Family Things to Do in San Diego County by Neighborhood

Looking for things to do in San Diego with kids? Discover local attractions, hidden gems, kid-friendly restaurants and much more, organized by local neighborhoods. Out & About is a great resource for local families and out-of-town guests visiting San Diego County. 
 

North County Coastal 
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Oceanside, Solana Beach

NCCostal
Photo credit: Tony Andrews Photography

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Moonlight State Beach 
400 B St. (west of I-5 on Encinitas Blvd.) 
760-633-2740 
Encinitas’ crown jewel, this gorgeous beach has it all: swim, surf, sand, children’s playground, snack bar, volleyball courts, fire pits, year-round lifeguards and more. Free parking lot. 

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve & Nature Center 
2710 Manchester Ave. 760-634-3026 
www.sanelijo.org 
Explore the awesome nature center and one-mile stroller-friendly, ADA-accessible trail. Don’t miss monthly family fun days, featuring themed events and Junior Ranger activities. 

Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve 
7380 Gabbiano Ln. 
760-931-0800 
www.batiquitosfoundation.org 
Enjoy a stroller-friendly 2-mile nature walk through tidal wetlands and nature preserve. Leashed dogs allowed. Visit the nature center, bring a fishing pole, and don’t forget binoculars for excellent bird-viewing. 

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North County Inland
Borrego Springs, Escondido, Fallbrook/Bonsall, Julian, Mt. Palomar, Poway, Ramona, San Marcos, Valley Center, Vista 
NCInland  
Photo credit: Anna Day Mona

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Oasis Camel Dairy 
26757 Hwy. 78, Ramona
760-787-0983
www.cameldairy.com 
Ride a camel and shop for camel milk soap. Open one weekend each month; private tours available. 

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve 
8833 Harmony Grove Rd. 
760-632-4212 
https://elfinforest.olivenhain.com 
Enjoy native plants and wildlife at this wonderful natural resource. Eleven miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Interpretive center and guided nature walks available. 

Guy B. Woodward Museum 
645 Main St. 
760-789-7644 
www.woodwardmuseum.net 
Travel back to the Old West in downtown Ramona. This historical re-creation of a town includes a cowboy bunkhouse, blacksmith shop and post office. Pioneer wagons and an early fire truck also on display. 

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San Diego Coastal
Coronado, La Jolla, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma

SDCoastal
Photo credit: Tony Andrews Photography

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Coronado Tidelands Park 
2000 Mullinex Dr. 
619-522-7342 
www.portofsandiego.org/where-to-go/coronado 
This waterfront park, located near Coronado Bridge, has outstanding bay and city views. Go for a stroll, ride a bike, visit the skate park or playground, or fly a kite. Don’t miss watching the airplanes take off and land! 

Everyday California 
2261 Avenida de la Playa
858-454-6195
http://adventure.everydaycalifornia .com 
Provides equipment rentals and guided tours for stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking (ages 6+) or snorkeling (10+). 

Besties Cool Treats 
2751 Roosevelt Rd. 
619-269-0699 
www.bestiescooltreats.com 
Make your own frozen creation at this Instagram-worthy dessert shop that looks like a 50’s diner. Kids love the hot cocoa bar, self-serve frozen yogurt and hand-scooped ice cream 

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San Diego Uptown/Downtown
Banker's Hill, Hillcrest, Normal Heights, North Park, Downtown, Little Italy, Balboa Park

Downtown
Photo credit: Anna Day Mona

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Maritime Museum of San Diego 
1492 N. Harbor Dr., Downtown 
619-234-9153 
www.sdmaritime.org 
Climb aboard this historic fleet of steam boats, submarines and sailing ships—including the iconic Star of India. Check online for family events like Pirate Days. Sailing adventures available. 

Old Trolley Barn Park 
1943 Adams Ave. 
A park with a strong sense of community. Play equipment, picnic areas and gorgeous views of Mission Valley. Free concerts and movies during the summer. 

Theatre Box and Sugar Factory 
701 Fifth Ave. 
619-814-2225 
www.theatrebox.com 
San Diego’s newest “luxury” cinema and dining complex offers in-seat food service, decadent desserts and reclining sofa chairs. Watch any film for $5 all day, every Tuesday. 

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San Diego Central
Clairemont, College Area, Kearny Mesa, Serra Mesa, Linda Vista, Mission Hills, Mira Mesa, Mission Valley, Old Town, San Carlos, Del Cerro, Scripps Ranch, Sports Arena

SDCentral
Photo credit: Anne Malinoski

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum 
4203 Anderson Ave.,
Miramar
858-693-1723
www.flyingleathernecks.org 
The only museum in the world dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Aviation. Explore the large collection of aircrafts and artifacts from World War I to present day. Check the website for information about Open Cockpit Days and Picnic with Pilots. Free admission. Closed Mondays and holidays. 

Ultrazone Laser Tag 
3146 Sports Arena Blvd. 
619-221-0100
www.ultrazonesandiego.com 
Put your skills to the test at this multi-level laser game arena complete with theatrical fog, interactive game stations and integrated sound system and more. Great for birthday parties and group events. Special pricing for kids on weekend mornings. 

Lake Miramar 
10710 Scripps Lake Dr. 
619-465-3474 
Take a stroll, ride or jog along the five-mile path circling the crystal blue reservoir. Boat rentals, fishing, BBQs and picnic tables available. 

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East County
Alpine, Campo, El Cajon, Flinn Springs, Lakeside, La Mesa, Santee 

Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve 
9310 Fanita Pkwy., Santee 
619-596-3141 
www.santeelakes.com 
This gorgeous lakefront park has a splash pad, adventure course, playgrounds and bike rentals. The preserve also boasts cabin and boat rentals. A great spot for fishing, hiking and seasonal events. 

The Aubrey Rose Tea Room 
8362 La Mesa Blvd. 
619-461-4TEA (4832) 
www.theaubreyrosetearoom.com 
Tucked amongst the antique shops and boutiques of downtown La Mesa, this charming English-style parlor offers traditional tea packages with handmade tea sandwiches, scones and pastries. Open Wed.– Sun. Reservations recommended. 

  

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South Bay
Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City

 Here are a few highlights from these areas! 

Living Coast Discovery Center 
1000 Gunpowder Point Dr., Chula Vista 
619-409-5900 
www.thelivingcoast.org 
Learn about sea turtles, fish, birds, rays, sharks and more! Interactive experiences connect people with coastal animals, plants and habitats. VIP animal encounters, day camps and family overnights available. 

Bowlero 
845 Lazo Ct. 
619-421-4801 
www.bowlero.com 
An upscale bowling experience for kids and adults, with 40 black-light lanes, a high-end sports bar, scrumptious eats that can be delivered to your lane, an arcade and more. Also in San Marcos. 

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Updated: May 2019

 

 

 

 

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