Wednesday, September 07, 2016

7 ways to explore San Diego for free!

A few weeks ago we took Hazel on her very first vacation.  Although we were there for only two days they were probably the best two days of our summer break. We had so many fun (FREE) things to do -and to be honest we could have spread the whole vacation out into another day or two.  It was fun to be at the beach and be outdoors -the weather was perfect, and it's nice to have such a great memory of our first family vacation.  Here are some of the fun things we did while we were in San Diego -did I mention they are FREE! 

Balboa Park: There are so many things to do at this park and we could have spent all afternoon there.  From little kid train rides, to playing at the park, walking through the museums, to walking around the gardens. If the weather is great -like it was when we were there- you'll be fine just walking around and exploring. But, if you're more of a planner -like me- then you'll want to do some research on where to park and what attractions you want to visit. We were looking for more kid friendly attractions so we went to the train ride, carousel and garden exhibit -the train ride and carousel did cost a couple dollars though. I also would have liked to visit one of the play grounds but we ran out of time. Balboa Park is a must see if you're in San Diego.

Belmont Park: Free admission and free parking, you don't really see this in San Diego so enjoy it! Belmont is a beach front park with a good handful of amusement park rides and fun games to play.  This was our first stop of the trip and Hazel's face lit up when she saw all the attractions.  We walked around for a bit and then headed straight for the ocean. 

Mission Beach: You can't go to San Diego and not visit the beach at least once. Park at the Belmont and walk to the beach (if you can't find parking there, look for other spots near by, you might want to research that too). We got lucky and found parking spots each time, if you go between the off hours parking is easier to find.  Hazel loved running to the water and playing in the sand. To this day she requests: sand!

Mormon Battalion: Learn about the Mormon Battalion and pan for gold. Completely free and you learn a little piece of U.S. and LDS history. 

Old Town San Diego: It's loaded with fun places and delicious food, and there are even specific nights when they have live bands! We didn't really walk through old town, we drove through it and walked along the side street, but it smelt so good! We did however eat at a delicious pizza shop -Pizza Bella Italian Bistro. Brand had the pesto pizza and Hazel and I had the cheese, both very delicious pizzas that we highly recommend. 

Children's Pool in La Jolla: If you go when the tide is out you'll be able to see the seals and sea lions (we went in the morning).  It's fun to walk out on the pier they have, watch the sea lions wiggle their bodies onto the land, and watch the waves crash on the rocks. They also have little beaches you can go to on either side of the sea lions. It was nice because it was a little cove type beach and I felt like I could let Hazel wonder a bit in the sand, without worrying about her getting too far away. (Obviously we watched her closely around the water.)

San Diego Temple: If you're looking for a beautiful place to quietly walk around visit the San Diego Temple. The gardens are filled with the prettiest flowers and the temple is nothing short of amazing. It's also about a five minute drive from the children's pool in La Jolla so you might as well make the stop. 

Have your been to San Diego recently? What are your favorite things to do there? Let us know below in the comments! 



  1. Wow, it looks like you had a great time! Also, Hazel is super super cute :) Plus, who doesn't love FREE activities?!


  2. I just moved to San Diego, so this is all such useful info to me! Bookmarking it :)

  3. Yeah SD! Balboa Park itself can be explored over a few days, including SeaWorld and the world-famous zoo. Glad you guys chose San Diego for your vacation :)

  4. We traveled to San Diego a few years ago & loved it!! There are so many great (and free) things to do there!

  5. I love San Diego. It's so beautiful! I've only been there once, but I did go to Old Town, and had so much fun. I need to take my kids and visit some of those parks and the beach.

  6. It's been so long since I've been to California and San Diego is on the list when we go back!



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