Del Mar, a coastal California town, is full of places to explore. From its professional surfing community to its bohemian appeal, you can play in the waves, check out the cars at the Del Mar Race Track Carousel, take a stroll beside the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, and experience many other fun things to do in Del Mar.
Hop on one of many road bikes for rent, enjoy the meandering coast path, or hop off among the colorful streets of charming La Jolla Village. With so many activities on this strip of well-traveled land, it’s easy to lose track of time.
If you’ve ever visited Del Mar, and have not experienced it to the fullest, you’ve come to the right place, traveler! I hope you are also an adrenaline junkie because most of the things that I will cover are exciting and a must-do in Del Mar.
If you’re planning to visit other destinations in California, check out some other delicious guides for the best places to eat:
- 11 Must-Try Tustin restaurants
- 8 Best Fort Bragg, CA Restaurants
- The 21 Best Restaurants in Costa Mesa
- The 7 Best Oceanside, CA Restaurants
6 Best Things To Do In Del Mar
Dine On the Beach
Poseidon Restaurant in Del Mar is a casual dining spot located right on the beach. Guests at this San Diego restaurant can count on fresh seafood, salads, and grilled dishes served in a relaxed, hedonistic atmosphere.
If you’re looking for an ocean view, we recommend Pacifica Del Mar in Del Mar Plaza. This restaurant is known for its seafood and steak and its fish tacos (a San Diego must-eat).
The Del Mar Plaza offers a variety of dining options, from casual American cuisine to fine dining. One great option is Pacifica Del Mar in the Westin Hotel (Westin Del Mar), which boasts ocean views from its restaurant.
The menu offers mostly seafood, with steak and pasta mixed in. There is also a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
When it comes to doing valuable things in Del Mar, the options are almost limitless. Whether you’re looking for a taste of local culture or some time at the beach, you can easily find something to fit your tastes and budget here.
One of my favorite places is always Pacifica Seafoods on Camino Del Mar. They have both dinner and lunch, and if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be their butterfish sashimi cured in lime juice.
If you are looking for great places to eat in Del Mar, you won’t go wrong with any of these beach-side restaurants.
Go For a Hike
Hiking through Torrey Pines State Park is a fun way to spend a day exploring southern California. The Reserve encompasses the famous Torrey Pine, which is the rarest pine tree in North America, and it also features 16 miles of oceanfront cliffs.
Linking trails offer visitors a variety of choices for hiking and biking, and you can even learn about the history of the area at one of the museums.
Hiking enthusiasts flock to the Torrey Pines State Reserve for a challenging yet rewarding trek through the pine trees and sandstone canyons that make up this magnificent coastal wilderness.
Eight miles of hiking trails are available, but we recommend trying the Beach Trail as it offers improved views, more chances to explore tide pools at low tide, and ends with a trip down to the beach for those who like a little sand between their toes.
For a mix of beautiful vistas and exercises, hiking is one of the best things to do in Del Mar.
Take a Balloon Ride
There are many things to be seen in Del Mar, and the best way is from above and in the air. Magical Adventure Balloons offers year-round balloon flights of San Diego, featuring sunset tours over the elegant homes and golf courses of Del Mar.
The balloon floats about 120 feet above the ground, providing incomparable views of the city and ocean.
Del Mar visitors will likely see several hot air balloons above the area once dusk rolls around, and there is no doubt that it’s a fantastic way to see the city from above. Magical Adventure Balloon Rides offers year-round balloon tours of Del Mar, and they invite guests to enjoy a romantic ocean sunset balloon flight over the elegant homes and golf courses of the region.
Balloon pilots have long depended on city-owned land known as the Del Mar Airpark to launch and land their hot air balloons. They visit charitably or for photography, or they anchor over the ocean and try to take photos of the shoreline from 300 feet in the air. Don’t miss this high-flying attraction in Del Mar.
Whatever your age and level of experience, you can find a great spot to surf on your San Diego vacation. Del Mar is loaded with incredible spots for surfing.
Not only does Del Mar boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, but it also has prime locations for catching waves on inflatables, stand-up paddleboards, and bodyboards. So whether you dream of standing on top of your first wave or are a seasoned pro, there’s nothing like learning how to surf on a San Diego vacation.
Del Mar is a great place to learn how to surf since you’re likely to have a less crowded experience than at some of the other surfing spots in Southern California. And with an area for novices and several spots for experienced surfers, there are perfect places in Del Mar to learn how to surf no matter what your skill level is.
Surf lessons can be found at the school known as Del Mar Surf School, while the Rusty Del Mar surf shop rents out wetsuits, surfboards, and boogie boards for those who want to hit the waves themselves. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants that make up the village of Del Mar.
Whether you want to hang out or hang ten, hitting the beach is a perfect thing to do in Del Mar.
Visit San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center
The San Elijo Lagoon is one of San Diego’s largest wetlands and primarily a shallow-water estuary formed where the Escondido and La Orilla Creeks meet the Pacific Ocean.
This 979-acre reserve supports numerous species of waterfowl and shorebirds, including the endangered Yuma Clapper rail. The reserve also boasts over two miles of beaches, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
The San Elijo Lagoon provides natural solace and recreation, whether you want an afternoon stroll or a complete family day out!
Del Mar offers a variety of nature and recreation activities. Visit your beach town to experience miles of walking, hiking, biking, and equestrian paths that connect walking trails throughout the city.
Visit picnic areas with BBQ pits and enjoy the year-round Southern California weather, or venture further for gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Two public golf courses are just a short walk from many hotels, while shopping and dining are also in each direction.
The northern portion of the San Elijo Lagoon, once owned by Southern California Edison as a drainage basin for de-salting the local ocean water for its diesel power plant, is now home to one of the few designated ecological reserves on the South Bay coast.
The reserve protects an estuary habitat consisting of salt and freshwater marshes, dunes, and open sand areas designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. With more than ten miles of trails through this bird-watching destination, you will see plants and animals along the trails that demand respect.
If you enjoy the opportunity to interact with nature, this is one of the best activities in Del Mar for you.
The best things to do in Del Mar, CA, include a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean along with the chance to play on the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. This is a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon of your recreational time.
Located in the beautiful town of Del Mar, California, the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the home of the Farmers Insurance Open and has hosted many famous pros such as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
In addition to its challenging terrain, it offers spectacular views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Not only can you play golf here, but you can also try one of the delicious restaurants in nearby Del Mar to refuel after playing 18 holes.
Immerse yourself in the sun and surf with a trip to Del Mar, CA. Its beautiful coastline, fabled golf courses, and restaurants serving fresh seafood will have you eager to come back again and again. Although Del Mar is known for its exciting yearly golf tournament, there is still plenty to do all year round.
Visit Del Mar in any season, and you’ll love the way famous beaches, world-renowned racetrack, and upscale living blend with beautiful weather to create a place where non-stop action meets laid-back living.
Some of Del Mar’s top tourist attractions are the beaches, Farmers Market (open every Saturday at The Shops at Del Mar), La Gran Plaza (home to a large array of high-end shops), golf, and much more.
If I were to write about all the things to do in Del Mar, you wouldn’t want to read it all. That’s why I chose several best things to do according to me, that I think are worth your money and time. Feel free to use this guide as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to look on your own for the best things to do in Del Mar.