San Diego is a great destination to visit year around and especially in the winter if you are looking to avoid the snow and ice! Granted, in winter you are probably not going to go swimming in the ocean. Then again, our kids were riding the waves in on their boogey boards, so I guess you can if you don’t mind the chilly water. But never fear, there are a lot of things to do in San Diego with kids besides just go to the beach!
You have to visit the adorable sea lions in La Jolla. These adorable animals sun bathe on the beaches and rocks all around the ocean. I think they know how much people like to watch them, so now and then they will get up and move around. But for the most part, they are totally kicked back and relaxed.
I recommend going to the Children’s Pool (it really is called that) in La Jolla to check them out. You can walk out on this small walkway over the water and get pretty close to them. Plus, this area is just so beautiful with the palm trees, ocean, and cliffs surrounding the beach area.
USS Midway Museum
This huge U.S. aircraft carrier sits in the water and welcomes visitors to come on board to explore. The boat is HUGE and there are so many different places to go and see you can easily spend hours here.
One of our favorite things were the WWII Veteran volunteers who walked around and explained things to us and had stories to share. This is how I want to learn about history – from visiting amazing places like this and walking through them and getting a first-hand experience of how these ships operated and worked.
The USS Midway has multiple levels that you can explore and lots of buttons for kids to push. That was what made it so much fun for the kids. You can even go up to where the captain of the ship would sit.
Old Town Trolley Tours
The longer we travel, the more I appreciate these city tours. They are a great way to sit back, relax and learn about the city you are visiting. On this tour the trolley takes you all over the city and during the ride they talk about the history of the area and point out landmarks – like where home plate use to be for the Padres stadium that sat right next to the water.
The trolley was also hop on hop off, which means you can get off and explore the different parts of the city and then get right back on and continue your tour. If you want to learn more about San Diego, this is how you do it.
San Diego Zoo
This is THE Zoo to visit in the U.S. and it did not disappoint. The zoo is huge and has so many amazing animals to watch. We happened to get lucky and visited the hippos right when the zookeeper was going to do some water play with them. The habitat was set up where we could see them under the water and they were so active swimming around and coming right up to the glass. It was really amazing.
We also visited the apes, koalas, lions, and tigers. They really do have almost every animal you could imagine at the zoo.
We have to talk about Donut Bar. These donuts were ranked #1 in the state of California for good reason. 1. They are delicious, and 2. they are humongous! Each donut is about the size of your face and they come in a variety of fun and yummy flavors.
I highly recommend the made to order french toast donut. They take one of their glazed donuts and make french toast with it and it is out of this world! Just remember you do have to request it.
If you are looking for some indoor fun, Balboa Park has more then 17 museums. Yes you read that right, 17! We really enjoyed the Fleet Science Center and actually went twice while we were there. We also checked out the Natural History Museum and really enjoyed it too.
Balboa Park is a beautiful area outside too. I highly recommend bringing a picnic lunch and sitting out on the grass and then spending some time walking around this pretty area of the city.
San Diego is filled with craft breweries that offer a variety of different flavors and kinds of beer. What was great about most of them is they have board games for the kids to play, plus root beer so it can make a trip to the brewery a family event! We always have fun going and getting a couple beers for us and root beers for the kids and then playing a family game of Jenga or cards.
Where To Stay
A lot of the time it can be hard to find an RV park close to a big city that is nice and still has good-sized sites. But San Diego has an amazing option: Sweetwater Summit Regional Park. It is about a 25-minute drive to get to the beach, so you are still very close to all of the action. But the park is set apart from the city and the sites are nice and large with cement pads and situated up on a hill.