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What Is There to Do in San Diego with Children?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 16, 2024
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Just two hours south of Los Angeles and across the border from Mexico, San Diego is the seventh largest city in the United States. With beautiful weather, miles of beaches, and a low-key atmosphere, it can be wonderful to visit San Diego with children. There are tons of activities that will keep both you and them entertained through your entire visit.

One of the best places to visit with children is the famous San Diego Zoo. The zoo is home to more than 800 species of exotic animals, including pandas, flamingos, and many others. Both adults and children will have a great time visiting the zoo, and can easily spend an entire day there.

Another great tourist attraction that's suitable for children is the Legoland® Park, which is half an hour outside of the city. With more than 50 different rides and attractions, children will have a blast riding on roller coasters and playing games. You'll also enjoy seeing the model of the Las Vegas Strip, made entirely out of Legos®.

Another great place to visit is Sea World San Diego, where you and your kids can see shows with trained dolphins, whales, seals, and more. When you visit Sea World San Diego with children, you can also check out a wide variety of roller coasters and fun rides for all ages.

Another great activity for people visiting San Diego is simply to take advantage of the area's natural beauty. The area has miles of beautiful beaches, where kids can make sand castles or go swimming. There are also many beautiful parks, such as Anza Borrega Desert State Park, where visiting families can go for hikes on some of the park's more gentle paths.

There are also many great restaurants available for people visiting San Diego with children. For dessert, ice cream parlors like the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop will satisfy any kid's sweet tooth — and adults too. Traveling with kids can often be difficult, but with all the activities that the city has to offer, visiting San Diego should be a fun adventure for any family.

Considering San Diego vacations is an excellent choice for families seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation. The city's abundance of family-friendly activities extends well beyond its famous attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland®, and Sea World. San Diego's unique charm lies in its ability to offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring the vibrant cultural scene to relaxing on its picturesque beaches. Whether you're seeking thrilling amusement parks, educational experiences, or just a serene spot by the sea, San Diego caters to all, making it an ideal family vacation destination.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By irontoenail — On May 10, 2012

@croydon - You really have to be very prepared if you're going to take kids to the zoo. Particularly if you're using public transport, but I would take a car if at all possible.

Food and drinks and things are expensive and not great quality (not San Diego particularly, just all zoos in general), so try to bring your own snacks and things. You also need sunblock, hats, jackets, and so forth.

That zoo, as you say, is not a half day event. The last time I was there I didn't manage to see the whole thing even though I was there from the opening hour. With kids it's even worse.

So, just don't plan to do, say Sea World and the Zoo on the same day, it's just not feasible.

By croydon — On May 10, 2012

I had no idea that San Diego was the 7th largest city in the USA. It doesn't not come across that way at all when you are visiting.

I went there almost a decade ago as part of a backpacking trip around the United States and it was one of the cleanest, friendliest places I visited. You can have a lot of fun in San Diego.

It was almost too easy, as it was one of the first places I went and it didn't really prepare me for the rest of the country (Los Angeles soon took care of that problem!)

I had to take public transport out to the zoo and I remember it was relatively comfortable and quick, although that might have been specifically for the tourist areas.

The zoo itself is great, although to be honest, I wouldn't call it the best in the country. I saw a few others that I enjoyed more.

It was enormous though and the hummingbird walk through enclosure was one of the best things I did through the whole trip. I know kids would absolutely love it, although you'd have to be very careful they wouldn't try to catch the birds or anything.

By somerset — On Feb 23, 2008

A good place to take children to is Point Loma state park. You can take a walk, check out the light house and admire the beauty of Pacific Ocean and San Diego.

If you are lucky, during winter months you might even catch a glimpse of whales migrating south toward Baja California.

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