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Itineraries for Your Trip to San Diego

San Diego locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in San Diego for Families

Curated by Georgia Freedmana writer and Californian who has learned that traveling with her kid opens up all kinds of interesting worlds.

When I was a kid, a trip to San Diego meant three things: my great-grandmother, the beach, and SeaWorld. These days, the city still has some of the best beaches and theme parks around, but it’s also grown into a vibrant, thriving city full of all kinds of fun adventures. Families of any size (with kids of any age) will find plenty of entertainment, outdoor fun, and good eats.

With three days, you can hit San Diego’s theme parks, beaches, and family-friendly museums. Here’s how to do it.

Day 1

Start your trip with the city’s biggest and best attraction: the ocean. Take a morning whale-watching tour to spot everything from dolphins to humpbacks to elusive orcas (or what your kids might call “killer whales”). Alternatively, spend the morning getting the lay of the land.

In the afternoon, head to Balboa Park, a quintessential San Diego attraction. Visit the Fleet Science Center, the Comic-Con Museum, the Air and Space Museum, or the zoo.

Day 2

If you’re here with kids, you’ve probably promised them a trip to a theme park. Spend the day at Safari Park (for rhinos, elephants, and giraffes), Legoland (for building fun), SeaWorld (for marine life), or Sesame Place (for quality time with Big Bird).

In the evening, recover from your day of fun with dinner in Little Italy. The trendy neighborhood has lots of family-friendly spots for pizza, pasta, and gelato.

Day 3

Spend your last day relaxing on the beach. Head to the chic suburb of La Jolla for big stretches of sand and crab- and anemone-filled tidepools. If your crew is the right age for kayaking, you can explore local marine life on the water with a tour of the coastal caves.

Alternatively, head over the bridge to Coronado Island and check out the cute town. The Victorian-era Hotel del Coronado offers a wide stretch of beach, taco stand, paleta (popsicle) shop, and other restaurants.

See more things to do in San Diego