Bahamas or San Diego?

Updated on November 21, 2012
R.R. asks from Southborough, MA
14 answers

Hi Mamas!
My husband and I would like to take our two kids, ages 4 (girl) and 1(boy) on vacation this winter. We live on the east coast so we were looking for some place warm and after much consideration have narrowed it down to Atlantis in the Bahamas or San Diego. They would be very different kinds of vacations and so we were not sure which place would be better for our kids ages. Any advice from those of you who've been to either place would be great. As a side, neither of our kids have flown before so that is one thing to take into consideration maybe.

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So What Happened?

I had my heart set on a beach vacation, so we went to Atlantis and it was great! The flight was a short 3 hours direct and even though prices there are astronomical, there are budget-friendly options for eating out and shopping a few minutes away. Atlantis had so much to offer our little ones-we were never at a loss at what to do. They had a ball, especially my 4 year old girl who got to get in the water to feed baby sting rays! Tons of fun, overall, and so glad we went. Still want to do San Diego soon!

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answers from New York on

San Diego hands down. Bahamas only 75 for the high in winter. Nothing really to do with little ones there.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Are you on the go people or lie by the pool people?

I love San Diego - the Wild Animal park, the zoo. Weather is almost always nice there - but not hot so you probably won't spend any time at the beach.

Atlantis is going to be hot, lying by the pool all day. Which is also nice if that fits your personality.

You say your kids haven't flown before - do you all have passports? You'll need them for the Bahamas.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We've done both and loved them both. For those ages, I might lean towards San Diego, although I assume the flight would be longer for you. We were just at Atlantis for spring break last year, but I think it's better for older kids who can take advantage of the extreme water slides and some of the other activities. My kids were 12 and 15 in Atlantis. They do have lazy rivers and play areas for younger kids, but it seems like a long way to travel to me for those things. Atlantis isn't cheap either. Just my opinion.

San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park are both fun. We loved Legoland in nearby Carlsbad, although many of the rides might not be available to your youngest. Our youngest was 2 when we did some of those things. The Balboa park area (spelling?) near the Zoo has other activities and a model train museum. We hung at the beach in La Jolla and enjoyed Sea World, although it's pretty expensive. It's been while since we were in San Diego, but we've been to Legoland multiple times. I think Legoland has added an Aquarium since we were last there. If I think of anything else I'll edit my response.

The Bahamas might be warmer. I would look at the average air and water temperatures for both places for the month you would like to travel.

ETA: good point the other poster made about passports. It takes several weeks to get them for the first time. Also, someone just posted asking about Atlantis within the last week. You should be able to find their posting to get more information.

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answers from San Diego on

Living in San Diego I have to admit that I'm biased. There is so much to do that your children as well as you and your husband will really enjoy doing together. Nothing is too far of a drive from anywhere. As everyone has already mentioned there is the Zoo and Wild Animal Park. Sea World is fun. Legoland is not a long drive if you are staying near Downtown. Going over the Coronado Bay Bridge on to Coronado Island and visitng the Hotel Del Coronado and walking on the beach is beautiful. Balboa Park has so many museums and a lot of great things to do for free as well. There is a Children's Museum in Downtown San Diego. Scripps Aquarium is fantastic and driving around La Jolla and Torrey Pines and enjoying the coast is breathtaking. Depending on where your hotel is Disneyland isn't more than a couple hours drive at most (it's about 1hr 20 mins from here as we live at the northern end).
I could go on and on. Can you tell I love it here :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Both will be at least 5 hour flights.

San Diego offers the BEST Zoo, a W. Animal Park, Sea World, LEGO Land..
the temperatures are mild. It DOES snow in San Diego - just not often! :)

Bahamas offers sun and warmth as well as pools and water parks for the kids....

which do YOU want??? Walking in parks all day or relaxing by the pool or beach?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We love to vacation in San Diego with our kids. We went there this past spring! We have gone there almost every year with our kids...and sometimes brought other families along. We have stayed in hotels and also in beach houses. Our kids favorite memories tend to center around trips to San Diego.

The weather and beaches are gorgeous. We love LegoLand, Sea World, Balboa Park and just camping our booties on the beach somewhere.

My husband and I went to the Bahamas this past spring..without kids. It was a business trip. I would love to go there with them but I don't think we can justify the expense when the U.S. has so much that can compare to it but less money.

I have always lived in California. There is sooo much to do here so we rarely vacation outside the state. Come to won't regret it!! (unless we have an earthquake while you are here...j/k!!)

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answers from New York on

I don't think they are old enough for the water slides. Go to SD.

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answers from New York on

San Diego - there is the famous San Diego Zoo. I would think that would be wonderful for the littleones to see and experience. And watching them have a great time would be a great time for you too.

Bahamas seems to me to be more couples or grown up oriented.

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answers from New York on

San Diego! Bahamas is overrated.

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answers from Charlotte on

With your kids' ages I'd take them to San Diego. I've been to the Bahamas, and I admit that I wouldn't want to take a vacation there with little kids. Now, I haven't been to Atlantis, but I doubt it's THAT different from where I was.

Bear in mind that I LOVE traveling overseas and I have done a lot of it, including living overseas.

Don't know if this helps or not, but my vote is San Diego...




answers from New York on

I was at the Atlantic in February and it was lovely. There are lots for kids to do besides water slides and laying by the pool, ok. We are going next December.


answers from Houston on

Bahamas. Your kids will enjoy any place but you and hubby will find more of a romantic setting in the Bahamas. I was bored in San Diego.



answers from Boston on

I've never been to Atlantis, but we went to San Diego when my daughter was 2 and it was one of the best vacations ever. We went to the aquarium in La Jolla, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, the beach, Sea World, Legoland, and drove up to Anaheim for a day at Disney. We were never bored and my daughter had a great time. We got some kind of "City Pass" (you can google san diego city pass) and it was a good deal on passes to each place.

Also, it may be easier to go to San Diego as you need passports to go to the Bahamas and will need to go through international customs.



answers from Boca Raton on

I have been to both places, and I live in southeastern Florida on the water.

Much to my surprise, I LOVED San Diego. It is the absolute perfect place in the U.S. for me . . . lots of water and sun, but low humidity and very mild temps year round.

That being said, at your kids' ages I would be more inclined to the Bahamas, mainly because you have a better shot at warm weather (that's comfortable to swim in) and the flight will be much easier for you guys.

Atlantis has a big gambling element to it, but it also has alot of fun stuff for little ones. At the very least they will love the aquariums.

My kids were older when we went to San Diego and they loved the zoo there, as well as the Padres game. We didn't do any beach-y stuff other than drive the Pacific Coast Highway (which is amazing).

Whatever you decide I hope you all have a wonderful time!

ETA: I can't believe I forgot Legoland in CA! My younger son had a blast there and we all enjoyed seeing it. It's not too far from SD and it's a pretty drive no matter what.

ETA2: Good point on the passports - something to look into/consider. Also, I would think the Bahamas would be warmer but I would look at the average temps online.

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