Torrey Pines Gliderport: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla; 858 452 9858
Soar off the spectacular cliffs of Torrey Pines. In your first lesson, you’ll receive basic instructions followed by 20–30 minutes of gliding with your instructor. If you’d like to watch for a while before making that exhilarating plunge, a viewing area and café sit on the cliff’s edge.
Barona Resort & Casino: 1932 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside; 619 443 2300 • Viejas Casino: 5000 Willows Rd, Alpine; 619 445 5400
Feeling lucky? A dozen casinos promise non-stop Las Vegas-style action and jackpots galore. Starting as a small bingo hall 20 years ago, Native American gaming is now a billion-dollar industry of resort hotels, concert venues, and golf courses. Today, San Diego County has the highest concentration of casinos in the state of California. Thousands of slot machines, video poker, and gaming tables in immense, striking buildings will satisfy the gambler in you.
Eagle Rider of San Diego: 2400 Kettner Blvd; 619 446 0022
Born to be wild? Don your jeans and a black leather jacket and rent a bike for a day. You won’t be alone: droves of bikers take to the highway, especially on weekends. The backcountry of San Diego County is a prime area for powering a Fat Boy, Road King, or Dyna Wide Glide down the road.
San Diego Air Tours: Montgomery Field; 800 359 2939 • www.airtoursofsandiego.com
Two of you sit in the front cockpit of a beautifully restored 1920s biplane wearing helmet and goggles, and soar over beaches, lakes, golf courses, and houses, while the pilot flies behind. The Beech Belle, a restored World War II VIP biplane, is great for that special occasion. If you’re looking for an extra thrill, the pilot will put you through aerobatic loops and rolls, or you can take the controls in Top Dog Air Combat.
On weekends from May through November, sleep alongside wild animals just as you would in an African game park. Tents that hold up to four persons are provided. Programs include guided discovery hikes and animal encounters, an open-flame grilled dinner, campfire snacks, special late night programs, and a pancake breakfast before a gorgeous sunrise. Reservations are essential.
Take a three-hour adventure aboard The Californian, the State of California’s official tall ship and a replica of a Gold Rush-era cutter. Passengers can assist in manning the helm, hauling the line, and the end-of-day cannon salute. Crew members tell whaling and battle tales and of San Diego’s sailing past. Booking is advised; departure is from the Maritime Museum.
Several San Diego groups take UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) sightings seriously. The best places to spot UFOs are in Borrego Springs and Ocotillo Wells. Given San Diego’s strong military presence, that saucer in the sky might well be a secret government mission.
Just off Mission Beach is the final resting place for the Yukon, a decommissioned Canadian warship, the coastguard cutter Ruby E, and a barge, all deliberately sunk to create an artificial reef. A research tower here collapsed on its own, with its dangling wires and protrusions only adding to the otherworldly, ethereal atmosphere. Thousands of invertebrate marine creatures live here. Charter boats will take you out.
California Dreamin’: 33133 Vista del Monte Rd, Temecula; 800 373 3359; www.californiadreamin.com
You can watch or take part in inflating a brilliantly colored balloon. Hop in the basket and begin to float over the valleys and hills with a glass of champagne in hand. Balloon rides take flight above the Temecula wine country at sunrise and the Del Mar coastline at sunset.
Chula Vista Live Steamers: Rohr Park, 4548 Sweetwater Rd, Bonita; 619 397 6197; www.chulavistalivesteamers.org
Run by ordinary people who happen to love all things steam – lawn mowers, tractors, cranes, boats, and trains, Chula Vista is dedicated to maintaining the tracks of the Sweetwater & Rohr Park Railroad. The members offer free rides (donations appreciated) on the steam locomotive on the second weekend of each month.