While San Diego is known for its family fun amusement parks (Sea World, Legoland, Zoo and Safari Park, to name a few!), there are a great many other family-friendly, fun, and less-expensive options to enjoy this beautiful area. With spring just around the corner and plenty of gorgeous days to be outside, try out one of these adventures with your family.
1. Hiking – No matter the age of your kids, you can find trails at the level you need from the miles and miles of trails around San Diego. Enjoy a short walk or pack a lunch and make a day of it. Some of our favorite areas to hike are Los Penasquitos Canyon Reserve, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and Mission Trails Regional Park. From spectacular ocean views to spotting coyotes and hawks, each hike has offered us a great experience out in nature.
2. Tide Pooling – The coast of San Diego is rich in sea life, from brittle stars and octopus to crabs and sea stars. We’ve seen things I didn’t even know existed, such as chiton and keyhole limpets. Our favorite tide pool is Tourmaline Surfing Beach. La Jolla Tide Pools and Carillo National Monument tide pools are also great to visit. Read more about tide pooling here.
3. San Diego Botanic Garden – This beautiful urban oasis on 37 acres inspires its visitors to connect with nature. Located in Encinitas, you can stroll along the gardens – organized by parts of the world – observing the wondrous diversity of plants. The two children’s gardens are a must-visit with a tree house, dinosaur garden, crafts and more.
4. Birch Aquarium – Being right at the coast, a nice day makes me want to enjoy the coastal life. In addition to tide pooling, the Birch Aquarium is a great place to visit and learn about the marine life around San Diego. Birch Aquarium also teamed up with Flagship Cruises for Whale Watching excursions in the winter when the gray whales migrate down to warmer waters for birthing and mating. Take advantage of this great educational and fun resource.
5. Lake Miramar – This is a great place to be outdoors – walking, riding scooters, biking. There are areas to barbecue and picnic tables. Enjoy an afternoon here in the Scripps Ranch area and look for ducks, squirrels, geese, do some bird watching. The full circle around the lake is about 5 miles. You can also do some fishing here.
Put on some comfortable clothes and good shoes and head out on the next beautiful day in San Diego!