Summer’s in full swing and you’re now a cruise director compiling the best summer activities for kids in San Diego. We’ve got 50 ways to kiss those “I’m bored” blues goodbye and have an amazing break from school with your little sunshines. From outdoor movies, concerts and camping trips to amazing art installations that have just popped up and the best places to make them all scream for ice cream read on for where to enjoy the season in our beautiful city!
photo: Dave and Jessica via Flickr
1. Beat the heat and go get soaked at a local splash pad or water park.
2. Head into the wild on a camping trip at one of our favorite family-friendly camping sites.
3. Change up your typical trip to the park by visiting one of these adventurous playgrounds.
4. Immerse the fam in culture by beholding amazing art installations at pop-up exhibit Wonderspaces: in common.
5. Learn about bioluminescent organisms on a rare and enchanting Full Moon Pier Walk.
6. Make a ‘pit’ stop at The CADO, a pop-up avocado experience to discover everything you’ve ever want to know about the green fruit.
7. Go on a super fun family date––we show you where to go, so there’s no planning required!
8. Let it be music to your ears listening to the Harry Potter score coming to life as performed by a live symphony orchestra as you watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™ on a giant screen.
9. Stay cool while you toast summer at a kid-friendly brewery.
10. Take your tastebuds on a culinary vacation by visiting San Diego’s best food halls to delight in different cuisines.
photo: Chanikarn Thongsupa/rawpixel
11. From collecting seashells to catching a wave, these are the best stretches of sand for every type of beach-going experience. So pack a picnic, put on the sunscreen and go catch a wave!
13. Enjoy the festivities during the summer season’s Nighttime Zoo, including “Call of the Night,” a thrilling 12-minute symphony of live music, lasers, moving lights, rhythmic acrobats, fog and bubbles.
14. Go on the ultimate sleepover: aboard the USS Midway where you can sleep in the authentic bunks used by the enlisted men when the USS Midway was active duty.
15. Swim with leopard sharks off the La Jolla coast!
16. Lizards, snakes and ladybugs, oh my! Slither your way to The Insect Festival, a one-of-a-kind event featuring thousands of fascinating creepy-crawlies.
17. Take a dip and lounge the day away while the kids play at a stunning resort pool that offers day passes for families.
18. Indulge your young night owls by letting them stay up late at one of our favorite activities for kids after dark.
20. Jam with the fam to toe-tapping good tunes at an outdoor summer concert near you.
photo: The New Children’s Museum
21. No more monkeys may jump on the bed, but they can climb and swing til their heart’s content at Whammock!, an interactive, three-dimensional textile environment that resembles a giant hammock of colorful crocheted circles, open pockets and dangling pendulums.
22. Dig in to Donuts Day at Del Mar Racetrack to eat treats and watch the beautiful horses during their morning workouts.
23. Teach your kids about giving-back to the community with these kid-appropriate volunteering opportunities.
24. Let your young pilot pretend he/she is the real deal at Open Cockpit Days, where they let little ones sit in a cockpit and experience Marine aviation from a pilot’s perspective.
25. Take your appetite to Balboa Park’s Food Truck Fridays where you’ll find delicious food offerings and plenty of family-friendly entertainment.
26. Let your kiddos frolic with adorable, adoptable felines (and maybe even take home a new best friend) at Cat & Craft’s ‘Kiddie Cat Hour.’
27. Tee up with your little birdies at one of our fave miniature golf courses.
28. Grandparents in town for a visit? Read our guide for 17 engaging activities you can do around town with Grannie and Pops!
29. Take them out to the ball game! But first, hit up Padres KidsFest for bounce houses, games, face painters, balloon artists and more kid-friendly activities starting 2.5 hours before every Sunday home game.
30. Enjoy the music of kid-fave singers, Hullabaloo and Israel Maldonado at the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum summer concert series which includes crafts for kids, face painting, food truck, gelato by EscoGelato, wine and Jacked Up beer for adults and full access to the Museum’s hands-on exhibits.
photo: Birch Aquarium
31. Go under the sea without getting wet at Birch Aquarium’s newest, must-see exhibit: Seadragons & Seahorses, the largest seadragon display in the world
32. Treat yourself to a sky-high cone lickety-split at one of the best ice cream shops in San Diego.
33. Too hot to play outside? Then let the kids go climb the walls, literally, at one of these epic indoor playgrounds.
34. Save some cash but go big on culture at Balboa Park’s Resident Free Tuesdays, when Park museums offer free general admission on a rotating basis.
35. Take your budding naturalists to be inspired at Nature and Me Storytime at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
36. Oh, baby! Here are 20 things you MUST do with your bundle of joy in San Diego.
37. No backyard pool? No problem! Take the plunge at one of these public pools that are perfect for a swim.
39. Get up close and personal with wildlife at the best petting farms and zoos your animal lovers will go wild for.
40. Tired of cooking? Take a seat at one of the many restaurants where kids eat free.
photo: Beth Shea
41. It’s a short drive, yet a world away! Go fly the Millennium Falcon at Disneyland’s new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge for a truly unforgettable experience.
42. From the ocean to the canyons, go escape in nature on one of these gorgeous, kid-friendly hiking trails.
43. Take a mini-vacay from dawn to dusk on one of our favorite family day trips.
44. Say goodbye to SoCal traffic and climb aboard this epic train trip to Santa Barbara that your kids will never forget.
45. Take advantage of San Diego’s perfect weather by dining al fresco at one of these lovely restaurant patios.
47. Help your kiddo master his/her skills on two wheels at one of these kid-friendly bike trails.
48. Treat those toes (and fingers) to a mani-pedi with your mini-me at the best nail salons for families.
49. Cozy up to a recent trend: go explore the comforts of yurt camping.
50. Sleep in late for a lazy summer day… possibly? Then go have brunch with your short stacks at one of our favorite places to order up pancakes.