Best San Diego Activities for “Top Gun” Thrill-Seekers

While it’s true that many San Diego visitors find their way here to relax under swaying palm trees on a sun-soaked beach, not everyone comes here to unwind. San Diego offers just as many incredible activities to daredevils as it does serenity-seekers. So if your idea of a good time involves getting your adrenaline fix, then you’ll want to check out our picks for the top feats of derring-do you can discover in “America’s Finest City.”

Feel the Need For Speed 

(Photo: @skycombatace)

Here’s a bit of trivia: the original “Top Gun” (and its blockbuster sequel “Top Gun: Maverick”) filmed many edge-of-the-seat action scenes right here in San Diego! It stands to reason, being as most of the country’s most skilled fighter pilots have trained right here at the area’s many Naval bases. Now, you can experience all the high-flying excitement for yourself! Sky Combat Ace puts you in the passenger seat of a thrilling flight over the city during the Top Gun Air Combat Experience, where you’ll learn maneuvers from an actual fighter pilot!     

1985 N Marshall Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020, USA (20.2 miles)


Drive in Style

(Photo: @sandiegoprestige)

Have you ever wanted to get behind the wheel of a supercar, and hit the gas? Of course you have. Or, maybe you’re more into rides built for comfort than speed. No matter your taste, San Diego Prestige Rentals has you covered. You can choose from a wide range of luxury and performance cars like a Rolls Royce Ghost, Lamborghini Huracan, Porsche GT3RS, Ferrari F458 Spyder, Maserati Ghibli, and many more. Cruise in style here! 

636 Broadway Suite A, San Diego, CA 92101 (4.9 miles)


Cut Through the Waves


(Video: @flagshipsd)

Cruising the pavement is certainly a lot of fun. But if you’d rather feel the wind in your hair on the water, then Flagship Cruises has your back. Flagship operates a wide variety of on-the-water excursions, including dinner cruises, whale watching, sunset treks, and more. But those seeking an escapade with a bit more edge will want to opt for the Patriot Boat Thrill Ride, a wet-and-wild high speed tour of the scenic San Diego waterfront. 

990 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (3.7 miles)


White-Knuckle a Thrill Ride

(Photo: @seaworldsandiego)

There’s just no feeling that compares to zooming along the greased-lightning rails of a world-class roller coaster. Thankfully, San Diego has some amazing ways to get the adrenaline pumping. The Giant Dipper at Belmont Park is a classic wooden coaster in the grand boardwalk tradition. Heading over to SeaWorld San Diego will get you on the Electric Eel, Tidal Twister, and the brand-new Emperor — the tallest, longest and fastest ride on the west coast!

Belmont Park: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (5.1 miles)

SeaWorld San Diego: 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109 (4.3 miles)


Tear Along the Dotted Line 

(Photo: @cyclevisionsrental)

If you haven’t experienced the unique feeling of hopping on a two-wheeled iron horse and growling off into the sunset, then you owe it to yourself to make it happen. If you’ve got the itch to see what southern Cali looks like from the back of a motorcycle, then Cycle Visions Rentals can help. They’ve got a fleet of bikes from household names like Harley-Davidson, Indian, Triumph and Ducati available to help make your “Maverick” dreams come true.  

4263 Taylor St, San Diego, CA 92110 (3.3 miles)


Touch the Sky

(Photo: @flytpg)

Admit it: you’ve always wanted to hang glide. It’s the closest humans can come to flying, and it is magical. And if you want to give it a shot while visiting, you’re in luck! Perched on a cliff next to UC San Diego, the Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the most historic aviation sites in the country. Charles Lindbergh made his maiden flight along the cliffs here, and it’s been a location for paragliding, hang gliding, remote control models and sailplanes for over 100 years.  

2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037 (14.5 miles)


See the City in a Go-Kart

(Photo: @k1speed)

Go-karts were fun when you were a kid, weren’t they? Well, here’s a shocker: they still are! If you’re looking for some old-school karting, look no further than the Speed Circuit Family Fun Center, or K1 Speed San Diego. They both deliver revved-up karts with tracks that will make you feel like a kid again. And if you want the kart experience on the streets of the city, San Diego GoCar Tours offers GPS-guided tours of “America’s Finest City” in a city car — a compact, fun-to-drive vehicle that’s like a kart for grownups. 

Speed Circuit Family Fun Center: 881 Showroom Pl, Chula Vista, CA 91914 (23.1 miles)

K1 Speed San Diego: 1709 Main St. San Diego, CA 92113 (6.3 miles)

GoCar Tours: 3918 Mason St, San Diego, CA 92110 (4.1 miles)


Stay With Us at Holiday Inn Bayside 

When you’re ready to experience all the thrills and excitement San Diego has to offer, we’re ready to host your adventure. Take a look at our Special Offers page at Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside and get the best rates for your stay.