This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.
Limited time: The 5-step strategy to setting effective limits with your child
Download the strategy that will help you set limits with calm and empathy, and encourage kids to follow your guidance without threats or punishments!
Click here to download the free guide!
Inside: Discover 8 of the best things to do in San Diego with kids! Your children will love these ideas and you’ll really enjoy them as well!
We were approaching the San Diego airport and we could already see the city through the plane windows. As I was admiring the high buildings and the wonderful-looking ocean a very nice feeling filled my heart.
It was more than the joy of enjoying that amazing view. That moment reminded me of our first vacation in San Diego. One year and 2 months earlier we visited the city for the first time on a very special occasion: a surprise trip for my son’s fourth birthday.
I was glad to return to San Diego but I wasn’t expecting to be so surprised by all the amazing attractions within the city. During our first visit, we focused more on theme parks like Sea World, Legoland, and Safari Zoo. The second visit was all about exploring the city and we loved it!
San Diego is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the United States and it has plenty of things to offer!
If you are preparing for a vacation in this lovely city, I’ve gathered here 8 of the best things to do in San Diego with kids! The little ones will love these ideas and I’ll certainly enjoy them as well!
Helpful tips for visiting San Diego with kids
To take full advantage of the beauty of the city I recommend you to book a hotel situated in the city center. This will allow you to walk to many popular attractions and restaurants and enjoy the vibrant life of the city.
We stayed at the Bristol Hotel and it was a great choice! The rooms were big and nice and the location was perfect.
We enjoyed our meal at the Top of the Market restaurant near the USS Midway. Also, my son loved the ice-cream at the Ghirardelli shop in the center of the city.
The most important tip: San Diego is a popular destination so the attraction can get crowded during peak season. The best way to avoid big lines and crowded places is to book the tickets online in advance and to visit the attractions in the morning.
8 of the best things to do in San Diego with kids
1. Things to do in San Diego with kids: San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo is located in the Balboa Park. It houses over 3700 and it offers several unique experiences like “Keeper for a day” and “Early Morning with Pandas”.
They also offer Inside Look Tours that give you the chance to discover behind-the-scenes views on how they take care of the animals. These tours are great opportunities for kids to learn about the animals and interact with them.
2. Things to do in San Diego with kids: San Diego Zoo Safari Park
If you want to get an up-close experience with different animal species, the Safari Park is a perfect place to visit!
They offer different safari tours like the Caravan Safari, the Cart Safari, and the Behind-the-Scenes Safari. They also have several other attractions and play areas.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Safari Park! I would gladly recommend it to any family with kids that love animals!
3. Things to do in San Diego with kids: LEGOLAND Califonia
LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. This attraction doesn’t need any additional description. If your kids love LEGOs they will certainly love this park too!
The park is great for young kids because it has many attractions that they can enjoy. We visited LEGOLAND when my son was 4 years old and we spent there a whole day without getting bored.
You can check what rides are appropriate for your child’s height here. Some of our favorites were the Coast Cruise, the Driving School, and the Ninjago ride.
4. Things to do in San Diego with kids: Sea World
Sea World is one of our favorite attractions in San Diego. It was the only one that we visited both times we went to San Diego and I would visit it again if we would return there.
There are so many things to do in the park: rides, shows, interactions with animals, and hands-on experiences. I recommend you to go to the shows because they are really awesome for kids. Also, the animal interactions are great for offering the kids a unique experience.
We also enjoyed the Dine with the Killer Whales experience. The food was good and the opportunity to see the whales while enjoying our meal was great!
If you want to book any of the special experiences offered by the park I recommend you to book them in advance.
5. Things to do in San Diego with kids: San Diego Seal Tour in Seaport Village
Seaport Village is a wonderful area near downtown that it’s great for short walks, ocean views, and good restaurants. It was designed by Walt Disney and it looks wonderful!
It is also the starting point for an awesome tour called the Seal Tour.
The San Diego Seal Tours is a 90-minute, fully-narrated tour on an amphibious vehicle. It starts on land and it continues inside the ocean. It was an amazing experience and we learned a lot of things for the tour guide.
6. Things to do in San Diego with kids: Old Town Trolley Tour
The same company that operates the Seal Tour also created a tour around the city. Old Town Trolley Tours allow guests to hop on and off at various stops around San Diego including Downtown, Balboa Park, and Coronado Island.
We loved the tour because it allowed us to see many attractions in the same day without worrying about finding a parking spot for our car. My son loved the tour because the bus looked very nice and he enjoyed learning about the city.
7. Things to do in San Diego with kids: USS Midway Museum
USS Midway is one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers that got transformed into a museum. The museum is impressive and you’ll need approx. 3 hours to see everything.
The kids can climb into actual aircraft cockpit trainers and try the flight simulators (height restrictions apply). The flight deck is also a great place for kids to discover the aircraft and helicopters.
8. Things to do in San Diego with kids: Coronado Central Beach
Coronado Central Beach is located on the Coronado island, in front of the Hotel Del Coronado, a historic landmark of the island. We got to Coronado Island during our Old Town Trolley Tour and we were surprised to see how wonderful the island is.
The wide sandy beach is perfect for families and the rest of the island is great for taking walks and finding nice restaurants.
I wish you a wonderful vacation in San Diego with many happy moments to enjoy with your family!
More inspiration for family travel
>> Want to remember this? Share these ideas to your favorite Pinterest board!
photo credit preview photo: depositphotos.com