Things to Do with Kids in San Diego & La Jolla, California

During the summer, we took a weekend trip with our 1-year-old baby to San Diego and La Jolla in southern California. It’s a great area with beautiful beaches and lots of sights to see.

Watch our family travel video to San Diego and La Jolla:

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Where we stayed in San Diego

We stayed at hotel in downtown San Diego that was fairly central to everything. Since San Diego is a major tourist city, there are a lot of hotel options for any budget. Our hotel more affordable by booking on Expedia, where we book all of our hotels and car rentals. Each time we book through them, we build up credits that we can use towards future reservations. If you plan on going on a lot of family trips, it’s good to choose a program and stick with it to build up points that can be applied for credits, whether it’s Expedia or another travel agency.

You can also find a home on AirBnB for a more unique experience.

What we did in San Diego

La Jolla Cove

In the area of La Jolla is a rocky cliff side full of seals and sea lions just lying around. You can walk on the rocks past them, but just keep your distance. It’s really fun for kids to see. Right next to it is a small little beach cove with more seals and sea lions. There is snorkeling and kayaking, and the seals and sea lions will often swim right next to you – though you don’t want to touch them. The waves are low, though it’s a small beach so it can get pretty crowded.

Cabrillo National Monument

This historical landmark sits at the end of a peninsula overlooking San Diego harbor and has stunning 360 degree views. It’s technically a national park, so you’ll need a pass to get in. Definitely a place to check out.

Downtown San Diego

The city is really easy and fun to get around. It’s very walkable, with a good network of public transportation as well. But like we did in the video, try an electric scooter.

Hotel Del Coronado

Located over the bridge on the Coronado peninsula, this is a historic and extravagant hotel. It’s really expensive to stay in, but visitors can roam around the hotel and have some drinks and food on the outdoor bar.

Coronado Beach

Right next to the Hotel Del Coronado is a large stretch of beach. It’s pretty crowded and parking is tough to find, but the long, flat coastline makes it great for kids to play.

Sunset Cliffs

Perfect for watching sunset. This range of cliffs have several paths that you can walk along, and there are even portions where people go cliff jumping.

We discovered all these places on TripAdvisor. Browse through more places to visit in San Diego to create your own itinerary.

Map of places we visited in San Diego

This map shows the locations of where we went in San Diego, La Jolla, and Coronado from our travel video.

Travel lessons from our San Diego trip

You learn something new with every trip. Here are a few tips:

  • When looking for a place to stay, map out the different places you want to visit and try to find someplace close or central to the majority of those locations so you don’t have to zig zag all over the city.
  • If you dare, try riding an electric scooter. They may look silly, but it’s a great way to explore the downtown area of a city.

Travel gear that was helpful on our location trip

Canon EOS Rebel T4i – This is a nice entry-level DSLR camera that I used on the trip. It’s easy to use and takes solid pictures. There are newer versions of the rebel that offer more features, but you can get the older models for fairly inexpensive now.

GoPro Hero5 Session – This is what I used to film the majority of the video, including all the underwater snorkeling scenes. It’s an incredible little action camera that’s waterproof and has mild stabilization. It’s a cube shape and doesn’t have a viewing screen like its newer models, but is perfectly convenient quick action recording in Full HD. Find it on Amazon or eBay.

Kolcraft Cloud Umbrella Stroller – We used this stroller walking around downtown San Diego. This is a super small and lightweight umbrella stroller that’s easy to carry around when you want to travel light. It’s become our default stroller for most trips.

See all the gear that we use on our family trips >

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