24 Fun Family-Friendly Things to Do in San Diego with Kids
Families frequently travel to San Diego for vacations.
There is a reason for this.
In San Diego, there is no shortage of enjoyable activities for children.
Everyone will discover something here, whether they are toddlers, pre-teens, or adolescents.
And no, we did not forget you and your spouse.
If you have chosen this warm Californian city as your destination, I am eager to give my recommendations.
Commence with the research.
- Old Town San Diego
This is a journey across time.
The Old Town is frequently considered the cradle of modern California.
Indeed, that is where the first Spanish immigrants arrived in 1769.
There are now 21 missions in the state, the first of which was constructed here.
There are more than a dozen historic structures to explore.
In addition, there are other shops where you can get candies, homemade soaps, souvenirs, etc.
Moving on to activities for children.
Whaley House, which was on America’s Most Haunted, will provide them with a great deal of entertainment.
It is the first brick house built in San Diego, and it is haunted.
It has also served as a courthouse, theater, and school in the past.
- Cabrillo National Monument
This is one of the nicest family activities in San Diego, as well as an excellent history lesson for children.
It was named after Cabrillo, who led the first European expedition to the West Coast of the United States in 1542.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is an outstanding feature.
From 1855 to 1891, it was functional and guided mariners into the Bay.
Now, the furnishings and tools provide a glimpse into life in the nineteenth century.
Take them to the Bayside Trail for a hike and a lovely view of the ocean and the city below if that’s not their thing.
- The New Children’s Museum
This location is the core of the best activities for children in San Diego. Balboa Park in Gaslamp Quarter contains 17 museums that will keep the entire family occupied for at least a day.
Such limits apply to Sketch Aquarium and Reconnecting to Home.
Therefore, verify before leaving.
Nonetheless, this museum’s seminars and art activities are intended to delight and educate children of all ages.
In fact, their slogan is “Think, Play, Create.”
Ticket rates begin at $10, making it one of the inexpensive activities for families today.
And parking is essentially identical.
Weekend prices are a few dollars more.
- Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
If you’re seeking family-friendly activities in San Diego, this is your opportunity.
At Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, there are eight hiking trails to choose from.
The nearly one-mile-long Beach Trail gives a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.
Guy Fleming is less difficult and is around two-thirds of a mile.
This is a wonderful choice if you have children.
Discovery Trail is accessible to all ages and is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.
It is around a half-mile long and contains information on local plants.
Keep your eyes out for pear cacti, wildflowers, and other interesting flora.
- Carlsbad Flower Fields
This is another family-friendly attraction in San Diego.
Flower Fields will captivate you if you enjoy the aroma and look of ranunculus and sweet peas.
The 50-acre expanse of rainbow-colored flower rows makes for a beautiful backdrop for pictures.
Or you could simply acquire a wagon and set forth.
The sweet peas form a maze that can be navigated on tiptoes.
At the stamp booths, your teenagers can fill out paper passports.
The next stop is Santa’s Playground, which features playhouses and enormous mushrooms.
This establishment is usually open from March through May.
- La Jolla Cove
This small cove is definitely on the list of kid-friendly activities in San Diego.
It consists mostly of a small beach flanked by several sandstone cliffs.
However, the area offers a range of activities for the entire family.
If you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving, you will find an abundance of aquatic life.
The adults could take a stroll to observe the California Harbor Seals while the children swim in the children’s pool.
La Jolla boasts a multitude of routes for a picnic lunch with live music or a nice dinner.
From green fields near the beach on Scripps Parkway to exclusive boutiques, the diversity is remarkable.
- Maritime Museum of San Diego
I assure you that it is not another dull museum.
This location is actually pretty enjoyable for kids.
They can begin by pretending to be pirates on the high seas.
This is due to the unique sailing vessel tours available at this floating museum.
The museum’s fleet of nine boats includes steamboats, sailing ships, and submarines, all of which are available for viewing.
Check out the Family Overnight Adventure, which is offered during the summer, if you’re searching for family fun tonight.
The Star of India, which is the oldest functioning ship, is where you can spend the night.
- Birch Aquarium at Scripps
This is ideal if you are looking for inexpensive indoor activities and are also pressed for time.
The Birch Aquarium in La Jolla is also popular among San Diego families seeking toddler-friendly activities.
It is neither expensive nor time-consuming.
It focuses on conservation education for individuals of all ages.
But there is also time for play.
The children may get up and personal with moon jellies, sardines, sharks, and lionfish, among other water creatures.
Stop at the Tide Pool Plaza to entertain your children with starfish and sea cucumbers.
- San Diego Botanic Garden
This garden encompasses 37 acres and comprises more than a dozen themed gardens along four miles of walkways.
Let’s begin with children’s activities.
Head to the Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden, which is designed for kindergarten-aged children and younger.
Provide them with a wand and allow them to create bubbles in tubs of soapy water.
In addition, they may dig for toy dinosaurs or amuse themselves in a playhouse.
In addition, a model train track winds around the area (cue all Young Sheldons).
For slightly older children, Hamilton Children’s Garden is available.
There is a gigantic tic-tac-toe game for the entire family.
You could also explore a plant labyrinth or observe the sundial.
In addition, the focal point is a treehouse.
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
This space encompasses more than 1,800 acres of land.
The 10-acre San Diego Zoo is more well-known, but this is equally as good.
Regarding children’s activities, the African Tram is the most popular.
Visitors transition from an open environment to a region resembling an African Savannah.
You will be able to observe rhinos, giraffes, and Cape buffalo.
On the Caravan Safari, you can go closer to the animals for a small fee.
Next, visit the Lorikeet Landing to observe the lorikeet parrots.
Don’t forget to bring them a cup of nectar.
During the summer, the children will put on their swimsuits and head to the Savannah Cool Zone.
- LEGOLAND California
On a family vacation, LEGOland cannot be missed.
The interactives will entertain the parents, while the Volvo Driving School will excite the children.
They can obtain miniature vehicles and navigate these streets, which are littered with signs and stoplights.
Obviously, they can construct and race Lego automobiles.
Additionally, be sure to check out the LEGO Mindstorms robots.
No, it’s not just about children.
Also available is the Police and Fire Academy Rescue ride for parents.
Everyone can ride in one of these vehicles and compete to put out a fire or prevent a break-in by pumping the levers.
- SeaWorld San Diego
This is the most popular location for catching animal performances.
The dolphins and sea lions are only the start.
The aquariums contain a variety of marine life, including a shark tank.
Visit the Sesame Street Bay of Play if you’re interested in riding various rides.
If you seek excitement, visit Manta and Shipwreck Rapids.
Additionally, you can reserve a “Premier Experience” for the “Dine with Shamu” lunch and the “Penguin Encounter” excursion.
It features thrilling rides and enables personal contact with animals.
Here there is also an oceanarium.
- Balboa Park
This is the site where the very first World’s Fair was held.
I am aware that it brings to mind Silvester Stalone, but that is not the attitude here.
Children may enjoy 17 museums, five playgrounds, a carousel, and a train.
There are also numerous gardens for strolling.
Check out the San Diego Model Railroad Museum for family events.
It is home to one of the world’s largest indoor train models.
At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, students will learn with every button and lever they press or pull.
The grounds are for all ages, with the Rose garden being an exception.
- San Diego Zoo
On a list of child-friendly destinations, the San Diego Zoo cannot be omitted.
However, it is also a pleasure for you and your husband.
It is one of the top zoological centers in the world and covers 100 acres.
It contains approximately 4,000 animals and 800 species.
Lions, tigers, and bears are present.
But you can also spot koalas, komodo dragons, and kangaroos here.
Take the SkyFari Aerial Tram if you wish to gain some altitude and go closer to the zoo’s canopy.
The Fisher-Price Discovery Playground features a petting zoo where children may engage with gentle animals such as goats and sheep.
- Aquatica San Diego Water Park
This is a joy for all levels of swimmers.
It features undulating pools, a lazy river, water play zones, and much more.
You can also hire a cabana and enjoy the water slides, some of which reach 78 feet in length.
If you go directly to the SeaWorld website, you may be eligible for a discount.
During the summer and on select weekends during the fall, it is an ideal pit stop.
Please be aware that this water park is being turned into Sesame Place, so 2020 will be your final opportunity to enjoy some of these lovely attractions.
- Belmont Park
This is a beachfront amusement park in Mission Beach that provides free amusement.
The excitement begins with a historic roller coaster, an arcade, a zip line, and laser tag.
Belmont Park is listed among the top activities for adolescents.
Keep an eye on Costco or Groupon for discounts on unlimited rides.
In addition, there is an all-access combo pass.
You can also obtain an annual pass if you are a local resident or know one.
And Mission Beach offers a couple of excellent restaurants for foodies.
Belmont Park is also accessible on foot from Pacific Beach.
- Seaport Village
This is equally popular with locals and tourists due to its coastal amusement options, which include a fudge shop and a kite shop.
In addition, the wide space is an ideal location for kite flying.
In addition, there is mobile entertainment.
The view of the ocean is unrivaled.
And there are over 50 eateries to pick from, whether you’re looking for lunch or a snack.
If you want to purchase a few mementos, there are also a multitude of shops available.
You may snap some beautiful shots, and there is an antique carousel for children to enjoy.
- Fleet Science Center
This is a terrific place for youngsters to combine fun with science.
And perhaps you and the hubby would like to experiment with a few things.
There are eight galleries with around 100 interactive exhibits for children and adults to explore.
You can investigate the concept of gravity and its operation.
There are additional corners for construction purposes.
You might also watch a film in the world’s first dome-shaped IMAX theater.
Regardless of the activity, you select, you will either enjoy yourself or be a part of something historic.
This is an experience that cannot be purchased with money.
- San Diego Natural History Museum
The Fleet Science Center is directly across the courtyard from the San Diego Natural History Museum.
So perhaps complete both on the same afternoon?
Here you will find fossils and exhibits that educate you on the geology and history of the region.
You can also engage in a treasure quest.
It was established in 1874 and is the second-oldest scientific institution in both southern California and west Mississippi.
Bring your children under the age of five to the Backyard.
- Living Coast Discovery Center
This is the location to be if you enjoy vegetation and animals.
This famous destination is located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge in Chula Vista.
The experience here is quite singular.
You have the opportunity to feed bat rays and interact with reptiles.
Checking their calendar in advance will allow you to book a field trip, bird walks, and composting lessons.
There are a variety of additional activities for the whole family that combine work and play.
And don’t be surprised if you encounter marine life.
- Coronado Central Beach
It is located directly in front of the Hotel del Coronado and is 1.5 miles long.
The beach is expansive, with calm waters and white sand.
This is mostly a location for you to relax.
Therefore, travel to Del Beach and rent some chairs and umbrellas.
When you become hungry, visit The Del for a snack.
It is the only beach in San Diego with white sand.
The north end is dog-friendly, so bring along your beloved companion.
It is also an excellent spot for surfing due to its calm waves.
So wet, suit up.
- Kayak the Sea Caves
This location must not be missed if you enjoy kayaking.
Here, you can bring your own kayak or rent one to join a tour.
The La Jolla beach is a fantastic spot to launch from, as well as a suitable place to begin exploring the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park.
The view from the top of orange Garibaldi fish and sea lions is unusual and breathtaking.
Sea caverns will be encountered while kayaking.
Make sure to request excursions that include Clam’s cave.
Here, the barking of sea lions is deafening, and you should not venture here alone.
- Snorkel or Swim with Leopard Sharks
If you are planning a summer vacation, this is where you will discover the greatest concentration of leopard sharks in the entire globe.
In June, they begin to congregate, but in August and September, their numbers swell dramatically.
You can observe leopard sharks while snorkeling from knee-deep water.
They are a few feet long and, unlike tiger sharks, do not typically bite.
Therefore, it is not only a magnificent view but also an incredible experience for children.
Please do not disturb them, as they are here to mate and lay eggs.
The temperature of the warm water is ideal for incubation.
- Moonlight Beach
If you travel further north, you will reach Moonlight Beach, a state beach.
It is one of the most popular hotels in the area due to the abundance of family-friendly features.
There are picnic tables, fire rights, volleyball courts, and equipment rentals available.
Yes, this list will continue to grow (like Celine Dion!).
In fact, the beach derives its name from the fact that residents utilized it for late-night picnics in the late 1900s.
There is also a grass park for children to play in.
Additionally, there is some surfing, which is safer here due to the beach’s slope.
Free street parking is available, and the stroll is enjoyable on a warm summer day.