Things To Do in San Diego with Kids


san diego with kids

Since spending my formidable high school years in San Diego, I’ve been aware of this summer phenomenon known as the “Great Arizona Migration,” where Phoenicians flock to the coast for some much needed respite from triple-digit heat. San Diegans affectionately (or sarcastically) call us “Zonies” and remark at the dramatic increase in AZ license plates on their freeways.

My role has reversed. I’m now a “Zonie” headed to San Diego for a few weeks this summer (yippee!). I thought it would be fun to share some things to do in San Diego with kids that aren’t the usual suspects — the beaches, Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, The Wild Animal Park or Legoland.

Mission Beach Boardwalk

Belmont Park is an amusement park located steps from the ocean in Mission Beach. It has amusement park rides, laser tag, a wave machine and shopping. Split your day between the beach and enjoying the park festivities as there is no cost for entry.

The tide pools at Point Loma

Go on an exploring expedition with the kids at the tide pools in Point Loma. Time your venture during low tide so the kids can check out the sea anemones, shore crabs and other fascinating sea life. Be sure to bring your camera because while Point Loma may not have an actual beach it’s still one of the most picturesque spots in SD.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Looking for a smaller, more manageable Sea World? Well, I might be pushing it a bit here by comparing it to Sea World, but nevertheless, the Birch Aquarium is a worthy venture to add to your SD tour list. My girls flipped over the Sea Horse Exhibit and loved the Living Tide Pool displays outside.

New Children’s Museum

Take your budding artist to SD’s New Children’s Museum to explore, create and learn. We plan on testing this spot out on our trip to SD this summer. Their website says, “offers opportunities for children of all ages to experience the arts in ways that are meaningful to them, whether it’s an energetic romp through the climbing structures, a thoughtful sculpting of a clay figure during a day visit, or recurring participation in camps.”

Petco Parks Tours

Any die hard baseball fans in your brood? Go behind-the-scenes at the home of the Padres with a tour of Petco Park. Check out the sandy beach behind center field and get a great view of the diamond with a visit to the Padres’ dugout.

Mission Bay Park

Check out this 4,600 square foot park that has inlets, walkways and 27 miles of rambling shoreline. It’s a great spot to take the kids for picnics, barbeque or evening s’mores beside one of the many bonfire spots.

Will your family be headed to San Diego this summer with the kids? Do you have any fun things to do with kids to add to the list?

Oh, and one more thing! For more on San Diego straight from the mouths of local moms, head over to San Diego Moms Blog, our sister site in the City Moms Blog Network!


  1. I’m moving to Phoenix in a week and we have already started planning our first road trip to SD! Love this list! Any recommendations on where to stay with 2 little ones?

    • Lauren – we love the Residence Inn La Jolla. It’s generally less pricey but is totally kid friendly. It’s also a great central SD location.


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