From easy trails to tough terrain, here’s where to explore San Diego on two wheels with the family in tow
Whether your little rider is a rookie on training wheels or an ace cyclist, here are some ‘wheely’ fun spots to get pedaling thanks to these best kid-friendly bike trails in San Diego. From easy biking trails to family bike paths and bike paths for kids, to straight and simple cool local park paths to pump tracks and dirt trails, our favorite bike trails for kids span from beginner to advanced. Find your family’s new favorite path below.
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The Best Bike Trails in San Diego for Families
1. Sweetwater Bike Park
Behold the region’s first bike skills park for all levels of experience: Sweetwater Bike Park in Bonita! Freewheeling kids will revel in the freedom of riding their bikes in this adventurous setting which includes two flow trails, four jump lines ranging from beginner to expert, and a kid’s pump track. Other onsite attractions include a skill zone, kid zone, perimeter trail, and several shaded picnic areas––making the venue an ideal spot for meet-ups and special events.
2. Carlsbad Rail Trail
A wheel short ride. If you have a little one who is just learning how to ride a bike, then this .7-mile bike path in Carlsbad is your spot. Bonus: the path is fenced the entire way and away from cars. The trail is close to Carlsbad Village, so when you're done riding you can head to Cafe Topes for a cinnamon roll and breakfast burrito. Then, walk the village.
How to Get There: The trail begins at the end of Oak Ave. near State St. You can find parking nearby.
3. Carmel Valley Rec Center
Head to the Carmel Valley Recreation Center and you'll find a perfect spot for new bikers. The park has wide paths that are smooth for little learners. When the weather warms up, look up the pool schedule and take a cool dip in the pool after your ride.
3777 Townsgate Dr.
4. Hidden Canyon Community Park
Beginning riders can practice going round and round in a safe environment at this gem of a park. Even more, there are two playgrounds, one for little kids and one for bigger kids to climb and swing after bike practice. Further, half-pints can bring their scooters or skates too.
2685 Vancouver St.
5. Pacific Highland’s Pump Tracks
Up and down! Get on a roll at the Pacific Highland Pump Tracks made for bikes. It's free and open to the public. What's more, it's located in Pacific Highlands Park, so there's a playground and skate park nearby. Probably best for more experienced riders, as they need to navigate the rolling hills. There are skateboarders who use the tracks too, so be aware.
5977 Village Center Loop Rd.
6. Scripps Ranch Rec Center
As easy as 1-2-3! With a flat, concrete, rectangle loop around two giant, grassy fields, this park is a good spot to take off the training wheels. The best part is, there's plenty of room to ride once your little one gets the basics down. When done you can head to the cool playground to cap off the day. The park gets busy on the weekends, so arriving earlier in the day is better.
11454 Blue Cypress Dr.
7. 4S Ranch Park
If your little one is still on a wheel-less bike or just getting off the training wheels, then this park's for you. There's a giant circle that surrounds the playground. Just stand in the middle and watch. When done with the wheels, hit up the playground, it's shaded. Bring a picnic, you'll find tables.
16118 4S Ranch Pkwy.
8. Fay Avenue Bike Trail
We kicked the tires of this 1.2-mile (one-way) bike trail where you'll encounter palm trees and pretty water views. You and your crew wind through a quiet La Jolla neighborhood, then plan to make a playground pit stop for more fun. Most of the trail is paved, however towards the end it becomes a dirt road. Even though the ride is short, the views and landscaping are worth it.
How to Get There: Head to La Jolla High School and the path starts at Fay Ave. and Nautilus St. and ends at La Jolla Hermosa Ave.
9. Lake Murray Park
Park and ride. This 3-acre community park has a flat surrounding concrete walkway that is perfect for bikers on training wheels. First off, you can keep an eagle eye on their progress. After the ride, kids can play in the cool covered playground. Even more, for advanced family rides, Lake Murray has a 3.2-mile flat bike path for everyone to enjoy. Truly, you'll find many levels of bike riding here.
7001 Murray Park Dr.
10. Solana Beach
If you have a little transportation expert in your brood, then this is the perfect path for you. Clocking in round-trip at about 2.8 miles, you start this bike trail where Via De La Valle meets the Coast Highway. The trail finishes at Ocean St. where you can turn around to get home. Safely separated from the main road, you'll find everything from trains and automobiles to healthy juice stops and pizza places in this locale. What's more, there's plenty of pretty artwork to inspire your ride.
How to Get There: Take the Via De La Valle exit off the I-5 freeway and head west to where it intersects with PCH. You can park on the streets nearby.
11. Mission Bay Park
Drive to Mission Bay Park for a family bike ride. This wide, flat trail meanders through Mission Bay. Begin from the parking lot off Clairmont Dr. and head South along the bike path. Also, there's plenty of room for everyone. If you can make the approximately 1.3 miles to the end, you'll find a great park that little riders will love. Even more, if the distance is too far, then just drive South along Mission Bay Dr. and park closer. There are restrooms along the bike path and near the parking lot.
How to Get There: From the I-5 freeway exit Clairmont Dr. Turn towards Mission Bay and a parking lot is straight ahead.
12. Coronado Island
Follow the mostly flat path around Coronado to take in the island's best sights. You zip under the Coronado Bridge, pedal around the golf course, and hit the strand to take in iconic views like the Hotel Del Coronado and Coronado Beach. It’s worth noting that Coronado’s 6 miles of bike paths alternate between paths and residential streets. But the good news is that the streets are wide and the locals are used to sharing the road with cyclists cruising the streets. You can BYOB (bring your own bike) for your riding adventure or hire one from the bike rental shops around the island. A good starting point is Coronado Tidelands Park at 2000 Mullinex Dr., Coronado.
13. Bayside Walk
A beautiful shoreline, wide open paths, and families enjoying the sunshine are just some of the things to entice you to the Bayside Walk. Start your journey at Crown Point Park then head along the specifically designed bike and pedestrian path for a flat, road-free ride. You’ll be able to cruise past Fanuel Street Park (a local favorite), and the beaches of Sail Bay and Santa Clara Point. It’s good to note this is a one-way track, so once you hit West Mission Bay Dr., you'll need to turn around and venture back the three miles.
Street access is available all along the Bayside Walk, but parking along the busy residential streets can be tricky at peak times. We suggest putting down pedals at Crown Point Park, Moorland Dr., San Diego, with its ample free parking in one of three lots.
14. Santee Lakes
Santee Lakes is perfectly set for a biking visit. Stroll through five miles of tranquil paved paths around the seven lakes and surrounding parkland. The kids will love that most of the ride is flat, but be aware there are a few hilly spots to tackle. If you don’t want to bring your own bikes, Wheel Fun Rentals will have you covered with a selection of cruisers, surreys, tandem bikes, and of course kids’ bikes.
9310 Fanita Pkwy.
15. Balboa Park
Start at the western edge of Balboa Park and meander through a tree-lined field far away from the high pedestrian areas of Balboa. This bike path from 1.5 to 4.1 miles is perfect for your beginning riders as they’ll love the flat paved pathways and the short distance. You’ll be able to see the occasional lawn bowl match happening or doggy families on their way to the dog park just south of this bike trail. Also, there aren’t any restrooms directly on this bike route, so if nature is calling, you’ll need to head east on El Prado and venture into the main buildings within the park.
How to Get There: There is free parking available on Balboa Dr. Once you start your ride, be sure to follow the #1 round green trail markers to stick to the right path. If you want to extend your ride and pick up an extra three or so miles around the park’s museum and gardens, follow the #2 square light orange trail markers.