Fun Things to Do in San Diego with the Family

San Diego is one of my favorite US cities. There are so many fun things to do in San Diego, especially if you’re traveling with kids. It’s a great year-round destination as it doesn’t typically get too hot or too cold.

While there is a pretty good public transportation system in the city, I would definitely recommend getting a car. You’ll be able to enjoy more of the many fabulous offerings and be able to visit the other interesting nearby locations.

fun things to do in san diego

The Famous Attractions

San Diego has many attractions that are well known around the world. For me the biggest must-see attraction would be the San Diego Zoo. This amazing park is an all-day affair, and it just doesn’t get old. During part of my teenage years I lived in San Diego, and I spent almost every weekend at the zoo. I went back as an adult and was still enamored with it.

Just outside of San Diego you’ll find Legoland California. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to bring swimwear and towels so you can enjoy the water park there, too.

Next door to the world-famous zoo, is Balboa Park. This pretty sizable park is quite the sight. In addition to having the usual suspects for a park, it also houses 17 museums. On the first Wednesday night of each month, if you visit the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, located in the park, they set up telescopes outside so that visitors can do stargazing. There are also several botanical gardens located throughout the grounds. The park is also known for its cultural and sporting activities. Check out their site and plan on spending a significant amount of time there.

fun things to do in san diego

The Not-Quite-Famous Attractions

Old Town is a really interesting place to visit, and there are plenty of things to do there as a family. Nearby is the Gaslight Quarter, which is also a worthwhile place to visit.

La Jolla Cove is a great place to explore. You’ll find sea caves and a nice beach. The cove tends to be protected from rough waters, so it’s a really great beach for younger children or less-experienced swimmers.  They don’t allow surfing or things like inflatable rafts, which also makes it easier if you have little ones.

Fishing has been banned from the cove for a long time, so it offers some great snorkeling, too.

fun things to do in san diego

Other fun things to do in San Diego

Anyone who has ever visited a sandy beach has probably built a sand castle. Have you ever seen those really impressive sand sculptures and wondered how they did it? Well, take a lesson through San Diego Sand Castles. I wish they had been offering this when I lived there!

I always enjoyed nighttime strolls in the marina district. A daytime visit is also worthwhile, though, and Seaport Village and the USS Midway Museum are also located in this area.

The Mission Beach Boardwalk and the Point Loma tidepools (visit during low tide, though) can be a lot of fun.

Last, but not least, are the beaches. Even if the temperatures don’t support swimming while you’re there, the beaches are beautiful year round. They’re a great place for the kids to just run and play, even if they don’t want to frolic in the waves. You’ll almost always find someone surfing or flying kites and sometimes will even find a seal or sea lion taking a nap. Make sure to check with your lodging to find out where the best local beach is. There are many that aren’t widely publicized and a bit hidden.

What other fun things to do in San Diego would you recommend? Which is your favorite?

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  1. This is interesting. Makes me want to pack my things and go there. Me and my husband are beach lovers. We might have this list saved and do all these in one visit. Thanks so much for this.

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  2. Recently I’m keep hearing about San Diego Zoo. I really should see what this is all about. 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

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  3. Surfing is always a good call, plenty of places for all levels…. and you MUST eat a breakfast burrito, this is an adventure in the culinary the kid in all of us will love…it remains ne of my fondest memories of San Diego area and a must on each visit.

    stay adventurous, Craig

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    • Breakfast burritos are SO good. And I just learned there is a place serving carnitas fries. OMG

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  4. This is such good timing. We’re taking my 5-year-old great-nephew to San Diego next month. It’s just for 2 days, but we’re taking him on his first-ever plane ride. I don’t know which of us is more excited!

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    • The first plane ride!!! I still have fond memories of Tigger’s first one. It was so darn cute. Have a great time!

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