Consistently ranked one of the top family destinations in America, San Diego boasts 70 miles of coastline, near-endless opportunities for outdoor fun, and vibrant cultural offerings for families to enjoy — either together or separately. Parents can relax at the spa, indulge in culinary delights or have some alone time while the kids create summer memories at one of San Diego’s unique camps.
From art classes to water sports to customized childcare, San Diego is the perfect place for family members to enjoy fun in the sun and take in some separate adventures.
If you’re looking to nourish an artistic spark, the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park has a lineup of art-inspired summer camps and classes for every age. Creative teens and preteens who enjoy crafting and creating can spend a few hours each weekday afternoon learning from the professional artists who work in the colorful and quaint Spanish Village. There’s also a free all-ages art class from noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday. And visitors can book individual paid classes in watercolor, painting, drawing and screen printing. It’s a perfect way for parents to keep the kids occupied while the adults explore Balboa Park’s gardens, restaurants and cultural offerings in grown-up mode.
Plunge into Fun
As parents relish a relaxing pool day at the hotel, sip craft beers at Belmont Park’s Draft restaurant or bike along Mission Bay’s boardwalk, kids ages 5 to 12 can expend their energy at the Plunge pool’s obstacle course. This premium day camp located inside Belmont Park, San Diego’s beachfront amusement park, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the one-day option priced at $115. Activities include science projects, crafts, yoga for kids, a rock-climbing wall, a ropes course, miniature golf and more.
The elegant Fairmont Grand Del Mar doesn’t skimp when it comes to keeping its younger guests entertained. While the adults indulge in a relaxing massage at the resort’s Center for Wellbeing, kids ages 5 and up can join the Explorer’s Club, a year-round program that features activities from treasure hunts to canyon hikes to Southern California-inspired crafting. The camp, which costs $30 an hour, has hourly, half- or full-day care options. Other kid-friendly picks include junior golf, archery, tennis, pickleball and horseback riding.
At the Hotel del Coronado, not only can kids play in the ocean but they can learn about it, too, through the hotel’s new Ocean Explorers camp. Designed for ages 5 to 12, the camp offers half- and full-day sessions for overnight guests. The experience includes hands-on adventures in both the hotel’s state-of-the-art classroom and outside on the beach. Subjects include ocean science, sharks, tidepools and seashells; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Birch Aquarium at Scripps’ ocean conservation efforts. For parents planning a date night without kids, there’s also an Explorers Night Out on Fridays and Saturdays, which includes dinner for the participants. Parents can use their free time to explore Coronado’s main street, kayak in San Diego Bay or dine at a waterfront restaurant.
Child’s Play the Kidtopia Way
At the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, kids are members of the club — the Kidtopia club, that is. The resort program offers stimulating recreation for kids and a respite for parents, and features small slides, soft climbing items, books, puzzles and a 600-gallon aquarium with exotic fish. The Kidtopia nursery offers two consecutive hours of care for kids ages 6 months to 3 years old. Options include half-day, full-day and night camps, with prices ranging from $66 to $96. Parents must remain on the Omni La Costa grounds, which provides them the perfect opportunity to dine at one of the resort’s many restaurants or luxuriate at its spa.
For those seeking adventure with a splash, The Watersports Camp at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center offers half-day camps that teach kids ages 7 to 14 how to paddleboard, kayak, surf, sail and wakeboard. Experienced instructors are on board to get campers excited about all the aquatic awesomeness San Diego has to offer. While the kids learn the ways of the water, parents can rent a sailboat, a kayak, a wakeboard boat or a windsurfer.
Kids’ Kamp and S’more
Guests of the San Diego Mission Bay Resort can feel confident their kids will stay inspired and busy while the parents relax in a poolside cabana. Nestled along the water, this recently remodeled property has a variety of kid-centric activities — including its Kids’ Kamp, designed for children 5 to 12. The camp, which costs $60 per child per day, is open in July and August and features games, crafts and kid-friendly adventures. No need to plan way ahead, as the resort only requires camp reservations 24 hours in advance. For those who want a little more family togetherness, Mission Bay Resort also offers a free “S’mores Night” and poolside “Dive-In Movies” as well as a variety of “craftivities.”