Thinking of taking a family vacation to San Diego? Yes! Do it! You will NOT regret it. There are so many AMAZING things to do with your family in San Diego. I will break it all down for you here including where to stay and what to do. San Diego is a fantastic place for kids of all ages and a perfect family friendly vacation destination.
Where to Stay
Whenever we go to San Diego we always stay at the Homewood Suites San Diego Airport -Liberty Station. Here are the reasons why this hotel and its location is so awesome.
- Large one and two room suites that can fit our family of 6
- Free breakfast each morning
- Close to the airport
- Walkable to restaurants, grocery store, coffee shops, playground and more
- Trail for walking and biking along the waterfront
- Easily accessible to many San Diego area attractions
These are just a few of the many reasons we LOVE the Homewood Suites Liberty Station. This area is an awesome spot with so much to do. There are so many restaurants around that we can walk to a new one every night.
Where to Eat
Since we usually stay in the Liberty Station area, we most always have dinner here after being out and about most of the day. It is super convenient to quickly walk to a restaurant with the kids. Some of our favorite Liberty Station restaurants include:
Oggi’s Pizza and Brewhouse
We love getting pizza here but they do have a variety of other food too including a kids menu. You literally just have to walk through the parking lot of the Homewood Suites and you are there.
It is also located in Liberty Station and our kids love this place. It is a 50s diner with an arcade. The food is pretty good and they have great shakes. The decor is awesome too.
Liberty Public Market
I would describe this as a fancy food court. It is a great option for a quick bite to eat and there is both indoor and outdoor seating.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants in Liberty Station. This area is very popular though so it might be wise to make reservations ahead of time if the restaurants take them.
Barra Barra Saloon
This restaurant is not located in Liberty Station but is in Old Town San Diego. I like this restaurant for its ambiance and unique outdoor atmosphere. It is truly a unique experience. They have a children’s menu too and Old Town is also great to visit.
What to Do
There are SO many things to do in the San Diego area with kids. Below are some of our favorites.
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier
The kids love the USS Midway. It is a little pricey, but I would say definitely worth the splurge. Children 5 and younger are free though so that’s a plus. Kids of all ages will love this museum. They have a self guided audio tour included with admission. It is really fun to hear all about what life was like aboard the USS Midway and the kids enjoy it too. There are also tons of aircraft and helicopters to check out. This attraction will easily take you 2 hours or more to do. There is a cafe and snack shop as well!
San Diego Zoo
This is another must do attraction. The San Diego Zoo is so awesome! The zoo is located in Balboa Park and is over 100 acres. There is SO much to see. Many suggest taking the guided bus tour when you get there to acquaint yourself with the zoo. The bus tour is great although there may be a line for it. Another option is to print off a PDF map ahead of time and plan your visit based on that. My favorite animals to see here are the panda bears!
The majority of museums in San Diego are located in this large park. This is a beautiful place to walk around. The grounds are amazing! We usually spend some time meandering the grounds, taking some pictures, and then usually do a museum or two. We like the Fleet Science Center and the Model Railroad Museum. There are many other great ones as well that the kids would love! You could definitely spend an entire day at Balboa Park.
Old Town Trolley Tours
The 1-Day Trolley hop on and off tour is a great way to see and learn about San Diego. We like to do these tours whenever we are in a new city. These tours also can be a bit pricey but again if this is your first time in San Diego it may be worth it to spend the day hearing about and seeing all of the sights.
My kids usually do really well on these tours and enjoy them alot. The great thing is that if they are getting a little antsy you can hop off and take a break to explore and then get back on when everyone is ready.
Another awesome tour is the SEAL Tour. This tour is on an amphibious vehicle and is shorter than the full day tour. The kids will think it is so fun going from bus to boat without even leaving their seats!
This beach is absolutely stunning! We love to come here and walk the beach near Hotel del Coronado which is a beauty in itself.
Cabrillo National Monument
This is another gorgeous place to visit. It is $20 per vehicle. There are a couple of trails and the views are stunning. The kids loved walking on the trails. The Point Loma Lighthouse is interesting to see and learn about as well. During the fall and winter, families can also visit the tidepools here. There is a visitor center with restrooms, museum, and gift shop too. Another fun thing about this place is that you can see North Island from this area which is a Naval air station. It is super cool to see and you may even get to see some fighter jets flying around.
La Jolla Cove
Our favorite thing here is watching the California Harbor Seals. It is SO cool to see them in their natural habitat. Another unique thing to do here is the Cave tour. For this tour you descend 145 stairs to the cave. It is super neat and a beautiful view. It takes about 15 minutes to do and costs $10 for adults and $6 for kids. If you looking for a bite to eat afterwards there are also lots of great restaurants in La Jolla.
Some other great spots and family friendly attractions in the area worth mentioning as well include:
We have been to many of these and would recommend them as well! San Diego is a fantastic destination for a family vacation. Besides having so many family friendly attractions and sights, the weather is also usually amazing. This is definitely a destination you want to take your family.
If you are looking for a more specific plan for your San Diego vacation, read my post San Diego 4-Day Itinerary for ideas for your family trip!
PIN this post as a guide for your San Diego family vacation. May you love your adventure. KW