A Tour Guide for Local & Visiting Families
If you live in San Diego County or are on vacation, enjoy this great publication! Out & About with Kids 2022-2023 is organized by seven different areas throughout the county. Check out the map and table of contents on pages 4 and 5 for details.
New this year are sections featuring water adventures, epic playgrounds, live performances and sporting events. We even added family-friendly wineries. Pick an area to tour every week and enjoy our slice of paradise.
Out & About with Kids is an annual magazine so hold on to it; consider putting it in your car’s glove box for easy access throughout the year. You can also pull up the digital edition on your phone at www.sandiegofamily.com/thingsto-do/out-about. In most cases, the locations highlighted are open year-round. Visit websites for current hours and information so you’re sure to enjoy your adventure when you arrive.
We want to thank all our advertisers who support this publication. Take a minute to tell them how much you enjoy all the places listed in beautiful San Diego County.
Out & About with Kids!
2022/2023 – Volume 23
Publisher/Editor in Chief Sharon Bay
Managing Editor Lisa Gipson
Editorial Assistant Adrienne Sigeti
Graphic Designer Rik Thiesfeld
Cover Photography All Colors Photography
Marketing Director Michele Hancock email@example.com
Tony Andrews 619-685-6977 tony2018@SanDiegoFamily.com Point Loma, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, North County Coastal
Giovanni Baldan 619-685-6987 giovanni@SanDiegoFamily.com South Bay, San Diego Downtown, Uptown
All other areas
Thank you to this year’s sponsors:
1475 Sixth Ave. #500 San Diego, CA 92101 619-685-6970
This magazine for San Diego County families is published annually by San Diego Family Magazine LLC. Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Belmont Park, the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California and Petco Park, but there is much more to explore and discover.
San Diego’s urban oasis, Balboa Park, houses dozens of museums and cultural institutions, including Fleet
What to Do
Natural History Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and the new Comic-Con Museum. Stroll through the park’s lush gardens or take a ride on the miniature train and carousel.
If you don’t get a little sandy while in San Diego, have you been here at all? With more than 70 miles of coastline from Chula Vista to Oceanside, you’re guaranteed a generous dose of “vitamin sea.” Build a sandcastle near the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, organize a bonfire at La Jolla Shores or watch the sunset at Powerhouse Park in Del Mar.
San Diego’s rich naval history offers maritime enthusiasts plenty to explore. Don’t miss the
USS Midway, the longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. Take the self-guided family audio tour, which keeps the whole crew entertained. Then, head to Waterfront Park where kids can splash in interactive water fountains.
Outdoor adventurers enjoy hiking trails along the coast and in San Diego’s inland communities. Soak in breathtaking ocean views at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in La Jolla or embark on a heart-pumping adventure at Potato Chip Rock in Poway. Wind your way through Los Peñasquitos Canyon to an active waterfall, and be sure to visit the adorable Ranch House goats on the way. You can follow them on Instagram @pqgoats!
Where to Stay
may offer a free shuttle to the park, so be sure to ask.
in San Diego are as varied and diverse as the food and people. You’ll find something to suit every family’s preferences— from luxury beachfront resorts to peaceful campgrounds and everything in between.
For families with LEGOLAND on the itinerary, head to Carlsbad (about half an hour north of San Diego), where the über kid-friendly LEGOLAND Hotel and Castle Hotel are on property. Other nearby hotels
If you prefer to be near the airport and in the heart of San Diego, consider the Manchester Grand Hyatt or Hilton San Diego Bayfront for stunning bay views and easy access to Seaport Village, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, Petco Park and downtown.
Mission Bay hotels are close to beaches, Belmont Park, SeaWorld and 12 miles of flat, paved paths, perfect for bikes, strollers and scooters. Head to the Polynesian-themed Catamaran Resort & Spa where koi ponds and exotic birds delight kids or to Paradise Point Resort & Spa where bungalowstyle rooms offer tranquil water or garden views.
For RV campers and glampers, San Diego Metro KOA or Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay (both in south bay’s Chula Vista) offer cabins and other deluxe furnished accommodations. Both properties boast family-friendly amenities such as planned activities for kids, pool, playground, game room and more. No RV? Check www. RVshare.com (it’s like Airbnb for RVs), to see if someone local has an RV for rent; they may even deliver to your preferred campsite.
If peaceful mountains and hiking are more your style, reserve a tent site or rustic cabin at William Heise Park or Cuyamaca State Park in Julian, about 40 minutes northeast of San Diego.
When it comes to brews and bites, San Diegans don’t mess around. Ask a local for a restaurant rec and they are sure to provide a generous helping of distinctly delicious options. Whether you’re a seasoned local or first-time visitor, we have tips for making the most of the San Diego food scene. Take a break from touring to enjoy an evening of wining and dining at one of Little Italy’s favorite trattorias. Dine al fresco at Bencotto Italian Kitchen or
Where to Eat
Focaccia Di Recco will have you dreaming of a Mediterranean getaway. End the evening on India or State Streets where specialty dessert shops (such as Pappalecco) entice passersby with authentic gelato, delectable tiramisu and creamy affogatos. Buon Appetito!
Treat your taste buds to inspired Asian cuisine in the Convoy District. Get your fill of scrumptious noodles at Facing East Noodle & Bar, enjoy a unique experience at Kura Revolving Sushi or dive into delectable soup dumplings at Steamy Piggy. Leave room for dessert because visiting one of Convoy’s eclectic sweet shops is a must. Families love Up2You Café, Mngo Café, Somi Somi and Bing Haus.
San Diego’s Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods offer a variety of eateries from upscale restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter to familyfriendly gastropubs in North Park and South Park. Head to Seaport Village for a casual bite, live music and plenty of people watching along the waterfront. Mr. Moto Pizza offers pizza-by-the-slice and Mike Hess Brewing serves up local brews and stunning views of the San Diego Bay.
If coastal breezes and So-Cal beaches are your vibe, head for Solana Beach, which boasts coffee shops, scenic brunch spots and trendy restaurants. Start the day at local favorite Claire’s on Cedros for a delicious breakfast or hit up Solana Beach Fish House for a casual lunch.
How to Get Around
When it comes to getting around San Diego, a little planning goes a long way. Luckily, there are plenty of transportation options available. For those looking to get from one end of the county to another, the iconic Red Trolley is the best bet. We recommend parking at the new(ish) UTC Transit Center and hopping
on the Blue Line for an easy ride to San Diego destinations like Old Town, Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter and more. Visitors staying in Hotel Circle (Mission Valley) can use the Orange Line for direct access to Seaport Village and the Convention Center.
For visitors and locals who prefer to travel by water, the Coronado Ferry offers a relaxing ride and stunning views of the San Diego skyline and Coronado Bridge. From downtown, set sail for a 15-minute excursion across the bay to Coronado Ferry Landing
where families can shop, eat and explore.
Travelers who crave a little old-timey nostalgia can hop aboard the Old Town Trolley Tour for an excursion that includes stops at 12 points of interest, unlimited on-and-off privileges and narration from experienced tour guides. Ask about tours with free museum admission, discount coupons and hotel shuttle service.
Train enthusiasts will enjoy the short ride up the coast from downtown to Solana Beach or Oceanside on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. Hop off at one of these beautiful seaside towns and spend the day exploring North County.
San Diego is known for its sun, sand and surf, but there’s tons of family fun beyond the beaches. Our diverse county is home to several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own culture and history. From coastal communities to inland valleys, there’s something for every kind of adventurer. Whether you’re an outdoor trekker, thrill seeker, food fanatic or mountain mama, all are welcome.
Before heading out, you’ll need a guide to tell you where the locals like to hang out and play. That’s the purpose of San Diego Family Magazine’s annual Out & About with Kids! Flip to page 4 to get an overview of the county, then
browse neighborhoods in this section (North County Coastal, North County Inland, San Diego Coastal, Uptown/ Downtown, San Diego Central, East County and South Bay). Gather the family, mark some fun spots and start planning your next adventure. Visit www.sandiegofamily.com/ things-to-do/out-about to discover favorite hiking trails, local train experiences, San Diego’s favorite frozen treats, scavenger hunt ideas and more. While you’re exploring, take photos and tag us on Instagram @sandiegofamilymagazine. Use hashtags #sharesandiegofamily or #SDoutandabout for a chance to be featured on our IG page.
Be sure to pick up San Diego Family Magazine every month (at your local Albertsons or library) for ongoing ideas and resources for families. You can also access the digital edition at www.sandiegofamily.com/magazines/san-diego-family-digital-issues.
San Diego Coastal
Lic. # 376700496
8660 Gilman Dr., La Jolla 92037-2202 La Jolla 858-452-3030
MISSION BAY MONTESSORI ACADEMY
Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School
2640 Soderblom Ave., San Diego 92122 La Jolla, Pacific Beach, University City 858-457-5895
Discover the World of Montessori
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children learn best in an environment that demonstrates love, trust, understanding, patience and consistency. Students excel academically while experiencing cooperation, respect, self-confidence and the joy of learning. Contact these local Montessori schools for more information.
North County Coastal
ENCINITAS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL
Preschool/Elementary/Middle Lic. #372005943
Two Locations in Encinitas 760-942-1111
CENTRAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, La Costa 760-479-9889
“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World”
“Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” - Maria Montessori
North County Coastal
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve & Nature Center
2710 Manchester Ave. 760-634-3026
Explore the awesome LEED
Platinum-certified nature center featuring animal exhibits, cultural displays and more. Enjoy the 3/4mile stroller-friendly, ADA-accessible trail overlooking the marsh. Ask about their Junior Ranger activities.
Batiquitos Lagoon & Nature Center
7380 Gabbiano Ln.
Enjoy a stroller-friendly 2-mile nature walk through tidal wetlands and nature preserve. Leashed dogs allowed. Visit the nature center,
bring binoculars for bird-watching, and check the calendar for familyfriendly events.
4215 Harrison St. 760-434-3089
Spend an adventurous day on the water with California Watersports! Rent your choice of WaveRunners, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, pontoons, aqua cycles or paddle boats.
LEGOLAND California/SEA LIFE Aquarium
One Legoland Dr. www.legoland.com/california
An epic family favorite, LEGOLAND features kid-friendly rides, shows, attractions and a water park (additional admission). Don’t miss the new interactive attraction this year, LEGO Ferrari Build & Race! Stay overnight in one of two LEGOthemed resort hotels. SEA LIFE
Aquarium entrance is separate from theme park.
Museum of Making Music 5790 Armada Dr. 760-438-5996
Enjoy an immersive experience celebrating music and learning about the music industry through family visits, group tours and field trips.
Del Mar Beach/ Powerhouse Park 1658 Coast Blvd. 858-755-1524
A breathtaking coastal park overlooks Del Mar’s favorite beach. Enjoy fantastic views, a large grassy area, playground, public restrooms, outdoor showers and summer concerts on the lawn. Bring a picnic or grab a bite at one of the eateries along 15th Street.
Del Mar Highlands Town Center
12925 El Camino Real
With the new Sky Deck (nine culinary hotspots in one), Handel's Ice Cream, Batch & Box (the best cookies in town), Geppetto's toy store, CeramiCafe and many more eateries and boutiques, it's no wonder this area is always hopping with families!
12843 El Camino Real
Handel’s has been serving delicious scoops of homemade ice cream to happy customers since 1945. Choose from sundaes, shakes, smoothies or a “Handel’s Hurricane.” Multiple locations.
3725 Paseo Pl.
Fabulous outdoor shopping and dining experience featuring unique spots to sit and relax and both kid-friendly and date-night-friendly restaurants such as Tender Greens, Salt & Straw and Nick’s Del Mar. Check the calendar for fun family events.
Pacific Highlands Ranch
5977 Village Center Loop Rd., Carmel Valley
Just inland from Del Mar are two concrete pump tracks offering bike enthusiasts of differing skill levels non-stop fun. Located at Pacific
On the Water Adventures
Highlands Ranch Community Park. Open 8 am until sunset.
Pelly’s Mini Golf
15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd. 858-509-5130
Play 18 holes of mini golf on one of two fun, themed courses: Pelly’s Ocean Adventure or Surfin’ Safari.
San Dieguito County Park
1628 Lomas Santa Fe Dr. 858-755-2386
Surrounded by eucalyptus groves, this awesome, expansive park has lookout platforms, suspension bridges, trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and more.
In addition to kayaking, surfing, jet ski rentals and SUPs (stand-up paddle boards), here are additional fabulous ways to experience America’s Finest City from the water.
4215 Harrison St., Carlsbad
City Cruises by Hornblower
Downtown San Diego
Broadway Pier, 990 N. Harbor Dr., Downtown SD
The Gondola Company
503 Grand Caribe Causeway, Ste C, Coronado
Mission Bay or San Diego Bay
Lake San Marcos
1025 La Bonita Dr., San Marcos
Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 N. Harbor Dr., Downtown SD
San Diego SEAL Tours
Seaport Village, 789 West Harbor Dr., Downtown SD
Candles on Tap
687 S Coast Hwy. 101 #155
Customize and pour your own candle from 100 unique fragrances at San Diego's first candle bar. Take a seat at the scent bar and learn how to create a one-of-a-kind blend. Flameless candles also available.
Cottonwood Creek Park
95 N. Vulcan Ave.
Spend the afternoon at this relaxing park that offers unique play structures, grassy lawns, picnic areas, creekside trails, and tennis and basketball courts. Walk to nearby restaurants and shops.
Encinitas Community Park
425 Santa Fe Dr.
This large, beautiful park has sports fields, a skate park, walking paths, a popular children’s playground and dog park.
Moonlight State Beach
400 B St.
The crown jewel of Encinitas, this gorgeous beach has it all: swim, surf, sand, children’s playground, snack bar, volleyball courts, firepits, lifeguards and more. Free parking lot.
San Diego Botanic Garden
230 Quail Gardens Dr. 760-436-3036
Explore the tree house and Children’s Garden, and visit for Family Fun Nights and other kid-friendly events.
San Dieguito Heritage Ranch
300 Quail Gardens Dr. 760-632-9711
Home to the Heritage Museum, where you can explore local history, music and art. Check the website for hours and family events such as Prairie Day.
1298 S. Coast Hwy. 101
Enjoy spectacular cliff-top coastal views, a grassy area for picnics and a great stretch of sand for family walks. Small parking lot has stairs down to the beach.
1508 S. Pacific St. www.buccaneer-cafe.com
A true hidden gem at Buccaneer Beach Park and across the street from Buccaneer Beach. Before your morning beach stroll, fuel up at this popular snack-shack turned delicious quick-service breakfast/brunch joint. Locals recommend the Kitchen Sink Breakfast Burrito and fluffy pancakes. “Sunset Tacos” available Fridays from 4-7:30 pm (April to Sept).
Audubon Nature Center
2202 S. Coast Hwy.
Explore interactive exhibits, visit the bird-viewing deck and walk along the nature trail. Located next to the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve.
California Surf Museum
312 Pier View Way
This museum celebrates surfing culture while chronicling the history of surfing through permanent and revolving special exhibits. Check out the fun gift shop!
Guajome Regional Park
3000 Guajome Lake Rd.
Spend a relaxing day (or weekend) at this lovely county park. Walk the trails, enjoy playgrounds, ponds and an expansive lawn, or reserve a camping spot. Parking fee.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving
3178 Vista Way
Vertical wind tunnels simulate the thrill of skydiving in a safe, familyfriendly environment.
Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Ave.
Explore the historic church, museum, gardens and architectural beauty of this “King of the Missions.”
Annie's Canyon Trail
498 Solana Hills Dr. www.alltrails.com/trail/us/ california/annies-canyon-trail-viasolana-hills-trail
Featured on our cover! This easyto-moderate slot canyon hike offers beautiful coastal views through narrow sandstone walls that make a unique family adventure. Not stroller-friendly.
Fletcher Cove Beach Park
111 S. Sierra Ave.
This awesome park sits above the beach, offering gorgeous ocean views, picnic areas and a playground. Grab lunch (or an order of tater tots) across the street at Pillbox Tavern & Grill.
San Diego Hidden Gems
Play a life-sized game of chess at Civita Park in Mission Valley.
Dave’s Rock Garden is a favorite of artists, families, beachgoers and passersby. Take a stroll through the garden and enjoy a delightfully landscaped oasis with hundreds of hand-painted rocks placed by locals and visitors. Be sure to say “hi” to Dave if you see him working in the garden. 200-298 B St.
Stop by Harper’s Topiary Garden in Mission Hills to admire 50 life-size topiaries sculpted into playful creatures. 3549 Union St., San Diego.
With a bit of planning, you might catch a glimpse of the SS Monte Carlo, which crashed ashore in Coronado on New Year’s Eve 1936. The ship’s remains can sometimes be seen during low tide in front of the Coronado Shores Condos.
Oceanview swimming at the Inn at Sunset Cliffs. People not staying at the Inn can pay $10 pp (up to four) for a day pass to use their oceanfront swimming pool (pending availability). Call the day of to check schedule. 619-222-7901
Learn how to build sandcastles like a pro!
Schedule a family sandcastle-building lesson at www.sandiegosand.com. Not recommended for kids under 5.
Explore the inside of one of San Diego’s most iconic historic landmarks, the California Tower in Balboa Park. A 40-minute tour promises 360-degree views of San Diego from the Tower’s eighth-floor viewing deck. www.museumofus.org/exhibits/california-tower
FREE Enjoy breathtaking views (and snap an awesome photo) from La Jolla’s secret swing. Locate the small wooden bridge in the back of Birch Aquarium’s parking lot to find the short trail. Sometimes the swing disappears, making it even more mysterious!
“Hidden” in plain sight, the big draw of High Pie in Oceanside is that it’s the house (now hand pie bakery) made famous by the iconic 1986 movie, Top Gun, as it was the oceanfront residence of Charlie (Kelly McGillis), Tom Cruise’s co-star. Super fun photo opportunity!
Explore Queen Califia’s Magical Circle at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. Large-scale whimsical sculptures and the circular “snake wall” make perfect play structures. Limited hours. www.escondido.org/queencalifias-magical-circle
Take a family “daycation” at one of San Diego’s favorite resort destinations. ResortPass offers single-day access to local pools, spas, cabanas and more at dozens of hotels and resorts across the county. Prices and amenities vary by location. Get the details at www.resortpass.com/hotel-day-passes/ San-Diego-3.
Literally hidden inside Miner’s Diner (Julian’s favorite burger spot and soda fountain) is a “Candy Mine” offering barrels of old-fashioned sweets and treats for purchase. While in the diner, be sure to check out the Santa Fe train circling above.
Find more San Diego hidden gems in our full list at www.sandiegofamily.com/ things-to-do/out-about/hidden-spots-insan-diego-for-families.
4425 Hwy. 78, Santa Ysabel; 951-847-1904; www.fortcross.com
North County Inland
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
200 Palm Canyon Dr. 760-767-4205
This desert landscape is excellent for hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. Don’t miss spring wildflower blooms and stargazing; Anza-Borrego is a designated International Dark Sky Park.
Borrego Night Sky Tours
Explore clear night skies over AnzaBorrego. Gaze at stars, planets and satellites with tour guides. Suitable for ages 9 and up.
1700-1844 Borrego Springs Rd.
Don’t miss the iconic metal Sky Art sculptures of Borrego Springs, created by artist Ricardo Breceda. Fun to stop and take photos; free to visit.
Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
8833 Harmony Grove Rd. 760-632-4212
Enjoy walking, hiking, biking or horseback riding on 11 miles of trails lined with native plants and wildlife. Interpretive center and guided nature walks available.
The Grand Tea Room
145 W. Grand Ave. 760-233-9500
Have a tea party! Full service, traditional tea, Children’s Tea (ages 10 & under) and special events. Closed Sun./Mon.
Grape Day Park
321 N. Broadway
Commemorating Escondido’s grape harvest, discover this working
barn, train depot, blacksmith shop, and other historical buildings and museums. Kids love Vinehenge, a unique, grape-themed playground.
Kit Carson Park
3333 Bear Valley Pkwy.
Enjoy walking trails, playground, ponds, picnic areas and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. A large sports complex offers a skate park, athletic fields, courts and more.
Children’s Discovery Museum
320 N. Broadway
Explore, imagine and experiment at this popular indoor/outdoor discovery space featuring hands-on activities that introduce children to STEM, art and world cultures. Check website for fun activities. Closed Sun./Mon.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Celebrate the Safari Park’s 50th anniversary with close-up wildlife experiences in (or over) expansive savanna habitats. Adventure via Africa Tram, caravan, zipline or tethered helium balloon. Kids can pet goats in the Petting Kraal and climb their way through the Tiger Trail Play Area.
Live Oak County Park
2746 Reche Rd.
A great spot for a picnic, this lovely park has playgrounds, sports fields and courts, an amphitheater, and an off-leash dog area.
Focused on conservation education, this facility is home to over 120 animals from around the world. Make reservations for interactive, educational tours.
Palomar Mountain State Park
19952 State Park Rd.
Head to the mountains to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Palomar Mountain is great for hiking, fishing and camping, and offers rich natural and cultural history.
Check website for re-opening plans.
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve
16275 Espola Rd.
Take a nature walk through a beautiful oak-lined canyon, surrounded by coastal sage and chaparral covered hills. Guided hikes available.
14644 Lake Poway Rd.
Go fishing, hiking, rent a pedal boat, play at the park, feed ducks or have a relaxing picnic. Check out the Tony Gwynn memorial statue dedicated to “Mr. Padre” (a long-time Poway resident). Parking fee for non-Poway residents.
Old Poway Park & Poway-Midland Railroad
14134 Midland Rd.
This park features shady trees, antique train rides, historical tours, Heritage Museum, Nelson House and a popular farmer’s market (Saturdays). Grab a bite at Hamburger Factory or bring a picnic. Check train schedule at www.powaymidlandrr.org.
Read about more local train experiences at www.sandiegofamily.com/ things-to-do/out-about/ 7-fun-train-experiences-in-san-diego.
Classic Rotors Museum
2690 Montecito Rd. (at airport)
Make a reservation to tour historic helicopters and vintage rotorcraft.
Oasis Camel Dairy
26757 Hwy. 78
Take a private tour of this familyowned farm and camel dairy. Camel rides and animal feedings available. Shop camel milk skincare products and other unique gifts.
Rancho Santa Fe
Helen Woodward Animal Center
Rancho Santa Fe
Discover the many ways families can get involved at Helen Woodward. Visit website to learn about fun and educational animal interactions, including Critter Camps, special events and more.
Lake San Marcos
1025 La Bonita Dr. 877-526-2671
Enjoy an afternoon of fishing and boating or stay the night at Lakehouse Hotel and Resort. Amenities include a full-service marina, golf course, lakefront dining, summer concerts and more. Check out Black Swan Gondola Company for a unique experience.
Wynston's Ice Cream
251 N. City Dr. #128E
Indulge in nationally award-winning ice cream from this mom-and-pop scoop shop that packs a punch of flavor in every bite. Enjoy nostalgic favorites like Cookies and Cream or try a seasonal flavor like "Avo Nice Day" or "Pineapple Upside Down Pancake."
Bates Nut Farm
15954 Woods Valley Rd. 760-749-3333
It started with walnuts, but this farm has become so much more! Visit the shops and petting zoo, bring lunch and enjoy a picnic. Check calendar for fun seasonal events.
Alta Vista Botanical Gardens
1270 Vale Terrace Dr. 760-945-3954
Explore the awesome Children’s Garden, Discovery Trail and Human Sundial. Offers recycled art, composting and gardening classes and other engaging activities.
Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum
2040 N. Santa Fe Ave. 760-941-1791
Explore and learn the history of tractors, steam engines and much more. Kids love the model railroad displays. Closed Mon./Tues.
Julian San Diego’s favorite local day trip
Everyone loves Julian’s small-town charm, apple pie, gold mining adventures and stargazing (Julian is one of only two designated dark-sky communities in California)! On the way up the mountain, stop at Heroes Wood-Fired Pizza (formerly Wynola Pizza) for lunch and pick up fresh bread at Dudley’s Bakery.
Julian Pie Company
2225 Main St.; 760-765-2449
The family-owned Julian Pie Company has been serving up delicious pie for over 30 years!
Enjoy 10+ pie varieties and be sure to try the Apple Cider Donuts. Also in Santa Ysabel.
15027 Hwy 79
This picturesque, 110-acre lake is surrounded by wilderness and pristine views. Enjoy hiking, picnicking, boating and fishing. The lake is stocked with trout all year. Tent and cabin camping available.
2119 Main St.; 760-765-2472
Moms always has a line for their popular homemade pies, including apple varieties, bumbleberry, take & bake chicken pot pies and more. Be sure to try the apple dumplings! Also in Wynola.
Eagle Mining Co.
2320 C St.; 760-765-0036
Learn California mining history by touring an old-fashioned gold mine. Pan for gold, check out tools and machinery, and explore 1,000 feet of underground tunnels.
Photos courtesy of @SanDiegoAdventureKids
California Wolf Center
2775 B St.
Check out the visitor center and nature store to learn about wild wolves; reserve a tour at the wolf conservation facility off Hwy 79.
1927 4th St.
This two-cell jailhouse, built in 1914, offers an intriguing piece of Julian history. Easily accessible and free to visit.
Julian Mining Company 4444 Hwy. 78; 951-313-0166
Take the family for a fun day of gold panning, gem sluicing, riding the mine tunnel train, and axe throwing.
Volcan Valley Apple Farm
1284 Julian Orchards Dr. 760-302-4574
One of several popular u-pick apple farms located in San Diego's backcountry. Check Facebook in late summer/early fall for u-pick apple availability and updates from the farm.
San Diego's Best Family-Friendly Wineries
Wineries and vineyards provide the perfect ambiance for a relaxing outing. Many San Diego establishments have gone out of their way to create a family-friendly vibe or host events that welcome children. Feel free to bring the kids along when you support these local winemakers, but check their calendar of events in advance and be mindful of other guests when kids are in tow.
Orfila Vineyards & Winery
Orfila features a large family-friendly park, perfect for picnics with little ones. The grounds are not far from the Safari Park, making this winery a great spot to unwind after a day of animal encounters. While children are not permitted inside the tasting room, a convenient walk-up window allows parents to select wines without entering. Check the schedule for live music and rotating food trucks. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Cordiano Winery boasts breathtaking views on a large, outdoor patio. The kitchen serves kidfriendly pizzas and pastas. An outdoor bocce court promises fun for the whole family. This spot is busy, with a casual but energic vibe. Reservations are required. There is a 2-hour limit per table.
In addition to its large indoor tasting room, Milagro Winery boasts a dog-friendly outdoor patio with a play structure, bocce court and cornhole boards. Kids are welcome to climb the giant natural boulders and explore the beautiful grounds while parents sip award-wining wines. Milagro has a bring-your-ownfood policy, making family picnics a breeze. Check the schedule for live music.
Principe di Tricase Winery
This family-owned winery proudly welcomes children, dogs and even horses. The kids’ play area offers crafts and toys and is sometimes staffed by a babysitter (call ahead to confirm). A food cart serves Italian-themed classics, including pizzas, pastas and slushies. Vegan and gluten-friendly options are available. Guests can enjoy the spacious patio or find a cozy picnic spot among the trees. Check the schedule for live entertainment.
This family-owned winery features a wrap-around patio with gorgeous views and outdoor games for children. Guests are welcome to bring their own food. Families of younger children might enjoy more secluded seating in the olive grove, where there is plenty of space to run around. This winery is best for kids (and adults) who are comfortable with unleashed dogs, since it is an exceptionally pet-friendly site.
Three Hills Winery
At Three Hills, outside food is welcome on the patio overlooking a stunning lake. Or choose a more private picnic spot near the 50-foot waterfall (seasonal). Active kids can stretch their legs on the winery’s gorgeous walking paths and climbable rocks. Reservations are available on OpenTable. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome. Check the schedule for live music.
Sunshine Mountain Vineyard
Situated in the hills overlooking North County, Sunshine Mountain Vineyard boasts a gorgeous family-friendly patio with mesmerizing views. The kitchen serves pizza and appetizers. Kids love wandering the grounds and visiting the koi pond. No outside food or drinks permitted.
Anne Malinoski is a contributing writer. She lives in Santee with her husband and two sons.
At Bernardo winery, families love the charming antique décor and boutique retail cottages— including a candy and gelato shop. Menus are kid-friendly (think pizza, pasta and panini) with plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and snacks available. Enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner at one of many beautiful, shaded patios in the courtyard. For larger groups, a grassy area is available near the lower vineyard by reservation only. No outside food or beverages, and no pets. Check the schedule for events, including a Farmer’s Market on Fridays.
Rancho Guejito Vineyard
At Rancho Guejito Vineyard the spacious grounds include a tasting room and shaded gardens overlooking stunning vineyards. Bounce houses and lawn games are available for kids. The vineyard hosts a monthly Sunday Funday just for families—a collaboration with Indie Sol Collective. Past events include a Hullaballoo concert and Kids Yoga. Don’t miss the hayride tours (yes, parents are welcome to bring wine aboard). Check the schedule for live music and activities.
6800 Neptune Pl. 619-221-8899
Enjoy the splendid rocky shoreline, also great for photo sessions. Surfers appreciate the hardbreaking surf; swimmers should use extreme caution. No restrooms.
Photo credit: @kid.friendly.fun
Coronado Ferry Landing
1201 First St.
Fantastic views of the San Diego skyline! Great spot for shopping, dining and picnics. Rent tandem bikes, surreys or SUPs, or take a kayak tour of San Diego Bay. For extra fun, take the ferry from downtown.
Coronado Tidelands Park
2000 Mullinex Dr. 619-522-7342
This waterfront park near Coronado Bridge boasts outstanding bay and city views. Take a leisurely walk or bike ride, visit the skate park, fly a kite, and watch the airplanes take off and land.
Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave.
San Diego Coastal
This world-famous beachfront resort and San Diego icon attracts celebrities and locals alike. Daytime visitors enjoy upscale dining or picnics on white sand, seasonal family events, movies on the beach and more.
2300 Expedition Way
Perched above the Pacific Ocean, Birch Aquarium is home to more than 60 stunning habitats and a museum that showcases research discoveries by Scripps oceanographers. Check the website for tide pool feedings and fun seasonal events.
La Jolla Cove
Along Coast Blvd.
A small-surf beach great for swimmers, scuba divers and snorkelers. It’s fun to watch sea
lions play (but keep your distance for the safety of the animals). The cove is part of La Jolla’s underwater ecological reserve.
La Jolla Shores Beach and Kellogg Park
8200 Camino del Oro
Offers a playground and large grassy area next to La Jolla’s popular beach. A great spot to grill, take a stroll along the boardwalk, and enjoy a family beach day. Arrive early to reserve a good spot. Alcohol and pets are prohibited.
Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial
6905 La Jolla Scenic Dr. 858-459-2314
Climb or drive to the top of Mt. Soledad for panoramic views of San Diego. The memorial honors veterans living and deceased from all American conflicts, dating back to the Revolutionary War. A grassy area is available for picnics.
BEYSTER FAMILY LITTLE BLUE PENGUINS now open
This summer, Birch Aquarium becomes the only aquarium in the west to showcase Little Blue Penguins. These pint-size penguins stand 8 to 10 inches and weigh just 2 to 3 pounds!
Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins is now open!
CoME MEET THEM FoR YoURSELF.
Rose Canyon Trail
Between Genesee Ave. and La Jolla Colony Dr. 619-525-8213
This easy hike follows the train tracks in University City, and offers lovely canyon views—without leading visitors too far from civilization. Bird lovers enjoy exceptional viewing of raptors, owls and hawks. Park rangers offer interpretive walks.
Scripps Coastal Reserve
9300 block of La Jolla Farms Rd., west of La Jolla Shores Dr. Near the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, this coastal conservation area features 1,000 acres of ocean views. Check out the tide pools and beach or visit cliffs overlooking the water.
Stuart Art Collection at University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. 858-534-2117
Explore one-of-a-kind modern art installations on the UCSD campus. Take a self-guided tour to see larger-than-life works such as the 24-foot “Bear” sculpture made from oversized granite stones.
Sunny Jim Cave and Store
1325 Coast Blvd. South 858-459-0746
A prohibition-era bootlegger’s tunnel built in 1902 leads to La Jolla’s only sea cave that can be accessed by land. Take 145 stairs down to experience Sunny Jim Cave. Purchase tickets in the gift shop.
Torrey Pines Gliderport
2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr. 858-452-9858
Enjoy spectacular views at this coastal lookout and watch paragliders take off and land. Pack a picnic or grab a snack at the Cliffhanger Cafe. Reservable falconry lessons available on site.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
12600 N. Torrey Pines Rd. 858-755-2063
A favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Choose from six hiking trails to enjoy scenic overlooks and panoramic views of La Jolla’s beautiful coastline. Accessible trails available.
Crown Point Dr., Ingraham to Lamont 619-525-8213
This bayfront park offers expansive grass areas, barbecues, fire rings, picnic tables, a beach, tot lot, boat launch and basketball courts. Plenty of space for groups and events.
2500 block of Quivira Way
A large park boasting views of Mission Bay and the San Diego River. An ideal spot for picnics and groups, plus a path for walking or biking.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
1001 Santa Clara Pl. 858-488-1000
This waterfront site offers equipment rentals for all your favorite watersports—kayaks, SUPs, sailboats, surfboards, bodyboards and more. Ask about camps and youth lessons.
Mission Bay Bike Paths
Mission Bay Dr. www.traillink.com/trail/mission-baybike-path
Cruise through Mission Bay parks on a flat, paved 11.4-mile path that’s easy enough for kids, and almost loops the bay. Several nearby shops offer bike rentals.
SeaWorld San Diego
500 SeaWorld Dr. 619-222-4732
A highlight for visitors and locals, this awesome, educational theme park offers thrill rides, entertaining shows, animal interactions and the Sesame Street Bay of Play for little ones.
3146 Mission Blvd. 858-228-9283
San Diego's iconic oceanfront amusement park just steps from the beach offers thrill rides, arcade games, laser tag, mini golf and more. It’s home to historic wooden rollercoaster, The Giant Dipper, and popular swimming destination, Plunge San Diego.
Mission Beach and Boardwalk
Ocean Front Walk from Pacific Beach Dr. South 619-221-8899
Loved by locals and visitors, this mile-long stretch of sandy beach is home to Belmont Park and a paved boardwalk. Enjoy beachfront restaurants, build a sandcastle or take a stroll. Lifeguards on duty. No pets allowed.
Plunge San Diego
3115 Ocean Front Walk
Enjoy San Diego’s historic indoor pool that has been renovated to a luxury swimming destination. Kids love playing on the inflatable floating obstacle course. Purchase family day passes at the front desk.
A quintessential San Diego beach town with waterfront restaurants, eclectic shops, farmers market, historic OB Pier, grassy parks and tidepools. Follow the locals to the original Hodad’s for a burger and fries or to Dog Beach, an off-leash puppy’s paradise.
Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park 5115 Soledad Rd. 619-235-1169
Dedicated to local hero Kate Sessions, the famed botanist who helped design Balboa Park, this urban oasis offers 79 grassy acres with stunning views, two playgrounds and ball fields. Great for hiking and picnics.
Pacific Beach Dr. to Tourmaline St. 619-221-8899
A popular choice for surfers and swimmers, this beach sees huge crowds during the summer months. Fishing pier and concrete pits for evening bonfires. Lifeguards on duty. Check out beachfront restaurants for meals with a view.
Cabrillo National Monument and Old Point Loma Lighthouse 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr. 619-557-5450
Part of San Diego’s 59-Mile Scenic Drive, Cabrillo is home to stunning coastal and bay views, a visitor center, seasonal events and a historic lighthouse. Junior Ranger activities available.
2965 Historic Decatur Rd.
Feeling nostalgic? Kids love this San Diego favorite for burgers, shakes and poodle skirts. Check out more than 60 games at the “Gamer’s Garage” arcade while you groove to golden oldies.
The Hot Spot
2770 Historic Decatur Rd., Barracks 14
Paint your own pottery or make candles at this kidfriendly craft studio. Drop-off sessions for kids over 6.
Liberty Station & Public Market
Rosecrans St. between Lytton St. & Womble Rd. www.libertystation.com
A foodie’s haven, this family-friendly shopping, dining and arts destination was once a Naval Training Center. NTC Park offers plenty of grass to run around, picnic, and watch airplanes take off from San Diego International Airport.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Enjoy panoramic sunsets and whale-watching at this park with gorgeous coastal bluffs, arches and sea caves.
Candle Making & Pottery Painting!
(619) 223-1339 • www.thehotspotstudio.com
2770 Historic Decatur Rd. Barracks 14 Located in Liberty
San Diego Strike Force
AWESOME SAN DIEGO PARKS
7960 Civita Blvd., Mission Valley
This expansive park was made for lots of visitors! The multilevel playground includes structures for older and younger kids with plenty of options to keep kiddos engaged. The splash pad is a favorite feature that keeps everyone cool on a hot day. If you trek to the very top of the staircase, there is a special surprise in the tunnel—a beautiful mural highlighting everything we love about San Diego.
Encinitas Community Park
425 Santa Fe Dr. Encinitas
This park has so much to offer and their playground is one of its biggest highlights. The large, shaded playground caters to kids of all ages and has unique play features that model SoCal activities such as windsurfing or skateboarding. You’ll also find a skate park, dog park and baseball/ multi-purpose fields.
SD Playground Mom is looking forward to venturing into South Bay. Where are your favorite playgrounds in San Diego’s South Bay? Email editor@ sandiegofamily.com and tell us about them.
Compliments of Olivia Moore, local mom and playground adventurer. Follow her on IG @SDplaygroundmom
9215 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee
The options are endless at Mast Park. Their outdoor-themed playgrounds cater to kids of all ages and includes a natural play area where kids play climb on tree trunks and rocks. There’s a disc golf course, dog park, basketball court, nature trails, and much more.
Pacific Highlands Ranch
5977 Village Center Loop Rd.
Home to an amazing playground that includes a parkour training area, structures for older and younger kids, musical play elements and a sand area for digging. Another highlight of this park is the famous pump track that accommodates bikes, skateboards, and scooters, as well as a separate skate park.
8277 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla
At La Jolla Shores beach is Kellogg Park, a popular spot with a lifeguardthemed playground. Play and swing while enjoying views of the Pacific Ocean. There are also marine life elements, such as a tiled mosaic and the J.J. whale sculpture (in honor of a gray whale calf that was rescued in 1997, nursed back to health at SeaWorld San Diego and released off the coast of Point Loma).
Highland Ranch Park
Carmel Mountain Ranch
Mira Mesa Community Park
Grape Day Park
Maruta Gardner Playground
Bonita Cove Park
1100 W Mission Bay Dr., Mission Beach
This popular beach park’s playground is known for a climbing structure designed to look like the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park. It’s a climber’s dream with an incredibly fun slide feature built in. There is also a smaller play structure for younger kids, swing options and spinning elements.
The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park
222 Marina Park Way
Experience breathtaking performances and kid-friendly concerts throughout the year at this stunning outdoor concert venue on the San Diego Bay.
San Diego Uptown / Downtown
Marston House and Gardens
3525 Seventh Ave.
Learn about one of San Diego’s most prominent families (the Marston family). A beautiful example of the Arts and Crafts Movement, this 8,500 square foot home-turned-museum boasts stunning gardens and child-friendly tours. Reservations required.
Quince Street Bridge
400 Quince St., between Third & Fourth Aves.
It’s fun to discover (and take photos on) this 236-foot historic landmark that spans across Maple Canyon. Originally built in 1905, it’s one of the only wooden trestle pedestrian
bridges left in San Diego. It’s only a few blocks from Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, so check that one out, too!
North Park/South Park
3001 El Cajon Blvd. #2
It’s like a game of darts, but not. Super fun for families, but best for older kids with the strength to throw an axe. Also in Oceanside.
Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream 3077 University Ave. 619-567-7528
Treat the family to a flight of mini ice cream cones in Hawaiian flavors like passionfruit, mango and Kona coffee. Perfect for the indecisive ice cream lover and “little” eaters. Also in Point Loma.
Trolley Barn Park
1943 Adams Ave.
A fabulous park with playgrounds, lots of grass and gorgeous views of Mission Valley. Free concerts and movies during the summer.
San Diego Downtown/ Little Italy
Logan Ave. and Cesar Chavez Pkwy.
Giant, brightly colored murals celebrate indigenous heritage and immigrant communities. An interactive guide to the art and artists is available online.
City Cruises by Hornblower
Explore San Diego Bay from the water on a harbor tour, holiday cruises or weekend brunch cruises. Seasonal whale and dolphin watching available with expert narration.
A destination for discovery, Seaport Village is a vibrant, harbor-side hub showcasing more than 60 shops and eclectic retailers alongside art galleries, cafes, bayview restaurants and a historic, hand-carved carousel.
849 West Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101 619.530.0704
Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
410 Island Ave.
Constructed in 1850, this is the oldest remaining home in the Gaslamp Quarter. Each room showcases a different period in the house’s history. Self-guided and private family tours available.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop
643 Fifth Ave.
This old-fashioned ice cream parlor offers the same nostalgic sundaes and shakes as the San Francisco icon.
Grant Hill Neighborhood Park
27th & J St. in the Grant Hill Neighborhood
This park offers fabulous views of the Coronado Bridge, mountains and downtown. Great spot for a sunset picnic.
The Headquarters at Seaport
789 W. Harbor Dr.
Enjoy a meal at Puesto, boutique shopping and a hidden piece of San Diego history. As the former site of San Diego’s Police Headquarters, you’ll find historic photos, restored jail cells and a unique family photo opportunity: against a lineup wall (all free).
Little Italy Mercato
W. Date St. (Kettner to Front)
experience downtown views from the iconic dome. Don’t miss the Children’s Library with life-size murals of Dr. Seuss characters. Also offers a teen center, art galleries and the Binford, I CAN, Too! Center for families with special needs.
San Diego Firehouse Museum
1572 Columbia St.
Stop by to check out firefighting equipment dating back to the 1800s, La Jolla’s first fire engine, and a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
849 W. Harbor Dr.
Wander through winding paths for a perfect lazy afternoon along the water. Unique shopping, outdoor dining, and a ride on the historic carousel complete the day.
1600 Pacific Hwy.
Downtown San Diego
Run around, climb on play equipment, then cool off in the splash fountains. This park is located across from the Maritime Museum and provides a view of the harbor.
Looking for current events in and around San Diego?
Access San Diego Family Magazine’s monthly calendar at www.sandiegofamily.com/things-to-do/events-calendar.
1549 El Prado
Enjoy Balboa Park’s beautiful gardens and fountains, hidden trails, cultural fairs, fabulous museums, worldfamous zoo and more. Visit www.balboapark.org for info about Residents Free Days.
San Diego Zoo
Home to thousands of rare and endangered animals from around the world, and offering unique animal encounters and experiences, there’s no denying that the San Diego Zoo is one of the best on the planet. Don’t miss the new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, three acres of interactive, educational play space designed to engage and inspire active, curious minds.
Photo credit: @kid.friendly.fun
Balboa Park Carousel
Park Blvd. at Zoo Pl.
This historic, hand-carved carousel has delighted visitors of all ages since 1910. One of the few carousels in the world that offers the brass ring game.
Balboa Park Miniature Train
Enjoy a half-mile loop just outside the zoo on this little locomotive.
Enjoy the magic of Comic-Con all year long at Balboa Park's newest museum dedicated to art, pop culture, storytelling and more.
Fleet Science Center
Explore interactive exhibits and watch a film under the
Giant Dome IMAX Theater. Discover fascinating facts about tornados, electricity, microorganisms, outer space and more. Offers fun camps and family events.
Japanese Friendship Garden
Learn about Japanese culture while winding your way through the peaceful 12-acre garden, featuring bonsai, koi ponds, waterfalls, rock gardens and exhibits.
The Old Globe
Don’t miss a full lineup of theater productions and free family-friendly AXIS events. Visit the website for current schedule and special events.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
Enjoy a unique collection of air and spacecrafts and explore interactive flight simulators.
USS Midway Museum
910 N. Harbor Dr.
Take a tour aboard one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. Climb in cockpits and test flight simulators. Chat with one of the Midway’s devoted volunteer docents, who love to share personal stories and military knowledge. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes recommended.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Discover the junction of imagination and engineering. Experience San Diego’s railway history brought to life through fascinating scale model exhibits. New expanded hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 11–4.
San Diego Natural History Museum (The NAT)
From dinosaurs and fossils to rattlesnakes and gemstones, there’s something for everyone at The Nat. Enjoy four floors of exhibitions (including the new Expedition Baja exhibit) and events for kids.
Spanish Village Art Center
Watch local artisans at work in bungalow studios, take photos on the brightly colored tile patio and shop for beautiful handmade gifts. Free admission.
Local attractions that offer helpful accommodations to kids with disabilities and their caregivers
Scan to find more resources for families with disabilities on the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego website.
Many of San Diego’s favorite parks, museums and theme parks offer accommodations for kids with special needs—but they’re thinking of parents and caregivers, too. Here are local spots that have amenities designed to make life easier for families with special needs, including companion passes, early entry, discounts and more.
San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
The Zoo offers a complimentary pass for one personal attendant/caregiver of a guest with disabilities who needs help accessing programs and facilities. It can be requested
for regular admission or special programs. Complimentary ADA shuttle services are available at the Zoo if a member of your party has limited mobility. Visit https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/visit/ guests-with-disabilities for details.
The Safari Park offers an Easy Access Pass for those who have trouble waiting in line at the Africa Tram. Request it at the Tram Host podium. Note: a short wait may still be required. Guests with disabilities may be accompanied by as many as four companions when using the access pass. A complimentary ADA shuttle service is available for guests with mobilityrelated disabilities. Learn more at https:// sdzsafaripark.org/guests-disabilities.
San Diego San Diego
SeaWorld’s Special Access pass allows visitors to be placed in a virtual queue for attractions due to their disability. Once in the queue, your group is free to explore the park and visit other attractions. Simply return at a pre-designated time for entry. To obtain the pass, visit Guest Services upon arrival. You’ll be asked to enroll in the Ride Accessibility Program (RAP), which helps determine which rides are suitable for your group’s needs. Find details at https://seaworld.com/san-diego/park-info/ accessibility-guide.
Torrey Pines State Park
Use a Disabled Discount Pass for half off the vehicle day-use fee to enter the park. This lifetime pass is available to people with permanent disabilities for a nominal one-time fee. Also use it for half off family camping and boat use fees at most California State Parks. Documentation is required and the pass needs to be renewed every five years. Learn more at https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30236.
Cabrillo National Monument
Visit for free with a National Parks Access Pass. This lifetime pass is available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a permanent disability and can be obtained for free at the park (or online). Documentation required. Also use the pass for free or discounted admission to 2,000 other National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands. Learn more at www.nps.gov/subjects/ accessibility/access-pass.htm.
Balboa Park Museums
Free social stories for individuals with Autism are available at seven museums in Balboa Park: San Diego Natural History Museum, Fleet Science Center, San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Us, Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego History Center and Museum of Photographic Arts. Available in English or Spanish. Check them out at www.sdnhm.org/ visit/accessibility/social-stories.
San Diego Natural History Museum
The Nat offers a free escort pass for the companion of a person with a disability. Check the museum’s website for details about accessibility, including social stories—guides to prepare individuals with autism for social interaction and public events. These guides were co-authored by high-functioning young adults with autism. ASD Morning events are temporarily on hold, but were previously held the second Sunday of each month at 9 a.m. Get updated information at www.sdnhm.org/ visit/accessibility.
Fleet Science Center
Families with sensory needs can have early access to the Fleet galleries from 9-10 a.m. on the third Saturday of every month. Enjoy a quieter experience for a full hour before the public is admitted; there is also a cool-off space on event days. Attendees are invited to a special IMAX screening at 10 a.m. House lights remain on and the soundtrack volume is lower. Free entry for one individual and an accompanying adult. Regular admission applies to any additional guests in the same party/ family. Learn more at www.fleetscience.org/ visit/accessibility.
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido is packed with sensory learning opportunities and offers discounted membership for children with special needs and their families. A free caregiver pass is available for a family’s paid staff, so your child’s personal attendant or one-on-one aide may accompany the family for free. Sensory bins and headphones are available for little ones who prefer a quieter environment. A social story and museum map are available at www.sdcdm.org/visit/special-needs. v
Anne Malinoski is a contributing writer and mother of two boys. Her older brother has special needs.
Fiesta de Reyes
2754 Calhoun St.
Old Town San Diego
Discover popular restaurants and charming, locally owned shops featuring authentic, one-of-a-kind items such as Mexican folk art, jewelry, specialty condiments and gifts, handcrafted items, and more.
4714 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Get a taste of Mexican-American culture at this family-owned business offering delicious donuts, tortas and more!
Tecolote Canyon Park & Nature Center
5180 Tecolote Rd.
Originally home to the Kumeyaay Indians, Tecolote Canyon offers 6.5 miles of nature trails and exhibits about local animals and plant life in the nature center.
5351 Adobe Falls Rd.
This family-friendly neighborhood eatery offers Texas-style BBQ, your
favorite comfort foods and a kids’ play area. Come for the tasty grub and stay for the flat-screen TVS, arcade games and laid-back vibes.
Kearny Mesa/Linda Vista
Casa Machado Restaurant
3750 John J. Montgomery Dr. 858-292-4716
Little ones love watching planes take off and land from this popular Mexican restaurant that overlooks Montgomery-Gibbs Airport.
On and near Convoy St., between Hwys. 805, 163 & 52 www.convoydistrict.com
If food is on your mind, you can't go wrong with the delightful array of Asian cuisine in the Convoy District. Whether you're in the mood for ramen, pho, sushi or dumplings, Convoy has it all. For dessert, try Up2You Cafe for decadent honey
toast, MNGO Cafe for Kakigori (Japanese Snow Ice), or Mochinut for a traditional American donut with a Japanese twist.
San Diego Skateworld
6907 Linda Vista Rd. 858-560-9349
Fun to go as a family for indoor public skating! Advance tickets required.
The Great Room Escape San Diego 9340 Dowdy Dr. 619-988-3733
Teams have one hour to escape an interactive adventure game. Work together to solve a series of puzzles, riddles and challenges while racing against the clock. Ages 6 & up (games best for ages 16 & up). Also at this location: Axe Throw San Diego.
Where to Attend Sporting Events
If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably already dialed in to the exciting new opening of Snapdragon Stadium in Mission Valley this fall. You're also hip to local college teams, such as the San Diego State Aztecs, University of San Diego Toreros and the UC San Diego Tritons. But did you know San Diego is home to a plethora of professional sports teams as well? Plan a family fun day to cheer on these local teams!
San Diego Padres
Major League Baseball; Petco Park, Downtown www.mlb.com/padres/tickets
Photo credit: Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres
San Diego Gulls
Professional ice hockey
Pechanga Arena (Sports Arena Blvd)
San Diego Legion
Major League Rugby
Snapdragon Stadium, Mission Valley www.sdlegion.com
San Diego Loyal
Men’s professional soccer team
San Diego Seals
National Lacrosse League
San Diego Sockers
Men’s professional indoor soccer
San Diego Strike Force
Professional Indoor Football
Pechanga Arena (Sports Arena Blvd) www.sdstrikeforce.com
Lake Elsinore Storm
Minor League Baseball (Single-A affiliate of SD Padres) Storm Stadium, Lake Elsinore www.milb.com/lake-elsinore/tickets
Mesa Rim Climbing Center
10110 Mesa Rim Rd.
Take the family indoor rock climbing for a unique day of fun! No experience required as basic climbing techniques and safety will be taught. Reservations encouraged for new climbers. Also in Mission Valley and San Marcos.
Mira Mesa Lanes
8210 Mira Mesa Blvd.
Grab your friends and family for public bowling sessions or join a youth bowling league.
San Diego Ice Arena
11048 Ice Skate Pl.
Old Town A taste of San Diego history
This indoor ice arena offers public skating, figure skating, ice hockey, camps, clinics and more.
9168 Mira Mesa Blvd.
Stop by for delicious soft-serve in a fish-shaped waffle cone! Also in Kearny Mesa; coming soon to UTC.
Mormon Battalion Historic Site 2510 Juan St.
Learn about the journey of the Mormon Battalion as they marched nearly 2,000 miles from Iowa to San Diego with the U.S. Army. Visitors can try on period clothing, pose for a Battalion-themed family photo and even pan for gold. Admission is free.
Photo credit: @SanDiegoAdventureKids
Take a step back in time in Old Town, San Diego's birthplace and celebrated historic hub. Visit the Mason Street Schoolhouse, San Diego's first public school built in 1865, or stroll through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park where you'll find museums, restaurants, unique shops and cultural sites to entertain the whole family. Enjoy a picnic and beautiful views at Presidio Park, the original site of Mission San Diego de Alcala, or hop aboard the Old Town Trolley to explore
popular neighborhoods and dozens of local landmarks and attractions. Embark on a journey through San Diego's haunted past as master storytellers weave tales of ghosts and ghouls at the infamous Whaley House Museum. For a quick bite, head to Old Town Urban Market, a new outdoor food hall featuring award-winning vendors. Finally, stop by Old Town Mexican Cafe for the most delicious handmade tortillas in San Diego. Learn more about Old Town at www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com.
7960 Civita Blvd.
Fourteen acres of fun with expansive grassy areas and paved paths offering lots of room to walk, roll and run. The playground’s unique multi-level design caters to kids of different ages and abilities. Park on Community Way if you want to be close to the playground.
Mission Trails Regional Park
One Father Junipero Serra Trail
Originally home to the Kumeyaay Indians, Mission Trails offers visitors an escape from city life with over 60 miles of hiking trails, camping and boating, equestrian trails, guided nature walks, visitor center and more.
San Diego Humane Society
5500 Gaines St.
Practice reading skills with a furry companion, take a behind-the-scenes group tour or have a birthday party. Visit website to learn about volunteer opportunities.
2101 Stadium Way
A year-round entertainment destination and new home of the San Diego State University Aztec football team and San Diego Wave FC (National Women’s Soccer League team). Projected to host over 300 events annually.
Opening September 2022.
7510 Hazard Center Dr. #100
Enjoy a family night (or day) out at the movies! Admission is only $10 for all movies (except special events).
Fairbrook Neighborhood Park
12442 Rue Fontenay
Opened in Scripps Miramar Ranch in May, this new 3.4acre park features a playground, sandbox, picnic tables, grass, pickleball court and more.
The French Oven Bakery & Cafe
10299 Scripps Trail
Locals line up early for fresh, Parisian-style bread, pastries and tarts at this family-owned bakery. Chef/owner Yves grew up in France and is a fifth-generation baker!
10710 Scripps Lake Dr.
Take a stroll, ride or jog along the five-mile path circling the crystal blue reservoir. Boat rentals, fishing, BBQs and picnic tables available.
Scripps Ranch Farmers Market
10045 Carroll Canyon Rd.
Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market is located in the Newtopia Cyder parking lot on Thursdays, 3–7 pm. Explore 50+ vendors including food booths, local produce, specialty arts & crafts and live music.
Kobey’s Swap Meet
3500 Sports Arena Blvd.
Find a new treasure or sell something of your own every weekend at San Diego’s largest outdoor swap meet. Bring cash and arrive early. Wagons and strollers available for rent. Monthly vintage clothing and sneaker events, too!
Summers Past Farms
15602 Old Hwy. 80
Stroll through picturesque gardens, a nursery and sweet pea maze. This family farm makes a relaxing weekend day trip and picnic spot. Visit the barn shop, offering homemade soaps and garden accessories. Check website for seasonal events.
Children’s Nature Retreat
5178 Japatul Spur
Interact with domesticated livestock and exotic wildlife at this 20-acre ranch. More than 120 animals call this retreat home, including camels, zebras, miniature horses and more. Purchase tickets online.
Lions Tigers & Bears
24402 Martin Way
A peaceful sanctuary for rescued bears, big cats and other animals that provides guided tours and educates the public to help end exotic animal trade. Appointments only.
Viejas Casino & Resort
5000 Willows Rd.
Enjoy an afternoon with the family at Southern California’s largest outdoor roller rink, challenge friends
to a round of Galactic Bowling, or enjoy some retail therapy at Viejas Outlet Center.
Motor Transport Museum
31949 Hwy. 94
An eclectic collection of transportation artifacts with more than 200 historic motor vehicles and industrial machinery.
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum
750 Depot St.
Hop aboard, train enthusiasts!
Experience a full-scale vintage train ride that takes passengers through East County’s backcountry. This popular museum offers year-round vintage train excursions and seasonal rides on the Bunny Train, Pumpkin Express and North Pole Limited. Open weekends.
Potrero Regional Park 24800 Potrero Park Dr. 619-478-5212
Offering wilderness cabins, RV hookups and tent spaces, this 132-acre park is great for camping and nature walks. Discover 100-year-old oak trees, shaded picnic tables, playgrounds and an enclosed pavilion.
Wisteria Candy Cottage
39961 Old Hwy. 80 619-766-4453
This delightful sweet shop was once a one-room school. In business since 1921, the shop is still churning out homemade brittle, fudge, truffles and other delicious treats. ElCajon
Heritage of the Americas Museum
12110 Cuyamaca College Dr. West 619-670-5194
Explore the history of the Americas through art, anthropology, archaeology and natural history collections. Leave time to enjoy the tropical gardens and a desert patio.
San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Annex at Gillespie Field
335 Kenney St.
A hidden gem for aircraft aficionados! Visit the small hangar to see vintage planes and restoration projects. Free for kids 11 & under.
Locals line up at the leaning tower for huge portions and tasty toppings at this cash-only frozen yogurt shop, which has been in business for more than 40 years. Check FB page for their daily flavors.
Barona Cultural Center and Museum
1095 Barona Rd.
Celebrating Kumeyaay-Diegueño culture through art, interactive displays and more than 3,000 artifacts dating as far back as 10,000 years. Visit website for classes and events. Free admission.
11655 Riverside Dr., Ste. 155-157
Relax in the café while the kids run around and play at this indoor playground featuring wave slides, rock climbing, aerial glides, ball pool and more. A separate toddler area keeps little ones safe. Also offers Parents’ Night Out events.
9535 Harritt Rd.
With miles of hiking trails and a gorgeous lake for fishing and boating, Lake Jennings is the perfect spot for a camping trip or picnic. Play horseshoes, ping-pong and ladder golf.
The Aubrey Rose Tea Room
8362 La Mesa Blvd.
www.theaubreyrosetearoom.com in downtown La Mesa, discover a delightful English tea experience with homemade finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. Reservations required.
BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden
8384 La Mesa Blvd. 619-337-3445
This popular restaurant offers casual French flavors and a unique play area for kids that includes a re-purposed school bus and chalk wall.
9001 Wakarusa St.
Play all day at this award-winning park with whimsical art that encourages children to engage with nature. Kids love the musical instruments, sensory herb garden, sandbox, swings, and playground with climbing structures.
Golfcrest Dr. & Navajo Rd. 619-668-3281
Arrive early to beat the heat and crowds at this challenging hike to the highest point in the city of San Diego. Hikers enjoy scenic landscapes, wildflowers and panoramic views.
Best Animal Encounters in San Diego County
5540 Kiowa Dr. 619-668-2050
A popular destination for walking, biking, rollerblading and picnicking located in Mission Trails Regional Park between Del Cerro and La Mesa. Open for shore fishing. BBQs and boat rentals available.
La Mesa Depot Museum
4695 Nebo Dr. 619-465-7776
Visit any time to view a vintage freight train displayed with its steam locomotive, freight cars and caboose. The restored 1894 wooden train station is open Saturdays for docentled tours.
Salvation Army Kroc Center
6845 University Ave. 619-287-5762
Have fun at the Kroc, whether it’s swimming, ice skating, joining a sports clinic or playing pickleball. Ask about family memberships.
Big Rock Park
8125 Arlette St.
One of many trailheads to Mission Trails Regional Park, this grassy, 5-acre space has two playgrounds and courts for pickleball, volleyball and basketball.
Creation & Earth History Museum
10946 N Woodside Ave. 619-599-1104
Dedicated to the biblical account of science and history. Exhibits showcase the six-day creation of Earth, a life-size tabernacle, dinosaur
Santee Drive-In Theatre
10990 Woodside Ave. N. 619-448-7447
One of the county’s last drive-in theaters, this venue offers two films for the price of one and an awesome snack bar. Open seven nights a week. Must purchase tickets on site.
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
9310 Fanita Pkwy. 619-596-3141
Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages love this lakefront park for fishing, hiking and fun seasonal events. Kids enjoy the splash pad, adventure course, playgrounds and bike rentals. Check out Tin Fish – the new casual seafood restaurant with tons of patio seating. Cabin and boat rentals also available.
SoCal Mini Pigs Valley Center www.socalminipigs.com
Photo courtesy of @yayforplaydays
Lions, Tigers & Bears
Living Coast Discovery Center Chula Vista
Olivenhain Farms Encinitas www.olivenhainfarms.com
San Diego Zoo Balboa Park (Downtown) www.sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org
Birch Aquarium La Jolla
California Wolf Center
Children’s Nature Retreat
Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary Del Mar www.freeflightbirds.org
San Diego Zoo Safari Park Escondido
Sand n’ Straw Community Farm Vista
SeaWorld Mission Bay
A Simpler Time Alpaca Ranch
Helen Woodward Animal Center Rancho Santa Fe www.animalcenter.org
Total Raptor Experience La Jolla
2052 Entertainment Cir.
Fun for all ages, this reimagined theme park (formerly Aquatica) features 18 Sesame Street-themed rides and water attractions for the littles and everyone’s favorite big slides for older kids, including a family-friendly 500,000-gallon wave pool. Character shows, fun photo opportunities, award-winning parade and more.
Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
4355 Bonita Rd.; 619-267-5141
Explore local art, photography and artifacts of the Sweetwater Valley region through rotating exhibits, student exhibits and interactive school tours.
Chula Vista Live Steamers Train at Rohr Park
4548 Sweetwater Rd., Bonita
Check website for current schedule as it only runs a couple times a month. Rides are free, but donations are appreciated. After the train ride, have a picnic at Rohr Park and play at the playground.
4548 Sweetwater Rd.
Little ones love to climb and play on the newly renovated playground. Visitors enjoy picnic areas, sports fields, a fitness station, basketball
court, two playgrounds, dog park and miniature railroad. Check website for train schedule.
Sweetwater Summit Regional Park
3218 Summit Meadow Rd. 619-472-7572
Family-friendly activities include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and camping. This 500-acre park offers picnic pavilions, horseshoe pits, playground, bike skills course and pump track. Parking fee.
845 Lazo Ct.
Not your average bowling alley, Bowlero offers an upscale experience for all ages, with 40
black-light lanes, a high-end sports bar, delicious eats delivered to your lane, arcade and more. Also in San Marcos. Ask about the Summer Games Pass!
Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
2800 Olympic Pkwy. 619-656-1500
Take a guided tour of this stateof-the-art facility, used to train U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in track and field, rugby, archery, BMX and tennis. Stop by the Elite Team Shop to purchase a Team U.S.A. souvenir.
Chula Vista Marina
550 Marina Pkwy.
Spend a relaxing day on the bay where you’ll enjoy waterfront dining, spectacular sunsets, music and community events. Adjacent Bayside Park has picnic areas, a fishing pier, and walking paths with views of Downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bridge.
Greg Cox Bike Park
325 Rancho Dr.
Riders of all ages enjoy this bike park featuring beginner and intermediate bike trails, a beginner’s zone, jump line and California’s largest modular pump track. Located at Otay Valley Regional Park. Bring your own bike and helmet. No restrooms.
1381 E. Palomar St. 619-407-3520
Pack a picnic and play all day at this 10-acre park that has an amphitheater, sheltered picnic areas, barbecues, sports fields and courts, walking trails, and ample open space. Kids love the play equipment, duck pond and skate park.
Living Coast Discovery Center
1000 Gunpowder Point Dr. 619-409-5900
Learn about sea turtles, fish, birds, rays, sharks and more. Interactive animal encounters connect people with coastal creatures, plants and habitats. Wildlife tours, day camps, guided hikes and private family events available.
Otay Lakes County Park
2270 Wueste Rd. 858-565-3600
One of Otay’s best kept secrets, this serene 78-acre park provides gorgeous lake views, picnic sites, playground equipment, horseshoe pits, gardens, trails, boating and excellent birdwatching.
871 Showroom Pl. #105 619-882-5663
Indoor playground for kids ages 0–12, featuring bouncers, threelevel play structure and a toddler zone for ages 0–3. Open daily.
Speed Circuit Family Fun Center
881 Showroom Pl. 619-600-3200
Challenge your friends and family to high-energy go-kart races, test your agility on the Adventure Ropes Course, and play in the 6,000 sq. ft. Fun Zone.
Portwood Pier Plaza
940 Seacoast Dr. 619-423-8265
The iconic “Surfhenge” public art structure pays homage to I.B.’s surfing heritage, welcoming local and visiting beachgoers. The area also offers bike paths, shaded picnic tables, a tot lot, grassy areas, nearby shops and restaurants and pier access.
South Bay Drive-In Theatres 2170 Coronado Ave. 619-423-2727
Catch a flick under the stars from the comfort of the car! Screens feature new releases and classics with stateof-the-art digital projectors. Snack bar available. Open seven days a week.
Market on 8th
41 E. 8th St.
South Bay’s first public market features eateries and specialty retailers run by local artisans. Enjoy a coffee shop, brewery and diverse dining options such as ramen, barbecue, poke, Thai skewers, tacos, Indonesian cuisine and more.
National City Depot Museum
922 W. 23rd St.
Train enthusiasts appreciate a stop at this historic depot, built in 1882 and fully restored in 1998. The oldest railroad-related structure still standing in San Diego
County, it’s now a museum dedicated to the history of railroads in Southern California and San Diego.
Niederfrank’s Ice Cream 726 A Ave. 619-477-0828
Founded in 1948, this old-fashioned scoop shop has been dishing up dozens of unique and classic homemade flavors for more than 70 years. Everything is freshly made onsite.
Snowpops San Diego
1005 E. Plaza Blvd. #101 619-477-8327
Look no further for delicious frozen treats!
This family-owned shop features snowballs made with fluffy shaved ice and delicious popsicles (with your choice of toppings). Yum!
1. Open the camera on your phone.
2. Hold your phone up to the QR Code so it is clearly visible on the screen.
3. The phone will automatically scan the code and take you to the digital guide.