31 days of summer fun 1423

Who’s ready to get out and have some fun in San Diego this summer? Here are 31 awesome ideas—one for every day in July.

  1. Plan a late-night date with the kids. We recommend going out for chocolate chip pancakes in your PJs at 9 pm. Not for any reason except that you probably don't do it during the school year — and it just sounds super fun.

  2. Play tourist for a day. Take an Old Town Trolley Tour to learn new things about your hometown. On-and-off privileges allow families to explore points of interest along the way. Want to ride for free? Register for San Diego's Hometown Pass!

  3. Have a beach day and build sandcastles with the kids. Learn how the experts do it by scheduling a family lesson with San Diego Sand Castles.

  4. Experience an old-fashioned, small-town Fourth of July celebration right in our backyard. Consider spending the night in Julian on 7/3 in order to get a seat on the parade route (Main St.) early on July 4. The parade, which starts at Noon, features bands, mariachi, classic cars and more.

  5. Gaze at millions of stars (and the Milky Way!) at Desert View Park in Julian or join astronomers at Fleet Science Center for a planetarium show. 


  6. Set goals and offer prizes to kids who keep reading this summer. Maybe a special day out with Mom or Dad for reaching a specific number of books or pages? See what local summer reading programs are doing.

  7. Have you seen our “Frozen Treats to Beat the Heat in San Diego” list? How fun would it be to dedicate a different day to try each ice cream shop on the list and then discover a new beach or park? That’s 21 joy-filled days! Start planning now.

  8. Visit a local farmers market. Let the kids choose some fresh fruits or vegetables; then try a new recipe using what you bought.

  9. Build something together as a family. Try a bird feeder, a fort, a playhouse, or a sprinkler using PVC pipe. Get more ideas from our Cool DIY Projects board on Pinterest.

  10. Pitch a tent in the backyard. S'mores, flashlights, gazing at the night sky — such a fun way to spend a summer evening! Even if your kids don't want to sleep in the tent, they'll love hanging out in it all day.

  11. Take the kids roller skating and bowling at Viejas Casino & Resort. Be sure to bring a change of clothes so the kids can play in the interactive fountains (Saturdays & Sundays).

  12. Organize a day of summer competitions with friends and family: a three-legged race, pie-eating contest, frisbee throwing, hula hooping, etc.

  13. Cheer on the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Check schedule for themed events and special promotions.

  14. Pack a picnic and attend a free summer concert.

  15. Have a block party. It could be as elaborate as a barbecue, carnival games and kid-friendly competitions or as simple as an ice cream sundae party. Either way, get your friends and neighbors together for some summertime camaraderie.

  16. Make a schedule and visit several of San Diego’s awesome parks and playgrounds.

  17. Treat the family to an unforgettable day at Sesame Place in Chula Vista. There are water slides and attractions for all ages and Sesame Street characters for little ones.

  18. Now that you’re a few weeks into vacation, have the kids start creating a summer scrapbook, complete with printed photos and journal entries. It’s a great way to keep them writing while they're out of school. Add a few pages each week so the project isn’t overwhelming.

  19. Explore tide pools at Birch Aquarium or Cabrillo National Monument and experience up-close encounters with marine life.

  20. Discover a hidden gem in San Diego or make a day of it by exploring several.

  21. Take a harbor cruise on Hornblower. Celebrating a birthday or special event? Make it a brunch cruise! Visit www.cityexperiences.com/san-diego for info. 

  22. Catch an outdoor movie with Summer Movies in the Park or pay a little extra to see watch a film under the stars at Rooftop Cinema Club or Cinema Under the Stars

  23. Engage in water fun. Play baseball with water balloons, run through sprinklers or have a water gun fight.

  24. Climb aboard the USS Midway Museum and learn about San Diego's impressive naval history. Allow plenty of time to explore.

  25. Enjoy the great outdoors while walking one of San Diego's beautiful hiking trails.

  26. Go night fishing at Santee Lakes.

  27. Create a fairy garden. Visit our Fairy Garden board on Pinterest for inspiration.

  28. Rent a kayak, paddleboard or jet ski and spend the day on the San Diego Bay.

  29. Watch hang gliders and enjoy one the county’s most spectacular ocean and sunset views at Torrey Pines Gliderport.

  30. Spend a day at Balboa Park. Ride the carousel, go to San Diego’s world-famous Zoo, visit a museum, explore hidden trails, or people-watch while eating lunch by the big fountain.

  31. Need more than 31 days of ideas? Choose from hundreds of family adventures in the new edition of our annual publication, Out & About: San Diego with Kids

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Managing Editor Lisa Gipson is more of a “fall fun” kinda gal, but she’s determined to do at least 10 things on this list.

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