With more than 1,100 regional parks and recreational opportunities in San Diego, there is a wide variety of opportunities to go outside and celebrate National Thrive Outside Day, which kicks off on October 8 this year.

Go Outside in San Diego

As an initiative of the Outdoor Foundation, National Thrive Outside Day is connected to the organization’s Thrive Outside Initiative that is focused on reversing the declining trend of outdoor engagement by working with local partners to empower communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all. The initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to build and strengthen networks focused on providing children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors.

San Diego was selected as a Thrive Outside Community in 2019.

The vision for Thrive Outside San Diego, led by San Diego Foundation, is to build regional capacity through collective impact by bringing together multi-sector stakeholders for greater coordination across education, advocacy and programming.

Local National Thrive Outside Day events will be hosted by the County of San Diego Parks & Recreation, which recently launched the Experience the Outdoors program earlier this year.

The Experience the Outdoors campaign is designed to address barriers so that everyone can experience the outdoors. It includes a Rad Regional Parks events series that features a different County regional park and at least three events each month; a Ride On Mountain Biking Challenge and a Parks 101: first timer series. Fees are waived and all equipment is provided.

Experience the Outdoors events taking place in October include:

  • Oct. 8: Rad Regional Parks Interpretive Hike at Hellhole Canyon County Preserve
  • Oct. 15: Ride On Mountain Biking Event at Otay Valley Regional Park
  • Oct. 15: Rad Regional Parks Spooky Trails at Hellhole Canyon County Preserve
  • Oct. 22: The Parks 101: First-timer Series, Camping 101 + Gardening 101, at Tijuana River Valley Regional Park
  • Oct. 22: Rad Regional Parks History, Wildlife and Safety Talk at Hellhole Canyon County Preserve
  • Oct. 23: Rad Regional Parks Wilderness Gardens Trail Trek at Hellhole Canyon County Preserve

Note: check County of San Diego Parks and Recreation website for additional event details and/or updates or cancellations.

Family at the beach with young child

Expanding Outdoor Access

“At San Diego Foundation, we are committed to outdoors for all, outdoors for health, and outdoors forever,” said Christiana DeBenedict, SDF Director of Environmental Initiatives. “Through Thrive Outside, we’re helping create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all through our community-led program built with trusted local and national partners.”

San Diegans cherish their quality of life – access to the ocean, mountains and deserts makes the region unique. The county’s great outdoors sets it apart and contributes to the regional economy, making San Diego one of the world’s most livable places.

Yet, many local communities lack critical access to parks and green space.

Through its outdoor access programs, SDF works with nonprofit partners to preserve outdoor spaces, increase equitable access to the outdoors, and support the next generation of environmental stewards in the San Diego region. Since 2020, Thrive Outside San Diego has served more than 9,100 young people, 90% of whom qualified for a free or reduced lunch and 84% of whom identified as Black, Hispanic, and/or Asian-Pacific Islander.

Learn more about Environment Initiatives, including outdoor access programs like Thrive Outside San Diego.

Backpackers at the peak of the hike

About the Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all.

Outdoor youth programming and public-private partnerships, such as the Thrive Outside Initiative, are helping to address equity barriers to the outdoors in communities across the country. The Outdoor Foundation is working through strategic investments to move the needle on barriers such as safety, walkability, transportation, cost and cultural inclusion.