Del Mar Racetrack: Fun for the whole family

The following guest post is written by family travel blogger Amber Mamian of
Gorgeous weather, a nostalgic past, the season’s top race horses, jockeys and trainers plus free kids activities. Yes please! I’m talking about where the “Turf meets the Surf” at the famous Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in sunny California. This past weekend I had the opportunity to check out the racetrack for myself during the Pacific Classic… my family was lucky enough to tag-along.
Honestly what was not to love?  The grounds were immaculate, there was plenty of food, friendly staff and fun activities to keep the kids occupied all day long. Did I mention that kids receive free admission and there are free kids activities on family weekends. Amazing! It really turned out to be quite the day.  Let’s take a closer look.The drive to Del Mar is pretty easy since it is situated right along the coast and parking was a breeze too.  They even have a cute little tram that drives you to the entrance.
Once you’ve arrived there are plenty of options to keep you entertained. I am a foodie so I always check out the food situation first. I was not disappointed. There were plenty of great options for dining including nine seated restaurants quite a few that even offered track-side dining. For the fancier restaurants and the Turf Club you must make reservations and abide by the dress code. We left those options to be explored at another time when we were sans kids. Today was all about soaking up the family day fun! So, we headed to the concession stands where they have everything from fresh caesar salad and gyros to hamburgers, corn dogs and cheese on a stick.
After filling our bellies we had fun walking around checking out the gorgeous paintings of past champion horses in the halls. There were also artists with equine art on display and gorgeous hats for the ladies.  My daughter who happens to be a horse lover could have stayed there for hours. The boys, on the other hand, had seen the inflatable jumpers across the track and they were ready to go play.
So, our next stop was the infield where the family area was located. I was a bit leery about what types of activities would be on the other side of the tunnel and if the free price tag could really be true.To my pleasant surprise there were a ton of fantastic activities and they were all free of charge.  Just a few tip jars should you feel obliged.
My boys wasted no time running over to the giant inflatable slides and competing with each other on the obstacle course. I appreciated that the staff had separate inflatables for the babies. (Our youngest was able to jump with kids her own size in the bounce house.) My daughter made a beeline to the pony rides where the most gentle and well groomed ponies stood waiting for her.
Next up were airbrushed tattoos and caricatures. I mean seriously guys: all free! Crazy! The wonderful caricature artist actually holds the World Record for Caricatures. He said he drew 45,000 caricatures while working at Disney over a five-year period. No amateur artist here. Impressive!
We peeled the kids away from the activities once the racing started. We watched a few races on the infield where there are several picnic benches and grass areas along the fence. It is actually a great view. Alternatively, there was also a bar area with tables under the shade and a giant tv screen should you want to let the kids run free and hang out to watch the races there.
After watching a few races we decided we wanted to head over towards the crowds in the stands.  The excitement as the horses galloped past and the crowd started cheering was contagious! And, we wanted in on it!The kids found a spot right on the fence directly in front of the finish line. We watched race after race in that spot because the kids loved calling out the winner. We put a little bit of money down so the kids could take in the whole experience. They chose their horses and winners received a snow cone! Okay, everyone received a snow cone but you get the point. We were having fun!

I would highly recommend the Del Mar Racetrack to my own friends and family.  Not only is it a great destination for locals but I think the track is equally as great for families passing through the San Diego area on vacation.  The track was affordable and it made for an entire afternoon of fun.  Plus, the fact that Seabiscuit once took the win there by a nose back in 1939 is pretty cool too!

The Del Mar Racetrack is open mid July- early September.  Races run five days a week Wednesday– Sunday with the first post at 2pm except on Fridays when it begins at 4pm.  Click here for upcoming events or to purchase admission tickets.
Must Pack:
  • Camera
  • Bottled water (bottles at the track are $3+)
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Picnic Blanket if you want to sit and watch the races from the family area
  • Comfy shoes (not heels like I wore)
  • Tip money


Del Mar Del Mar is located just west of I-5 freeway at the Via de la Valle exit in Del Mar CA at
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.


Amber enjoyed tickets to the racetrack as guests of Del Mar for the purpose of review.