Family-friendly San Diego: 5 Attractions the Whole Family can Enjoy

Summertime in Arizona means: a) stay out of the 115F heat. b) head to the California beaches. San Diego is an easy five-hour drive away from Phoenix, and with so many family-friendly things to do, it is the perfect summer getaway!

My last visit to San Diego was when Baby was 3-months-old (check this post for tips on road tripping with a baby). It lasted three days, which was plenty of time to explore and relax in the sun. The weather is gorgeous year-round and we were fortunate enough to be able to stay downtown. That meant I barely had to drive anywhere, and instead spent tons of time exploring on foot with my little one.  We stayed at the fabulous Manchester Grand Hyatt - they provided us with a pack'n'play and were overall very accommodating. The beautiful views of downtown and the bay/marina made our stay even better.

Looks like this little dude is not afraid of heights



Seaport Village

This inviting outdoors shopping and dining area was just across the street from our hotel, by the bay. With baby nice and cozy in his Ergobaby (affiliate link).  I must have walked around for 2 or 3 hours enjoying the ocean view and fresh air. I walked north passing the Pier Cafe (where we had dinner later that night), the Fish Market, and headed toward the USS Midway Museum.

Pier Cafe @ Seaport Village

SIDE NOTE ON GASLAMP DISTRICT - If you're traveling with little ones and are looking for something to do at night, Seaport Village seemed like the best choice. The Gaslamp Quarter at night is NOT child-friendly. Single and ready to drunkenly mingle? Oh the possibilities.


Unconditional Surrender sculpture

After a 10-minute walk we arrived at the museum and although I did not hop aboard, I snapped some photos of it along with the infamous "kissing" statue.  Tickets purchased online are a little cheaper, and there are discounts for students, retired military and seniors . Kids under 5 and active-duty military receive complimentary tickets.


There are tons of family events at the park, aside from baseball games, of course! Check the Padres Kids webpage for more information and a full calendar of events.


La Jolla By the Sea

 The Children's Pool in La Jolla was a highly recommended and easy 20-minute drive north from downtown. It's THE place to spot sea lions, seals and even whales! I was forewarned of a very fishy stench, which is in fact very discerning, yet it did not bother me. (I grew up in a fishing beach town in Brazil!) There is some controversy involving the human/animal relationship in the area, so to give the animals their space and specially since I had a baby in the carrier, I kept my distance. However, people were all up in their business and I'm not sure I'd be ok with that if I were them.

Tourists everywhere.

Sea lions, seals and birds galore!

We arrived in La Jolla late afternoon, saw tons of sea life and caught an incredible California sunset before heading back downtown.

In love with California sunsets


We headed to the beach on our last day in San Diego. There's a ferry that leaves from downtown but we were on our way back to Arizona, so we drove across the bridge. We bypassed the famous Hotel Del Coronado and went straight to the shore before heading home. The beach was vast and fairly empty for a Sunday! Toes in the water = happiness.

San Diego might be one of the funnest places I've been to in a while, and I can't wait to go back!

Share you San Diego experiences and suggestions below!

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  1. Thank you for linking up to #TheWeeklyPostcard. I'm so in love with San Diego, too. I live in Los Angeles and go there pretty often, but I didn't know about the famous 'kissing' statue. I don't do too much walking when I go there, it's usually the Coronado beach that attracts me most.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Agala! I didn't spend as much time in Coronado as I would've liked, so next time I'm parking it at the beach!

  2. Oooh, we haven't been to San Diego yet! Thank you for this great list with all the necessary links! This post will make it so much easier to plan our trip, when it finally happens!

    1. Thank you Jolanta, and I hope you make it there sometime. It is a great place!

  3. I agree with your choices. Petco park is super family friendly (my sister and her kids love it there and I just like baseball!), Coronado Beach is gorgeous as is La Jolla. I like the walkability of a lot of San Diego and all my food options :)

  4. Thank you Andrea! And ohmygosh the food options!!!!

  5. Aw you make me miss my hometown San Diego! These places are all very family friendly places and Coronado Beach is always so gorgeous, one of my favorite places to go to in Downtown area. Love the post!

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment, and how lucky are you to call this awesome place your hometown?!?!


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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.