Things to do in San Felipe

San Felipe is among the most popular tourist destination in Baja. It is on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Cortez, located just 125 miles (200 km) south of the US/Mexico border along a very well-maintained Highway 5.

The city is one of the fastest-growing resort towns on the peninsula. Despite being a fast-growing town, the former fishing village has retained most of its original charm. 

Like most coastal cities in Baja, San Felipe has a warm, dry winter climate and hot and humid summer. It is one of the primary getaways for first-time and every-time campers wanting to escape the colder northern US and Canadian winters. 

For this reason, there is a lot of gringo infrastructure and many times you will find that prices are posted in US Dollars rather than Mexican pesos because of the American presence that dominates the city. 

Most tourists and retirees arrive during the “snowbird season” (November through March). With increasing tourism, San Felipe is starting to grow significantly. Many US-style condos, communities, high-end resorts, housings, marinas and golf courses are developing. 

Moreover, massive investments from retirees seeking affordable real estate can be seen throughout the shoreline.  

San Felipe has a lot to offer for visitors of every age. A walk along the Malecon will provide you the opportunity to dine at some of the best seafood restaurants and street food stalls in Baja. And there are plenty of beaches there for a peaceful walk, jog, or swim. 

You can embark on fishing trips to witness the traditional Mexican way of fishing. Or can go on long buggies, motorcycles, or ATVs ride in the vast open desert. 

San Felipe really comes alive, for better or for worse, both during the Baja off-road races (during fall) and the Semana Santa holy week (typically early April).

Things to do in San Felipe

San Felipe offers a variety of attractions, from top-notch restaurants and excellent fish tacos to exceptional beaches, sport fishing and off-roading in the desert. San Felipe has something for everyone.

Here are the best things to do in San Felipe.

Enjoy the Malecon

Malecon is the town’s boardwalk located in the center of San Felipe. It is the seawall passing along the main beach area that is lined with restaurants, stores and street vendors of all sorts. The Malecon is quite lively throughout the day, especially at night. 

There are numerous street food vendors selling fish and shrimp tacos, traditional Mexican cuisine, and much more.

You will also find various fish charter boat services where you can book your sport fishing tour.  

Get Offroad in the Desert

Offroad desert adventures are a popular activity in San Felipe. The city is surrounded by a vast open desert where you can get dirty on dune buggies, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

Offroad vehicles are readily available for rent in San Felipe and you’ll hear the sound of them racing around town at all hours of the day and night. When riding, ensure you have a portable GPS and all the safety equipment.

Spend a Day at Beach

If all you want to do is spend time at the beach, San Felipe is a great first destination to wet your toes in the Sea of Cortez. Most campgrounds offer camping at or near the beach so you can walk out of your RV and be on the sand in minutes. 

The seaside town has a handful of different beaches where you can relax, swim, kayak or paddleboard to your heart’s content. 

Savor the Fresh Seafood

You can enjoy fresh seafood all over San Felipe. Founded as a fishing village, the city has tons of options, especially in the central area along the Malecon. If you’re craving a tasty fish or shrimp taco there are plenty of places to dine. 

In addition to seafood, many restaurants and street food vendors also offer traditional Mexican food like carne asada and tacos al pastor (a personal favorite of ours!).

Some popular seafood places in San Felipe are:

  • La Vaquita
  • Mariscos La Morena
  • Resturante El Popular Kiko
  • Taco Factory
  • Chuy’s Place

Embark on Sportfishing Trip

Sports fishing is arguably the most popular attraction in San Felipe as the town has everything to provide an exceptional experience. From excellent weather, great fishing crews and a variety of fish that you can catch throughout the year, you can’t go wrong chartering a trip or taking your own boat out of San Felipe. 

Moreover, the city lies on the coast of the prolific Sea of Cortez, a habitat for some of the best fish including sailfish, marlin, amberjack, pacific sierra, snook and, triggerfish.

Many one-day sports fishing expeditions are available in San Felipe. For fishing fanatics, San Felipe also has a couple of big boats that can go on multi-day fishing tours.

Soak in the Hot Springs at Puertecitos

Puertecitos is a small settlement around a beautiful cove located around 45 minutes south of San Felipe. It has a few natural hot springs, where you can enjoy the incredible natural sauna. You will also find a campsite near the hot springs. 

The best way to enjoy hot springs and cove is to visit throughout the day. Before arriving, check the tide so that you arrive at the right time when the tide is slowly going down.

Stroll through the Valley of Giants

El Valle de Los Gigantes, or the Valley of the Giants, is a natural reserve of enormous Cardon cacti. Located just 30 minutes south of San Felipe, the Punta Estrella Ranch is the access point for the Valley of the Giants. 

The desert forest has hundreds of Cardon cacti, many over 100 years old and 60 feet high. The destination is quite popular among photographers, especially during sunsets.

It cost around $10 USD to spend the day among the giants and a portion of the reserve is drivable without 4WD. However, if you have a 4WD vehicle you can go further into the desert landscape or you can park and walk around. 

The best way to enjoy hot springs and cove is to visit throughout the day. Before arriving, check the tide so that you arrive at the right time when the tide is slowly going down.

Stroll through the Valley of Giants

El Valle de Los Gigantes, or the Valley of the Giants, is a natural reserve of enormous Cardon cactus. Located just 30 minutes south of San Felipe, the Punta Estrella Ranch is the access point for the Valley of the Giants. The desert forest has hundreds of Cardon cacti, many over 100 years old and 60 feet high. The destination is quite popular among photographers, especially during sunsets.

It cost around $10 USD to spend the day among the giants and a portion of the reserve is drivable without 4WD. However, if you have a 4WD vehicle you can go further into the desert landscape or you can park and walk around. 

VOLUNTEER IN SAN FELIPE
Horses In Baja (“Centro Ecuestre Caballerizas Paraiso”) If you’re looking for a unique opportunity to both volunteer and/or camp and you love horses and children, then you’ll want to consider giving Lynn a call or email to connect with the Centro Ecuestre Caballerizas Paraiso organization just north of the town of San Felipe. 

Lynn brings children with a range of physical and mental disabilities to her ranch and uses equine-assisted therapy to help the children develop. Whether you find yourself mucking stalls and feeding horses or walking with the children as they ride on the back of the horses, this is a truly unique opportunity to volunteer in San Felipe. 

Plus Lynn offers camping by donation and trail rides if you want to go horseback riding. Although you are several miles inland, the desert sunrises and sunsets are spectacular and worth a visit on their own. 

Check out the Facebook Page for contact information or email Lynn directly

Campgrounds in San Felipe

Pete’s Camp RV Park

Pete’s Camp is a large RV resort on the north end of San Felipe. As it caters to the gringo crowd, there are ample big-rig-friendly full hookups RV sites and a restaurant/bar on site. Each of the 37 campsites is on the beach on a level concrete pad with full hookups. 

There are both pull-through and pull-up sites catering to all types of RCs. Overall, the bathrooms were clean and all hookups work perfectly. But expect to pay a hefty gringo price, especially if you have a tow vehicle as there is an additional nightly fee for non-RV vehicles. 

Note: You are now required to make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance if you want to stay at Pete’s Camp. And it is advisable that you book well in advance, particularly during the busy winter season.

AMENITY
PRICE RANGE$55 USDWIFI AVAILABILITYYES
20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:YESLAUNDRYNO
WATER HOOKUPYESSHOWERYES
SEWER HOOKUPYESPOOL/SPANO
BIG RIG FRIENDLYYESGATED/SECURITYYES
PET FRIENDLYYES

Campo Turistico 1

Campo Touristico 1 is located on the north side of San Felipe just far enough away from the city center to offer more solitude and quiet than other options but still close enough that you can enjoy everything San Felipe has to offer. 

It is run by a friendly Mexican family that goes out of its way to make you feel at home. With private beach access at the base of a mountain, you can enjoy the incredible landscape with options to both dry camp or have 20 amp electrical service. 

There is a dump station on-site as well as showers and a restroom to accommodate the 30 sites.

AMENITY
PRICE RANGE$25 USDWIFI AVAILABILITYNO
20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:20 amp onlyLAUNDRYNO
WATER HOOKUPNOSHOWERYES
SEWER HOOKUPNOPOOL/SPANO
BIG RIG FRIENDLYYESGATED/SECURITYNO
PET FRIENDLYYES

La Palapa RV Camp

La Palapa RV Camp is located on the north side of the Malecon in the heart of San Felipe. The small campground has an excellent layout where you can have your very own palapa (hut) on the beach. And the staff is quite nice and friendly. 

The campsite also has 24 hours security and CCTV cameras. Moreover, the bathrooms are also well-maintained and clean. And due to it’s central location, it is just a short walk to the Malecon.

AMENITYAMENITY
PRICE RANGE$25 USDWIFI AVAILABILITYNO
20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:YESLAUNDRYNO
WATER HOOKUPYESSHOWERNO
SEWER HOOKUPYESPOOL/SPANO
BIG RIG FRIENDLYNOGATED/SECURITYYES
PET FRIENDLYYES

Kikis RV Camping & Hotel

Kiki’s RV Camping & Hotel is located in town just a few minutes walk to the Malecon. With 25 sites that can accommodate RVs of all sizes, you’ll find all the amenities you could want in a campground for a reasonable rate. 

Sites offer full hookups with 20 and 30 amp electrical connections, WiFi and a restroom. You can have your own palapa and end up with a beach view if you make reservations in advance.

AMENITY
PRICE RANGE$25 USDWIFI AVAILABILITYYES
20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:YESLAUNDRYNO
WATER HOOKUPYESSHOWERYES
SEWER HOOKUPYESPOOL/SPANO
BIG RIG FRIENDLYYESGATED/SECURITYYES
PET FRIENDLYYES

Seaside Hotel & Victor’s RV Park

On the south side of town, just a ten minute walk from the Malecon, Victor’s RV Park offers beachside and inland camping options for RVs of all sorts. Although it is a slightly expensive option, the campground offers both dry camping and full hookup options, an on-site restaurant and friendly staff. 

You can easily fit big rigs and the campground has excellent Wi-Fi availability. Our favorite part of staying at Victor’s RV Park is catching up with Lilly, the owner, who is incredibly friendly and remembers us year after year.

AMENITY
PRICE RANGE$30 USDWIFI AVAILABILITYYES
20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:YESLAUNDRYNO
WATER HOOKUPYESSHOWERYES
SEWER HOOKUPYESPOOL/SPANO
BIG RIG FRIENDLYYESGATED/SECURITYYES
PET FRIENDLYYES
BEST BOONDOCKING /ALTERNATIVE CAMPING OPTION
Horses In Baja (“Centro Ecuestre Caballerizas Paraiso”). Although not technically boondocking, as Lynn offers her property for camping by donation, this is the most affordable, reliable and safe dry camping option in San Felipe. 

Camp in the desert landscape of the El Dorado development where sunrises and sunsets are incredible, you can go on horseback rides and can even volunteer to assist Lynn with her children’s equine-assisted therapy sessions.  

Check out the Facebook Page for contact information or email Lynn directly.