If you’re looking for a great place to take the whole family on vacation, you could hardly find a better place to go than San Diego. It has year round great weather, some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country, and a wealth of attractions that will appeal to everyone in your group. Best of all, many of these activities and attractions are completely free of charge, so when you visit San Diego, you won’t have to break the bank to have a great time. Here are some of the best free and inexpensive things to do while you’re visiting this West Coast gem of a city.
Carlsbad Sea Wall
When you’re in the mood for a stroll along a fantastic beach, this is the place you should come to first. For more than two miles, this stretch of coastline provides a stunning view of the ocean, and if you hang around till night-time, you’ll have the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere in the country. Your youngsters will appreciate a stop at the Choice Juicery, where they can cool off with a refreshing Smoothie, or an Orange Dreamsicle.
Explore the tidepools
The optimal time for tidepool exploring is from November through February, so if you happen to be in the city around this time, you should definitely put tidepooling on your list of things to do. It’s a terrific activity for the kids, because it gets them outside and gives them a chance to learn all about sea life at low tide. There are a number of terrific tidepools in the area, including Shell Beach, Point Loma Tidepool, Dive Rock in La Jolla, and Swami’s State Beach.
You’ll love the old style charm of this seaside village, with its cobblestone walkways, picturesque views of the ocean, and old and new shops all around. There are more than 50 shops of all types, along with 17 different kinds of restaurants, and tons of free entertainment. There are also lots of places for you to stop and have a family picnic in one of the many grassy areas around the village, and you might even want to try your hand at kite-flying.
San Diego Scavenger Hunt
The beauty of participating in a San Diego Scavenger Hunt is that while you’re tracking down all the items on your list, you’ll also be visiting some of the most awe-inspiring sites the city has to offer. Your hunt may take you aboard the USS Midway, Balboa Park’s California Tower, the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, or to the Whaley House in Old Town. Half the fun is sight-seeing at these awesome venues, and you’ll all have fun trying to find your treasure items.
The Musical Bridge
Artist Roman de Salva and composer Joseph Water collaborated to design this unique bridge known as Crab Carillon, which is comprised of metal structures that will actually play a tune when you strike them while crossing the bridge. All you’ll need is a large stick to ring the chimes as you go across, and you’ll have a pleasant melody to accompany you on your journey to the other side.
Family Discovery Hike
Every fourth Sunday of the year, this fun family hike is staged for locals and visitors alike, along the picturesque Mission Trails walkway. The park has all kinds of wildlife, plants, and birds which you can learn about and observe in their natural habitat. Your guide will point out all the various flora and fauna, so you won’t miss anything, and you’ll come away enriched by what you have learned. You’ll also get some great exercise along the way!