8 FREE things to add to your San Diego Bucketlist

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8 FREE things to add to your San Diego Bucketlist

We LOVED exploring San Diego and are so excited to share 8 of our favorite FREE things to add to your San Diego Bucket list!

#1 Old Town

2415 San Diego Avenue
Suite 104
San Diego CA 92110 
(Phone) 619.291.4903

This was our first stop and it gave the kids a good idea about what early California was like. So much charm, so much culture. We loved exploring the town and we were there early so we got a good parking spot and explored the old buildings without crowds. Next up was the Mormon Battalion Museum across the street. Then we headed to the beach and came back later that evening for dinner. There are so many darling shops in Old Town and some great authentic restaurants with live music and lights. It was a perfect beginning and end to our day. After dinner we walked through the Market and the kids picked out some souvenirs. More info HERE.

#2 Mormon Battalion Museum

2510 Juan St, San Diego, CA 92110

This museum is just across the street from Old Town and keeps with the theme perfectly. Its FREE and totally interactive. The kids loved it, but so did the adults! We learned all about the American Mexican War and the early settlers of the area and their impact. It's one of the coolest museums we have been too! At the end you can pose for a FREE old fashion photo then head outside to mine for gold, make bricks, and do laundry. More details HERE.

#3 Point Loma & Cabrillo National Monument

1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107

Best tide pools on the coast (several locals told me so). And it's true. This is exactly what I dreamed of when I thought about tide pools. A-mazing! We spent hours here and timed the tide just right so we would have ample time to explore. The kids gathered hermit crabs galore! We poked sea anemones (that squirt out water) and found fish and crabs. 

You have to pass through Cabrillo National Monument to get to Loma Point. It is a State Park, so it was FREE on Presidents Day when we went. It's normally $10/car which is SO worth it! We will definitely be coming back to visit. 

Cabrillo is a perfect spot to get out and stretch and explore the light house and has amazing views.

#4 Kellogg Beach

8200 Camino Del Oro
La Jolla, CA 92037

This is the perfect beach for kids to play. It has great sand, really, beautiful, fine texture with black sparkles in it. We collect sand/dirt from all of the places we visit and this is some of the most beautiful. It almost looks like glitter. The beach was deserted, maybe because it was a weekday in February? There are bathrooms and showers, palm trees lining the beach and a great view of La Jolla Caves to the south. We played for hours and hours.

#5 Watching hang gliders at Torrey Pines Glider Port

2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive
La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037
phone: 858 452 9858

We sat and watched the hang gliders jump off the cliff over the crashing ocean waves below. It was awesome to be up close and watch them take off. There are also dirt trails to the south that you can explore between gliders. Porta Potties available.

#6 La Jolla Caves and Shell Beach

Coast Highway at Ellen Browning Scripps Park
La Jolla, CA 92037

This place was unreal. The cave is on the north side and Shell beach is across the park on the south side. We went to the north side first and ended up sharing the beach with seals! So surreal for some kids from the Utah. There were 8 seals including seal pups just chillin' on the beach. The kids ran in the waves and then we explored the cave and a few tide pools.

Then we headed to the south end to Shell Beach. There is a steep staircase down to the beach and not much sand, but the shells make up for it. The sand is almost all made up of shells! There were shells of all sizes and shapes and colors! We explored for another few hours. There were also tide pools and we spotted a giant star fish! It was stuck to a rock, but we were able to touch it.

#7 Balboa Park

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101

Balboa has been on my list of places to visit for awhile now and I'm so glad we went! We drove through the park in the morning and nothing was open. We spotted a wooden staircase and decided to get out and explore. I'm SO glad we did! We found these incredible Moreton Bay Fig Trees! The roots were so big the kids could hide inside them! They had so much fun exploring! We walked along a path for a ways and popped up next to the amphitheater. There were other gardens there but they weren't open yet, next time we'll come a little later so we will have more time to explore but we had a few more stops to make before heading out of town.

Moreton Bay Fig Tree

#8 USS Midway

910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

This was our last stop before heading out of town. The kids had never seen such a large ship. We told them stories about their great grandpa serving in the Navy on a ship like this in WWII. There was a little grassy park area for them to run around and play and then off we went, for the long drive back to Utah! You can take a tour of the ship. Details HERE. There is also a pirate ship that was pretty cool that we spotted on our way out of town Details HERE.

Don't forget, you can always go to Disneyland! Check out Get Away Today's Deals on hotels and tickets.



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Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I are going to San Diego for the first time, and while we don't have kids, we are kids at heart and these types of activities are exactly what we were looking for!
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