San Diego is the trip that I am most excited about for many reasons. First of all it will be the first time we have flown more than 2 hours with our darling daughter and second San Diego is really kid friendly.

I made a bucket list for our trip. I’m not sure yet in what order we will be seeing these sites, but we will see these sites as a family and there will be many family selfies!

I wanted to do things besides Sea World and Legoland as we had done those parks in Florida. There were so many fun, family activities that I had to create a bucket list for our next trip to San Diego. Also, some of the hikes I wanted to do weren’t looking super safe to take a 3 year old and therefore those had to be held for our next trip.

Outdoor Things To Do With Toddlers

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park has an awesome playground and splash pad for kids and several picnic areas. I plan on always leaving one extra bathing suit in the rental car for Olivia. Not to mention this activity is free.

La Jolla Shores Beach & La Jolla Cove

There is a playground on La Jolla Shores Beach and dogs are allowed after 4pm. La Jolla Cove Beach is smaller and near shops and restaurants.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is located 20 minutes South of La Jolla Shores Beach and La Jolla Cove. Home to Belmont Park, this boardwalk beach town is on our must see list.

Belmont Park

Belmont Park has unlimited Rides for Olivia if purchased online is $17 since she is under 48 inches tall. Adults are $27 each for a limited number of rides. There’s an arcade, rides, shopping and dining.

Bike Ride Mission Bay Park

I want to rent bikes and ride Mission Bay Park. Strolling through San Diego Botanic Gardens, or Cabrillo Cliffs National Park , and Sunset Cliffs National Park is on the list.

Inflatable World

Inflatable World looked intriguing to me because it was the first outdoor jumpy house amusement park I have seen. Olivia loves to climb and jump in these and their inflatables looked very unique and I liked the fact that it was outdoors. Unfortunately this park is only open through the end of August and Wed-Sundays.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle Garden

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle Garden is a sculpture garden located inside Kit Carson Park. There are sculptures decorated with brightly colored patterned mosaics, shining and reflecting like mirrors in the sunlight. This makes for a free, great, outdoor adventure.

The Children’s Pool

Located at 850 Coast Blvd in La Jolla, the Children’s Pool was originally designated for children to swim. The swimming spot has now become a hot spot for harbor seals and sea lions to bathe and bask in the sun. it has become  a place where visitors can witness the unique wildlife from only a short distance away. During low tide at La Jolla Children’s Pool, additional wildlife can be observed in the tide pools as well. The Children’s Pool also provides 360-degree incredible views of La Jolla, the Pacific Ocean and sunsets. There are no parking lots close to the beach and metered spots fill up quickly especially on the weekends. Visitors are welcome to park in Downtown La Jolla and walk to the Children’s Pool in San Diego. Restrooms and showers are available to the public.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park, it contains walking paths, green spaces, 16 museums, several theaters and the San Diego Zoo.  There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. The park and its historic Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

My husband loves trains. The Balboa Park Miniature Train takes a 3-minute, ½-mile trip through four acres of Balboa Park.  The train is a model G16 – now a rare antique with as few as fifty currently remaining.

La Jolla Sea Caves Inside the La Jolla Cave and Shell Shop

The Cave Store is La Jolla’s oldest business. The Cave Store is home to the historic and world famous Sunny Jim Sea Cave. The cave has a manmade tunnel from inside the Cave Store which allows visitors to enter the Sunny Jim Cave by land. During prohibition in the 1920’s the cave was used to smuggle alcohol into La Jolla. You descend a 144 step tunnel to get to the bottom to see sea lions and the cool cave.

Dining Outside San Diego

Some of our top choices for dining outside: Duke’s La Joll, George’s at the Cove , Mister A’s , Sea 180, Cannonball Sushi  has an amazing outdoor seating area and a fun menu.

Brunch & Lunch San Diego Hot Spots

One of the new restaurants to try is Great Maple San Diego , The Marine Room at high tide looks amazing. I can’t wait to see waves smashing the windows next to us as we eat.

Some other restaurants we plan on scoping out: The Waffle Spot, Donut Bar, Cafe Santorini in Pasadena, The Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach, Skyloft in Laguna Beach, High Rooftop Lounge in Venice Beach atop the Hotel Erwin, Mitch’s Seafood, CLevel.

Ice Cream Hot Spots

Freeze San Diego – With flavors like Charcoal Butterscotch, The Mermaid and Dragon’s Breath I feel like we have to make a pit stop here. Somi Somi has fish shaped ice cream cones and Korean inspired ice cream flavors. I’m for sure trying Ube flavored ice-cream which is purple yam. MNGO Cafe is a desert and coffee bar with Japanese shaved ice.

Bucket Listed Activities

Carlsbad Flower Fields – Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad Ranch is a 50 acre flower garden that is about an hour north of San Diego. Unfortunately we are not going to be in San Diego during the time the flower fields are in full bloom but this is on my San Diego bucket list for next trip. The flower fields are open March 1st-May 13th each year. What fabulous photos this garden would make!

Potato Chip Rock

So this is probably not a young kid friendly hike but I put it on the list because we will be doing this when Olivia is a bit older. It made the bucket list for next trip.

Heritage Park Victorian Village

Heritage County Park is a county park of San Diego County, California, located near Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and measuring almost eight acres. I had to narrow down my list and we decided to save this park for next trip.

Tide Pools

Unfortunately we weren’t going during the season to see the Tide Pools, but they are something we would have loved to do. The La Jolla Mom Blog has an entire post on these.

San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Even though pandas are on our favorite animal list, I think we are going to skip the San Diego Zoo and The San Diego Zoo Safari Park this trip. Adult tickets are $54 and children 4 and up are $44 for the zoo. These two attractions are located 45 minutes from each other and I decided we would save these adventures for our next trip. I would love to take Olivia on one of their Safari Caravans but you have to be at least 6 years old or 8 years old for some of their safari’s.

We also decide to save Sesame Street Bay of Play (Inside SeaWorld), Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, Old Town Model Railroad Depot and the Mission Basilica de Alcalá for our next trip to San Diego.

These websites are so helpful when planning a trip with kids to San Diego. La Jolla Mom and La Jolla Baby by the Sea. This list of free things to do in San Diego and San Diego Magazine was also helpful.

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