Free Things to Do in San Diego for Families

 In Things to do in San Diego

Considered one of the most beautiful big cities in the U.S., San Diego is a top destination for all ages – including families with children! But, whether you live in San Diego or are just visiting, it never hurts to find things to do that are free, right? So here you go, our list of the top free things to do in San Diego for families! Pick one and get out there and enjoy some family time.

#1 Balboa Park 

Enjoy an entire day there with the kiddos on 1,200 acres of beautifully landscaped museums, playgrounds, trails, and more. There are 5 playgrounds for the kids to explore! Some of the surrounding museums and children’s activities have certain days that are free as well, so check those out and take advantage of those while you’re there.

Balboa Park San Diego

#2 Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Del Mar Beach

It comes as no surprise that San Diego has plenty of beaches for families to take advantage of and many are free! Mission Beach is a great locale for an evening bonfire, blankets, and roasting marshmallows while watching the sunset. Pacific Beach is a lovely family-friendly beach that is perfect for swimming or learning to surf! Del Mar Beach offers families hiking trails that provide amazing ocean views and is another wonderful swimming location.

pacific beach san diego

#3 La Jolla Cove

Do you think your kids would love seeing sea lions up close? La Jolla Cove is the place to go, then! While you can’t get close enough to pet the sea lions, it is one of the closest places in the world that provides visitors a chance to see them in their natural habitat. While at the Cove, head down to the caves for even more exciting views! Swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving are also allowed in this beautiful location. 

la jolla cove san diego

#4 Coronado Island

The beach on Coronado Island has some of the most beautiful sand, water, and views you may ever see. The water is clear, the sand appears to sparkle, and the views are incredible. Relax on the beach while the kids play, build sandcastles, and search for seashells. Take the kids for a walk on the boardwalk at Coronado Ferry Landing, watch pooches play at the dog park, or visit one of the parks. 

coronado island san diego

#5 Torrey Pines Natural Reserve and State Park

One of San Diego’s best features is the abundance of natural beauty and Torrey Pines Natural Reserve and State Park is certainly near the top of the list! The area is perfect for hiking, swimming, and possibly even seeing the occasional dolphin or whale! 

Torrey Pines Natural Reserve San Diego

#6 Seaport Village

For a truly unique experience, head to Seaport Village, a darling shopping, dining, and entertainment locale that combines old-time feels with modern amenities. While you can certainly shop and dine in the village, there’s still plenty to do without having to spend a dime. Buskers line the streets for unique art and music experiences. As your family explores the area, enjoy the beautifully landscaped grounds with foliage and ponds.

seaport village san diego

#7 Art Galleries – University of San Diego

The University of San Diego has four art galleries that offer visitors a multitude of art from varying time periods in different styles – all for free except for special exhibitions at times. The galleries offer print exhibits, Native American exhibits, photography, and digital mediums. Also presented for viewing are many paleolithic artifacts. Together the exhibits presented compile about 5,000 objects. 

Art Galleries - University of San Diego

#8 Waterfront Park

The newly constructed Waterfront Park is a multi-use space that accommodates all types of activities. The expansive greens are great for outdoor play and picnics as well as the interactive fountains! There are other picnic spots near the children’s play area and beautiful gardens to explore! 

These are only a few of the free activities for kids and families in San Diego, but as you can see, there’s plenty! Now all you need to do is head out to one of these venues and start having fun! 

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