5 Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in San Diego
There’s so much to see and explore in San Diego.
From the sandy beaches to the beautiful parks, your family will have plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. Here are five outdoor activities that will be fun for every family member.
1. Visit the Beautiful Beaches
Whether you wish to swim, surf, paddle board, snorkel, play volleyball or just lie in the sun, there’s a stretch of sand for every family member along San Diego’s 112 kilometers of stunning Southern California coastline.
San Diego offers a variety of unique beach settings, from the white sandy shores of Coronado Beach to the vibrant settings of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach that are connected by a five-kilometer boardwalk filled with bicyclists, runners, inline skaters and sun worshippers.
2. Explore the Various Parks and Reserves
The family can enjoy diverse outdoor adventures like hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, birding, boating, fishing, rock climbing, camping and more.
Torrey Pines State Reserve preserves its namesake, the Torrey Pine tree, and other indigenous wildlife in its native environment. Among the 13 kilometers of trails, families can encounter native chaparral plants, wildflowers, birds, reptiles and butterflies.
3. Experience Water Sports and Activities
In addition to swimming, surfing and paddle boarding along its beautiful beaches, there are endless activities for families to enjoy in and on the waters.
A popular place to explore underwater is the stunning community of La Jolla. Underwater explorers refer to the marine habitat of the La Jolla Underwater Park as the "jewel of the sea.” Other popular areas include La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove where marine life flourishes and families are guaranteed to see an array of colorful crustaceans and fish throughout the year.
Families can kayak along San Diego’s tranquil waters on their own or with many local companies that offer instruction. Kayaking is also popular in the calm waters of Mission Bay, offering a network of channels and islands, perfect to discover.
Sailing along San Diego Bay is another favorite activity. Inexperienced guests can sail with a guide on a rented boat or take lessons, while more experienced sailors can charter their own boat or test their skills aboard an America’s Cup vessel.
4. The San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego
The San Diego Zoo is a tropical garden that houses 4,000 animals of 800 rare and exotic species. Located 48 kilometers northeast of downtown, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a preserve where wild animals roam free over vast expanses as they would in their native habitats of Africa and Asia.
Located on Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego is a park featuring six major shows, fascinating attractions and dozens of marine life exhibits. LEGOLAND California, located 30 minutes from downtown, delivers fun, imagination and entertainment with more than 50 interactive attractions and rides geared to kids aged 2-12.
5. Visit Balboa Park
The park is home to 12 beautiful gardens, striking Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings, the San Diego Zoo, Spanish Village Art Center and a variety of outdoor offerings to enjoy throughout the year.
Families can enjoy hiking and biking trails, velodrome cycling, lawn bowling, tennis, swimming, disc golf, archery, bocci ball, an 18-hole public golf course and more.
For more information about San Diego and it's culture, explore our city guide.
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