I’m not biased or anything, but San Diego is kind of a paradise. No matter what time of year you visit, there’s always perfect weather waiting for you. I’m always looking to go on trail rides whenever I visit a new city on vacation, so I thought I’d put together a quick roundup of available places where you can pay to take horses on a trail ride here in sunny San Diego County!
This place has undergone a change of ownership at least once (something about dividing into two ranches I think?) but it’s still the premiere facility for going riding if you want to ride on the beach. Yep, on the actual beach! Happy Trails is located in the southernmost tip of San Diego, along the Mexican border to Tijuana. It’s so close that you can actually see the border wall! But it’s located within riding distance to Imperial Beach, one of the last remaining beaches in the county that allows horses. This is a godsend. It’s a gorgeous place to ride (as long as you remember it’s a desert here. We have flowers in the spring but otherwise it’s pretty dry and brown here) and the ocean breezes are always wonderful. I boarded my horse for several years at ranches down the street from Happy Trails so I was able to ride the same trails and visit the beach too. It’s $90/ride for a 2 hour ride, or $130/rider for a 3 hour ride, but they also offer cheaper rides that are shorter and run along the riverbed instead of the beach.
Just south of San Diego is Sweetwater Farms, within a 15 minute drive of downtown San Diego. This farm doubles as a riding school for beginners and children, and has some great surefooted trail horses. I used to board my horse at the ranch next door and always enjoyed watching their pretty trail string of horses walking by. These rides are guided, and are $45 for one hour.
I don’t know much about this place except they do claim to be the best trail riding spot in San Diego (if not the nation). Bold statements! They offer trail rides at $40/hour, $50 for 90 minutes, or $60 for two hours. Riders over 190 pounds have to rent a draft horse for $10 extra.
Another one that I hadn’t heard of until doing research for this post. Lakeside is in east San Diego County and can get HOT, so make sure that you’re going here in the non-summer months. 🙂 Their rates are $45/hour, which seems to be the standard for non-beach rides.
Horse Spa is a newer riding facility that appears to be beautiful! It’s also a beach ride in the Tijuana River Valley and offers a 3 hour ride for $150 or shorter rides. The rides are private rather than full of tons of people, and they offer customized rides where you can gallop if you want to. Seems like an awesome opportunity, and the horses look beautiful.---------------
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