Let’s just say that these extreme adventures in San Diego kick sightseeing a notch. Some of the adventures are for thrill-seekers while others are downright unforgettable tours.

Want to drive a Lamborghini? No problem. Crave a coastal skydive? You can book that, too.

Without further ado, have a look at these unique and extreme adventures in San Diego. The good news is that they are also outdoor activities in San Diego where you can soak up some sunshine.

You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through some links in this post, I may be compensated. Our editorial guidelines.

Fly Like a Fighter Pilot

Top Gun was filmed here, after all. You can satisfy your need for speed with a Top Gun and Air Combat Experience. Fly with a trained fighter pilot and experience panoramic views of the city along the way. Upgrade to experience aerobatic maneuvers and more.

They can pick you up from some San Diego hotels.

Drive an Exotic Sports Car

If you’re in the market for a high-end sports car or would like to give one a whirl, San Diego Prestige lets you rent for the day. Cars include (but are not limited to):

  • Rolls Royce Ghost
  • Lamborghini Huracan
  • Porsche GT3RS
  • Ferarri F458 Spider
  • Bentley Continental GT-S

Take an Open Cockpit Sightseeing Ride

Head over to Montgomery Field to hop into a vintage 1920s biplane for a breezy tour of San Diego. Passengers ride in the front while the pilot steers from the seat behind. Opt for a smooth ride or ask for thrilling turns and rolls.

San Diego Air Tours could be of Del Mar, Torrey Pines, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Mission Bay, Coronado and beyond. Length ranges from 20–60 minutes.

Take a Thrill-Ride on the Bay

San Diego Tours: Patriot Jet Boat Thrill Ride
Photo courtesy of Flagship Cruises & Events

The Patriot Jet Boat (by Flagship Cruises & Events) reaches speeds of up to 50mph and treats guests to 360-degree turns all while sightseeing along the San Diego Bay. Rock music blares and smiles are certain on this 30-minute thrilling San Diego boat tour. Not feeling adventurous? Flagship Cruises in San Diego offers a variety of more mellow experiences on the water.

Tour San Diego on a Harley Davidson

Fulfill a lifelong dream of riding a Harley Davidson on this unique San Diego excursion. California Motorcycle Tours operates guided tours on late-model Harleys that start and end in San Diego, ranging from 3 days to 13 days.

The Daytripper ride departs and returns each day to the same San Diego hotel so local riders can return home each night and visitors can explore San Diego on their own.

The itinerary covers the coastline, Mt. Palomar (to the Hale Observatory), Lake Henshaw, Ramona, Spring Valley, Tecate, Mount Laguna, Lake Cuyamaca, Julian, Borrego Springs and more.

Fly Tandem at Torrey Pines Gliderport

Gliders with colorful parachutes against blue sky and over the bluffs at Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Perched on a cliff next to UC San Diego, the Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the most historic aviation sites in the country. Charles Lindbergh made his maiden flight along the cliffs here and it’s been a location for paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes for over 100 years.

They say that anyone of any age can paraglide or hang glide fly with an instructor here, wind permitting. It’s the largest tandem site in the world with incredibly experienced and accident-free instructors. Booking information is on the Gliderport’s website.

Drive a GPS-Guided Little Car

Me in a little yellow GoCar in downtown San Diego.

Imagine San Diego sightseeing with a GPS-guided tour car that tells you about attractions and history along the way. That’s what GoCar San Diego does.

Take a 1-hour to an all-day tour of downtown San Diego, Point Loma, Old Town, Balboa Park, and beyond depending on what you’d like to book. They also now have scooter tours.

Drivers need to be age 21 and older with a valid drivers license. You can book with Viator’s low price guarantee or get a discount on some tours with aRes Travel.

Go Off-Roading in the Largest State Park.

San Diego County is home to California’s largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and the best way to explore it is by going off-road with California Overland.

If you want to experience the desert, a paved road isn’t going to be the solution. They’ll take you slot canyons, desert badlands, dry lake beds and even to do some seasonal stargazing. They’ve got a fleet of rugged military vehicles, a vintage Jeep and even an air-conditioned Jeep. Overnight adventures are also available.

Take a Beer Tour in a Swiss Pinzgauer

Scavengers Beer Tours take guests to North County breweries in a Swiss Pinzgauer
Photo courtesy of Scavengers Beer & Adventure Tours

Carlsbad’s Scavengers Beer & Adventure Tours offer public and private tours to North County San Diego or downtown San Diego breweries in a 6×6 Swiss Military Pinzgauer.  It’s an adventure you won’t forget. 

Some of the breweries on the tour are Stone, Iron Fist, Mother Earth, Breakwater, Port, Aztec, Lost Abbey, Latitude 33, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Alesmith and Hess Brewing. You’ll even have a BBQ lunch (on the downtown tour, it’s from Phil’s BBQ, a local institution).

And, yes, you can enjoy beer while en route. They’ve also added a Tacos & Tequila tour.

Drive Your Own Speedboat

san diego bay cruises
Photo courtesy of San Diego Speed Boat Adventures

You’ll navigate your own 13-foot speedboat on a 13-mile sightseeing loop in the San Diego Harbor while following a guide in a different boat.

You’ll see navy ships, Seaport Village, the downtown skyline, and much more on one of these San Diego boat tours. Boats will stop several times at points of interest.

This experience is suitable for first-time boaters. Two-way communication systems allow boats to communicate with the guide. Boats can carry up to 3 people. Book directly through Speedboat Adventures.

San Diego Skydiving Near the Coast

GoJump Oceanside operates the only tandem skydive in Southern California with a full view of the ocean during the entire dive.

Jumps take place from 13,000 feet and you may have the option of having evidence of your extreme sightseeing filmed or photographed.

Rise High in a Hot Air Balloon

Book a sunset hot air balloon tour for some San Diego sightseeing up and down the coast.

San Diego hot air balloon tours typically take off from Del Mar though if you’re taking a day trip to Temecula, you can take a ride there, too.

From Del Mar, views from the sky span to downtown and Mexico and include our gorgeous 70-miles of coastline.

You can book private or group (up to 8 people) rides with Compass Balloons and even sip champagne while in the sky.

What unique or extreme adventures in San Diego are missing from this list?

See also: 10 Best Sightseeing Tours in San Diego (For All Adventure Levels) and 17 Best Hotel Pools in San Diego (Perfect for After Your Adventure)

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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