A year ago, I was looking up “the best things to do” on my laptop, and San Diego popped up on my screen with a list of the best things to do in San Diego.
I was so happy, and I wanted my family to be part of my fun activities. Later I had a full plan of visiting San Diego, and I am happy to say the visit was worth it.
San Diego is well known for its beaches, parks, and warm climate. The city is visited by more than 55 million people each year. This tells you that San Diego is the top attractive city in the world.
You have probably heard of accolades about Chicago and Nashville, but if you are looking for an alternative place to have fun, San Diego is the way to go.
In this article, I will share some of the best favorite things you can do in San Diego with kids.
Below are the best activities to do in San Diego
1. Enjoy The Japanese Garden at Balboa Park
If you are looking for a great experience, Balboa Park is a must-visit. Balboa Park is a popular park in San Diego and is parked with open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, walking paths, museums, several theaters, and the San Diego Zoo.
As you enter Balboa park, you will be blown away by the Japanese rose and botanical gardens. No wonder it’s the most popular venue in San Diego.
The best part about Balboa Park is that there’s always something new to see, do, or discover. Below are fun things you can do with your kids:
- Comic-Con Museum
- Alaska Airlines Flight Path Grill
- EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden
- Pepper Grove Playground
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- Balboa Park Miniature Train
- Visit the park on Sundays for free activities.
- Visit the park on Wednesday night for live jazz and dinner at Panama 66.
- Not all places within the park are free. Visit the visitors center for guidance on free and paid attractions.
- You can have a picnic on the lawn next to the botanical building.
- Plan on arriving early.
|Further Balboa Park Reading:|
In-Depth Look At Balboa Park In San Diego For Families
Top Stops for Families at San Diego’s Balboa Park
Exploring Balboa Park With Kids
2. Use Sky Tram & Bus Tours at San Diego Zoo for Amazing Views
Don’t make the mistake of going home without taking your kids to the San Diego Zoo. San Diego Zoo is one of the best and most popular zoological centers.
The place is good for kids, and there are plenty of animals like lions, polar bears, monkeys, koalas, etc. The best time to see the animals is in the early morning and late evening. I’d recommend you use their bus tour for a great experience.
Finally, San Diego Zoo is a kid-friendly place. You’ll see they have a lot of things you can do within the zoo.
|Further San Diego Zoo Reading:|
SoCal Guide – San Diego Zoo with Kids and Families
16 Essential Tips For Your First Visit At The San Diego Zoo
How to See Everything at the San Diego Zoo in a Single Day
3. Visit The San Diego Beaches
San Diego beaches are a fun place to have fun. They are family-friendly places to visit.
The San Diego beaches are known for long sandy and surf-able waves. 88% of California tourists love the beauty and fun of San Diego beaches.
Below are activities you can do at San Diego beaches:
- Sea-kayaking tour
- family picnics
- surfing lessons
- boogie boarding
The best time to visit the beaches is in August. But if you want to see the tide pool, you can visit between February to April.
Below are some of the best San Diego beaches to visit:
- Pacific beach
- Ocean beach
- La Jolla shores beach
- Mission beach
- Cardiff State Beach
- Del Mar City Beach
|Further San Diego Beaches Reading:|
The Best Family Beaches in San Diego
6 Beautiful family-friendly Beaches in San Diego
4. See The Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is a fun place to visit. When I visited La Jolla Cove, I stared out at the ocean’s waves hitting against the rocks, and I was like: “this is the best time to enjoy“.
So what is La Jolla Cove?
According to Wikipedia, La Jolla Cove is a small cove with a beach surrounded by cliffs, and it’s popular with swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers.
If you love taking photos, La Jolla cove is the best destination to visit.
|Further La Jolla Cove Reading:|
Family Guide to La Jolla San Diego
The Ultimate Guide To La Jolla San Diego
5. Dine and Shop at Sea Port Village
If you are looking for a touristy spot, the seaport village is the best destination to visit with your family. Sea Port Village is mostly invaded by locals, and visiting families.
The area is close to hotels, so you don’t need to worry about boarding a bus or an uber.
What I like about the area are the activities you can do within the spot. The Sea Port Village has more than 40 restaurants where you can eat, a kite store, roaming entertainment, and different unique shops to buy stuff.
|Further Sea Port Village Reading:|
Exploring Seaport Village San Diego
Family Guide to San Diego’s Seaport Village with kids – Where to eat, stay & play
6. Enjoy Ball Game Burgers & Fries at Petco Park
Visit Petco Park to watch a baseball match. The park is a baseball stadium in downtown San Diego, California. The park is used for rugby, golf, soccer, and entertainment activities.
Get a local tour guide who is knowledgeable, humorous, and engaging and who will help you know about behind-the-scenes.
|Further Petco Park Reading:|
Tips To Visit Petco Park With Kids
Petco Park Guide – Where To Park, Eat, And Get Cheap Tickets
7. Whale Watching Adventure
If you want to spot the blue whale, you need to visit San Diego. It’s one of the best places to watch whales migrating from Mexico to Alaska and back.
The best time to visit for whale watching is from December to March. Get a whale-watching tour guide who will help spot dolphins and whales.
|Further Whale Watching Adventure Reading:|
Family whale-watching trip: a parent’s review and tips
Tips for Whale Watching with Kids
Tips for whale watching with children
8. MooTime Creamery
It’s that time to cool your body from the hot sun of San Diego. The best place to visit is MooTime Creamery.
The locals love the Mootime creamery because they make good ice cream, cookies, sandwiches, and desserts.
Tip: To get an empty seat, you need to plan early because MooTime Creamery is usually overcrowded.
9. Sample Wine Tasting & Chocolates at Bernardo Winery
Bernardo Winery is a winemaking property in a landscape garden with restaurants and tasting areas. The Rizzo family started the winery in 1889.
It’s a great place to relax while eating your favorite food, tasting wine, and listening to jazz music.
The winery is a fun place to visit. It’s a place you can spend two days with your family. Bernardo Winery is a popular property, so I’d recommend you visit the winery any day of the week to avoid crowded people.
10. Maritime Museum of San Diego
Maritime Museum of San Diego was established in 1948, and it preserves one of the largest collections of historic sea vessels in the USA. When you board the ship, you will find historical materials displayed in art.
If you are looking for a way to spend a day, the Maritime museum is the best place to be.
11. Visit Belmont Park and Enjoy Their Giant Dipper Roller Coaster Ride
If you want to have a good experience of seaside amusement, Belmont Park is the way to go. The beauty of the park is that there’s no admission. You only pay as you play.
There are a lot of things you can do inside the park, and some of the activities are:
- Ride on the historic giant dipper roller coaster
- Ride on other rides
- Enjoy quick bites
- Mission beach boardwalk
If you want to enjoy 13 rides, you can purchase a Belmont park ride and pay pass.
The destination is perfect for any age i.e, toddlers, couples, and a large group of friends.
12. Visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Enjoy The Sea Life display
Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one of the go-to places for many families. If you want to dive into the world of sharks, coral reefs, and seahorses, then you need to visit the property.
The area has more than 60 habitats with great creatures. Please note that for all guests, you need to make a reservation.
|Further Birch Aquarium Reading:|
Birch Aquarium At Scripps is Small Yet Enjoyable
Birch Aquarium La Jolla CA with Kids
13. Enjoy Granny Apple Fries at LEGOLAND California
LEGOLAND is an amusement park that is attractive to kids of any age. It’s also a theme park, miniature park, and aquarium located in Carlsbad, California.
The park was opened to the public in 1999. This is a place you can’t miss to take your kids.
14. Eat Great Mexican Food at San Diego Old Town
San Diego old town is a fun place to enjoy your time with your family. If you want to taste Mexican food, this place is the best place to eat. The area has free parking slots, lots of shops, restaurants to eat, and a church.
There are so many things to explore within the area. The area will make you love the history, food, and vibe.
15. Visit Donut Bar
Visiting the donut bar is the best thing you will do for your family. It’s a great place to have a sweat donut in the morning.
They sell different kinds of donuts. Due to its popularity, the donut bar has expanded to different locations.
Before we conclude, let’s look at some of the faqs:
FAQs About Top Things to do in San Diego With Families, Kids, and Couples
|1. What are the best fun activities to do with a 6-year-old kid?|
I’d recommend LEGOLAND, visit the beaches and San Diego Zoo.
2. Which is the best place to stay around San Diego?
I’d recommend Paradise Point Resort
3. How do I keep my 8-year-old busy in San Diego?
Spend three days as follows:
Day 1 – Visit a safari park
Day 2 – Visit LEGOLAND
Day 3 – Visit SeaWorld and San Diego Child museum
4. Can you park RV with a jeep attached at Balboa park?
There are no parking areas designated for RVs in the park
5. What are the free activities in San Diego?
Visit La Jolla Cove
Explore the magnificent San Diego beaches
Visit San Diego park for picnics
Skateboard or ride a bicycle along the beaches
Go for bird watching
Stroll through Balboa park
Explore the top of Mt. Soledad- in La Jolla
6. Is La Jolla Cove free?
Entry is free. The only challenge you will experience is parking.
7. Is it wise to use a private car or an uber when visiting Sea Port Village?
I’d recommend you Uber since the cost of parking is a bit expensive.
8. What are the top attractions to visit in San Diego with families this weekend?
San Diego Zoo
La Jolla Cove
San Diego Beaches
It’s not surprising that San Diego is the best vacation city in the world. If you have time, you can explore so many activities you can imagine.
Please share your thoughts below if this guide was helpful.