Family vacation destination: San Diego

If you’re looking for a family vacation destination, why not consider San Diego? The southern California city is known for having great weather and beaches, along with a laid-back atmosphere.

There are a few downsides—for example, San Diego is one of the most congested cities in the country as far as traffic and roadways. San Diego is also a pretty expensive destination, which is true for most of California.

If you can avoid roadways during rush hour and set a budget, San Diego is a great travel destination when you have kids.

The following are a few things to know about San Diego, especially when it comes to travel.


The Basics

San Diego is a beautiful city, with plenty of hotels and other options geared toward tourists. There’s a lot of history in addition to the things you might first associate with the city, like the beaches.

The weather is one of the best parts of visiting. San Diego has one of the best climates in the country. It’s sunny throughout the year, and in the winter, you can expect temperatures in the upper 70s, while in the summer, the highs are usually mild and in the upper 70s.

Much of the culture and activities in San Diego revolve around the water. For example, San Diego is home to the Star of India, which is the oldest sailing ship still active. You can take the San Diego SEALS tour on a hydra-terra vehicle that will take you from the street to the water.

There are around 70 miles of shoreline in the city, and most are beautiful beaches.

The History

We don’t often think about San Diego as being rich in history, but in reality, it is. San Diego has centuries of history you can enjoy. If you visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park, you can learn a little more. This is a 1,200-acre cultural park in an urban area. There are 2.5 million images in the exhibit and 45 million pieces highlighting the history of San Diego.


Kid-Friendly Attractions

There are so many kid-friendly attractions in San Diego that it would be hard to name them all here, but some options include:

  • Old Town, California, is the birthplace of modern California. Old Town is where the original Spanish settlers arrived in 1769, and they built the first of the missions in the state. There are 15 historic buildings in Old Town, and you can take a narrated trolley tour.
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve has eight hiking trails to choose from, including Beach Trail, with cliff views of the Pacific. There’s also an easier option, which is the Guy Fleming Trail, ideal if you have young children.
  • La Jolla cove has designer shopping and high-end dining, but you can also enjoy the outdoors, and there’s often live music on Scripps Parkway. There are sea cliffs to walk along, and you can see the California Harbor Seals on the beach at Children’s Pool. Children’s Pool is a small cove protected by a breaker.
  • The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is ideal for learning more about sea life and conservation efforts, and you can get up close with sea creatures, including petting some of the sea stars.
  • You can’t miss the San Diego Zoo on a trip to the city. It’s one of the world’s most famous zoos, and you can take a double-decker bus tour to get a lay of the land. You can learn more about conservation efforts happening at the zoos, and if your budget allows, you can sign up for a private tour.
  • The Fleet Science Center is in Balboa Park, featuring exhibits on various topics, and is also home to a massive IMAX theater.
  • Legoland California is in San Diego, and so is Sea World.
  • Don’t miss the beach. We’ve talked about it a few times, but the beaches are perfect for families and free.
USS Midway

When you’re planning a family-friendly trip to San Diego, make sure you think about the season. If you go during the low season, you’re going to get better rates and smaller crowds. In San Diego, October is usually the off-season.

There’s also so much to do that it can be a good idea to plan ahead before your trip, to make sure you get to everything you want to do. If you buy tickets to attractions in advance, you’ll be able to skip the lines and save some money.