1. Balboa Park and its museumsYou might think Balboa Park is just that – a park, but it is so much more than that. In fact, it hosts an amazing 17 museums to explore, the San Diego Zoo and many beautiful gardens. Meanwhile, the park is conveniently placed not too far from downtown.
Balboa Park was first established 150 years ago and it would take weeks for a family to explore every aspect of this marvelous place. However, thinking family vacation, the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden would be a definite hit for kids and parents alike. The latter is beautifully laid out with typical Japanese plants, koi ponds and other pretty water features.
2. Visit San Diego ZooAs mentioned above, San Diego is also located in Balboa Park, but this is one place that the family should put aside at least a day to explore. The zoo is laid out beautifully in a tropical setting, with colorful plants and palm trees lining the paths to each animal enclosure. Meanwhile, it has an amazing selection of more than 4,000 animals to visit from around the world. Here, the kids will love the li0ns, leopards, elephants, baboons, koala bears, Galápagos tortoises, cute penguins and so much more.
However, the zoo isn’t just about fun as programs offer animal encounters and presentations throughout the day where the kids can learn more about the animals.
3. Explore Old Town San DiegoOne place really worthy of exploring is the Old Town, the site of the first European settlement in California. Here, you can feel the history while walking from one historic site to the next. One worthy visit is The Whaley House, which is said to be the most haunted house in the USA. Another is Casa de Estudillo which was originally home to a Spanish aristocrat back in the 19th century. Meanwhile, the mansion went on to become a haven for women and children. It also houses the first publically owned schoolhouse in the city.
Moreover, there are three parks to visit in Old Town, as well as a market and 100 stores selling local crafts, handmade candy and more. Here, there are 25 restaurants to choose from including some of the best Mexican restaurants outside of Mexico itself.
4. USS Midway MuseumThe USS Midway Museum is an attraction for kids and adults alike as the historic aircraft carrier is home to more than 30 restored aircraft. In its life, the Midway became the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. The ship played a major role during the Cold War and also traveled to the Persian Gulf in 1990 when Iraq seized Kuwait.
The aircraft carrier opened as a museum in 2004 and besides the iconic exhibits, the museum features climb-in aircraft and flight simulators and some of the best views of San Diego’s skyline.
5. Day trip to La Jolla from San DiegoWhile visiting San Diego, make time for a day trip to La Jolla, around a 30-minute drive from downtown. This beautiful place is set on the ocean with idyllic beaches where the kids can see seals and sea lions from the shore.
Depending on the kids’ ages, there are plenty of activities for the whole family, including surfing lessons, kayaking the sea caves and an enjoyable coastal walk. Along the way, stop for a delicious seafood lunch, then relax until the evening, when a glorious sunset lights the end of a fun day.
Have fun with the whole family in San Diego this year, trying out all these attractions and more. find out more on the official tourism website for San Diego here.