop-off trolleys that ride around town. This San Diego city tour will take you between all of the best places to visit in the city. In fact, you can choose between 100 points of interest in San Diego and Coronado!

The best thing about this tour is that it allows you to experience the city at your own pace. You can catch the trolleys at any time during the day, and stop at places for as long as you want. 

The guide aboard the trolley busses will also narrate the journey around the city – allowing you to learn about your surroundings between stops. 

Let’s make this simple. These are the best hotels in San Diego!

#3 – Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

  • $$
  • 3.5 hours
  • See whales all year round
  • Enjoy a fun cruise around San Diego

San Diego is one of the best whale-watching destinations throughout the year! Famous for its many migratory Gray Whales from winter to spring, and Blue Whales during the summer. This city is an amazing place to view marine life. 

This popular San Diego tour will take you on an enjoyable cruise along the city’s coastline. This tour allows you to witness and learn about the beautiful marine life of the area. You will also get to see some of San Diego’s best city sights from the ocean.

Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try our hotel guide for Downtown San Diego!

#4 – La Jolla Guided Bike Adventure

La Jolla Guided Bike Adventure

  • $$
  • 3 hours
  • Cycle along the La Jolla freefall
  • Enjoy panoramic views over San Diego

San Diego is full of beautiful natural places, with the La Jolla area being one of the best. This outdoor San Diego sightseeing tour is a fun way of experiencing the city’s beauty whilst riding a  bike. 

You will start the ride on top of Mt. Soledad, and cycle past the Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach Boardwalk, La Jolla Cove, Mission Bay, Bird Rock, and more! This tour offers some of the best views around San Diego and is a great option for those that want to get a little active. 

Planning a trip? See our list of the best things to see in San Diego!

#5 – Temecula Wine Tour With Tastings and Lunch

Temecula Wine Tour With Tastings and Lunch

  • $$$$
  • 7 hours
  • Visit the top Temecula wineries
  • Explore pretty Temecula and taste amazing wines

A visit to the Temecula wine region is on many San Diego to-do lists. Those wanting to escape the city can enjoy an amazing day amongst the vineyards in this stunning region. 

The tour will take you to 3 of the best wineries in the area. You will get to sample different wines, learn about the local winemaking process, and admire the beautiful farm surroundings. The tour will include a visit to the Temecula old town, as well as a delicious lunch. 

All transport from San Diego is included, along with a knowledgeable local guide. 

Have some time in San Diego? These are our favorite day trips from San Diego!

#6 – City Lights Night Tour

City Lights Night Tour

  • $
  • 90 minutes
  • Pass some of the city’s top landmarks
  • Enjoy the sights of San Diego at night

San Diego may be a wonderful city to admire during the day, but the place is also captivating at night. This tour takes you on a trolley bus through the city in the evening. You will get to see the top sights and attractions all lit up under the night sky. 

Some highlights of this tour include the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park, Coronado Bridge, and Coronados Ferry Landing. San Diego city sightseeing tours are very special to experience at night – and this is one of the best options out there! 

Interested in history? Read up on the history of San Diego!

#7 – Tijuana City Sightseeing Tour

Tijuana City Sightseeing Tour

  • $$$
  • 5 hours
  • Discover Mexico’s fourth largest city
  • Taste local food, explore the shops and see the best sights

One of the most popular San Diego excursions to do is a trip to exciting Tijuana in Mexico. This city is really close to San Diego, so a day trip here is easily accessible. Take this tour to discover the best things to see and do in this major Mexican city. 

You will get to visit shops and markets, taste delicious local food, and explore Tijuana’s bustling tourist center. Anyone wanting to absorb some Mexican culture will love taking this convenient tour. 

#8 – Carlsbad Village Local Food Tour

Carlsbad Village Local Food Tour

  • $$$
  • 3 hours
  • Enjoy a walking tour around Carlsbad Village
  • Stop in at the areas best eateries

Tours in San Diego are wide-ranging, catering to all kinds of interests. If you love food, then this Carlsbad Village walking tour is the ideal choice. The tour will take you around this historic village, stopping in at the best eateries along the way. 

You will get to taste all kinds of delicious foods, as well as enjoy a wine tasting session. Your live tour guide will explain the interesting history, architecture, and culture of this area along the way. 

Insider Guide! These are the absolute BEST times of the year to visit San Diego!

#9 – San Diego Sailing Tour

San Diego Sailing Tour

  • $$$$
  • 3 hours
  • Discover the San Diego Bay Area
  • Enjoy a fun sailing trip

San Diego day tours don’t get much more fun than this unique sailing experience. The tour will take you around the city’s coastline in a yacht. You will get to see the top landmarks and sights around the bay, including plenty of marine life and city skyline views. 

The tour includes unlimited drinks and snacks. This is a great way to experience the warm sun and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean! 

#10 – San Diego Gaslamp Walking Tour

San Diego Gaslamp Walking Tour

  • $$$
  • 2.5 hours
  • Experience the atmosphere of the historic Gaslamp Quarter
  • Enjoy plenty of food and drinks along the way

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is one of the most historic and vibrant parts of the city! This area once featured 120 brothels, and it is full of fun and interesting stories from the past. This tour will teach you all about this exciting part of the city as you walk through the pretty streets. 

The Gaslamp area is home to loads of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. During the tour, you will get to sample some tasty foods and drinks at some of the best establishments in the Quarter. 

#11 – Grand Baja Mexico Tour

Grand Baja Mexico Tour

  • $$$$
  • 8 hours
  • Discover the best of Baja
  • Cross the Mexican border and visit Tijuana

There is plenty of stuff to do in San Diego, but the city is also an ideal base for day trips. This tour will take you around the best of the Baja area – stopping at impressive and beautiful places throughout the day. 

You will get to visit Puerto Nuevo, Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, and more. The tour includes all transport, an experienced guide, and opportunity for different fun activities.

Editor’s note – These are the 15 most beautiful beaches in San Diego!

#12 – San Diego SEAL Tour

San Diego SEAL Tour

 

  • $
  • 90 minutes
  • Explore the city by a hybrid boat/bus
  • A unique way to experience San Diego

San Diego city tours don’t get much more fun than this. The SEAL tour lets you experience the best of land and sea through taking a journey on a combination boat/bus vessel. You will cruise the streets of San Diego, passing the city’s many landmarks and points of interest. 

The vessel will then drive you into the sea, where you will be able to experience the city from a totally different perspective. Look out for marine life, ships, and the different viewsof the bay while on the water. 

#13 – Balboa Park Walking Tour

Balboa Park Walking Tour

  • $
  • 2 hours
  • Explore San Diego’s amazing urban cultural park
  • Live guided walking tour

You can’t visit San Diego without experiencing Balboa Park. This massive urban cultural park has loads to see and do! There are botanical gardens, important architectural and historic sights, museums, theatres, and more. 

Taking a guided walking tour through the area is one of the best ways of experiencing the place. Your guide will explain the entire park to you, making sure that you don’t miss any important details. This tour of San Diego is great for all ages and interests! 

#14 – Ski Trip to Big Bear Mountain

Ski Trip to Big Bear Mountain

  • $$$$
  • 12 hours
  • Experience California snow
  • Enjoy a scenic trip to the snowy mountain peaks

Tours from San Diego are often focused around the beach and sunny coastline, but you could also take a trip to snowy mountain summits. This tour takes you to the top of Big Bear Mountain and Snow Summit during the winter. From here you can ski, snowboard, or just enjoy the unique wintery surroundings. 

The tour includes a scenic bus ride through the mountains. This area is suitable for all levels of ski experience and skill. 

#15 – California Sunset Brewery Tour

California Sunset Brewery Tour

  • $$$$
  • 4.5 hours
  • An evening tour of San Diego’s best breweries
  • Sample plenty of local beers

If you love beer, then this is the tour for you! This tour will take you along the California coastline past some of San Diego’s coolest beach communities. Along the way, you will stop at the best craft breweries in the area. 

The tour includes a live guide, transport, and tastings of 15 different types of beer! 

#16 – La Jolla Kayak Tour

La Jolla Kayak Tour

  • $$$
  • 2 hours
  • Enjoy a fun kayaking adventure
  • Experience whales up close

Boat tours in San Diego are plenty of fun, but paddling around in a kayak is truly unforgettable. This guided kayak tour takes you around the beautiful waters of La Jolla – one of the most scenic areas of San Diego. 

You will get to watch whales from the kayak, and learn all about their interesting patterns. 

#17 – Old Town Tequila and Tortillas

Old Town Tequila and Tortillas

  • $$$
  • 2.5 hours
  • Get a taste of Mexico
  • Explore San Diego’s most historic neighborhood

This tour takes you through the Old Town of San Diego, allowing you to soak up the authentic culture here. You will get to visit the town’s original adobes, shops, and a church. Of course, the tour puts a heavy focus on food – with plenty of tacos and tequila to be enjoyed. 

This is an important part of the history and culture of San Diego. The tour is fully-guided and will help you get a better understanding of the city’s roots.

Final Thoughts on San Diego Tours

If you are planning a visit to San Diego, then taking a few tours will really help to make the most of your trip!. These tours cover a wide range of attractions and things to see in the city. There are even some amazing day trip options for those wanting to venture further outside the city. 

San Diego has loads on offer, and experiencing some of these tours will result in a truly unforgettable visit!

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About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties.When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.