If “quit horsing around!” is a common phrase in your house, it may be time to give in and actually encourage some horsing around. With real live horses, that is! San Diego offers some beautiful horseback riding farms and trail rides for the entire family. Whether you’re looking for an introduction to horses before committing to signing your child up for lessons or just a fun family day out, these 5 spots won’t disappoint.

pony ridesPhoto credit: Leah Singer

Pony Land: An Experience For the Little Ones
Many of San Diego’s horseback riding experiences are for kids that are a bit older, but not Pony Land! They offer pony rides for children ages 1-12 years old, plus wagon rides and a petting farm.

Hours: Weekends 12 – 5 p.m.
Cost: Pony rides: $5/two laps around the track; Petting Farm: $5/15 minutes
Great for all ages

2606 Hollister St.
San Diego, Ca
619-636-0720
Online: ponylandsandiego.com

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Photo credit: Happy Trails Horse Rentals Facebook Page

Happy Trails: Horseback Riding on the Beach
What is more picturesque than horseback riding on the beach? With all the miles of coastline in San Diego, you would think it would be an experience easy to find. Not so! There is only ONE beach in San Diego that allows horseback riding tours, so make the drive to San Diego’s Tijuana River Valley and enjoy a beautiful horseback ride while looking for dolphins, pelicans, seals and more.

Hours: Weekdays 10 a.m. – Sunset; Weekends 9 a.m. – Sunset
Cost: $90/2 hours; $125/3 hours
Riders must be ages 6+

2225 Hollister St
San Diego, CA
619-443-3517
Online: happytrails-usa.com

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Photo credit: Bright Valley Farms Facebook Page

Bright Valley Farms: Escape San Diego With Over 52,000 Acres of Riding Trails
One Yelp reviewer claims that trail rides with Bright Valley make you feel like you’re not in San Diego anymore! If that’s the escape you’re looking for, Bright Valley Farms in Spring Valley is the place to go. They also offer birthday parties if your little cowgirl or cowboy wants something unique and different.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $45 for 1 hour; $60 for 1.5 hours
Riders must be ages 7+

12310 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, Ca
619-670-1861
Online: brightvalleyfarms.com/rentals

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Photo credit: Sweetwater Farms Facebook page

Sweetwater Farms: Saddle Up For A Nature Ride in Bonita
For a good old-fashioned trail ride, visit Sweetwater Farms in Bonita. They are known for their horseback riding lessons and shows, but offer relaxing tours on what they call “sure-footed dude ranch horses” who are gentle enough for everyone. Keep Sweetwater Farms in mind for summer and holiday camps too; kids can get the full horse experience, including grooming, riding, feeding, bathing and more.

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday
Cost: $45/hour
Riders must be ages 7+

3051 Equitation Ln.
Bonita, Ca
619-252-5544
Online: sweetwaterhorses.com

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Photo credit: Adventures in Horseback Facebook Page

Big Schott Ranch: Adventures On A Ranch
Big Schott Ranch is all about adventure. 357 acres of it! Head to Ramona and enjoy the pristine views and educational experience the trail guides have for the family. The guides are known for making the family trail rides fun by sharing facts about the area and nature, like which plants can be used to make pancakes. You may even spot some of the wild turkeys, snakes and lizards known to make an appearance on the trail!

Mom and dad take note: they do offer wine country horseback tours too! Perfect date idea.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (tours by reservation only)
Cost: $65/person for a 1-1.5 hour trail ride
Riders must be ages 8+

25279 Creek Hallow Dr.
Ramona, CA
760-670-8050
Online: bigschottranch.com

Leave a comment with any spots we missed!

— Ginger Anderson