1 Day in San Diego – Some Fun Ideas to Spend a Day!

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A city full of fun and excitement, families will find lots to do here. Whether you are looking for a quiet day in the sun or a whirlwind of activity, San Diego offers it all.

Since a one day excursion to San Diego isn’t enough to satisfy most visitor’s appetites, you will have to plan your itinerary carefully if you want to streamline your visit in a way that showcases what this eclectic city has to offer.

To plan your trip, the first thing you will want to do is decide what is most important to your family: beach fun, the great outdoors, children’s activities, museums, arts, or just plain family fun.

Once you have an idea how you want to structure your day, then you can decide between the many activities San Diego has to offer.

Not sure where to begin? Here is a taste of what you can expect when visiting San Diego with your family.

Water WondersSan-Diego-Beaches

With 70 miles of some of the most beautiful coastline you will even experience, a visit to San Diego wouldn’t be complete without a quick trip to the shore.

With more than 20 public beaches here, visitors can enjoy everything from high class surfing to bonfires and bike rides.

In addition to its superb shoreline offerings, San Diego also offers these fun water wonders:

Torrey Pines State National Reserve Park: if you want to catch the sight of a whale, this is the place to be during migration seasons. The cliffs and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, along with hundreds of miles of hiking trails with a waterfront view.

Mission Bay Aquatic Park: This nearly 5,000 acre park is the largest aquatic park in the United States. Offering activities for the whole family, visitors of every age can enjoy fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking and more.

Waterfront Park: for a more low key activity, families with small children will want to plan a visit to this 12 acre park space located next to San Diego Bay. Full of fun water activities for tots, it includes a myriad of fountains, sprinklers, a wading pool are and picnic space.

The Great Outdoors


If your family loves the great outdoors San Diego will not disappoint.

Offering more biodiversity than anywhere else in the nation, the area sports everything from cultured gardens to dessert lands to rugged coastline.

Ripe for exploring by foot, boat or car, the natural offerings in San Diego include:

Balboa Park: recently named as one of the top 10 parks in the entire United States, this eclectic park features 16 unique gardens; a botanical building housing thousands of plants; 15 museums and theaters; and the world-renown Sand Diego Zoo.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park: If you want to truly experience California’s deserts, this is the place to be. Featuring 12 distinctive wilderness areas and hundreds of miles of trails, this desert oasis is home to an extensive array of wildlife. See Big Horn Sheep, coyote, bobcat and hundreds of species of birds and reptiles.

Missions Trails Regional Park: if hiking, biking or horseback riding is more to your liking, then take some time to explore the 6100-plus acres of open space features 40 plus miles of trails, rock climbing opportunities and other outdoor activities.

Just For FunSan-Diego-Just-For-Fun

When you travel with kids in tow you need to plan for plenty of time to run and explore.

Kids just want to have fun and lucky for them (and their parents), San Diego is ripe with opportunity for all kinds of city-style adventure.

Here are just some of the fun places kids of all ages will enjoy:

A Ride on an Old Fashioned Carousel: Built in 1885, the carousel in Seaport Village offers a quick trip to a forgotten era, with a ride on this historic ride.

The New Children’s Museum: A great place to let kids loose, this fun place allows kids the chance to get creative in the art studio, while running off some energy in a safe environment which includes a climbing wall.

Giant Dipper Roller Coaster: No trip to San Diego is complete without a ride on this iconic 1925 wooden roller coaster. Located in Belmont Park, this is a great way to end your day visiting the city.

Museums & Interesting Sites


Want to slip a little learning into your trip? Whether you are trying to satisfy an active child or an interested adult, San Diego offers plenty of museums to make learning fun. Here are a few popular choices families love:

USS Midway Museum: this decommissioned aircraft carrier offers it all: history, wartime stories, aircraft and more. A great activity for families, this unique museum has something for everyone.

Old Town: the first European settlement on the west coast, this 1769 replica city features authentic adobe structures, and plenty of interesting places to visit. If you like shopping, check out its famous Bazaar Del Mundo, a market featuring vendors from all over the world.

The Town of Julian: one of San Diego’s most popular day-trip locations, this out of the way town offers a more relaxed atmosphere with a n historic coal mine to explore, apple picking; hiking trials, and shops.

A Visit to Old Town


If you are looking for one place to enjoy your day in San Diego, Old Town is the place to go.

Known as the birthplace of California, this historic town offers an abundant variety of historic tours, shopping, fun activities, living history demonstrations and more.

Offering visitors so much to see and do, a single day in San Diego will only give you a glimpse of what this engaging city has to offer. To get the most from your visit, think about what your family enjoys most, and select just one or two things to do to. This will allow you to experience that slice of San Diego without the stress of trying to see it all. They’ll be future trips for that.

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