Launched as a walking-tour company in 2003, Where You Want to Be Tours features a variety of custom adventures designed to show off the beauty of San Diego to locals and tourists. Most adventures last more than two hours, so tourists have plenty of time to stop and sightsee at spots such as Balboa Park and the shores of La Jolla. Today, the company has formed a set of all new clues and hidden gems and has also expanded its offerings with bike tours of locations such as Pacific Beach and Mission Bay and scavenger hunt adventures, which present a hands-on approach to urban exploration, turning tour routes into racecourses and throwing in physical challenges, including Frisbee-throwing contests.
Enthusiastic instructors at OEX Mission Bay invite beginning and experienced adventurers into the cerulean waters of the Pacific. The outpost began as a kayak and freediving center, but has since branched out to include standup paddleboard, outrigger canoes, and poker tournaments with local sea bass. Staff members happily help sea student get fitted with the perfect-sized gear and train them in basic safety before their expedition over and under the blue bay waters.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center, which was voted 2010 Best Water Activities in San Diego by CityVoter, expertly guides more than 15,000 waternauts yearly in the ways of wave roving. Harboring one of the world's largest instructional seaside facilities, MBAC immerses beginners in basic sailing lessons held in four three-hour installments. Let the marine mavens fill your brain with essential sailing theories and boat handling tips while you man a Sabot, a single-handed boat that leaves your other hand free for high-fiving dolphins.
For the past 30 years, surfers and beachgoers have headed to Rosaria Pizza's after a day in the sun to enjoy a cold drink and a slice of gooey pizza. The local staple, located one block away from Mission Beach, treats diners to pizzas crowned with a smattering of eclectic toppings. These include a Vietnamese-influenced pie's sweet and spicy sauce, Vietnamese barbecue pork and sausage, and cilantro, and The Burner!, covered in jalape?os, pepperoni, spicy sausage, Sriracha, and red-pepper flakes. Each of the pizzas can also be fashioned into a sandwich, and pastas round out the menu.
After sunset, diners on the outdoor patio are treated to dancing flames in a fire pit and a reprieve from the government's spy seagulls flying overhead.
From his comprehensive dive shop, NAUI-certified scuba instructor Michael Simpson leads basic and advanced scuba courses as well as excursions into the deep unknown around the San Diego area. With the help of Simpson and his staff, Poseidon's Divers also organizes scuba-diving and snorkeling excursions that explore local aquatic gems such as caves, La Jolla Cove, wrecks, and beaches where groups may encounter playful seals, wildlife, and meditating octopi. Michael also gives surf lessons and cleans up the beach with the 1302 Dive Frogs, the dive club at Poseidon's Divers.
Amateur surfers are a lot like newborn fawns: they’re wide-eyed, full of life, and not so great at standing. That’s why head instructor and founder of Surfari Surf, Rick Gehris—along with his team of seasoned instructors—begins every first-time lesson by introducing a simple, achievable goal: stand. To increase the chances of success, Gehris and his instructors—well versed in Hawaiian, Californian, and Floridian surfing methods—hop right into the water to assist students as they cut into the waves. The instructors hang off the tails of their surfboards, stabilizing each board and repositioning students until they’re ready to take to the open water and try out their pickup lines on the nearest, cute-enough dolphin.
In addition to surf lessons and camps, instructors also show off their athletic prowess during standup-paddleboard lessons, which often are supplemented by independent board rentals.