Best Family Activities in San Diego

“America’s Finest City” earned its nickname for a variety of reasons. Our year-round perfect weather, abundance of beautiful beaches, and relaxed vibe are just a few of them. Still, some of the most-overlooked are all the amazing adventures for families to discover. If you’re looking for fantastic things to do while traveling with kids, then you’ll want to check out our picks for the best family activities in San Diego. 

Old Town (3 miles from the hotel)

(Photo: @sanathk)

Old Town is located on the site of the first European settlement in the state of California, dating back to the late 1700s. Today, Old Town is a fun and eclectic mix of fantastic restaurants, historical locations, park space, shopping, entertainment, and area tours. Presidio Park — where early missionaries established some of the country’s first churches — is a lush and gorgeous green space that’s the ideal spot for a family picnic.

4002 Wallace St San Diego, CA 92110

 

Balboa Park (3.8 miles away)

(Photo: @hey_yu2)

Beautiful Balboa Park is adjacent to San Diego Zoo and represents a fantastic opportunity to experience the best of the city. As the country’s largest urban cultural park, Balboa hosts a collection of public art, recreational activities, and world-class museums (such as the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, and San Diego Art Institute). You won’t even need to leave the park when it’s lunchtime, as a selection of specialty restaurants and refreshment kiosks dot the park’s green space. 

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 9210

 

Belmont Park (6 miles away)

(Photo: @belmontparksd)

Belmont Park offers the sort of timeless boardwalk theme-park experience only Southern California can really deliver. Activities, midway games, and other fun distractions can easily fill a day’s worth of sun-filled fun. Don’t miss the tiki mini-golf, climbing wall, roller coasters, or sky ropes course. There are also some great quick-service and sit-down food options offering delicious kid-friendly dishes to fuel the fun, too. Step up for a big day!

3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

 

San Diego Zoo (6.3 miles away)

(Photo: @sandiegozoo)

The San Diego Zoo was recently voted the #1 zoo in the world by TripAdvisor. Once you visit, it’s not hard to see why. The zoo has been delighting visitors of all ages since 1916 and is currently home to more than 3,700 animals encompassing more than 650 species! When you visit be sure to build in time for some unique experiences the kids will love, like the guided discovery tour, big cat encounters, and even special wildlife shows. 

2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

 

San Diego Botanic Garden (6.6 miles away)

(Photo: @sandiegobotanicgarden)

The breathtaking San Diego Botanic Garden offers visitors more than two dozen themed gardens over 37 colorful and freshly fragrant acres. The Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden delights younger guests with giant soap bubbles, a kid-sized railroad, and playhouse to explore. Older kids will enjoy Hamilton Children’s Garden, where they can play a giant game of tic-tac-toe, navigate a labyrinth, and learn how sundials work.

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

 

Birch Aquarium (13.3 miles away)

(Photo: @birchaquarium)

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a must-stop for any budding marine biologists. This public education center offered by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography lets kids and parents alike enjoy interactive displays, a tide-pool exhibit, and 60-plus habitats housing a variety of fascinating and colorful sea life. The aquarium also offers seasonal whale-watching tours and snorkeling classes, so there’s truly something for everyone.

2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (16.7 miles)

(Photo: @mytorreypines)

If your crew is made up of outdoorsy types, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is the place to go. The rare Torrey pine tree that grows here gives the park its name, and you’ll spot these botanical treasures along several miles of kid-friendly hiking trails. The reserve also offers some of the most stunning ocean views available anywhere in Southern California, so don’t miss the sunset! Just be sure to caution kids to tread lightly — the reserve is a protected area, so even taking home a souvenir rock is strictly prohibited. 

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

 A Family-Friendly Stay at Holiday Inn Bayside- where kids stay free!

On the hunt for exceptional accommodations, the whole crew will enjoy? Make sure to check out our SPECIAL OFFERS to select the travel deal that’s right for you and your family. Here at our hotel, kids are not only welcome, but they also stay free year-round!