Thanks to year-round pleasant temperatures and its location on the coast, San Diego offers plenty to see and do. Nature-, outdoors- and animal-loving families will be especially impressed with all of the options of what to do in San Diego.
The San Diego Zoo boasts more than 650 species and subspecies of animals, and it is only one of four zoos in the country to house the giant panda. Visitors looking for an “off-the-beaten-path” experience can visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in nearby Escondido and explore the 1,800-acre park housing more than 2,600 animals, many in open-range enclosures, by caravan, tram, cart or zip line.
Marine and water animals of all types make their home at SeaWorld San Diego, which features a number of animal shows, aquariums, exhibits and theme park rides for the whole family.
LEGOLAND California offers plenty of hands-on attractions for children under 12, although children of all ages will delight in the amazing LEGO displays of areas of the United States, including Las Vegas, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco, in Miniland USA.
No trip to San Diego would be complete without a visit to the beach, and with more than 70 miles of coastland, there are an abundance to choose from. Thanks to its location on a gentle slope of the ocean, Coronado Beach is a family favorite that is frequently voted one of the best beaches in the U.S. You can reach Coronado, located on a peninsula, by car via the Coronado Bay Bridge, or you can take a ferry from downtown San Diego. La Jolla Shores is known for having the gentlest waves of any of the beaches. Other family favorites include Cardiff Reef Beach, Moonlight Beach and Del Mar City Beach.
Whale watching is another favorite family activity, with views of the majestic mammals best between December and March, when more than 20,000 gray whales migrate from the coastal waters of Alaska to Baja.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find an abundance of opportunities for getting up close with nature in San Diego and the surrounding areas. The Torrey Pines Natural Reserve offers hiking enthusiasts 2,000 acres of undeveloped coastline, Torrey pines and a lagoon to stretch your legs on. On the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula lies Cabrillo National Monument that offers spectacular views of San Diego’s harbor, skyline and beyond.
Spend the day in Balboa Park, starting off with the San Diego Zoo, which houses the largest number of giant pandas outside of mainland China. After you've had your fill of the animals, stroll around the lush park grounds of Balboa Park. While parents will enjoy the San Diego Museum of Art and a stroll through the park's numerous gardens, kids will delight in the hands-on exhibits of the Natural History Museum or a spin on the historic Balboa Park Carousel.
We hope you've found this overview of when to visit San Diego helpful in planning a visit to San Diego. You'll find more resources and tips inside our San Diego Planning Guide.