The Southern California city is all about sun, surf and fun for families.
Hit the beach
Options abound for beach time in this seaside city. Two unique family faves: Children’s Pool in La Jolla, where a seawall originally built to provide safe conditions for young swimmers made the spot a perfect for seals and sea lions, who now call the spot home by the hundreds; and Shell Beach, where the tide pools offer up-close views of lots of sea creatures and you can see more sea lions flocking on the rocks.
Go wild at San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The main location of the country’s most famous zoo is impressive (hello pandas!), but for a really unique experience, take your kids to the Safari Park, where you can explore 1,800 acres of free-range enclosures via tram, hot air balloon and even zip line to see cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos and other animals. Younger kids can attend shows, zookeeper talks and frolic on playgrounds.
Get amused at Mission Beach
The fun is abundant at this boardwalk fun spot: People watch on rented skateboards, take surf lessons or just ride the roller coaster and other theme park rides. If you’re looking for a slower pace, South Mission Beach Park is a quiet area that’s popular for fishing. Shipwrecks placed a half-mile off the coast here to create an artificial reef are popular with divers.
Build excitement at LEGOLAND California
The amusement park in nearby Carlsbad is every Lego lover’s dream. There are more than 50 rides, an aquarium and a water park to keep everyone busy for a day or two. Highlights include Duplo, an area of play areas and rides based on the larger, namesake brand of building blocks geared to toddlers; Funtown, where kids get to roleplay as pilots, police and firefighters; and Miniland USA, a series of amazing, small-scale replicas of U.S. monuments built entirely from—what else?—Legos.
Hit In-N-Out Burger
If you’re not from a state that has the much-obsessed over fast food chain, here’s your chance. The San Diego area’s loaded with them, so you can order your burgers “double double,” “animal-style” or any of the other not-so-secret ways fans customize them.
Wrestle with the wait at Luche Libre Gourmet Taco Shop
There will likely be a line to eat at this Mission Hills taco shop. Suck it up and join it—this one stands out from the masses, we promise. Kids will love the kitschy Mexican wrestling theme and bacon-wrapped hot dogs; you’ll love the super fresh seafood, grilled meats and assortment of awesome housemade salsas. Want to skip to the front of the line? Call at least 24 hours in advance to reserve the “champs booth,” a roped-off gold lamé booth that includes table service by staff in wrestling masks.
Orbitz has all the best ideas for your San Diego vacation!