Journey Mamas generally receives compensation and/or hosted journey and pattern merchandise associated to weblog posts. This story could embody affiliate hyperlinks for which we obtain a small fee at no further value to customers. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn cash from qualifying purchases. Be sure you examine with companies and areas relating to journey restrictions and security precautions earlier than visiting.
San Diego County overflows with enjoyable for households. As a mother who lived on this Southern California seashore metropolis for a few years and returns usually together with her brood, I am excited to share my picks for the perfect issues to do in San Diego with children. From theme parks and animal adventures to nature play and museums — these actions are certain to maintain all ages content material. Check out 35 San Diego sights for households!
Discover San Diego offers together with attraction ticket reductions and discounted lodge packages. Scroll to the underside of this checklist of San Diego sights for teenagers to discover a particular San Diego low cost only for Journey Mamas readers!
1. The Seashore
When contemplating the perfect San Diego sights for teenagers, the seashore all the time tops the checklist. This Southern California metropolis is famend for its lengthy sandy seashores and surf-able waves. In reality, San Diego boasts greater than 70 miles of shoreline. It doesn’t matter what time of 12 months you go to, magnificence and enjoyable abound at San Diego’s seashores.
Summer season San Diego seashores bustle with picnicking households. Households can construct sandcastles and splash within the waves. Or, take part in water sports activities like browsing classes, boogie boarding, or a sea-kayaking tour.
Cooler spring and fall temperatures imply extra space to calm down and unfold out a seashore blanket. For me, that is the perfect time to go to the seashore in San Diego. Take a protracted the sand, take heed to the waves roll out and in, and watch the seagulls dive into the water for a seafood snack.
These visiting in winter are sometimes stunned to search out the seashores too chilly for swimming. However wetsuits can be found from surf retailers for die-hard ocean lovers. Winter months are a good time to discover San Diego tide swimming pools, looking for hermit crabs, sea stars, mussels, and different sea life at low tide.
Greatest Seashores in San Diego for Households
With so many San Diego seashores, it may be exhausting to decide on the appropriate one for your loved ones. Pacific Seashore and Ocean Seashore buzz with lively boardwalks, seashore volleyball, and horseshoe-playing school children. For much less hubbub, households could favor the stainless Coronado Island Seashore.
The crescent-shaped La Jolla Shores Seashore can also be a stunner. Fletcher Cove in Solana Seashore is all the time a household favourite with its candy beachside playground. In the meantime, Mission Seashore affords very mellow waves for younger youngsters.
2. San Diego Zoo
In fact, you’ll be able to’t go to San Diego with children with out going to its well-known zoo. Broadly thought to be among the best zoological facilities on the planet, the San Diego Zoo wows animal lovers. This zoo’s focus is on the conservation of endangered animals and educating the general public concerning the world’s creatures.
4 thousand animals representing 800 species make their houses right here. Take a peek at lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). However there are additionally koalas, Komodo dragons, kangaroos, and plenty of different animals to fascinate guests. Board the SkyFari Aerial Tram for an uplifting journey over the zoo’s cover of leafy bushes for a view of the animals under.
Children will get pleasure from visiting the Kids’s Zoo. There they’ll play on the Fisher-Worth Discovery Playground and work together with goats, sheep, and different mellow creatures within the petting zoo.
Because the zoo is situated inside the stunning Balboa Park, you can simply deliver a cooler full of meals to maintain in your (rental) automobile within the car parking zone. Get pleasure from a meal at one of many picnic tables within the park after which reenter the zoo as soon as your bellies are full.
Learn my suggestions for taking advantage of visiting the San Diego Zoo with children and purchase your San Diego Zoo entry passes.
3. Balboa Park
The placement of the first-ever World’s Honest, Balboa Park is one in all San Diego’s hottest sights. It seems like a grand previous European boulevard. Get pleasure from free admission to this spacious park with its multitude of gardens and 5 playgrounds.
Your entire household will get pleasure from wandering by means of the park’s stunning grounds. Be sure you go to the Balboa Park Rose Backyard to cease and scent the aromatic flowers. For much more enjoyable, join a Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt.
Pay further to discover Balboa Park’s 17 onsite museums. San Diego’s famend Outdated Globe Theatre additionally places on performances right here all year long. The San Diego Zoo is technically a part of Balboa Park, too.
4. LEGOLAND California
Whereas many amusement parks current passive leisure, dad and mom might be happy to find interactive sights at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad. On the Volvo Driving Faculty, youngsters drive pint-sized vehicles round streets dotted with cease indicators and dealing stoplights. Children may construct and race LEGO autos and even program computerized LEGO Mindstorms robots.
The Police and Fireplace Academy Rescue journey will get Mother and Dad concerned. Households pile into a fireplace truck or police automobile. Then they energy it by pumping levers up and down as they race different groups to place out a “hearth” and cease make-believe robbers.
Buy discounted LEGOLAND California tickets now.
5. San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The San Diego Safari Park is simply as spectacular as its sister property, the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This animal park encompasses a whopping 1,800 acres, in comparison with the zoo’s 100.
The African Tram is the park’s king attraction. It transports guests by means of a wide-open panorama much like that of the African Savannah. Riders spy on such creatures as rhinos, giraffes, and Cape buffaloes. Pay an extra payment to rise up near the animals on a Caravan Safari (proven above).
However that is not the one memorable journey on the Safari Park. Buy a cup of nectar at Lorikeet Touchdown to return nostril to beak with brightly plumed lorikeet parrots. You’ll be able to even zip-line on the San Diego Zoo Safari Park over the heads of untamed animals. Or, for a really memorable journey, join the Roar and Snore in a single day tenting within the park.
On scorching days, deliver swim gear so youngsters can cool off within the animal-shaped fountains on the Savannah Cool Zone.
Purchase your San Diego Zoo Safari Park tickets now!
6. SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego is greatest recognized for exhibits starring ocean animals like dolphins and sea lions. Aquariums full of sea life abound right here, too, together with a walk-through shark tank. For an additional particular deal with, ebook a Premier Expertise, like a Dine with Orcas Meal or Penguin Encounter.
This theme park additionally options enjoyable rides. Sesame Road Bay of Play gives candy rides for younger ones like Elmo’s Flying Fish and Abby’s Sea Star Spin. The Sky Tower and Bayside Skyride present spectacular views of Mission Bay. In the meantime, curler coasters like Manta and Shipwreck Rapids thrill adventurous parkgoers.
Learn my suggestions for visiting SeaWorld San Diego with children and purchase your SeaWorld San Diego Skip-the-Line Tickets.
7. La Jolla Cove
La Jolla is well-known for its designer retailers and upscale eating choices. However La Jolla Cove can also be a wonderful place to benefit from the outdoor.
Begin with a picnic lunch on an expansive grassy space overlooking the ocean at Scripps Parkway. Then stroll alongside sea cliffs and peer at California Harbor seals lazing on the seashore at Kids’s Pool. It is a small cove protected by a concrete breaker, which significantly appeals to seals.
Every time my household makes our solution to this stunning space of San Diego County, my Midwestern husband and I stare out on the ocean’s waves pounding white ruffles of water towards the rocks and say, “How fortunate are we to be right here?” La Jolla Cove overwhelms us with its magnificence each time.
8. Birch Aquarium at Scripps
This aquarium in La Jolla gives a worthwhile different to SeaWorld San Diego. It is an incredible place for households on a decent funds or with restricted time. The main target at Birch Aquarium is on ocean schooling, animal care, and conservation.
I particularly advocate this San Diego attraction for households with infants and toddlers. Younger ones like to get an up-close view of tanks full of fish. Get your fill of glowing moon jellies, stunning lionfish, silvery sardines, sharks, and different sea creatures.
Older youngsters additionally get pleasure from viewing marine life and exploring hands-on reveals. They will even gently pet sandpapery sea stars and slimy sea cucumbers on the outside Tide Pool Plaza.
Learn all my suggestions for exploring Birch Aquarium with children.
9. San Diego Botanic Backyard
The 37-acre San Diego Botanic Backyard comprises greater than two dozen themed gardens located alongside 4 miles of trails.
The Seeds of Marvel Kids’s Backyard is geared towards younger children (kindergarten and youthful). Kids may get pleasure from making bubbles with tubs of soapy water and wands. Then, dig up buried plastic dinosaurs. A toddler-sized playhouse is all the time successful for fake play. Better of all is the mannequin railroad observe with trains that chug by means of the backyard.
Hamilton Kids’s Backyard appeals to larger children. Right here, households play an enormous sport of tic-tac-toe. Subsequent, wander by means of a labyrinth product of feathery crops. Kids can study to learn a sundial and climb the centerpiece treehouse, too. On scorching summer time days, children play with toy boats and funky off their tootsies in a miniature stream.
This botanic backyard is one in all my favourite issues to do in San Diego with children. My household makes a degree of visiting right here practically each time we return to Southern California. Be taught why in my full San Diego Botanic Backyard overview.
10. Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve
The reserve is house to the uncommon twisty Torrey pine in addition to desert brush, prickly pear cactus, wildflowers, and different native crops. Select from eight mountain climbing trails at Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve. After your hike, cool off within the ocean on the Torrey Pines State Seashore under seashore cliffs.
My favourite path is the Seashore Path, which descends over three-quarters of a mile from sea cliff to seashore. Soak up sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean alongside the way in which.
A better path, Man Fleming Path, is a 2/3-mile loop. That is in all probability the perfect choose for households with younger youngsters.
Everybody, together with these in wheelchairs or strollers, can get pleasure from Discovery Path. This quick .5-mile loop close to the Torrey Pines Lodge options data markers about native crops.
11. Outdated City San Diego
Step again in time on this historic space of San Diego. Staking declare because the birthplace of contemporary California, Outdated City is the place the primary Spanish settlers arrived in 1769 and constructed the primary of 21 missions within the state.
Immediately, vacationers and locals wander by means of 15 historic buildings right here. These embody quite a lot of shops peddling souvenirs, selfmade soaps, candies, and extra. Get extra out of your go to with an Outdated City California: Hop-On Hop-Off Narrated Trolley Tour.
The actual cause my household loves Outdated City? The meals! With over 25 eateries inside a one-mile radius, you might be certain to search out one thing to please each member of the family’s style buds. The specialty right here, although, is Mexican delicacies. Menus burst with conventional dishes like tamales, enchiladas, and chiles rellenos.
12. The New Kids’s Museum
With 17 museums at Balboa Park, it is simple to overlook this enjoyable spot for youngsters within the coronary heart of San Diego’s downtown Gaslamp Quarter. This museum was designed to encourage youngsters to suppose, play, and create utilizing hands-on exhibitions and inventive actions.
Some areas of The New Kids’s Museum are age-specific, like Sketch Aquarium for ages 2+ and Reconnecting to Dwelling for ages 6+. Different areas interact youngsters throughout age teams. It is the right place to go when dad and mom need to relaxation whereas the children play.
13. Cabrillo Nationwide Monument
Convey the children to Cabrillo Nationwide Monument for a San Diego historical past lesson. Then hike alongside the Bayside Path to absorb beautiful panoramic views of the ocean and the town under. You might even see migrating whales in January and February.
This nationwide monument is known as for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In 1542, he was the chief of the primary European expedition on what’s now the West Coast of the USA.
The spotlight is a go to to Outdated Level Loma Lighthouse. This lit the way in which for sailors getting into San Diego Bay from 1855 to 1891. Immediately, guests get a glimpse of life within the 1800s by means of interval furnishings and lighthouse instruments on show.
14. Sesame Place San Diego
Sesame Place opened within the southern suburb of Chula Vista in 2022. This theme park was designed particularly for youngsters aged 3 to 10.
Anticipate kiddie rides on dry land like Tremendous Grover’s Field Automobile Derby mini curler coaster. For a splashing good time, younger children will get pleasure from amusements like Elmo’s Foolish Sand Slides and The Depend’s Splash Fort. Parades and beloved Sesame Road character meet-and-greets spherical out the household enjoyable.
Greater children might be excited to search out thrilling water slides, too. For instance, Cookie’s Monster Mixer is a 4-story raft journey that sends households on a swirling, swishing journey.
15. LEGOLAND Water Park
The LEGOLAND Water Park affords thrilling full-sized water slides and a lazy river. For younger children, there are water playgrounds with mellow waterslides and animal-shaped fountains. Dive into all of the splashy enjoyable with my LEGOLAND Water Park suggestions.
16. Whale Watching in San Diego
San Diego is without doubt one of the greatest locations to go whale watching all 12 months lengthy. Grey whales migrate from Mexico to Alaska and again from mid-December to mid-March. Off the Pacific Coast in summers, you may even spot the world’s largest animals, blue whales. You will possible spot dolphins, too, throughout your San Diego whale-watching journey.
E book your San Diego whale-watching tour now with our companion, GetYourGuide.
For households who are suffering from movement illness, pack some Dramamine simply in case! My daughter and I each generally endure from seasickness and fared properly on our San Diego whale watching tour, however you by no means know.
17. Belmont Park
Have you ever had sufficient amusements but? Your children in all probability have not! Take theme park lovers to Belmont Park on the Mission Seashore Boardwalk. Go right here for carnival video games with prizes, ice lotions, funnel muffins, and a handful of theme park rides.
The star attraction is the Large Dipper Curler Coaster. This historic picket curler coaster was initially inbuilt 1925 and has been restored in your rickety using pleasure. Be warned that it is a very jerky journey. Teenagers will like it. Grown-ups? Most likely much less.
Admission is free. Pay as you go so swing by to journey and play what you want and transfer on. For limitless entry to 13 rides and included parking, buy a Belmont Park Trip & Play Go.
18. Seaport Village
Wander by means of quirky boutiques and memento retailers on the waterfront Seaport Village purchasing and leisure advanced. It is located beside San Diego Bay close to downtown San Diego.
This is without doubt one of the greatest locations to absorb bay views over a restaurant meal. Children will particularly benefit from the Historic Carousel and online game arcade right here.
19. Carlsbad Flower Fields
Each spring locals and vacationers alike flock to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad. Odor the ranunculus and pose for superb picture alternatives amongst 1000’s of blooms.
Trip a tractor-pulled wagon by means of greater than 50 acres of rainbow-colored rows of flowers. Then tiptoe by means of a maze product of candy peas. Older children who like a problem can fill paper passports at stamp stations all through the Flower Fields.
At Santa’s Playground, youngsters climb and slide amongst restored playhouses and gigantic mushrooms. These have been as soon as a part of the favored Santa’s Village amusement space. It was situated in Lake Arrowhead from 1955 to 1998 earlier than being relocated to the flower fields.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad are sometimes open from March by means of Mom’s Day every year. Learn my recommendation for visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields with children.
20. Petco Park
One of many coolest locations within the nation to observe a baseball sport is Petco Park. That is as a result of it is constructed proper into the historic Western Metallic Provide Firm Constructing within the Gaslamp Quarter. Soak up views of downtown whereas cheering on the house group, the San Diego Padres. Plus, there are many locations to discover proper earlier than or after the sport.
Petco Park can also be the one main league baseball stadium with a lodge immediately linked to it. My husband and I stayed right here one weekend and it was such a thrill to stroll proper throughout the skyway from the lodge to the stadium! Search for particular baseball packages on the Omni Lodge San Diego.
21. Lodge del Coronado
Sure, it is a ravishing lodge. However the Lodge Del Coronado can also be a vacationer attraction in its personal proper. Many individuals come only for the day.
The resort is famend for its extravagant weekend brunch, fancy-schmancy retailers, and an immaculate stretch of seashore. The seashore is public so anybody can splash and play right here.
The Lodge del Coronado is worthy of a go to year-round. Throughout winter holidays, day guests and lodge visitors alike can take a spin on the Del’s oceanside outside ice skating rink.
Including to the glamorous vibe, many films have been filmed right here, most notably Some Like It Sizzling, starring Marilyn Monroe.
The Lodge Del is situated on Coronado Island throughout from downtown San Diego. The “island” is definitely a peninsula, however it’s acquired an island vibe and feels worlds away from the town. It made our checklist of the greatest seashore inns on the planet.
22. Little Italy
San Diego’s Little Italy packs a tasty punch. It is a tremendous enjoyable place to walk and dine. Meander by means of artwork galleries and darling retailers on this neighborhood close to the Gaslamp Quarter.
In fact, the primary draw is scrumptious Italian delicacies. From gelaterias and pasta retailers to high-end delicacies, you will not go hungry in Little Italy.
Essentially the most enjoyable for households is Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. A wee grocery full of delightfully smelly cheeses, hanging salamis, and different Italian goodies will entertain hungry clients ready for a desk. And the pizza? Fugheddaboudit!
23. Fleet Science Middle
Situated at Balboa Park, Fleet Science Middle (previously Reuben H. Fleet Science Middle) is full of interactive reveals. Children of all ages might be having a lot enjoyable turning knobs and urgent buttons, they will not notice they’re studying about science.
24. Maritime Museum of San Diego
The entire household will get pleasure from touring distinctive crusing vessels on the floating Maritime Museum. Steam-powered boats, crusing ships, and submarines make up the museum’s fleet of 9 boats.
The expertise consists of the Star of India, the world’s oldest lively crusing yacht. Children get a kick out of pretending they’re pirates on the excessive seas.
25. USS Halfway Museum
Not removed from the Maritime Museum, seafarers and army buffs will recognize the USS Halfway Museum at Naval Pier. Climb aboard to discover this retired naval plane provider. Reserve your USS Halfway Museum Skip-the-Line Tickets now.
26. Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium
Guests get a glimpse of what it is wish to dwell beneath the ocean at Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium from encapsulated pop-up plastic bubbles in fish-filled tanks. Buy separate tickets or park hoppers to discover this aquarium situated at LEGOLAND California.
Be taught extra about each the theme park and the aquarium with my LEGOLAND California suggestions.
27. Balboa Park Carousel
The Balboa Park Carousel was inbuilt 1910. It options three chariots, 27 hand-carved horses, and 25 different animals together with giraffes, pigs, and a dragon. The carousel is open sometimes on weekends and faculty holidays.
This is without doubt one of the few carousels on the planet that also affords the brass ring sport. Massive children and adults who need to play ought to select an out of doors horse. Then attain out to know the small rings on every spin. Iron rings don’t depend. Solely the rider who nabs the brass ring wins a free journey!
28. Balboa Park Railroad
Climb aboard a miniature practice situated simply outdoors the San Diego Zoo’s entrance. It takes three minutes to chug by means of Balboa Park’s grassy panorama and a protracted tunnel. The practice sometimes runs every single day throughout summer time and spring break, however solely on weekends low season.
If sharing a practice journey with a gaggle of school-aged youngsters, then beware that field-tripping children scream in unison by means of the tunnel. It’s greatest to attend for the subsequent practice.
29. San Diego Mannequin Railroad Museum
Bought a child who loves trains? The San Diego Mannequin Railroad Museum homes one of many largest indoor mannequin practice shows on the planet!
This attraction is a big hit with the preschooler set. Discover this museum celebrating all issues choo-choo at Balboa Park.
30. San Diego Pure Historical past Museum
Your entire household will get pleasure from studying about dinosaurs, ocean creatures, geodes, and extra on the San Diego Pure Historical past Museum in Balboa Park. Children might be enthralled by the large fountain out entrance, too.
31. Unconditional Give up
In entrance of the USS Halfway within the waterfront park, Tuna Harbor, you may discover the long-lasting Unconditional Give up statue. This 25-foot-tall sculpture celebrates the victory of the Allied Forces after World Battle II.
It’s primarily based on the well-known picture of a sailor and a nurse embracing in a kiss after the information of Japan’s give up in 1945.
There’s some controversy about this statue as a result of the pair weren’t a pair. Somewhat, the girl was grabbed by a stranger who kissed her.
32. San Diego County Honest
If visiting San Diego with children in summer time, then hit up the San Diego County Honest in Del Mar. It sometimes runs from early June by means of early July every year. Anticipate theme park rides, carnival video games with prizes, livestock shows, uncommon retail choices, and dwell leisure. Meals, backyard, and artwork contests are additionally enjoyable to peruse.
Honest meals is one other main draw. Get the grilled corn on the cob and slather it with cotija cheese and chili powder for a Mexican avenue corn deal with. Deep-fried Twinkies and frybread tacos are all the time successful, too. Mother and father will need to swing by the beer backyard for an grownup beverage to clean all of it down.
33. Whaley Home
Whereas exploring Outdated City San Diego, older children may get pleasure from a tour of Whaley Home. This supposedly haunted constructing was featured on the Journey Channel’s America’s Most Haunted.
It’s also San Diego’s first home created from bricks. Over time, the constructing has been used as a courthouse, theatre, billiard corridor, and faculty.
34. San Diego Air and House Museum
The San Diego Air and House Museum is in style with would-be pilots and astronauts. Expertise aerospace historical past with a re-creation of the Wright Brothers’ 1901 glider. Additionally, view fighter planes from World Battle I, World Battle II, the Golden Age of Flight, and method past.
“Be the Astronaut” offers children and adults alike a style of area journey. This hands-on exhibit teaches concerning the pleasure and challenges of exploring our photo voltaic system.
35. San Diego SEAL Tour
A 1.5-hour San Diego SEAL Tour takes place on each land and sea. The narrated tour begins at Seaport Village and continues alongside San Diego streets. You will study concerning the historical past of the town alongside the way in which. Then your amphibious automobile will carry your loved ones into the harbor for a floating tour of the bay.
Save Cash on Your San Diego Trip
Wish to lower your expenses in your San Diego household trip? In fact, you do! Use low cost code TravelMamas to get $10 off any two-night or longer Southern California package deal (lodge and two-ticket minimal) once you ebook by means of our companion, Get Away Immediately. Additionally, discover San Diego offers together with attraction ticket reductions!
These contemplating a fall go to are in luck! October is Children Free San Diego Month, with over 100 offers only for children. It is an effective way to avoid wasting a bunch and provides households an excellent cause to go to San Diego low season. Have a look at which sights, inns, and eating places are providing freebies to households.
It is properly value investing in a Go San Diego Card. You will save as much as 55% on enjoyable issues to do in San Diego together with the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, the New Kids’s Museum, and far more!
It makes good sense to examine Groupon for reductions on actions and eating places in your vacation spot, and San Diego isn’t any exception. View Groupon San Diego offers now.
Be taught Extra About California with Children
Take a look at my San Diego sights with children video that I made as a part of Expedia’s Children within the Metropolis marketing campaign. This venture highlights 12 of America’s hottest locations, with suggestions from a number of the prime household journey bloggers.
On the lookout for good meals in San Diego? Learn my picks for the greatest San Diego eating places for households.
A wonderful San Diego trip wants fabulous lodging. Check out the greatest inns for teenagers in San Diego.
Discover extra of the Golden State with these California holidays for households.
Preserve These San Diego Sights
For future reference, save this checklist of issues to do in San Diego with children. One of the best ways is to pin the picture above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll comply with Journey Mamas on Pinterest whilst you’re at it!
What do you suppose are the perfect San Diego sights for teenagers? Tell us your suggestions and questions within the feedback under!
Journey Mamas was compensated by Expedia for taking part within the Children within the Metropolis venture when this story launched in 2012. This weblog submit is up to date usually to replicate San Diego’s present choices for households.
You may also like: