Carlsbad Lagoon's on-water adventures take place at a private beach area lined by palm trees. Here, wakeboards, waverunners, and water skis speed across the water’s surface, bouncing into the air with each wave. The fleet also boasts more leisurely watercraft, such as kayaks and aqua cycles—oversized, buoyant tricycles that fulfill the dream of every child who drove his big wheel into the bathtub.
Of course, Carlsbad Lagoon doesn’t leave its customers to paddle hopelessly in circles. The staff includes instructors, who teach the basics of the various on-water activities. The aquatic educators also run a children's camp.
To the uninitiated, the dusty, mountainous expanse just north of the Mexico border might sound like a war-torn battleground?it has borne the boots of soldiers in the US Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. However, the troops simply visited to practice plane evacuations at Skydive San Diego, whose private, skydiving-only airport is buffeted by steady winds and outfitted with state-of-the-art Cessna and DeHavilland jump planes.
Civilians can jump there too, drinking in views of the Pacific before leaping out of an aircraft for solo jumps or tandem dives, in which a USPA-certified instructor is securely attached to the jumper with professional harnesses and a powerful hug. With 8,000 square feet of padded packing area, the full-service facility not only houses an airport but also a bunkhouse for overnight stays and a deck for barbecuing post-jump feasts.
Possessing nearly 30 years of experience, Captain Nathan Beall guides anglers on The Long Run, a 42-foot six-pack sportfishing charter. Venturing into waters off San Diego and Mexico, Beall and his crew cast out live bait or plastic lures during both trolling and drifting trips. Catches vary by season, and may include hauls of lingcod, halibut, and multiple species of tuna. For trophy hunters, Beall takes anglers on excursions for shark and marlin. Trips can last from a few hours to 2.5 days, and The Long Run enhances guests' comfort with a full galley, sound system, and eco-friendly engine that minimizes fumes and noise.
Cleaning is included with most trips, though crews enforce a catch-and-release policy for protected species, such as shark and scuba divers. In addition to guided fishing trips, Beall charters The Long Run for private parties, sunset cruises, and whale watching.
The experienced staff at Seaforth Boat Rentals play host to watery adventures that were voted finalists for the KGTV San Diego A-List’s Best Water Activities in 2010 and 2011. Guided sailing adventures and WaveRunner tours shoot seafarers along the waterways for exceptional views of the coastline, splashing sea life, and dolphins circling on their own WaveRunners.
Consummate aquaphiles can haul various benefits⎯including reduced rates on the rentals of kayaks, canoes, and other seaworthy crafts, access to all five Seaforth locations, and free bicycle rentals in Mission Bay⎯with the Seaforth Sailing Club membership. Seaforth also offers sailing classes along with myriad sailing, yachting, and fishing charters for luxurious days on the water or early mornings spent serenading elusive sailfish.
Though she's only a few decades old, the Privateer has already retired to a warmer climate. In May 2011?after 28 years of ferrying passengers around on whale-watching trips in brisk Massachusetts waters?she made her way down the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, and to the warm San Diego coast. She hasn't stopped working, however. The Privateer still carries up to 128 passengers across ocean waves during sunset cruises. With her roomy outdoor decks, she makes it easy for people to have unobstructed views of the pink-and-gold horizon kissing the Pacific's azure waters.
Years of fishing in local waterways have taught the specialists at So Cal Fly Fishing how to attract fish swimming in different conditions. During fly-tying classes and casting lessons, they share this knowledge with students, outfitting them with nets, flies, rods, and reels, and then teaching them how to outwit trout by imitating their food sources. They also take groups out to explore the local surf for halibut, the bay for mackerel, and offshore waters for yellowfin tuna and the mythical creatures that are turned into fish sticks.