10 Best Family Friendly Things to Do in San Diego

San Diego is a thriving metropolis of over one million inhabitants located on California’s southwestern tip. And when I say southwest, I’m serious. Take time to enjoy these activities under the warm beautiful San Diego sun. Here are the ten best family friendly things to do in San Diego when visiting.

San Diego is located on the Pacific Ocean’s shore and is just a twenty-minute drive from Mexico. San Diego is the most southwestern city in the United States, located around 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of Los Angeles and adjacent to the Mexican border.

Also, San Diego is one of the best places to go for a drink with a view, I wrote a post about the best rooftop bars in San Diego

Things to Do in San Diego

It’s a fantastic city to visit. First of all, the city is located in the sun-drenched state of California and enjoys a pleasant year-round climate. The city has a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. It has plenty to offer everyone, whether they enjoy outdoor activities, cultural events, or simply having fun. This city has many intriguing locations to explore, as well as some hidden gems worth discovering.  

With that being said, here are the ten best things to do when visiting beautiful San Diego:

1. Cruises, Sailing, and Water Tours

San Diego is all about boats. It not only has the third-largest harbor on the West Coast, but it also has the largest artificial aquatic park in the United States. With so much bay and ocean on offer, there are plenty of possibilities to get out there. Interact with whales. Organize a romantic sunset cruise to celebrate your relationship. Experience the past in a new way. Dinner will be served on the water. Cast your line and fish till the sun goes down. Whatever your passion, there’s a saltwater adventure out there for you.

The view of San Diego’s cityscape and waterways from the gorgeous San Diego port is not to be missed while on a cruise from the scenic San Diego harbor. Here are your alternatives for experiencing San Diego from the ocean, whether you want adventure and speed or leisure and luxury.

2. Museum and Historical Sights Tours 

San Diego, founded in 1769, is noted for its deep roots and rich history. Its illustrious history is thoroughly chronicled and celebrated through many historic sites, neighborhoods, landmarks, and museums. As one of the city’s most beautiful features, these gorgeously ancient locations offer an excellent opportunity to spend a day visiting while also being budget-friendly. History buffs and fans of all things spectacular will be spoiled for choice regarding fascinating regions and venues to visit. Here are five museums and five historical sights in San Diego for you to explore

Historical Places

  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Old Town San Diego
  • Mission San Luis Rey
  • Whaley House
  • Cabrillo National Monument


  • USS Midway Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • Museum of Us

These locations are breathtaking and full of richness that mirrors San Diego’s history. It is quite a change of ambiance and a break from water and beaches.

3. Water Sports and Activities 

If you love the sea and sports, San Diego is the place for you. San Diego boasts a variety of water sports and activities that will surely captivate anybody. No shortage of parks will surely offer a pleasurable experience for you. Some of these activities are

These activities are refreshing and recreational, do it once, then think of the experience for a lifetime. Although in these kinds of extraneous activities, you need to have a lot of caution. If all else fails and an accident happens, immediately seek help, and do not forget that you can get in touch with an accident lawyer in San Diego anytime.

4. Food and Drink Tasting

San Diego’s Spanish heritage and proximity to Mexico result in delicious cuisine. We’re talking about the best fish tacos, carne asada, and enchiladas in town.

These recipes are supported by ultra-fresh ingredients cultivated locally, such as avocados, tomatoes, eggplant, and fruit.

San Diego’s craft beer sector is something to be reckoned with. The Toronado craft tavern (56 rotating draughts) and the multi-award-winning Societe and Ballast Point production breweries should be on any beer enthusiast’s itinerary.

  • Some of the must-try foods are
  • Carne asada fries
  • California burritos
  • Fish tacos
  • Pork Sandwiches
  • Acai Bowls

These foods will stimulate your palates, which you would want to eat more.

5. San Diego Zoo Tour

The San Diego Zoo, founded in 1915 by physician Harry M. Wegeforth after being inspired by a lion’s roar at the Panama-California Exposition, is regarded among the best globally and houses over 650 species.

It is among the first zoos to construct cageless exhibits, and it housed the world’s first moated lion enclosure in 1922. You may beat the heat by taking a guided tour bus covering three-quarters of the park or the Skyfari tramway constructed in 1969. Like those at zoos, the enclosures correspond to natural environments. 

There’s African rainforest for gorillas, some of the world’s largest free-flight aviaries, and Arctic woodland and tundra for polar bears.

The Giant Panda Discovery Center contains clever multisensory exhibits explaining how these species sound and smell. The San Diego Zoo is one of only four zoos in the United States that house Giant Pandas in the Panda Trek.

6. Comic-Con

About 150,000 people attend this yearly pop-culture festival that began in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention with 200 comic book fans.

Comic-Con (roughly speaking) is a four-day extravaganza of seminars, panel Q&As, table reads, workshops, gaming events, award ceremonies, as well as an independent short film festival, collectibles market, studio/TV company trade exhibition, and a cosplay contest held at the San Diego Convention Center.

And whereas the festival’s early years were limited to comics, Comic-Con now embraces practically all forms of entertainment, with a minor emphasis on comics and anime.

7. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

A magnificent 68-acre park protects rough-hewn seaside bluffs, caverns, natural arches, and tidepools on Point Loma’s west flank.

There is no mystery to the name, as there may not be a better place to watch the sunset within close reach of downtown San Diego.

As with many high vantage sites around the Southern California coast, there is a decent chance of spotting gray whales in December and April December, and April.

The landscape along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard between Adair Street and Ladera Street is breathtaking.

8. Mission Trails Regional Park Tour

This massive 5,800-acre natural preserve is located to the northeast of San Diego. It is the sixth-largest municipal park in the United States.

Sixty miles of established hiking, cycling, and horseback riding routes wind through this rugged wilderness of scrubby hills and valleys. Also, San Diego is well known for being one of the best RV parks in the United States.

One route will take you to the peak of Cowles Mountain, San Diego’s highest point at 486 meters and with a view of San Diego County that is worth the climb.

The Old Mission Dam, a National Historic Landmark, is also a fascinating element of San Diego’s early history. The dam spanned the San Diego River to irrigate Mission San Diego de Alcalá farms.

This modest structure is the earliest colonial irrigation project on the Pacific coast of the United States.

Related Read: Hikes with Waterfalls in San Diego

9. San Diego Ghost Tours

A ghost tour might be for you if you’re interested in the city’s more eerie side. The city of San Diego is said to be one of the most haunted on the west coast. These excursions take you throughout the city to various haunted spots and offer ghost stories.

Even if you’re not interested in ghosts, these excursions can teach you about the city’s past. The tours feature more than just ghost stories; they also provide a lot of natural history about the city and the allegedly haunted structures.

10. Swimming

Throughout the year, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health monitors 81 coastal beaches throughout the county. San Diego Coastkeeper samples each weekly beach updates the water quality, and issues advisories via the Swim Guide app and website.

San Diego Coastkeeper strives to improve the water quality of the San Diego Bay and the health of all of San Diego County’s coastal watersheds. San Diego Coastkeeper protects the county’s seas from urban runoff, marine trash, and toxins from beyond the border.

San Diego is the ideal destination to go swimming, surfing, and so much more, thanks to its pleasant weather, sunny coasts, and the enticing waves of the Pacific Ocean beckoning from the shoreline.

Here are the best beaches to visit in San Diego

  • La Jolla Cove Beach
  • Coronado Beach
  • Pacific Beach
  • Flat Rock Beach
  • Ocean Beach City Beach
  • La Jolla Shores Beach
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
  • South Mission Beach.

As you can see, San Diego has a lot of fun and interesting things to do. San Diego has something for everyone, from amusement parks to beaches to La Jolla kayaking tours. So, if you’re planning a trip, don’t forget to check out these fantastic attractions. Enjoy the trip and make sure to have all the traveling necessities you need. Related Read: Things to Know About Surfing in San Diego

BONUS – Rent A Yacht!

During the sunny summer months in San Diego there’s no better way to experience the beautiful weather than by renting a yacht. Feeling the warm sun on your skin and the moisture of the Pacific ocean is an invigorating feeling everyone should try. Triton Yacht Rental is the best we found and offers both the option to book the yacht privately or ticketed cruises for a more affordable taste of luxury. The Triton catamaran yacht is a whopping 75 feet long, and has a dance floor, 13 seat bar, and super fun add-ons like jet skis, waterslides, and more. If renting a yacht has been on your bucket list, San Diego is the place to check it off!

Last Updated on August 2, 2023

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