My husband will be in California for the summer for work, and the whole family is tagging along. Bum luck, huh? Although summer in Maine is a shame to miss, too! We’ve been to San Diego twice before; here are some of our favorite spots. I highly recommend that you check some of them out!
Best Places to Visit in San Diego
Probably one of the best known tourist destinations in San Diego, Balboa Park is a collection of museums and attractions housed in beautiful buildings interspersed with native plants. The famous San Diego Zoo is located here and is definitely worth a visit. Let’s be honest, you can relieve your wallet of quite a bit of cash at Balboa Park, but you can also spend a very pleasant day with a picnic just strolling around the grounds. The Timken Art Museum is always free, and we were able to get into a couple of museums for free with our ATSC reciprocal membership card from back home. A bus will drop you right out front if you are using public transportation.
Old Town San Diego is one of my favorite destinations, featuring historic buildings and really capturing an “old west” flavor. It is a great learning opportunity and many of the buildings are free to visit; kids eat free in some of the restaurants as well. Again, if you are using public transportation, this is a great destination with a transit center right outside.
Santa Fe Train Station
It’s a quick stop, but if you’re any kind of train or architecture fan, it’s worth a look. You can easily work it in on your way to or from the airport.
You know you’re from Maine when you go to a place like California, known for perpetually sunny weather, and immediately start looking for indoor play areas because, among other things, it’s “too hot” to be outside, ha! Actually, since we were there long term for work, I needed a place where I could work, as well. Kidventures has a parent’s cafe in the middle with video monitors to every room, so I can write and watch them as well. It’s not so much a tourist attraction, but it is a great place to play! I highly recommend it.
If you want to get out of the city, try a visit to the Anza-Borrego Desert. The drive to the desert was itself a brand new experience, passing farms (including a camel farm!), vineyards, and boulder strewn hillsides unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Check out the visitor’s center, really a mini museum. When we were there, the valley where the visitor’s center is located featured many large dinosaur sculptures, another fun feature to look at with the kids.
Julian is an old gold-mining town that makes a fun day trip. Wander the shops and make sure to get a slice of pie at the Julian Pie Company!
These suggestions just scratch the surface of fun places to visit in and around San Diego, California! If you’re familiar with the area or are planning a trip, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!