From Barrio Logan to the beaches of Del Mar, San Diegans are pretty lucky to live in a city with 52 unique neighborhoods. The next time you need a change from the familiar in your own backyard, thread up the walking shoes, grab the stroller and get your little explorers outside. Here are five neighborhoods that offer great walking trails and fun stops along the way.

CRDT-kidsnature-8

Photo credit: pate via flickr

North Park
This is community is so central, you and your family can experience it all without doing much driving. It is just northeast of Balboa Park, which has the San Diego Zoo, many museums (many are free every Tuesday), and plenty of open grassy fields and playgrounds where kiddos can play to their hearts content. There are several restaurants such as Fatboy’s Corner Store & Deli, Sushi Uno (available every Thursday at the North Park Farmer’s Market) and Bahn Thai. The roads are lined with sidewalks, perfect for an afternoon stroll to North Park Community Park.

BO-Beau Bus

Photo credit: Allison J. via Yelp

La Mesa
Downtown La Mesa has a lot to offer! If you’re in the mood for a casual eatery that the kids will love. check out BO-Beau. What kiddo wouldn’t be excited about a full-sized bus to play in while waiting for a meal? Another great spot to grab a small bite and a cup of coffee is Cosmos Coffee Cafe. If you happen to be in the area on Friday between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. make sure to hit the La Mesa Farmers Market. As with most, there is super fresh produce and eggs, and hot food available. You and your kiddos will enjoy perusing what’s available, plus it is a great learning experience. Speaking of learning, La Mesa is also home to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association where you can let your little conductors learn and explore a real train. What is great about all of these hot spots? They are all withing walking distance, making it easy to spend a whole day in La Mesa.

Children's Pool La Jolla

Photo credit: Alisa C. via Yelp

La Jolla
Do you have a budding marine biologist? There are plenty of public areas to check out where your kiddo can observe or touch real live sea animals. The Children’s Pool is a small beach area partially protected by a sea wall that has become a sanctuary for seals and sea lions. If you’re looking for a more hands on experience, walk on down to Shell Beach and if the tide is low you will be able to check out some sea life in the tide pools or check out Seal Rock, another place the seals and sea lions like to hang out. If you have had your fill of the beach, walk up the hill and do some shopping, grab a bite to eat, or check out one of the many ice cream shops like Bobboi Natural Gelato for organic homemade gelato. If you’re really feeling like a walk (and maybe a picnic too), spend some times at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

pacific-beach-boardwalk-cyclists-courtesy-brett-shoaf-artistic-visuals-e1432845223926

Photo Credit: San Diego Blog

Pacific Beach
Ready to hit Pacific Beach? Take a stroll down the 3.2-mile stretch of boardwalk, along the way grab a bit of breakfast at a local favorite, Kono’s Cafe and stop and enjoy some time playing in the sand and surf. And of course, who can’t go to the beach without getting a fish taco? Make sure to stop at Oscar’s Mexican Seafood for some of the best. Just a few blocks east of the boardwalk is Fanuel Park, perfect for a picnic. There is plenty of grass, no waves, and a fun play structure.

Downtown SD Waterfront Park

Photo credit: John B. via Yelp

Downtown San Diego
If you and your kiddos are in the mood for some downtown fun make sure to play at the Waterfront Park. Play structures, water and grass make it a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. Just make sure to bring your own shade! If you’re still looking for more, The New Children’s Museum (and it’s surrounding park) is always tons of fun, or stop at Seaport Village and let your kiddo fly a kite, ride on the historic carousel or grab a cookie from Seaport Cookie Company. Make sure to take a peek at all the boats as walk along the boardwalk. The largest of those boats being the USS Midway Museum. Definitely worth a stop!

What’s your family’s favorite neighborhood? Which communities should we spotlight next?

— Brooke Hausman