Must-do's in San Diego/Southern Cali

Updated on May 22, 2011
R.D. asks from Haysville, KS
8 answers

Hey moms! We decided yesterday to take a trip to San Diego to see my brother over his extended weekend (Marine, deployment was moved up so trying to see him as much as possible). We are flying into San Diego, and will most likely start with Sea World. We are going to take a day to drive to Anaheim and do Disney, I for sure want to go to the beach, and we are thinking about going to San Diego Zoo (we have been before when my daughter was 6 months old, but she would really enjoy it this time around). Are there any fun things that we just HAVE to do? We are only there four days, so we are kind of packing a lot in, but it will be a long time before we head that way again!
Also, if you have a great beach that we should go to, I'm all ears! I live in Kansas, and have only been to the beach once when I went to Anaheim my senior year of high school. It was amazing and I have wanted to go again every day since then. I think my family should just move to Cali in my opinion :) I know my brother spends a lot of time at the beach so I'm sure he has some ideas, but I have to remember he is a 19 year old single guy haha :) His idea of a good beach and mine may be different. Thanks for any input!!

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answers from New York on

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE San Diego - best ever vacation we went on, we stayed in the Mission Beach area for a week. We did Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and beaches as well. For a 4 day weekend, I would do Sea World, San Diego Zoo and the beach and THAT'S IT. Packing in more will be too much. (I might even skip the zoo, you have a nice zoo in Kansas to go to.) FYI Coronado beach was voted one of the top 10 US beaches by Parents magazine. I would get a 3 day pass to Sea World and just do that and the beach each day. Up to you. Trying to do too much with kids ends up being too hectic I think. Beaches there are great. Old Town San Diego is nice too and so is La Jolla, and seeing the seals there and the amazing views.

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answers from San Diego on

Are you coming Memorial Day weekend? The beaches are probably going to be crowded then. Otherwise, La Jolla Shores is a really nice beach to go to with kids. There is a playground right there, (relatively) easy parking, and bathrooms.

The other thing I always make sure out-of-town guests do is walk around the La Jolla Cove area. It's beautiful there.

Beach, zoo, Sea World, and Disney will probably be enough for four days and really is the quintessential San Diego mini-vacation. Be prepared that the weather may be a little cloudy and cool. But have a great time.

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answers from Dallas on

It's been a few years since I've been there but we used to love the Wild Animal Park. I hear Leggo Land is pretty great too! Honestly, my kids would love the beach every day. Take sweaters. It gets cold at night there. A great time for sweatshirts and a fire on the beach!

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answers from San Francisco on

the Natural History Museum is awesome :-)



answers from Los Angeles on

Mission Beach, close to Sea World is nice, the beaches around Oceanside are also very pretty (Oceanside is halfway to Anaheim from San Diego along the I-5), and Huntington Beach or Long Beach have nice beaches too, plus are close to Disneyland. Just depends on where you are staying at. If the weather is nice, the beaches will be packed, so you'll want to get there early to find parking.


answers from Kansas City on

I lived in East San Diego County for 4 years. You really should take a drive out to the desert and walk and take pictures. As for the beach, eat at a beach front restaurant and try and get a table on the balcony at sunset.

Soak it all in with your eyes. It's so beautiful. I miss it so much my heart hurts. My daughter lives there and I simply can't come up with the money to visit. She's been living there without me for 6 years!



answers from Indianapolis on

It sounds like you have a great plan so far. Lego Land in Carlsbad is great for kids, Coronado Beach and Lo Jolla shores are the best beaches to take the family. That should take up your time with the other plans you listed! Have fun!



answers from Spokane on

I grew up in Coronado, and although I like the beach there I wouldn't say it's super kid friendly simply because the bathroom and drinking fountains are SO far from the water, and you have to take your own snacks and trekking all that way with a ton of snacks is SUCH a pain in the butt. I would go to Halfmoon Beach in Carlsbad/Oceanside (also close to Camp Pendelton if that's where he's stationed). There is a snack/concession stand, bathrooms, showers, a grassy area, and a playground, also there is sometimes live music. It is at the end of the 78 freeway.
I would recommend Coronado though just for a day out - there are so many shops and resturants along Orange Ave or at the Ferry Landing and it's just a nice place to hang out.
Or you could just spend a day at Balboa Park, there's a great playground, and all kinds of things to see for free, the landscaping is beautiful and you could plan a day of taking pictures with your little one and your brother. Or you could go to some of the museums, or spend time on the attractions outside of the zoo - carusel, mini train...
Have fun! Wish I could afford to still live there and enjoy all the great things SD has to offer!

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