San Diego, California, has plenty to offer for a family holiday, with 70 miles of coastline, mild weather year-round, and a host of world-class museums, cultural institutions and attractions. I’ve been visiting my hometown with my kids for the past five years, and I always make an effort to explore a new family-friendly place each time. There are always plenty of things to do in San Diego with kids. It’s also a great place to explore if you are on a Californian road trip and heading to or from San Francisco or Los Angeles. In this case, renting a car in Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego is advised. Although public transport is great, having your own car is much more convenient.
We usually visit San Diego with kids in autumn, which is a great time of year to still enjoy warm days at the beach without the summer crowds! Our favourite family-family friendly beaches are Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores and Coronado City Beach.
For stunning views of the coastline and a chance to see local wildlife, I’d recommend visiting La Jolla Cove, a popular area for spotting seals, sea lions, pelicans and other birds.
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Mission Beach is centrally located and famous for its beachfront amusement park, Belmont Park. There are plenty of facilities, water sports rentals, shops and restaurants near its boardwalk. We love cycling together along the boardwalk between Mission Beach and Pacific Beach and rent our bikes through Boardwalk Electric Bikes.
Mission Bay Park
Mission Bay is the world’s largest human-made aquatic park and San Diego’s largest water sports hub. You can enjoy all sorts of activities including sailing and stand-up paddle boarding, or having a picnic or barbecue at the grassy areas around the park. There are sandy beaches with calm water, great for little ones, and our two favourite beachfront playgrounds along the bay are Tecolote Shores Park and Fanuel Beach Park.
La Jolla Shores
La Jolla Shores is a family friendly beach popular for surfing, kayaking and snorkelling. The waves are a bit calmer here, so it’s an ideal spot to learn surfing – I’ve taken classes here with Surf Diva.
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps, located in La Jolla Shores, features interactive exhibits, a wide array of marine life displays – including an amazing, two-story, 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank – and three outdoor hands-on tide-pool areas. It’s a fun, educational experience learning about the marine habitats off the California coast.
Coronado Island is located just across San Diego Bay from Downtown and can be reached by car, driving over Coronado Bridge, or by ferry from Downtown. We love Coronado City Beach, in front of the iconic Hotel del Coronado and near charming Orange Avenue, for its expansive beach and calm water ideal with young children.
There is so much to see and do here – 17 museums and cultural institutions, art galleries and exhibitions, several beautiful gardens, the vibrant Spanish Art Village and world-famous San Diego Zoo. The Fleet Science Center is fantastic for families and on our last trip, we had a great day out at the San Diego Zoo.
New Children’s Museum
I can recommend the New Children’s Museum for families with young children. There’s a fun play area for toddlers, an arts and crafts area and plenty of unique installations for kids to get hands-on and explore.
Located along the harbour in Downtown San Diego, the Waterfront Park has large grassy areas, great playgrounds with climbing frames, and a row of water fountains for kids to play in.
USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway was one of America’s longest serving aircraft carriers (1945 to 1992) and is now a family-friendly maritime museum dedicated to carriers and naval aviation. It offers a fascinating look into what it’s like to live and work on a carrier, with 60 areas to explore including the sleeping quarters, engine room, radio room, galley and war room.
Guest Post By Cindy From Piccolo Explorer
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