The capital city of Baja California, Mexicali has so much to offer. Whether you wish to explore some of the best museums in Baja, discover why the city is packed with Chinese restaurants, or visit cool craft microbreweries, there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Mexicali.
“The City that captured the Sun” is also home to some of the finest desert landscapes, spectacular waterfalls, and other awe-inspiring natural wonders. It is a perfect destination for nature lovers looking for a weekend getaway in Baja, California.
Wish to go on hiking trails, spend a night at a riverside campsite, enjoy kayaking on the Hardy River, or try sandboarding? Check out our ultimate guide to the best outdoor activities in Mexicali.
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Spend a Day at Bosque de la Ciudad de Mexicali
Kick off your outdoor travel adventure in Mexicali with a visit to the City Forest, also known as Bosque de la Ciudad de Mexicali. It is an ideal place to visit for travelers who wish to experience Mexicali’s nature and wildlife without venturing outside the city gates.
This urban oasis attracts large crowds of families with kids. You can hop on a boat ride on the lake, enjoy fishing, or check out the small zoo which is home to over 200 animal species. After all the fun activities, visitors can grab delicious Mexican snacks from one of the many food stands at Bosque de la Ciudad de Mexicali. The City Forest also has outdoor BBQ areas where you can prepare your food.
Admire the Beauty of Guadalupe Canyon Oasis
The Guadalupe Canyon Oasis is a beautiful desert oasis well-known for its unique landscapes. You will need to drive across 37 miles of dirt road from Mexicali to reach this isolated desert oasis. We definitely recommend renting an SUV to get there.
Once you get there, you will find everything from gorgeous waterfalls and palm trees to healing mineral hot springs and picturesque natural swimming holes. There are also indigenous caves with paintings on the walls from the legendary Cucapa tribe worth checking out.
The best thing about Guadalupe Canyon Oasis is that travelers can spend the night under the stars. There is a beautiful campsite equipped with everything needed for a memorable stay and a true Mexican outdoor adventure in the wild.
Nature-loving couples will be delighted to hear that each campsite is fitted with a private hot tub, campfire, barbecue area, and much more. Some of the other on-site amenities include a small grocery shop, showers, and flush toilets.
Go Sand-Boarding Across the Dunes of Cuervitos
Located just a 45-minute drive from Mexicali, the dunes of Cuervitos in Los Algodones is a popular destination with adventure-loving visitors and extreme sports enthusiasts. Here, you will find a large area of the dunes which is open for vehicles. Soar across these majestic dunes with a motorcycle or an ATV. Not to be missed is the other side of the dunes which is more peaceful and offers activities like horse riding and going for a stroll.
However, the most popular activity here is sandboarding. A local agency, Adixion Tours organizes one-day sand-boarding excursions. The tour includes transportation to the dunes, lunch, drinks, and all the equipment that is needed for enjoying this adrenaline-packed sport.
If you are visiting Los Algodones in March, don’t miss the Baja Sandboard International Championship.
Enjoy Water Sports on the Hardy River
Travelers who wish to enjoy water activities should look no further than the Hardy River. Discovered in the 19th century by Sir William Hale Hardy, this river is actually the only navigable river in Baja, California. Therefore, it is a perfect place to enjoy a variety of water sports.
Whether you wish to go kayaking, try water skiing, or enjoy waveboarding, there are tons of water sports to choose from on the Hardy River. Not into water sports?
No worries! Here, you can also rent an ATV, bicycle, or motorcycle to explore the area. Travelers will find plenty of facilities here ranging from camping areas with palapas and BBQ grills to restaurants and shops. You can also enjoy a canopy tour with 3 suspension bridges and 2 zip lines.
Take Your Kids to Flyers Jump & Fun
Visiting Mexicali with the little ones or just want to relive your childhood days? Spend a day at Flyers Jump & Fun, Mexico’s largest trampoline park. This amusement park in Mexicali is packed with a range of entertaining activities for both adults and children.
Visitors can try open jumping, enjoy sports like basketball and dodgeball, and practice aerobics. Some of the other areas include gladiator, blaster, foam pools, slam zone, and soc-air.
In addition to facilities for fun and recreation, Flyers Jump & Fun is also known for its innovative project that allows visitors to stay in shape and exercise dynamically.
Admire the Beauty of Cerro Prieto
Next on our list of the best activities to enjoy in Mexicali is the dormant volcano called Cerro Prieto. Located a 40-minute drive from the city, this old sleeping volcano is best known for its giant vulture-shaped symbol. This mystical symbol is etched into the crater and looks spectacular.
Is it difficult to climb to the top of Cerro Prietro? Unlike some of the other volcanoes in the region, Cerro Prieto is actually like a tiny mountain that is easily reachable. The relaxing hike to the top is suitable even for children and the elderly. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with magnificent views.
The best time to visit the volcano is early in the morning or just before sunset when the weather is warm, but not extremely hot. We also recommend packing some snacks, water, and of course, sunscreen when visiting Cerro Prieto.
Hike the “El Ciempiés” Trail
No visit to Mexicali is complete without going on a hike. This part of Mexico is known for its majestic hiking trails that lead across various landscapes ranging from mountains and deserts to open seas.
Whether you are an experienced hiker or someone who just wants to go for a short stroll and enjoy mesmerizing views of varying landscapes, there are many amazing hiking trails in Baja California to choose from.
The breathtaking “El Ciempiés” route of Mexicali is one of the finest hiking trails in the region. Recently, this route was officially recognized as one of the 14 certified hiking trails in Mexico. Approximately 5 miles long, “El Ciempiés” is a circuit (closed trail). It will take you about 2 hours to complete this spectacular hiking trail in Mexicali.
Relax at Vicente Guerrero Park
Last on our list of the best outdoor activities and natural sites worth visiting in Mexicali is the lovely Vicente Guerrero Park. This is a perfect public place to visit for tourists who wish to stay close to the city center.
Known for its large green areas, playgrounds for the little ones, and BBQ areas, Vicente Guerrero Park is actually one of the largest and oldest public spots in the city. Whether you wish to read a book on one of the benches, go jogging, or prepare tasty food, there is plenty to look forward to when visiting this city park.
The park is also used for children’s workshops and live music performances. If you are visiting on the weekends, check out the cool bazaar that is set up right in the parking lot.
Best Outdoor Activities in Mexicali FAQ
What are the best natural attractions in Mexicali?
If you are passionate about nature and ecotourism, a visit to Mexicali is simply a must. The Mexicali Valley is known for its winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, majestic mountains, dunes, and healing mineral hot springs.
Is it safe to travel to Mexicali?
Yes. Mexicali is one of the safest Mexican border cities. It is located just a short drive from the border with the US.
Does Mexicali have a Beach?
The city is landlocked, which means that it doesn’t have a beach. However, you can pay a visit to a bunch of cool coastal towns in Baja California such as San Felipe, La Paz, and Cabo San Lucas.
What is the most popular nature attraction in Mexicali?
Located east of the city, the Algodones dunes are definitely the most popular nature attraction in Mexicali. Some of the world’s best sandboarding athletes visit this area to participate in the Baja Sandboard International Championship.
Because of its variety of different and unique landscapes, Mexicali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Baja California among outdoor enthusiasts.
Here, you will come across majestic waterfalls, picturesque dunes, healing mineral hot springs, hiking trails, and 5-star campsites equipped with all the necessities needed for a comfortable stay in nature.
To sum it all up, Mexicali is a real mecca for nature lovers.