San Diego is a perfect family destination teeming with fun and exciting activities and world-renowned tourist attractions for kids of all ages. The weather is so close to perfect, having sunny skies all year round match with a laidback vibe custom-made for families with kids. With over 70 miles of stunning coastlines, dozens of public parks and playgrounds, hiking trails, amusement parks, museums, and more, there’s no shortage of fun things to do with kids in San Diego!
If you’re planning a family day out with kids in tow, we’re here to help. We’ve prepared a great lineup of fun things to do with kids in San Diego, guaranteed to keep them entertained and engaged all day long. No matter what time of the year you take the road trip to San Diego, your kids will indeed have a blast at these fun activities and unique attractions!
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 239-0512
If you’re tired of hearing your kids saying, “I’m bored!” – come to Balboa Park. There’s always something new to see, do, or discover here. It is the largest urban cultural park with so many attractions kids will love — home to 16 museums, beautiful gardens, the San Diego Zoo, restaurants, and performing arts. It’s free to enter, although tickets are required for the museums.
Balboa Park is a special place for families to spend time together with a wide variety of attractions and 1,200 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Kids get crazy about cars, trains, planes or dinosaurs, planets or sports or art, flowers, and animals and will all find something to savor during a day in the park. For more information, please visit their website.
3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
Phone Number: (858) 488-1549
It’s time for that classic boardwalk experience with Belmont Park – so get ready to have fun. San Diego’s premiere beachfront amusement center has everything from rides and games to shops and oceanfront restaurants – something for the entire family on that next family day out. There are bumper cars for the family, vertical plunges, submarines, and even those classic carousels!
The park’s most distinctive attraction, the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, is one of two original oceanfront roller coasters still operating on the west coast. The Giant Dipper was originally built in 1925 and has recently been restored for all to experience the excitement of its quick drops, steep hills, sharp curves, and high speeds. For more information, please visit their website.
2211 Pacific Beach Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
Phone Number: (858) 581-4200
If you are looking to extend your family day out in the Mission Bay area, then Campland might just be for you. It is conveniently located right on the shores of Mission Bay, and they are right near some of the area’s most popular attractions, such as San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and Seaworld. Campland has a range of campsites, from primitive to full hook-up, so whatever type of holiday you want, they can accommodate!
As a campground, they have everything you would need to have a comfortable stay. They are a family-friendly campground with bathrooms and showers, laundry facilities, wifi, and a restaurant. There are many activities for kids during your stay in San Diego. Those active kids will love the sports like volleyball and basketball – there is even a skatepark. For more information, please visit their website.
2385 Camino Del Rio N., San Diego, CA 92108
Phone Number: (619) 432-4359
Sky diving is one of the most fun activities for kids in San Diego, and you don’t even need a plane. With indoor skydiving facilities like iFLY, you can experience all of the thrills with none of the risk. The secret lies in their wind tunnel. Built with revolutionary technology, it mimics a death-defying dive’s sounds, speeds, and sensations, but you’ll just float in an enclosed tunnel.
Kids and adults are both welcome at iFLY, and there will even be flight instructors nearby to supervise. There are some age restrictions for very young children, but even if they aren’t allowed in the wind tunnel, they can appreciate the demonstrations, snacks, simulations, and more. For more information, please visit their website.
1640 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone Number: (619) 216-0199
Who wants to spend the day outside in that San Diego sunshine with kids with so many fun activities such as climbing, running, crawling, and sliding through super enjoyable and colorful bounce houses? Inflatable World is San Diego’s only outdoor inflatable amusement park. Imagine sliding down a huge towering slide or making your way through a challenging obstacle course. It’s an excellent way for kids to stay active and get that fresh air.
This bouncy amusement park has an impressive 35,000 square feet of a playground with a whole range of fun and safe activities for those active kids of all ages. If you have little ones in the family, you will love the new Toddler Zone, which has four fun inflatable attractions just for those tiny active tots under four years old. For more information, please visit their website.
2499 Pan American Rd. E, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 232 – 2721
It’s always fun to find an oasis right in the heart of a city – and in San Diego, you will find the Japanese Friendship Garden. This beautiful garden will introduce kids to not only some beautiful colors and scents but a different culture and community than what they might typically know. You can experience culture with Koto & Shakuhachi performances or attend an Ikebana class, where beginners or advanced students can learn this beautiful gardening tradition.
The garden, of course, also has beautiful collections of plants, including that iconic bonsai. In addition, the Japanese Friendship Garden has a host of exhibits and events that are perfect for some family fun. The events can be found all year round and cover a range of activities. For more information, please visit their website.
2210 Columbia St., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 233-3898
You can smell the pasta and sauces and hear the drifting notes of violins in the air. This is Little Italy, located right in the heart of San Diego. You don’t have to travel to Europe for an authentic Italian experience. This bustling block offers everything from food to fashion for lovers of Italian culture, making it one of California’s most incredible places to visit.
There’s just something special about Little Italy. So, if you’re craving for some Italian cuisine, stop by for a deep-dish pizza with all the fixings. Learn the secrets of Italian cooking, breathe fresh air while you soak in the neighborhood’s history, and meet locals. For more information, please visit their website.
1 Father Junipero Serra Trl., San Diego, CA 92119
Phone Number: (619) 668-3281
A hike in Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the best things to do with kids in San Diego. The whole preserve spans more than 8,000 acres, depending on where you enter. You can see everything from bare, rocky cliffs to green fields bursting with life. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the wide range of activities offered at the park.
You can walk on the trails or bike along the river. Families with kids can also camp in the mountains or go picnicking in the plains. There are even areas for horseback riding if you want to try some fun vacation activities that you can’t get at home. For more information, please visit their website.
Newport Ave., San Diego, CA 92107
Phone Number: (619) 224-4906
Ocean Beach invites you to visit and enjoy their beaches, pier and boardwalk, outdoor activities, nature and parks, sights and landmarks, and more. The beaches offer a slight variety of styles depending on what you are looking for. The beach scene includes a secluded beach, a surfing-only beach, a swimming-only beach, and a dog beach. Ocean Beach is such a famous place in San Diego that its residents have their name: “OBceans” or “OBecians.”
The main draw of Ocean Beach is its potential for a shopping extravaganza. Hundreds of vendors call it home, most of which are small, independent retailers selling books, flowers, furniture, jewelry, baked goods, antique collectibles, and all the kitschy souvenirs you could ever need. Come to Ocean Beach and experience fabulous attractions for kids in this eclectic, authentic beach town in San Diego. For more information, please visit their website.
3940 Hortensia St., Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone Number: (619) 656-4721
For a taste of history, head to Old Town San Diego. This area was the first European settlement in California, and today it is home to various shops, restaurants, and museums. Kids will love seeing the historic buildings and riding the Old Town Trolley. Be sure to visit the San Diego History Center, which tells the story of the city from its earliest inhabitants to the present day.
Old Town San Diego offers family-friendly fun without a ticket. Families can even visit the Whaley House – one of the most incredible attractions for kids in San Diego and one of the country’s best haunted houses. With pedestrian-only streets and charming walks throughout, Old Town San Diego will be both educational and entertaining. For more information, please visit their website.
100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 795-5025
Home to the San Diego Padres, Petco Park is a baseball stadium where you can take the whole family out to a ball game. It’s filled with state-of-the-art features that include everything from gigantic video boards to smaller HDTVs scattered around the bars and concession stands so that you’ll never miss a moment of the action. Go there to watch a game in the season, or you can also do a behind-the-scenes tour.
Baseball isn’t the only thing to enjoy at the stadium, either. It’s also been a place for rugby, basketball, golf, and tennis, as well as concerts and motorsports. There are great views of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline from the stadium. Long story short, there’s lots of stuff to do at Petco Park. For more information, please visit their website.
2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 234-8291
Are you ready to fly into your next family day out and explore all the fascinating exhibits and aircraft at the San Diego Air & Space Museum? This impressive museum is where you learn about and celebrate aviation and space flight history through several exhibits, presentations, and hands-on experiences. Kids can also be inspired by the men and women who forged aerospace history too!
You can go back through the history books with reproductions of the Wright Gliders from the turn of the century and even see an actual Apollo command module. Then, of course, you have the exhibit galleries, where kids can learn about World War II and World War I and aircraft and pilots’ roles in the conflicts. For more information, please visit their website.
1450 Harbor Island Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 294-5852
San Diego Speed Boat Adventures gives families a unique way to see and learn all about the fabulous city on the water — and fast! The fully narrated tour will take you 13 miles along the Big Bay. You will have amazing views of Navy Ships, the Coronado Bridge, and the USS Midway aircraft museum. Each boat can carry up to 3 persons, and they are super-quiet and eco-friendly, so all you have to think about is just enjoying the view.
You don’t need any experience, and you get to drive the boat yourself. If you’re over 18 years, you can be your own captain, and kids can enjoy the ride. Kids can also see the famous Star of India ship and the historic ships at the Maritime Museum. Don’t forget about the fantastic view of the San Diego skyline that you will see. For more information, please visit their website.
2500 Zoo Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 231-1515
Want to visit one of the world’s biggest and most popular zoos? Then head to San Diego! It is a fantastic zoo – filled with animals from around the world. Nearly 4,000 represent around 800 species, so you can see already how much of a great learning experience it will be for kids. San Diego Zoo is more than just learning and watching the animals – they have some great activities and attractions that the whole family will never forget!
Across the day, there are unique animal encounters, too, from petting paddocks to keeper talks – all great ways to experience the animals from a different point of view. Don’t forget about the new Tiger Trail with truly unique viewing opportunities, including a log walk challenge for aerial observation. For more information, please visit their website.
500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109
Phone Number: (619) 222-4732
SeaWorld lets you explore the magic of the creatures of our oceans – without having to go into the water. While you’re wet, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the other water ride – the exciting Journey to Atlantis. Enjoy the simulator of the Wild Arctic Ride and experience a part of the world that is so mysterious, or for those little kids, you can rock on the Rocking Eel or fly with Elmo.
Even more exciting activities for kids await at the newly opened Sesame Place San Diego. Here, you can enjoy seven Sesame Street-themed dry rides and an interactive musical play area. There are so many encounters, experiences, and fun moments to be had at SeaWorld – you will go away with lots of new friends. For more information, please visit their website.
1770 Village Pl., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 233-9050
The Spanish Village Art Center offers a sensational collection of art. For starters, it has a constant rotation of artists who work with felt, paint, metal, beads, photos, glass, and clay. There’s always something new to see and added attractions for kids, even if you’ve visited before, so the locals of San Diego enjoy it just as much as the tourists. Thanks to the diversity of its artists, there’s also a lot of variety in its subject matter.
The displays range from sharply critical contemporary paintings to soft and mellow vintage-style prints. A global atmosphere is very much present. Stop by the Spanish Village Art Center for a trip into the imaginations of diverse international artists. Take a stroll through its historic working studios featuring over 200 local artists of all different mediums. For more information, please visit their website.
200 W. Island Ave., San Diego, CA, 92101
Phone Number: (619) 233-8792
If you want to take the kids to a place where they can learn, have fun, and get creative all through unstructured play, you might want to head to the New Children’s Museum in San Diego. The museum was created so kids can play in an environment that encourages healthy bodies and active minds.
The museum is filled with fun exhibitions and installations that will entertain even the most curious. The exhibits change throughout the year, so there will be something new to return to each time. For those little ones under four years, the museum has its own Tot Studio, complete with a sensory-driven space. For more information, please visit their website.
1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 238-1233
Science can be fun, especially when you experience different attractions and activities for kids in San Diego like the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, where kids can learn through experiments, touching, feeling, using their imagination, and other activities. The center has over 100 fun and exciting interactive exhibits, which are all based around teaching children about science. Over eight galleries, the whole family can experience the wonders of science together!
The center also has the world’s FIRST IMAX Dome Theater, which gives you an amazing experience as you watch some of the world’s biggest films. It will give you the illusion of being suspended in space because of how the configuration wraps around you. For family fun, education, experiments, and interactive fun, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center should be on your list for your next family day out. For more information, please visit their website.
910 N Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 544-9600
Embark on an adventure at sea for the whole family. Prepare yourself for a lifetime memory aboard the USS Midway Museum. You’ll explore a floating city at sea and relive nearly 50 years of world history aboard the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Family-oriented activities for all ages are also at the USS Midway Museum, including the very cool flight simulators.
Exhibits range from the crew’s sleeping quarters to a massive galley, engine room, the ship’s jail, officer’s country, post office, machine shops, and pilots’ ready rooms, as well as primary flight control and the bridge high in the island over the flight deck. Kids can use those imaginations as they walk around the various gallery decks, imagining what life would have really been like on the USS Midway. For more information, please visit their website.
1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number: (619) 232-7275
Modern play structures, splash fountains, and picnic spots lure families to this 12-acre kids zone overlooking San Diego Bay. Let the little ones run loose while you rest and enjoy coast views. On warm days, barefoot kids splash around a large fountain. Waterfront Park fronts the touristed Embarcadero promenade, making it an easy detour after visits to the Maritime Museum and Carnitas Snack Shack (a locals’ fave).
Parents have plenty of options of grassy areas to set up a picnic and enjoy the views of the waterfront. The city also holds outdoor movies in the park during the summer months. If you are looking for something fun and free things to do with kids in San Diego, this is an excellent choice. For more information, please visit their website.
There truly is something for everyone to enjoy in America’s Finest City. Whatever activities are on the itinerary, these family attractions in San Diego will make everyone excited. Whether you want to go swimming at the beach, see animals at the zoo, or just visit a museum, you’ll never run out of places to go and fun things to do with kids in San Diego. The problem won’t be finding something to do but finding a way to do them all!
San Diego offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of kids’ resources. Are you looking for more things to do with kids around San Diego? Browse through our places to go and camps section. Check out our blog posts if you’re even more curious and seek to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides.