Balboa Park Basecamp


OA is coming to Balboa Park for an urban adventure in 2019! If you are excited about adventuring around San Diego, this is the experience for you.  We are camping out and living in tents while spending our time outside, however we will have an opportunity to explore the San Diego Zoo, the museums and special hidden gems around town. You will have an opportunity to use human and public transportation to explore some of the many diverse neighborhoods that make San Diego unique and transportation will be our adventure... don't be surprised to travel by foot, bus, escalator, bike, trolley, kayak, even stand up paddleboard. Known as America's Finest City, we will have opportunities to experience some this city's finest deserts, donuts, tacos, coffee, beaches, view points, and parks.  We are only scratching the surface with all of the amazing things to do around San Diego and our goal is to whet your appetite for four years of future exploration around San Diego.

San Diego's "City Park" was established in 1868 and later renamed to Balboa Park in 1910 in preparation for the World's Fair, which was hosted here in 1915. At 1200 acres, Balboa Park is the largest urban park in the U.S.  It is home to 17 museums as well as the world famous San Diego Zoo.

We will camp in a quiet corner of Balboa Park.  We'll have an opportunity to hike and explore the park and surrounding neighborhoods that will provide you with a new connection to America's Finest City. Hopefully this exploration will provide you with some skills and inspiration to continue exploring the unique and diverse neighborhoods of San Diego.

Adventure is the name and for this trip, transportation between the locations we want to check out will provide an adventure.  The is the possibility to travel by many modes of transportation: by foot, by bike, by trolley, by bus, by kayak, and maybe even stand up paddleboard.


Relaxed (depending upon the weather).  There are bathroom facilities available (with toilets and running water!).  We are eating outdoors and sleeping in tents, which could be considered "roughing it," but have access to a cabin to hangout inside if necessary.

Urban Hiking

Relaxed to moderate.  Urban hiking (a.k.a. walking) may be moderately challenging for those who are not accustomed to walking a few miles at a time.  The weather can make this more challenging (it could potentially be very hot, or windy and rainy). Even though we are in the heart of San Diego, we will explore hidden canyons with uneven terrain and hills, in search of the most interesting path from point a to point b.  


Easy to Moderate.  Throughout the trip there will be some options to 'choose your own adventure.'  This may include an option for a trail run, yoga, test your fear of heights on a historic suspension bridge, ride a bike, trolley, bus, kayak, etc.  Surprisingly, San Diego has more elevation change than one would expect and we may have some hills to travel up/down. Be advised.

Day 1

Check in at the Outdoor Adventures office before you move into your residence hall. Meet up after lunch for introductions before we depart for our camp in Balboa Park. Get to know your small group tonight and enjoy some campfire entertainment.

Days 2

Today you will set off to explore San Diego in small groups - you get to choose your adventure and the level of physical challenge. Spend the day exploring the zoo and/or museums of Balboa Park, experience traveling by public transportation, or hop on a bike and expand your circle. Throughout the entire trip, take advantage of the opportunities to get to know another group of students. We will also have ample time to hang out in camp and chill.

Day 3

This morning we will pack up camp and have one last adventure before returning to campus around 4 p.m. Reunite with family or hang out with new friends for your last night before the start of orientation.