A guest post by Amber of Global Munchkins:
Hidden Gems in San Diego
San Diego is a mecca of kid-friendly attractions, gorgeous beaches, beautiful weather and fantastic food. If it hasn’t been on your radar you will definitely want to add it after reading this article. While most will point you to the major attractions the area has to offer like the world-class San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Padres Stadium and the like. I want to give you some of the hidden gems, the local favorites that most tourists miss out on when they travel to this amazing Southern CA destination.
1. La Jolla Children’s Pool
Kids will love checking out sea lions up close and personal in their natural environment at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla. You can view the sea lions from the park above or walk down the steps for a closer look. We love packing a picnic lunch and bringing our swim suits. There are picnic benches and a nice strip of shoreline that is great for families. If you prefer to eat out you will find plenty of restaurants nearby including one of our favorite taco shops in all of California called The Taco Stand (check them out on Yelp if you don’t want to take our word for it). *Local Tip- If you visit between mid Dec.-May you most likely will find some baby sea lions as that is seal pupping season.
2. Coronado Island
When you cross the bridge or take the ferry over to Coronado Island you feel world’s away from the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego. Coronado is a laid back beach town famously known for it’s most visited resident, The Hotel Del Coronado. Enjoy tidepooling, visit the shipwreck that recently exposed again due to a low tide, walk the grounds of the Del, hike the dunes or rent a surrey bike and tour the island. Everyone is sure to love this charming town. *Local Tip- hit the Bayside Village Pizzeria for an oversized delicious New York style pizza with a stunning view of the bay. Rumor has it they ship water from NYC to make their scrumptious pizza dough.
3. Kit Carson’s Park & Queen Califa’s Magic Circle
There are plenty of museums to hit up in SD with kids but if you are looking for something unique and off-the-beaten-path I highly recommend a visit to Kit Carson’s Park & Queen Califa’s Magic Circle. Here you will find a beautiful sculpture garden created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Check the website for hours of operation as the garden is only opened at certain times a few days a week. But, trust me it’s worth the visit. While there enjoy the duck ponds, hiking trails, picnic areas, playground, and 22,000 square foot skatepark inside the giant indoor sports complex.
4. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve
Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is a favorite among locals. There are 8 trails to explore, the Guy Flemings Trail is the best with little ones as it is only ⅔ of a mile long, plus a beach down below. We like to hit the trails in the morning and then hike back down to the beach for lunch. I love that there are lifeguards on duty, decent restrooms and showers at this beach location. You will have to pay to park but the accessibility to the beach is worth it.
5. Liberty Station
What once was a Naval Training Center, Liberty Station in Point Loma is now a bustling public square. Here families will enjoy dining at over 30 artisan eateries or checking out fun events like their Second Saturday Cinema, a free outdoor summer film festival that runs May-October. There is also a fun playground at Liberty Station too where kids can burn some of their excess energy.
San Diego is one of our favorite cities in Southern California. It’s diverse offerings make it the perfect destination for every type of family traveler whether you are looking to hit the beach, check out some art, explore the history of the past, or chow down on the best tacos of your life you will find exactly what you are looking for in San Diego.