Whether you have family visiting for the holidays or just want to spend some great time together with your kiddos this winter, here are some of my favorite wintertime activities in San Diego for you to enjoy.
1. San Diego Zoo – the zoo is great all year, of course. But their festive “Jungle Bells” held in December through early January is a fun wintertime activity for the family. They have beautiful decorations throughout the park as well as nightly lighting ceremonies and enrichment activities with the animals. Holiday-themed entertainment is also going on.
2. Tidepooling – I love exploring and discovering the various tide pools in San Diego and am always awed by the creatures we find creeping and hiding there. From brittle stars to chitons to mollusks and sea anemones, the tide pools are a great way to spend a couple hours this winter. Some of our favorite places are La Jolla, Point Loma, and Tourmaline Surf Beach. Check a tide calendar for the lowest tides; a negative tide is best.
3. Hiking – coolor temperatures, but still beautiful days, are a great time to be out hiking along one of San Diego’s trails. Torrey Pines has trails with spectacular views of the ocean. The wildlife and beauty of the Mission Trails Regional Park makes for a fun family day outdoors. Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and other local trails are great for an easy, short hike to stroll along. The San Elijo Lagoon, while not as much of a hike as a stroll, is also a great place to see wildlife.
4. Whale Watching – the annual gray whale migration passing through the waters near San Diego is an exciting event of nature. Go to Point Loma and watch from shore (and also get in a visit to the lighthouse and Cabrillo National Monument) or book a whale watching cruise. The Birch Aquarium combines with Flagship Cruises hosts a great whale watching experience.
5. Ice Skating – We don’t get snow here in San Diego, but there is plenty of ice made especially for that favorite wintertime activity – ice skating. Try the Sycuan’s Outdoor Rink at Horton Square or Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink – the biggest outdoor ice rink in Southern California! The Hotel del Coronado also hosts a rink this time of year right out by the beach!
6. Visit the Olympic Training Center – while this isn’t just a wintertime activity, with the Winter Olympics taking place in February 2014, it would be a great time to visit the center and learn more about where some of America’s best athletes train. Read more ideas for watching the Olympics as a family and cheering on Team USA!
7. Mormon Battalion Commemoration Event – every January in Old Town, a celebration is held commemorating the history of the Mormon Battalion coming to San Diego. With great activities for the kids – bread making, quilting, making bricks, marching in the battalion, and more – it is always a fun family activity. This year’s event will be held on January 25, 2014 beginning at 10 am.
8. 50% off Museums in February – pick up your pass from Macy’s and get 50% museum entrance fees for the whole family throughout February. We always love visiting museums that may have been a bit too pricey for the whole family to go to or we’re not sure if it will be a favorite or not, so it is nice to get in for half price!
9. Visit Julian – head to a higher altitude for some colder temperatures and that wintery mountain feel by visiting Julian. Grab some pie and hot cider while you are there and relax.
10. The Beach – can you ever go wrong at the beach? Walking along the beach always soothes me. Or on some of our warm winter days at 70 degrees, you can easily spend some time at the beach. You may need a sweatshirt, but digging in the sand on a winter day is a luxury most of the country doesn’t get!