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Evidence of San Diego's outdoorsy spirit is apparent everywhere; you'll find an occasional hot-air balloon floating into the sunset like a piece of candy in the sky, groups of surfers bobbing in the water at dawn, hang gliders swooping off sandstone cliffs, and white sails gliding gracefully along the shore. They are as much a part of San Diego's landscape as the sea, sand, and hills.

As you'd expect, the ocean is one of San Diego's most popular natural attractions. Surfers, swimmers, kayakers, divers, snorkelers, and sailboarders have 70 miles of shorefront to explore. You can rent equipment and take lessons in these sports, or head out on a fishing or whale-watching excursion aboard a charter boat. Even if you're inclined to do no more than sightsee, you can take a low-impact sunset stroll on a wide, sandy beach or explore secluded coves at low tide. At the end of the day at any beach in the county, you'll see a local ritual, as everyone stops what they're doing to watch the sun's orange orb slip silently into the blue-gray Pacific.

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