Family travel in San Diego, CA
Balboa Park, the nation's largest cultural park, includes 15 major museums, performing arts venues, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. While it's a popular tourist destination, local moms also know Balboa Park is a great place to take the kids. Check out the website for an online calendar of events. Don't forget that on the first four Tuesdays of each month, local San Diego residents gain free admission to different museums, including kid favorites such as the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center, The Model Railroad Museum and the Air and Space Museum. Pack a picnic and make a day of it - your family will enjoy the beautiful grounds.
Get ready for an ocean view from atop a roller coaster. Belmont Park is a tree-lined amusement park on the coast featuring bumper cars, arcade games, thrill rides and the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Admission and parking is free and families can enjoy traditional and contemporary amusement park rides, play mini golf, test their skill at arcade and midway style games, shop and indulge in a wide array of cuisine throughout the park which includes beachfront restaurants as well as a food court. There is even an athletic club offering swimming, indoor cycling, free weights, cardio equipment, personal training and group fitness.
The Birch Aquarium features exciting exhibits, kelp feeding shows, shark reefs and more. One great aspect of the Birch Aquarium that many visitors like is the size -- it’s small! Not too small so as to limit your experience, but it’s not overwhelmingly large, either. The Birch Aquarium is great for tots and tweens alike, and locals will enjoy reasonable annual pass rates that can be purchased at a discount for the whole family. Bonus: Four free guest passes. Moms, if you’re having a tired day, you can grab a cup of coffee along with lunch for your kids at the outdoor café.
Boomers! San Diego offers family fun with attractions such as Batting Cages, Flame Thrower Thrill Ride, miniature golf, go karts, arcade, bumper boats and kid’s county fair. At day at Boomers might begin by boarding a bumper boat for a cruise and some bumping fun, then launching a sneak attack with a built-in water cannon. Later, take in the view from the giant Ferris wheel or rev your engine on the go karts. Next, practice sinking putts on the lush yet hazardous greens of the miniature golf course. There are snack bars available and Boomers! San Diego is open all year round.
Locals who enjoy being outdoors and immersed in nature know that Cabrillo National Monument is a great place to spend an afternoon. San Diego visitors will appreciate the experience of Cabrillo. The views are beautiful, there are plenty of fun activities and in January and February, you might get lucky and spot whales off the coast. Don’t forget that your kids can participate in the Junior Ranger Program, which allows them to learn more about the history of the park and earn a badge! Check our Dog's Day out guide for info on bringing your dog to Cabrillo National Monument.