Top 5 Reasons to Rent a Motorcycle in San Diego, California

Mar 28, 2022

Tags:rentertourtravelsan diego

BMW motorcycle ridden in San Diego, California.

When thinking of sunny San Diego, chances are you think of radiant beaches, flawless weather, or even the hit comedy Anchorman. But, believe it or not, there’s more to this city than its Hollywood image. Peel back the layers of generic glamor, and San Diego is a multicultural metropolis rich in Hispanic and SoCal traditions. 

Visitors will be well-treated by “America’s Finest City.” The city contains dozens of historical missions and adobe buildings, preserved or replicated for the public, a picture of the past, and an indication of San Diego’s position as the first European settlement on the West Coast. 

There are also countless acres of natural preserves, and ocean coves teeming with flora and fauna and riddled with gorgeous hiking trails. Former naval bases and Shakespearean theaters add further color and round out this Southern California paradise.

But the next time you visit San Diego, ditch the rental car. Exploring the area on the back of a motorcycle rental in San Diego is a better way to soak in history and enjoy the eclectic sights and sounds of the city. 

With that said, here are five handpicked beautiful destinations to explore on the back of your BMW rental in San Diego. 

1. Old Town San Diego State Historical Park and BMW’s F 650 GS Adventure Bike

The best way to get to know a city is to learn about its roots. So hop on the back of that BMW and take it to San Diego’s Old Town State Historical Park. Here lies the first European settlement in California. This park contains fabulously-restored adobe buildings and painstakingly-built replicas. The best example of the old adobes had to be the Casa de Estudillo, which has stood in Old Town San Diego since its construction in 1827. 

After you’ve paid a visit to this fantastic piece of architecture, check out the wealth of museums, restaurants, and shops that crowd the park and make it a hub of activity. If you’re interested in learning how a blacksmith works a forge, Black Hawk Smithy & Stable should be on your must-see list. 

Otherwise, cruise the rest of Old Town, which contains additional buildings dating from between 1820 to 1870 and earlier. In particular, Presidio Park houses the first buildings in San Diego, namely: the San Diego Mission and San Diego Presio, both founded in 1769.

If you’re looking for BMW motorcycle rentals in San Diego, we recommend picking up a BMW F 650 GS. With its aluminum wheels, single front brake, and tubeless tires, this bike is light and incredibly easy to ride. It can handle almost any terrain, including Old Town's mellow streets. Undoubtedly, the entry-level GS  is perfect for a leisurely cruise past the donkeys and shops of Old Town.

2. La Jolla Cove and BMW’s R NineT Retro Ride

La Jolla Cove is a highlight of San Diego and one of its foremost attractions. Although something of a tourist trap, this north-facing cove has more than enough seaside charm to earn it a top spot on the best motorcycle rides in San Diego

Rent a BMW R nineT–or any bike you prefer–and make your way to the upscale La Jolla neighborhood for a picturesque afternoon by the sea. Located within a 6,000-acre ecological reserve and protected by various rocks and stone archways, La Jolla Cove is uniquely photogenic. It might be the most photographed place along the entire California coast. 

As you take in the breathtaking views, you’ll notice more than just humans roaming about—sea lions, seals, barracuda, batfish, and giant sea bass abound throughout the preserve! If you want to save the bottom of your feet from too much hiking, consider a kayak or bicycle tour to get up close and personal with the exotic wildlife.

Of all the BMW motorcycle rentals in San Diego, the BMW R nineT is an optimal choice. This luxury bike comes with heated hand grips to keep your hands warm as you ride along the windy coast, while the available torque makes this a lean and powerful force on the road.

3. Mission Trails Regional Park and BMW’s R 1200/1250 GS

Combine 5,800 acres of untouched land with 60 miles of hiking, and you get Mission Trails Regional Park. This doozy of a natural preserve is located to San Diego’s northeast and lies within the city limits, making it the sixth-largest municipal park in America. 

Grab your bike, head north, and discover endless acres of hills and canyons covered in scrub, broken up by hiking, cycling, and horse riding trails. 

Foremost among these routes is the trail that leads to Cowles Mountain. At nearly 1,600 feet, Cowles Mountain is the tallest point in San Diego and provides 360-degree views of the entire county. Once you’ve snapped a few album-worthy photos here, hike down and visit Old Mission Dam, a National Historic Landmark, and the first colonial irrigation project on the West Coast.

The BMW R 1200 or 1250 GS is a sure bet when it comes to exploring these trails. It handles all manner of terrain with ease, including the roads running through Mission Trails National Park. A built-in GPS, fog lights, skid plate, cruise control, and crash bars ensure that your trip north will be as smooth and safe as possible. With this ride, you’ll be ready to pick a destination and head out without a second thought.

4. Liberty Station and BMW’s F 800 GS Adventure

Once a naval training center, now an up-and-coming waterfront development; you should take a hard look at visiting Liberty Station. Located in Point Loma, this massive naval base was founded in 1923 and now sits on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Although the open space along the base’s old ship channel has been converted to a waterfront park, you’ll still be able to see several former mess halls and barracks.

If you’re not a military buff, no problem; the waterfront is rife with jogging trails and play areas. When it comes to amenities and cultural attractions, Liberty Station doesn’t disappoint. Liberty Public Market showcases the region’s best wine, beer, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, pastries, prepared foods, sauces, and arts and crafts. 

For dining options, head to the Arts District, South Point, or the Quarter for restaurants, cafes, and bars, or try the NTC Promenade if you want to visit the San Diego Comic Art Gallery, Women’s Museum of California. Several Theatre companies and dance groups also abound in the NTC Promenade area. Rent a BMW motorcycle in San Diego, and there’s no reason why you can’t fit Liberty Station into your vacation itinerary.

The BMW F 800 GS Adventure has “adventure” in its name, and that’s all you need to know. Its huge fuel tank provides around 220 miles between fill-ups, so you can take off in any direction. Add in heated hand grips, ABS, and traction control, plus adjustable riding ride modes, and you have a handy, do-it-all street bike.

5. Old Globe Theater and BMW’s R 1150 RT

Theater lovers and Shakespeare aficionados, perk up your ears for this one. The Old Globe Theater is located smack dab in the middle of resplendent Balboa Park, so hop on your motorcycle and hurry over to this pillar of San Diegan culture. Established during the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935-36, the Old Globe Theater is divided into the Old Globe Theater, (outdoor) Lowell Davies Festival Theater, and Sheryl and Harvey White Theater. 

Under normal circumstances, expect two performances every weekday and three on Saturdays/Sundays. 

Past performances have included a family-friendly adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax,” as well as Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.”

For this destination, the BMW R 1150 RT is a great choice. It has everything you could want for spontaneous journeys through and around San Diego, including a phone mount, fog lights, and hard case luggage to pack snacks and other things during the ride.