Sunny San Diego offers more than 60 stunning beaches, world-famous arts and culture for the entire family, a bustling Downtown, national parks and hiking trails, an incredible food scene, and perhaps the best weather in the country. It’s a perfect place for a family vacation, and where I decided to have some summer fun with my family this past August.
Read on for all the things to enjoy on your San Diego family vacation:
Where to Stay
My family stayed at the Glorietta Bay Inn on charming Coronado Island. Staying on the water in Coronado made it feel like a real beach getaway and we loved the independent Glorietta Bay Inn, a historic gem with old-fashioned charm.
Glorietta Bay Inn shines for its service and amenities. The complimentary continental breakfast is hands down the best I’ve seen anywhere. They put out a huge spread of pastries, breads, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, and even pancakes on the weekend. Every afternoon there are complimentary ginger snaps and lemonade and there’s always a delicious pot of freshly brewed coffee.
The pool, while small, is just the right size for mid afternoon dips. When the beach calls, the hotel is fully stocked with beach chairs, umbrellas, and even body boards to borrow. Parent bonus: They have a coin operated laundry room in case you derive great joy from doing laundry on vacation, like I do.
Glorietta Bay Inn also offers a prime location overlooking the beautiful bay just one block from Coronado Beach.
We spent 8 glorious days in San Diego and still didn’t get to do half of all the options for family fun. Shout out to Visit San Diego for great suggestions!
1) San Diego Zoo: One of the country’s most popular zoos has 100 gorgeously landscaped acres filled with more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals (the polar bears are especially cool!). Wear comfortable shoes and take advantage of the Skyfari aerial tram to cover the huge animal-lovers playground.
2) Coronado Beach: This beautiful beach is in front of the famous Hotel Del Coronado. Families will enjoy calm waves and a nice flat sandy beach to catch some California rays.
3) Balboa Park: This National Historic Landmark is home to over 17 museums and is filled with gardens, fountains, playgrounds, and gorgeous architecture from Spanish Colonial Revival period.
4) Harbor Seals and Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove: You must visit the Harbor Seals who lounge about on the rocks at various area on the coast in La Jolla. The best viewing is at the Children’s Pool. Be warned! The smell can be overwhelming if you get too close.
5) Fleet Science Center: More than 100 interactive exhibits for all ages will have your kids wanting to stay for hours.
6) San Diego Museum of Man: From monsters and beer history to California Tower tours, to the truth about cannibalism – the exhibitions are both unique and really interesting at the San Diego Museum of Man.
Museums and places we didn’t get to visit, but hope to on our next trip:
- USS Midway Museum
- San Diego Air and Space Museum
- San Diego Museum of Art
- San Diego Natural History Museum
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
- Maritime Museum of San Diego
Where to Eat
Too many to list, because San Diego is a culinary gem of a city, but here are a few we tried and loved:
- Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill: Gorgeous views of Glorietta Bay and excellent seafood, including luxe lobster.