We recently had a couple days of 90-degree weather. What could I do but take my kids to the beach? It was gorgeous. It gave me a taste of summer. I haven’t fully recovered from it. Summer is calling me, and I can’t wait! San Diego has plenty of great things to do and places to go to fill your summer with memories. Here is a list of free – or mostly free – family activities to enjoy this summer.
* The beach. It honestly doesn’t get much better than that. Digging in the sand, riding the waves, kids running free, lying back with a good book in your hands listening to the waves rolling in. Heaven. Go to the beach. Go often. Spend the day. Even the night. Gather friends, family and firewood for a beach bonfire at one of San Diego County’s bonfire-friendly beaches. They are located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
* Sunsets and stargazing. The beautiful natural setting of La Jolla Cove is a magnificent place to watch the sun set. Stargaze on the first Wednesday of every month from the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park during “Gazin’ with the Experts.” Members of the San Diego Astronomy Association set up huge telescopes and offer guests a great view of the moon, planets and brighter stars.
* Watch a movie. Free summer movies in the park all summer long in parks all around San Diego. See a complete schedule here. Or for just $1, Regal Cinemas offers two movie options on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 am. See their schedule here.
* Go Out to Dinner. Kids Eat Free at many restaurants around San Diego on certain nights or with an adult purchase.
* Attend a free summer concert. Balboa Park has a great line up of music for Twilight in the Park on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6:15-7:15 p.m. Here is their complete listing for this summer. You can also enjoy Coronado’s Summer Concert Series in Spreckels Park on Sunday evenings throughout the summer. The first and third Sundays of the month, you can also browse the work of San Diego artists at the Art-in-the-Park event.
* Enjoy a hike. San Diego has beautiful trails for hiking. With nearly 6,000 acres, Mission Trails Regional Park has oer 40 miles of trails and a variety of guided nature walks. During the summer months, the park leads summer twilight walks and “Nature Club,” a free program designed for children ages 8 to 12 that includes hiking and other nature related activities. Take a drive up to Mt. Laguna for a picnic or a hike. Torrey Pines Reserve also has coastline hiking with spectacular views.
* Visit tide pools. Get some tips on visiting the tide pools around San Diego. La Jolla and Point Loma are both popular tide pooling locations.
* Check out the La Mesa Car Show along La Mesa Boulevard in the village of La Mesa every Thursday night during June through August. In addition to vintage cars on display, guests can enjoy shopping, dining and live music.
* Visit Seaport Village. Take a summer weekend to window shop, stroll, and appreciate the free entertainment. Watch the boats and gaze out at the beautiful San Diego Bay.
* Wander through Old Town. I love the history and culture of Old Town. You can visit museums, which are free to the public. Get some great Mexican food at one of the many restaurants, some of which offer kids to eat free. Visit the Old Town House of Jerky and Root Beer and grab a soda from one of 75 options. The Mormon Battalion Historic Site is free to visit and is an entertaining look at history.
Start your summer planning. There is much to do that you don’t want to miss out on! I don’t know about you, but summer seems to go by too quickly each year. So check out some of these fun, free activities and have a great summer with your family.
Other ideas for summer in San Diego: