Memorable Places To Visit In San Diego With Kids

Looking for Unique things to do  with your family while in San Diego? 

You have Definitely come to the right place!

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By Molly Mackenzie

I’ve been very happy to call sunny San Diego my home for over 15 years and fall deeper in love each day. My husband and I moved here as newlyweds and now we are proud to raise our four boys in America’s finest city. 

San Diego is an extremely popular destination mostly because the beaches are amazing, there are endless things to do, people are laid-back and the weather is pretty ideal all year.  

Over time many of our family and friends have made this a destination of choice, and we are always excited to share and recommend our favorite places around town to eat and play.

I decided after all of these years, it’s FINALLY time to put a list together making this your official guide to experiencing San Diego through the eyes of a local family. 

So to start, here are my recommended TOP FIVE family friendly places to checkout while in San Diego. 

1. THE BEACH

(This is a no brainer!) I will first and foremost recommend planning a beach day in San Diego. You can make this as simple or elaborate as you would like. Hands down this is the best way for our family to unwind and relax and you will NOT regret time well spent. 

There are so many amazing beach spots in San Diego, but depending on where you stay, below are a variety of areas north and south for you to choose from. Not sure what to pack for a successful beach day? Visit my BEACH DAY UNIVERSITY page for tips and ideas.

Torrey Pines Beach

This beach is known for it’s picturesque landscape and next to Torrey Pines Reserve. As a family we enjoy a small but very scenic hike to the top of the reserve and back to the beach after to play. The road to the top is stroller friendly and my 3 year old made it up just fine. 

Del Mar Beach/Powerhouse Park

Such a great beach for families which includes free street parking and pay lots if needed, a snack shop, showers and bathrooms, plus a wonderful park and grassy area for the kids to run around. 

La Jolla Shores

This tiny little beach town has so much to offer including surf lessons, kayaking, local shopping and many wonderful places to eat.

 

Moonlight Beach In Encinitas

Such a great beach has a ton of sand with a gradual slope making the surf a lot safer for kids. There are a ton of lifeguards here as well…something all parents will appreciate.

Coronado Beach

Drop all other plans because Coronado is one of the best day trips in San Diego. I absolutely adore and feel like I’m completely on vacation whenever we visit. This particular beach stretches 1.5 miles and is the backdrop for the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.

“I’ve called sunny San Diego my home for over 15 years now and fall deeper in love with this city each day. My husband and I moved here as newlyweds and now we are proud to raise our four boys in America’s finest city”

2. THE NEW CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

You can’t go wrong here if you are looking to unlock creativity and entertain your kiddos for several hours. This incredible downtown three-story museum has everything from an indoor black light sand room, a giant tree house, outdoor painting and clay and so much more. I appreciate the constant exhibit changes keeping little minds fresh and enchanted, in return asking to come back again and again. 

Food Pairing: Checkout the Sugar Factory close by (Sorry, I KNOW…but remember you are on vacation and making lots of sugar-filled memories) 

Either way, you and your kids will be all smiles when they enter the rainbow land of candy along with a very fun restaurant attached. The super fun pod-like chairs will keep your kids occupied while you enjoy a bit of catching up.

3. The Torrey Pines
Glider Port

Such an incredible spot with killer San Diego views. Take the entire family and watch you favorite daredevil launch from the cliff either paragliding, hang gliding, RC gliding and more. 

My kids absolutely love this place and maybe even more entertaining for adults. Don’t forget to take pictures because the view of the Pacific Ocean is absolutely one-of-a-kind and an unforgettable San Diego experience. 

Food Pairing: You won’t miss The Cliffhanger Cafe right as you walk up to the Glider Port. This is a full-service deli cafe and open daily offering lunch and snacks. From May-September the cafe has live music and local San Diego bands playing on the weekend. 

Caroline’s Seaside Cafe is another option right down the road, it’s super family friendly and has a variety of healthy and creative California cuisine. 

4. BELMONT PARK

Who doesn’t love to be a tourist in their own city? This beachfront amusement park is where we go when we are craving the quintessential San Diego vibe. 

Such great people watching and only steps from the Mission Beach boardwalk were you will find another whole culture of beach lovers alike. Belmont Park is filled with rides for all ages, an arcade, zip lining, shopping and plenty of fun treats. 

Food Pairing:  Go straight to the Wavehouse if you would like to experience the Southern California beach lifestyle. Sit back with the sand on your toes and swing from a relaxing hammock while eating casual cuisine and listening to live music.  

The best part of this dining experience is watching people wipeout while surfing the wave simulator. Who doesn’t want to see this?! 

5.USS MIDWAY MUSEUM

I’m a mom of four boys so OF COURSE I’ve been to the USS Midway naval aircraft carrier museum more than a few times. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the endless hours of entertainment here and the deep history aboard this incredibly handsome aircraft carrier.  

Touring the officers quarters were a giant hit for the whole family, and my boys really enjoyed the flight simulators as well as the climb-aboard aircrafts and cockpits.  

Food Pairing: Corvette Diner is just a short drive from downtown and THE MOST FUN 50’s style diner. It’s our go-to for delicious diner style meals, best milkshakes and high energy arcade games to work off the delicious calories. 

I hope my suggestions help you and you family with your fantastic time in San Diego.  Either way, you can’t go wrong in this wonderful city. If have something nice to say, please leave a comment below.

Thanks For stopping by!

-Molly Mackenzie

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