San Diego is famous for its beaches, parks, and beautiful weather all year round. There’s a lot of things to see and do, and it could get overwhelming. Knowing where to go could save you a lot of time and plan a better way to explore this beautiful city.
Being a former local, I get to ask the same question all the time. “Where is your favorite place to go to with your kids?” My answer is we have a list of places we love to go, as the theme parks, museums, gardens, and relaxation on the beach, and we enjoy them every time it became our weekly or yearly family routine. If you are spending a few days in the city, here is the list of our top favorite places where you as a family could also enjoy and create a memorable vacation.
A must visit place in San Diego that offers a breathtaking view of the coastline and the cliffs. There’s a large grassy park with bathrooms, picnic tables, and several public gazebos and benches for visitors to use.
Walk down the shoreline or on the seawall to get a closer look at the seals and sea lions for a better picture but make sure not to bother them when doing so.
Torrey Pines Glider Port
Another interesting and fun place to go to not too far from La Jolla Cove is Torrey Pines. Whether you are into some flying sports or not, I highly recommend doing a quick stop here.
Sitting on a rock by the cliff while watching the ocean with the family was so relaxing and satisfying.
We were told that Dolphins and Whales could be seen here sometimes, but we never had luck spotting them while we were there.
Have lunch or snacks at the Cliffhanger’s Cafe and get a unique meal experience as you watch the Paraglider’s launch.
If you have visited the San Diego Zoo and loved it, I would highly recommend visiting the Safari Park as well. These two parks have a different experience to offer. Safari Park focused on animals from arid environments like the African and Asian Savannas.
They have scheduled animal shows throughout the day, and the shows that we enjoyed the most are Cheetah Run, Bird Show, and the Elephant Keeper Talk.
Ride on a guided safari-like tour on an open-air tram through the park’s African Savannah Field. Get a good look at the animals roaming free and learn about them.
Another fun experience that you can’t miss when coming here is the “Big Yellow Baloon,” well, that’s what my kids call it because it has an eye-catching look, and they love riding it. lol
For a small fee, you’ll get to go up to 400 feet above and get a spectacular view of the animals. It’s an adventure that would make your tour here unforgettable.
Sea World San Diego
Spend a day at SeaWorld for a thrilling roller coaster ride and amazing animal shows.
Seaworld is one of our family’s favorite theme Park ever since my kids were very young, every moment we spent here were unforgettable.
Our favorite time to go is in December when they have lots of Christmas events and activities going on. The decorations, the Christmas choirs, and the friendly staff, all of those things would really make you feel the spirit of the Holiday. It gives us joy and makes our hearts warm.
Seaworld San Diego is always fun to go to all year round. They have different types of promotional tickets every year. Make sure to check for ticket deals online before you go.
When I think of Coronado Island, only two things come out of my memory. It’s the San Diego Bay’s beautiful view while driving on the Coronado Bridge and the famous historic Hotel Del Coronado.
This is our favorite spot for a staycation, a perfect place to get pampered. They have mostly everything you need on-site, a spa, a salon, boutiques, restaurants (wood-fired pizza and gelato are my kid’s favorites, as for me I’m a big fan of their breakfast buffet and dinner steak that was recommended by the tourist that I’ve met at the hotel.
To make your visit more relaxing, rent an umbrella and beach chairs, get settled while listening to the peaceful sound of the waves.
Old Town San Diego
Old Town is known for its many preserved historic buildings and museums to commemorate the early days of San Diego’s town, allowing you to visit California’s history first hand and giving you the most authentic Mexican cuisine that you could find in the City.
We are a big fan of Mexican cuisine, even if it is quite a drive from where we lived, we didn’t mind it because it was always worth it. Casa De Reyes and Cafe Coyote are our favorite restaurants to go to. They are both excellent, but if you’re looking for the best Margarita, I would suggest going to the Cafe Coyote and having one of their flavored refreshing frozen Margarita.
Explore the Old Town Village, where you could find various shops selling Mexican-style pottery, tinwork, and galleries. There’s also a candle-making activity at Toby’s Candle shop that is super fun for kids, and if you wanted some fresh homemade taffy, head over to Cousin’s Candy Shop to try their delicious Taffy.
Are you a big fan of pie? If so, then you must visit this town. The only place in the city where you could find the best homemade pies that come in various fruit flavors. You can get it by piece in an ala mode style or by the box.
Visit one of the numerous orchards and pick fresh fruit. Depends on the season, you could learn how to make apple cider or enjoy a picnic with your family under the large shady oak trees.
Aside from pie and fruit picking, there’s a lot of activities that you can enjoy with your family, such as; exploring the tunnel of the real gold mines, take a guided tour of some secluded mines and stroll the Main St. by foot or on a horse-drawn carriage where you can find old fashioned buildings, shops with antiques and souvenirs.
Julian features several events throughout the year. You can experience any of all four seasons in this mountain town, but my favorite seasons are the summertime for fruit picking and the wintertime where we could experience snow in San Diego.
Another fun and popular tourist site with historic buildings, museums, theaters, and gardens.
This beautiful building is called “Casa Del Prado,” home to several youth arts organizations and activities such as flower shows and dance/music rehearsals.
This is inside the natural history museum, which is my kid’s favorite museum. It is interactive to learn how the earth has changed over millions of years—lots of things to do and learn inside for kids of all ages.
The Japanese Garden is also fun to explore. If you have a smartphone, download the Haiku Hunt app to play games as you explore. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you will still enjoy your visit by admiring the koi fish and the beautiful scenery.
San Diego Zoo
Known as the most loved tourist attraction in the city and one of the USA’s famous zoos with a large collection of rare and endangered animals.
It is home to some of the only breeding Pandas in the US and a vast enclosure for the African Elephants.
Visiting the zoo always puts us in a much happier state. The staffs within these walls were always helpful and friendly.
Getting on a guided tour bus makes our visit more enjoyable! Not only was it relaxing to sit and see the wildlife but also full of entertainment.! The tour guides would throw jokes here and there, and I can’t tell you how much fun I had. Everyone was laughing.
The Skyfari Aerial Tram is also a must-do. It will give you a better view of some of the exhibits and take you to the other side of the park.
This Zoo is huge, and there’s a lot of things to discover. Expect a lot of walking as there are a ton of steep hills. We usually spend most of our day here so we could take our time exploring most of the sites. They have restaurants with delicious food and drinks kiosk that you can find almost everywhere, and you won’t have to worry about walking back and forth.
For tickets and new updates about San Diego Zoo, please visit here.
Belmont Park is a historic amusement park located on Ocean Front at Surfrider Square in the Mission Bay area.
What I love about this amusement park is there is no admission fee to enter.
You have the option to pay as you ride or get the Go Card pass, which would give you access to all the rides, but it depends on the ages of your kids whether a pass or individual tickets are worth it.
They had a blast on every ride they’ve been on.
One of the fun activities he’s been wanting to do. He was so happy that he’s tall enough to be able to do it.
This is a perfect quick stop for entertainment before you head to the beach. There are shops that you can check out and lots of good restaurants in the area.
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