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San Diego With Kids – Attractions For Varied Interests

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Beautiful beaches, parks, museums, year-round outdoor activities and mild weather have earned San Diego the nickname of “America’s Finest City.”  Visiting San Diego with kids offers plenty of attractions to satisfy everyone in the family with varying interests including those hard-to-please teenagers.

Outdoor Enthusiasts

Water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, para-sailing and surfing are common sights around the city. There are also plenty of hiking trails with local favorites like Torrey Pines, miles of bike trails along the ocean and championship golf courses. Our 70 miles of coastline makes it easy for some beach fun. Kid-friendly beaches include Carlsbad, Coronado and La Jolla.

History and Museum Buffs

San Diego is a city of diverse cultures and rich in Spanish history.  Old Town is recognized as California’s birthplace, being the site of the first Spanish mission. Many of the buildings here are original or reconstructed from the 1800s including the area’s first public school and courthouse. We love the parks, shopping, free entertainment and some of the best Mexican food we’ve tasted.

Balboa Park is America’s largest urban cultural park with 15 varied museums, theaters and gardens set amidst Spanish colonial architecture. This is one of our favorite places for a leisurely stroll.  The Botanical Building houses more than 2,100 permanent plants (including Venus fly-traps) and is a lovely place for kids to enjoy.

San Diego with Kids - Balboa Park Botanical Building

Balboa Park Botanical Building.

For kids who love aircrafts, the USS Midway Museum is nirvana. The longest serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier is now a museum displaying 50 years of military and aviation history. Kids can climb aboard the cockpits and play with all the buttons.  The free, self-guided, audio tours are a wonderful way to learn its history and see how the sailors lived on this floating city.  My kids love the Junior Pilot Program which is a fun way to tour the museum.

Animal and Nature Lovers

SeaWorld, the world famous San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park are filled with exotic animals, shows and interactive displays. The zoo has 4,000 animals including the largest panda collection outside China and a children’s petting zoo. The Safari Park’s 25-minute tram tour explores animals roaming freely in simulated Africa.

Cabrillo National Moment has lookout spots for whales migrating from December to April. We love exploring the tide pools.  Check the low tide schedules when the ocean reveals an array of amazing creatures. La Jolla Cove is a haven for sea lion and harbor seals for everyone to admire. The Birch Aquarium nearby offers hand-on exhibits and view a 70,000 gallon giant kelp forest.

Amusement Park Fanatics

Legoland has over 50 LEGO-themed rides, shows, Miniland USA (seven U.S. cities in Legos) and play areas.  The adjacent water park’s 45-foot-tall tower is a big hit for some fun in the sun and my kids’ favorite summer hangout.  Belmont Park is a beachfront amusement park with traditional rides and carnival games along Mission Beach.

San Diego with Kids - Legoland Miniland USA New York

New York built out of Legos at Legoland Miniland USA.

San Diego appeals to kids of all ages no matter what activities you prefer.  Its diverse attractions show why it’s consistently ranked as a top family-friendly destination.

You may also enjoy:

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  • Holiday Fun in San Diego with Kids

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Mary lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 13 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in the U.S. territory…

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