Complete Travel Guide to San Diego with kids

Sharing our guide on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when visiting San Diego with kids.

Our first family trip is officially in the books. Notice, I said trip and not vacation. We visited San Diego and let me tell ya, traveling with kids is a completely new and different experience. There was no lounging by the pool and having a cocktail, throw out any time schedules, and forget about sleeping in!

Sleep schedules were completely disrupted since we were all in the same room and both of my kids suffer from a serious case of FOMO. For the first time in my life, I dreaded the pool. Both of my girls are drawn to water, they love it but being that they don’t know how to swim it fills me with anxiety. Even with my husband in the pool with them, my eyes were glued to all three of them, you know, just incase.

BUT, that’s life. It won’t stop us from taking on more family adventures. Even though there were challenges, we also had a lot of fun and hopefully created some memories along the way!

Where to Stay

There are a ton of places to stay in San Diego! We chose to stay at Estancia La Jolla and loved it. The grounds were expansive and beautiful. We walked around them every night in our pj’s, toting a little one resting on our shoulders, trying to get them to fall asleep. They also have a beautiful pool with lounge chairs, cabanas, a bar, and bean bag chairs with connect four for the littles.

If you don’t feel like going out to eat, you can grab a bite at their restaurant Mustang & Burrors.

Grounds at Estancia La Jolla

Estancia La Jolla pool

Other great options:

  • Kings Inn San Diego. This is a great, affordable option for families with kids. They have an outdoor pool, hot tub, and two restaurants.
  • Fairmont Grand Del Mar. This hotel is pricey but so gorgeous. ┬áIt’s perfect for couples with golf and a spa.

What to Do

  • Go to a baseball game. Petco Park was by far the coolest stadium we have ever been to. It was beautiful, huge, but remained open and airy. There was so much to see inside as well as outside. There was also a batting practice for kids on the outside field.

Catching a baseball game at Petco Park

  • Visit the San Diego Zoo. Again, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We spent the entire day at the zoo and it still didn’t feel like enough time. Everywhere we turned there were animals to see or shows going on. We had heard the food inside the zoo wasn’t very good, so we opted to pack a cooler and have lunch at the car. Which turned out to be a brilliant plan.

San Diego zoo tram ride

Playing at the San Diego zoo

  • Spend the day at the beach. No doubt there are plenty of beaches in San Diego, but we chose to spend the day at La Jolla Shores. The girls had a blast playing in the sand, hunting for shells, and splashing in the water.
  • Check out a brewery. Or two, or three.. Ballast Point Miramar has a great outdoor space. The kids were able to run around and play while we enjoyed a nice cold beer.
  • See the La Jolla Cove seals. This was so fun. We were able to get so close to the seals and sea lions. I had to remind Coco that they were still wild animals who need their space.

Seals and Sea Lions at La Jolla cove

  • Go to Seaworld. I have to be honest.. I am not a huge fan of Seaworld. The movie Blackfish really put a sour taste in my mouth toward the whole thing. BUT I also felt like my opinion alone isn’t going to shut down Seaworld and while it is still up and running I shouldn’t deprive my children of it.

Petting sharks at SeaWorld San Diego

Fun day at SeaWorld San Diego

  • Spend the afternoon in Old Town. Old Town is home to a bunch of unique little shops and a plethora of bars and restaurants.

Old Town San Diego

  • Walk around Seaport Village. Located on the waterfront, Seaport was a perfect little spot. We shopped, rode the carousel, and then enjoyed ice cream while listening to live music.

A day at Seaport Village

Where to Eat

  • Puestos. We grabbed a few tacos here and they were delicious!
  • Sugar & Scribe. Hands down the best brunch I’ve ever had. I had the house benedict which was made with prosciutto and arugula and AJ had the naughty skillet. We both raved about our food and cleaned our plates.Tacos for lunch at Puesto San Diego

Brunch at Sugar and Scribe San Diego

  • Regents Pizza. We had Regents delivered to our hotel after a long day of playing. It was exactly what we needed.
  • Mustangs & Burros. Located in Estancia La Jolla. They have the cutest patio and a great happy hour.

Happy Travels,

Jamie

Make sure to check out my other travel guides here.

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