Torrey Pines Gliderport

The Torrey Pines Gliderport is the best way to see everything San Diego has to offer from above, whether paragliding, hang gliding or watching from the bluffs.
Torrey Pines Gliderport
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Take in The Most Stunning Views in Southern California

With its pristine beaches, vibrant sunsets, and rolling green hills, it’s no surprise that San Diego is known for its incredible scenery. And while the view looks great on land, it looks even better from above. One of the best ways to see the area is by hang gliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Located in the north of the city in the La Jolla neighborhood, the gliderport provides the perfect opportunity for adventure junkies to take in everything San Diego has to offer from the air. They offer both hang gliding and paragliding, and provide lessons for people of all skill levels to help you learn to fly safely.

There are so many exciting adventures to be had in the San Diego area, but this is truly one of the most unique. Whether you’re a first-time flyer or a regular daredevil, the gliderport is a must visit for anyone who wants to take to the sky.

Best Time of Year to Go Paragliding in San Diego

San Diego is known for its amazing weather, which makes it a perfect destination for paragliding or hang gliding. While each time of year has its advantages and disadvantages, there are no bad times to fly in the San Diego area.

Spring and summer are slightly better times to fly than in the fall and winter. This is because the winds tend to be more consistent. During this time, you’ll usually experience great flying conditions between 9 AM and 7 PM, making it a great time to catch the sunset.

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If you visit San Diego in the spring, keep in mind that the city experiences a period of overcast weather in May and June. However, temperatures start to heat up in the months following, and you can expect plenty of sunshine. Plenty of sunshine can also mean plenty of tourists, so you’ll want to make any necessary reservations well in advance if you are interested in visiting during this time.

Those visiting in the fall and winter can expect slightly colder temperatures and the occasional rainstorm, but there’s still plenty of opportunity to go flying. During these seasons, the best time to go flying is usually between 11 AM and 4 PM.

Within each season, the weather can vary widely from day to day. You’ll always want to check the weather forecast before heading out, and we recommend calling the gliderport ahead to confirm that the conditions are suitable for flying. Keep in mind that it will likely feel cooler in the air than it does on land, and dress appropriately to ensure you’re comfortable during your flight.

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What to Expect When Visiting the Torrey Pines Gliderport

The Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the best places to go flying in California. They offer options for people of all experience levels, so whether you’ve been before or are just starting out, you can learn to fly in a safe environment with expert guides.

Paragliding

The Torrey Pines Gliderport offers both hang gliding and paragliding with expert instructors. Paragliding is usually the best choice for beginners, because it’s easier to learn than hang gliding. Paragliders have an inverted ‘U’ shape when inflated, and you’ll be suspended in a seated position while using them.

Paragliders fly at a slower speed than hang gliders, and they aren’t quite as reactive as hang gliders. Advanced paragliders can learn acrobatics as well.

Hang Gliding

Hang gliding is slightly more advanced than paragliding, and has a longer history as a sport. Hang gliders use a V-shaped wing that’s supported with aluminum rods, and they need to go slightly faster than paragliders. With a hang glider, you’ll be holding onto a control bar directly in front of you while you’re suspended in a horizontal position.

Hang gliding is slightly more difficult to learn, but it’s an exciting experience for true adrenaline junkies. Just as in paragliding, advanced hang gliders can learn acrobatic moves, and hang gliders actually have a broader range of tricks they can perform.

Tandem Rides

If you’ve never flown before, a tandem ride is the safest and easiest way to enjoy this experience. You’ll fly tandem with one of the Torrey Pines Gliderport’s experienced pilots. You can choose either paragliding or hang gliding.

Paragliding is slightly easier than hang gliding, and it’s also better for a broad range of weather conditions. However, with hang gliding you’ll be able to go faster. When you book your flight, you can talk to one of their on-staff experts to decide which option is right for you.

When you arrive for your flight, you’ll need to sign a waiver and a few other pieces of simple paperwork. Then, you’ll work with your instructor to learn the basics, and they’ll tell you what to expect in the air.

Once you feel comfortable, it’s time to get flying! You’ll be up in the air for about 20 minutes. You’ll fly over the stunning Torrey Pines area, with dramatic views of the entire coastline around San Diego. Depending on the winds, you’ll either land back on the gliderport or on Black’s Beach. If you land on the beach, you’ll take a short hike back up to the gliderport, with incredible scenery on the way.

Paragliding Certification

If you’ll be visiting San Diego for an extended period of time and are interested in learning how to fly on your own, consider getting your paragliding certification. The Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the best places to learn how to paraglide. In fact, they’re considered the most advanced paragliding school in North America!

They offer four levels of paragliding certification: basic, novice, intermediate, and advanced. Those who complete their intermediate certification should be able to fly anywhere in the world after that point.

In these training programs, you’ll learn the physical and mental skills you need to paraglide safely. You’ll take plenty of tandem flights and eventually learn how to fly on your own.

While the gliderport does not offer beginner hang gliding certification, they do offer advanced hang glider training for those who already have experience. They also provide certification for flight instructors.

Torrey Pines Gliderport also hosts intermediate and advanced educational clinics throughout the year. If you already have some experience with flying and want to expand your skills, consider visiting San Diego during one of these clinics. They are shorter than a full certification program, but you’ll still get plenty of expert guidance.

Solo Flights

If you’re already a licensed pilot, you can use the gliderport for an independent flight. To do this, you’ll need to have at least a P3 certification or the foreign equivalent. You’ll need to sign a waiver and complete a quick orientation beforehand. If you already have a P2 certification, you’ll be able to fly with instructor supervision.

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The Best Place to See Gliders or Take Part in the Action is Torrey Pines

The Torrey Pines Gliderport is where you want to go for all things glider in San Diego. Watch the brave souls fly over Blacks Beach & Torrey Pines State Beach or rent gear and give it a go yourself. While not for the faint of heart, flying over Torrey Pines can be the highlight of any trip to San Diego.

Equipment Rentals and Repairs

If you’re taking a tandem flight, all equipment will be provided for you. For pilots taking a solo flight, the gliderport offers rentals under special circumstances. We recommend contacting them ahead of time to see what your rental options are.

They also offer repairs on hang gliding and paragliding equipment. This can range from a basic inspection to a full part replacement. They also have a full shop of flying equipment, which you can demo before you purchase.

Cliffhanger Cafe

The Cliffhanger Cafe is the gliderport’s on-site restaurant, and it’s a great place to enjoy a meal before or after your flight. The open-air cafe has stunning views of the ocean, and you’ll be able to watch all of the gliders as they launch into the air.

The cafe has a light menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads, as well as fruit and other snacks. You can also pick-up water, coffee, energy drinks, or any other drink you might need. The cafe is open from approximately 9 AM to 4 PM every day.

Maximize Your Day with Other Great Area Adventures & Attractions

Torrey Pines is one of the most beautiful areas in all of San Diego and well worth a visit for it’s beautiful vistas, amazing sunsets and proximity to some of the best beaches in all of San Diego.

While on your day at the gliderport, consider picking up a Go San Diego Card in advance and take advantage of our exclusive additional discount on top of their already highly discounted rates for top area attraction and gear rentals.

You’ll save big on all of your gear rentals such as surfboard rentals, bike rentals and snorkeling gear rentals.

The Go San Diego Card offers significantly discounted rates for many of the top tours and attractions that are great to pair with a day at the gliderport including whale watching tours that leave from the San Diego Bay and the San Diego Zoo, which is not far from the gliderport, located alongside many museums in Balboa Park.

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Tips for Hang Gliding and Paragliding

For most people, hang gliding or paragliding is a completely new experience. It’s one you’re likely to remember for years to come, so you’ll want to make sure you’re appropriately prepared. Here are some tips to help you have the best flying experience.

Call Ahead

You should always call the gliderport ahead of time to see if the weather is appropriate for flying that day or not. However, you can check the winds online to get a general idea of what to expect.

You’ll need winds blowing between 240 and 280 degrees, west to east. For paragliding, you’ll need speeds of 7 to 15 MPH, and for hang gliding, you’ll need speeds of 10 to 18 MPH.

What to Wear to Go Paragliding

It’s important to dress comfortably for your paragliding adventure. Make sure you’re wearing something you can move around in without too much restriction. You’ll need either athletic sneakers or hiking boots, as your shoes will need to have a good grip. If the weather is on the cooler side, you’ll also want to make sure you have a jacket.

Weight and Size Limits

Before you sign up for your first tandem flight, you’ll want to make sure you fit the gliderport’s requirements. There’s no official weight limit, but on most days the wind restricts flyers to 225 pounds or under.

If you’re over this weight, call ahead - they have been able to take passengers up to 350 pounds in the past. The gliderport is generally very accommodating, so if you have any concerns at all, you can talk to their team ahead of time to see if they can set up a flight for you.

How to Get to the Gliderport and Parking

The gliderport is located in the Torrey Pines area of La Jolla, just north of the University of California, San Diego. This area is about a 20-minute drive north from downtown San Diego. They have a parking lot available for those driving by car.

Although there are buses in the area, the fastest way to get to the gliderport without a car is to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.

Feeling Nervous? You’re Not Alone!

If you’re feeling nervous beforehand, talk to your pilot during the instructional session. They can answer any questions you may have and help you feel more comfortable in the air. The pilots have worked with people of all experience levels and will be happy to walk you through each step of the process before you get into the air.

Sunset Flights

If the weather is good, consider going at sunset. San Diego has some of the most stunning sunsets in the US, and the view will look even better from the air.

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