About Chelsea

A fourth generation San Diegan, Chelsea P. Gladden is Co-founder of, a lifestyle blog for moms. A mother of five (ages 10, 8, 5, 3 & 3) , Chelsea’s advice has been featured in numerous press outlets including her recurring appearances on Fox 5 San Diego’s “Ask the Moms”, People Magazine’s Moms & Babies, Parents Magazine, NBC San Diego, on MSN’s HerSay with Soleil Moon Frye, US News, Pregnancy Magazine and more. In addition to helping parents through speaking engagements and leading class discussion groups, Chelsea has attended several pre-screenings of kids’ movies (including red carpet events with her family), product trade shows, TV events, kid related events as well as conducting several celebrity interviews. How would you describe your ideal San Diego day? First stop is always Pipe's for breakfast with my family. After ordering my second mocha, we love heading to the beach either to swim in spring/summer/fall or to ride boogie boards down the sand dunes at Moonlight in winter. For lunch or an early sunset dinner, we can be found eating at Bull Taco while overlooking the ocean or picking up a nice bottle of wine and something to BBQ from Seaside Market. If you were invisible, where would you go? I asked my husband and he said I would likely go take a nap (true). What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity? The beach. Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine? Too tough to choose. Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are… The Frozen soundtrack, Dark Horse by Katy Perry, featuring Juicy J, All Night by Icona Pop, Started From the Bottom by Drake, Every Single Night by Fiona Apple, and Royals by Lorde. Twitter: @breezymamasite Facebook: BreezyMamaSite

Top 5 Family Friendly Beaches in San Diego

Kids Play at One of San Diego's Family Friendly Beaches
Kids Play at One of San Diego's Family Friendly Beaches

With more than 70 miles of amazing beaches, there is plenty of space for the kids to run…and burn off some energy 🙂

Rarely is there a full week without sunshine in San Diego. The balmy, year round weather makes “America’s Finest City” ideal to visit. Hand in hand with the warm climate, the main attraction is of course the beaches. With so many gorgeous seashores to choose from, my picks are particular when it comes to choosing a family friendly place to lay your towels.

Here are my top 5 picks for taking the kids to the beach in San Diego.

Moonlight Beach

Located in Encinitas, hands down this locals’ spot is my absolute favorite for families. With recently updated bathrooms and a snack shack, Moonlight lets you spend a whole day in the sand with everything you need to keep kids happy. To top it off, there’s a play structure and park for those that want a little extra entertainment. Though it tends to get very crowded in the on-season, try venturing over to the far north as there tends to be a little more space.

> Find out more about the beaches in Encinitas

Seaside in Cardiff

Though this destination charges a daily parking fee, it’s a favorite because you can park the car right next to the sand, making carrying all your snacks, buckets and shovels a little more convenient. It’s a great place to swim and complete with bathrooms in the lot just in case. During summer months, food trucks have been known to sell food for a convenient lunch.

> Find out more about the beaches in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Fletcher Cove Solana Beach

My favorite way to make an entire day of the beach is to start with an ocean view breakfast at the delicious Naked Café across from Fletcher Cover. After filling up on coffee and pancakes, make your way down the ramp to the water, noting the convenient bathroom locations along with a park for a few rides on the swing. Once you’ve had your fill of sun and swimming in the white water waves, finish off the day at family friendly Pizza Port, a short walk up the street.

> Find out more about the beaches in Solana Beach

La Jolla Shores

Undoubtedly one of the most break taking spots in all of San Diego is La Jolla, known as “The Crown Jewel.” Though many of the beaches have a dangerous “shore break”, the Shores is a gentle, bay like destination that is ideal for smaller children. Also equipped with bathrooms and a play structure, sandwich and ice cream shops are a short block or two away.

> Find out more about the beaches in La Jolla

Coronado Silver Strand

With gorgeous white sands to choose from, my top pick for fewer crowds during peak season is to head to the stretch of the Silver Strand just before the Coronado Cays. Gorgeous beaches await as does a “tunnel” that will lead you to the Loews Coronado Bay Resort to pick up a picnic lunch from their Market to Go cafe.

> Find out more about the beaches in Coronado

> Discover all of San Diego’s Beaches


5 San Diego Spots For Families to Enjoy 4th of July Fireworks

Big Bay Boom - San Diego's Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

It’s no secret in my family how much I absolutely enjoy a great fireworks show! There’s the excitement of the bright booming lights and also the fun of the thrilled faces on my children! There’s a range of places across the county to enjoy the show, but my favorite places in San Diego to watch 4th of July fireworks with kids are below!

Big Bay Boom

Big Bay Boom - San Diego's Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

Big Bay Boom – San Diego’s Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

The Big Bay Boom is hands down the ultimate 4th of July fireworks show! Enjoy the water, the thrill of downtown, the fun of Seaport Village and cap off the day with an extraordinary show of FOUR launching destinations (San Diego Bay, Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero Seaport Village/ Coronado landing)! All go off at the same time, for the ultimate bay-front fireworks display! Accompanied by 105.7 FM music, it’s truly a treat to see the water light up!

Location: San Diego Bay Surrounding Areas
Time: 9:00 PM
> Find out more about Big Bay Boom

Fireworks at San Diego Attractions

SeaWorld Fireworks - Summer Nights

The skies over SeaWorld San Diego light up during Summer Nights

Get two bangs (get it?) for the price of one by visiting one of San Diego’s popular attractions AND end the day with a 4th of July celebration. Choose from Legoland, Seaworld and the Del Mar Fairgrounds for a fun-filled day followed by fireworks fun!

Location: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Time: Fireworks at 10:10 PM
> Find out more about Sea to Shining Sea 4th of July Fireworks

Location: LEGOLAND California – One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad
Time: Fireworks at 8:30 PM
> Find out more about Red, White and BOOM!

Location: San Diego County Fair – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar
Time: Starts at 9:30 AM, Fireworks at 9:00 PM
> Find out more about San Diego County Fair Fourth of July

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove 4th of July Fireworks

Beautiful Beaches and Beautiful Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

One of my all time favorite destinations is the up close show at the La Jolla Cove! Accompanied by an orchestra and over looking the ocean, grab your hot chocolates and sit back and relax with ocean breezes and the feeling of fireworks you could almost reach out and grab!

Location: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, 1180 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla
Time: 9:00 PM
> Find out more about the Fourth of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Getting into the spirit of America’s freedom, a day in Coronado is truly a treat! Enjoy a morning parade down Orange Ave, a concert in Spreckles park in the afternoon, followed by a fireworks show to remember!

Location: Throughout Coronado
Time: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
> Find out more about the 4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Santee Town Center Community Park East

Santee Salutes

Santee Salutes features an afternoon of fun and night filled with fireworks

East County moms recommended the fun of the Santee Town Center Community park! Enjoy live music, bouncy houses for kids, food stations and so much more as you wait for the 9:00 PM fireworks show!

Location:Town Center Community Park East – 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071
Time: 3:30 to 9:30 PM
> Find out more about Santee Salutes

> Browse all of the 4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations

With so many fun places to choose from throughout the county, the fourth of July in San Diego is the ultimate booming destination!


5 Must Do Family Friendly San Diego Holiday Activities

Garden of Lights San Diego Botanic Garden

Winter in San Diego is the place to be! With the exception of the occasional rainy day, skies are generally blue during one of the coldest times of year around the rest of the country. In fact, it’s not unusual to find yourself reading your novel on the beach as your kids play in the sand. To top it off, San Diego stops at nothing when it comes to getting into the spirit of the holidays! The entire county literally lights up and there’s plenty of activities to help make memorable moments that will last a lifetime for the whole family. Here are some of my favorite things to do in San Diego during the holidays.

Ice Skating on the Beach in Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

Okay, you may be thinking that I mentioned you would be on the beach…Well, if you head to Coronado’s Ice Rink you can enjoy the view of the ocean and test your balance skating on ice! Every year the Hotel Del Coronado opens an ice skating rink adjacent to the hotel from November to January! What better way to (ironically) spend a sunny day on the beach in San Diego!

Where: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: Through January 4, 2015
Cost: $25
> Find out more about Skating by the Sea

Christmas Card Lane

Christmas Light Display - Rancho Penasquitos Christmas Card Lane

San Diego neighborhoods light up during the holidays.

If you love the infamous Griswold house in the “Vacation” movies from the 80’s, then you will adore Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Penasquitos! An annual tradition, the entire neighborhood gets involved in decorating the yards around themes and is a local’s favorite! The streets are lively and many visitors rent double-decker buses and limos to tour all the decorations! I recommend parking the car and walking around on foot. Many homes offer hot chocolate for a small price and popcorn. And it’s likely you will run into some carolers singing traditional songs along the way!

Where: Located in Rancho Penasquitos at Oviedo Street – off Black Mtn. Rd. includes Twin Trails, Carmel Mtn. Rd., Ellingham St., Renato St., Oviedo St., Twin Trails Dr., Barrymore St., Totherham Ave., Talca Ave., Talca Ct., Allenbrook Way, Davenport Ave., Amber Sky Ln.

San Diego Botanical Garden’s Garden of Lights

Garden of Lights San Diego Botanic Garden

Lights, flowers and s’mores – what more could you ask for? (photo by by John Bryant)

Every year this is the spot my family gets our traditional photo with Santa. Immediately after, we enjoy the incredible lush gardens that are beautifully lit up for the holidays during their annual Garden of Lights! We make sure to catch the horse-drawn carriage and sing carols as we tour the grounds. After, we order some of the food sold during the event and then roast our marshmallows while listening to the live music act of the night! And on certain nights, snow is brought in for sledding! This is truly a gorgeous event and a must-do during the holidays in San Diego!

Where: San Diego Botanic Garden – 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024
When: December 6-30, 2014 (Closed December 24-25)
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $6-$14
> Find out more about the Garden of Lights

Mission Bay Boat Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

Another gorgeous way to experience the best of both worlds of gorgeous winter weather and holiday spectacular is to head to the bay to enjoy the beautiful lit up boats! And believe me, competition can be fierce for who has the best display! With dozens of participants, take in the sights and the fresh San Diego air. The boat parade begins at 6:00 PM from Quivira Basin. Best viewing is from Crown Point, the east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island.

When: December 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Boat Parade of Lights

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park - Top Things to Do

Discover a Holiday Wonderland in Downtown San Diego at Petco Park

This year, Petco Park will be a Holiday Wonderland full of festive cheer, lights and plenty of ways to keep the kids happy. Make your way through Santa’s Workshop and Candy Cane Lane toward what used to be a baseball field for train rides, a hill covered in snow, reindeer, music and a place for Mommy and Daddy to relax. Just make sure to bring your camera to capture all the smiles your children will be giving you!

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 5-24, 2014 (Friday-Sunday and Special Nights – December 22-24)
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $10-$15
> Find out more about Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

> More Holiday Happenings in San Diego


5 Ways to Enjoy the Arts with Kids in San Diego

Kids Hand Painting at the New Children's Museum
Kids Hand Painting at the New Children's Museum

Kids have a ton of fun with hands-on arts and culture throughout San Diego!

There’s so much to do and explore in San Diego with kids and the arts are no exception. In fact, a little learning without the kids even realizing it makes enjoying the mastery all the more fun. From jewels to hands on projects, music and more, here are five ways to add some culture to your visit that will be fun for the whole family.

Lux Art Institute

Ready to show the kids artists at work? Then you won’t want to miss this destination! Meet internationally recognized artists as they create their pieces and observe their process first hand. From “Family Fridays” to “Open House,” this museum located in North County San Diego also allows you to take a tour of the exhibits and finish with a hands-on project.

Where: 1550 S. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
> Find out more about the Lux Art Institute

GIA Gem Institute

And because diamonds are a girl’s best friend, take some time to explore some of the most gorgeous jewels in the world! Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the world’s leading organization for education on jewels. Watch presentations in cutting, collecting and more. Take a tour and enjoy exhibits, such as a parrot comprised of 1,100 gems, including rubies, sapphires, tsavorites and black and colorless diamonds!

Where: 5345 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about the GIA Gem Institute

Museum of Making Music

Just down the street from the Gem Institute, enjoy some hands on music discovery! Walk through and see old and new instruments alike. Exhibits highlight popular music during the different eras and include audio and video clips. Enjoy hands on drumming, keyboards and more in the interactive area – a true treat for the kids!

Where: 5790 Armada Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about the Museum of Making Music

New Children’s Museum

Located in downtown San Diego, get ready for art geared toward the kids! From hands on exhibits (think: painting a real car!) to enjoying the specifically designed tactile art encouraging children to explore, this museum is a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Exhibits change but one thing stays the same: the fun times exploring!

Where: 200 West Island Avenue, San Diego, California 92101
> Find out more about the New Children’s Museum

San Diego Art Walks

It’s not unusual to enjoy a day at the beach and find yourself exiting through an art exhibit! Art walks are common in San Diego and often set up near the water. Strolling through the boardwalk after a day at the beach is a great way to expose the kids to new art. Choose from Seaport Village near downtown where artists often display, Carlsbad Village Drive every fourth Thursday, the annual Leucadia Art Walk with a Kids Zone, the annual North Pacific Beach and more. Or join the ArtWalk San Diego’s kid’s walk at their two annual events in Little Italy (April) and NTC Liberty Station (August).

> Discover Even More Fun for Kids in San Diego


5 Places for Halloween Fun for Kids Around San Diego

If you are like me, you are chomping at the bit for when the time comes that you can steal, er, um, share your kid’s Halloween candy! The wait leading up to chocolate bliss can be torture, but there are plenty of fun ways to celebrate the spooktacular fun in San Diego throughout the month of October! Here are 5 fun ways to make splurging on those over the top Elsa and Ninja Turtles costumes worth it!

Del Mar Pumpkin Station

Del Mar Pumpkin Station

All Aboard the 3:10 to Del Mar Station for some pumpkin picking Halloween fun!

What would October be like without the requisite visit to the pumpkin patch?! Sure, you can generally get yours for a much cheaper price at the grocery store, but where is the fun in that? With so many pumpkin patches to choose from, I’m starting with the most centrally located and a personal favorite. Located right across from the racetrack, the Del Mar version is fairly easy to keep an eye on the kids, has rides, a petting zoo and more! In fact, I’ve been to a birthday party there, too. More for the under 10 set, it’s an easy in and out that will be a lot of fun for the whole family.

Where: 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: September 26 – October 31, 2014
Cost: Free Entry
> Find out more about Del Mar Pumpkin Station

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch

Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch

Acres of pumpkins await at Bates Nut Farm

Looking for more of an adventure? Head to this historical pumpkin patch site! Be warned that the closer to the 31st, the more traffic trying to get in (and slimmer pumpkin pickings), but it’s definitely a whole lot of fun! Get your giant pumpkins or just enjoy running through the fields. Check out the petting zoo, delicious food, tractor hay rides and so much more! Plus, have fun weighing your pumpkin as you leave!

Where: 15954 Woods Valley Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082
When: September 24 – October 31, 2014
Cost: Free Entry
> Find out more about Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch

> Check out the complete list of San Diego Pumpkin Patches

LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

LEGLOANDLAND Brick-or-Treat Party NIghts

LEGOLAND invites the whole family for a “block” party full of ghoulish fun

Get your ghoul on at LEGOLAND California! Every Saturday (plus Friday the 17th and 24th!), the park offers candy stations and healthy snacks. Kids 12 and under can enter the costume contest for a chance to win 4 Resort Membership Passes and a gift basket! With festive music, Halloween themed live shows and fireworks, the whole family is sure to get in the “spirit” of things.

Where: One LEGOLAND Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: Saturdays, October 4-26, 2014 (Special Fridays: October 17 & 24, 2014)
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free with Admission
> Find out more about LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

Lumberyard Trick or Treating

Encinitas' Halloween Safe Trick or Treat

Encinitas 101 Main Street Association invites ghouls and goblins of all ages for a night of trick or treating

Kids don’t want to miss out on trick or treating while in town? Visit the Lumberyard and Coast Highway 101 Encinitas on Halloween! From Encinitas Blvd through to K street, several stores participate in the fun and hand out candy. Great for kids who are visiting and for those that don’t have a trick or treat friendly neighborhood. And don’t miss the kids zone with games, music and more at the Lumberyard.

Where: South Coast Highway 101 from Encinitas Blvd. to K Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
When: October 31, 2014
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Lumberyard Trick or Treating

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day 2014

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day

Costumed fun in San Diego’s Historic Balboa Park

Join over 24 museums and attractions at San Diego’s Balboa Park for a day of fun. Get in on the crafts, costume contest, story time and more! Enjoy a free concert and mini-carnival as well as a costume contest for dogs! And don’t miss the free puppet making at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater!

Where: 1549 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101
When: October 26, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
> Find out more about the Balboa Park Halloween Family Day 2014

> More Halloween Happenings in San Diego


5 Kid Friendly Restaurants in San Diego County

Pizza Port - A Kid Friendly Restaurant in San Diego
Pizza Port - A Kid Friendly Restaurant in San Diego

Places like Pizza Port are great kid friendly restaurants that also make sure Mom and Dad have a good time

For some reason (ahem), people are often surprised that my husband and I regularly eat out with our five kids, ages 10, 8, 5,  3 and 3. Yes, we know a thing or two about a restaurant that can cater to children and, well, ones that just can’t kid around (get it?). In general, San Diego is very family friendly, so it wasn’t easy to narrow down my top 5 kid friendly restaurants, but the promise for ice cream got me going (kidding… kind of). Here are five kids friendly restaurants that both the little ones and parents will enjoy!

Pizza Port

Starting in North County, the top pick for locals is Pizza Port, located in Carlsbad (options are also in Solana Beach, Ocean Beach, and Bressi Ranch). Truly delicious pizza, the kids love it, too, as they can play video games or enjoy the grub. Go early as it can be tricky to nab a table, but nothing screams a beach town visit like some seaside pepperoni pie.

Where: 571 Carlsbad Village Carlsbad, CA 92008
> Find out more about Pizza Port

Pipes Cafe

Truth be told, my family may as well start collecting our mail at this Cardiff breakfast/lunch joint. With plenty of outdoor seating, not only can you (very ) affordably feed a large family (trust me), you can also enjoy sea breezes and ocean views.  In fact, three of my kids can share the “big breakfast” and Dana, who can regularly be found behind the coffee counter, is always good for a great big hug.

Where: 121 Liverpool Dr, Cardiff By Sea, CA 92007-1823
> Find out more about Pipes Cafe

Tony’s Jacal

Hands down one of the most authentic, delicious Mexican food restaurants in town, this is a family favorite for its affordability, too. When the weather is nice, request outdoor dining or inside in the back room if you think your kids might need to be a li’l louder than usual. Though the booths inside the main dining are just as accommodating as are the coloring books and crayons that they offer to occupy the kids. Located in Solana Beach this is a San Diego must!

Where: 621 Valley Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075
> Find out more about Tony’s Jacal

[Tweet “Don’t leave the kids at home! Take them to one of these 5 kid friendly restaurants in #SanDiego.”]

El Camino

Located near the airport, be sure to take a few minutes before entering and get a very up close view of the planes coming in for a landing! Though not your usual “kids” establishment, my children consider this unique twist on the usual Mexican food a favorite! Go early as the later crowd tends to be more “club”, but if you can arrive by 5,  my kids love the free Mexican wrestler that comes with the children’s menu plates and the Chiclets chewing gum that accompany the bill. Also,  music plays on the dance floor prepping for the later evening crowd and my fam has been known to bust a move.  Though darker on the inside, you can request outdoor seating for an even better view of the overhead planes. And, whatever you do, don’t miss out on the churros for dessert!

Where: 2400 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about El Camino

The Old Spaghetti Factory

Though it’s a chain that can be found in many cities, I had to include this pick as the downtown San Diego location was always a favorite of mine growing up. Not to mention, keeping kids happy on a vacation isn’t always easy, so a favorite stand by of past is sure to reel them back in. Catering to kids and families, it’s a sure-fire bet for fresh ingredients and old school pasta delights, including gluten-free options as well.

Where: 275 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The Old Spaghetti Factory

> Find more Kid Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Do you have a favorite kid friendly restaurant in San Diego? Tell us in the comments below!


5 Family Friendly Hotels in San Diego

Grand del Mar Family Pool - Family Friendly Hotels

Jump into the pool for some downtime at the Grand del Mar or any of these family friendly hotels

Where you stay with your kids on vacation can make or break a trip. Comfort and kid-friendly amenities can lesson the stress of traveling with little ones, even when you will mostly be on the go exploring all there is to do and see with children. When nap time strikes or just the desire for some down time at the pool, check out these 5 Family Friendly Hotels in San Diego (in no particular order).

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina

Very close to SeaWorld San Diego, the Mission Beach boardwalk, and Belmont Park, home to the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster, this family friendly location is central to much of San Diego! Personally, my family spent much of our time on the three water slides in the bay front pool, complete with a shallow section for kids! Opting to eat in the casual Swim and Bar Lounge, we love the views of the water and the 60-degree, 800-gallon aquarium!

For dessert, roast marshmallows in the water-front fire pits on the hotel grounds – the hotel sells s”more making kits. And of course be sure to catch a ride or two on the beach front boardwalk nearby!

Where: 1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, California, USA, 92109
> Find out more about the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina

San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina

Complete with a splash pad and 3 feet deep pool, this family friendly hotel is a great option for the downtown San Diego experience. Walk to kid-friendly Spaghetti Factory or catch the ferry over to Coronado for dinner! Don’t miss the nearby Seaport Village or the amazing New Children’s Museum, both an easy walk and fun for the whole family. And for some delicious pancakes, check out the nearby Richard Walkers as well.

Where: 333 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101-7700
> Find out more about the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina

Grand del Mar

Recently named the number one hotel in the US, believe me when best online casino I tell you this is an amazing option. A little more off the beaten path, so to speak (read: you will need to drive to most activities), the resort is known for their exceptional service. With gorgeous grounds and a family pool complete with under water music (seriously), choose from tennis lessons, hiking trails or their offer to take you to the beach!

Where: 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130
> Find out more about the Grand del Mar

Grande Colonial Hotel

Considering <a title=”Discover San Diego”s La Jolla” href=”” target=”_blank”>La Jolla is named the Crown Jewel of San Diego, it’s a spot you will want to visit! The Grande Colonial is a favorite of mine as it’s central to everything in the downtown area. Walk to see the seals at the cove or grab your coffee from the nearby Living Room. Though the pool is on the smaller side, you will enjoy the water views. And sleeping to the natural sounds of waves crashing? Priceless.

Where: 910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
> Find out more about the Grande Colonial Hotel

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

From ping-pong tables to life-size chess and Connect Four at the pool, the Loews Coronado Bay Resort is one of my favorite family friendly hotels to stay with my family! Be sure to check out the easy access tunnel to the beach and even rent bikes to get there. Or take a gondola ride through the canals of the Coronado Cays. The resort also offers shuttle service into the main area of Coronado if you feel like venturing out for a meal without getting in the car. And as the day ends, grab your hot chocolates and sit on the courtyard of Cays Lounge overlooking the sunset and the bridge!

Where: 4000 Loews Coronado Bay Road, San Diego, California, 92118
> Find out more about Loews Coronado Bay Resort

> Discover more Family Friendly Hotels and Fun in San Diego


Downtown San Diego Fun for the Whole Family

If you want the laid back surf life vibe, head to North County. If you want to feel a little more heat, go to East County. If you want a European-like seaside scene, hit La Jolla. And when you want a little more action? Go to Downtown San Diego! From museums to boat rides, your family is sure to enjoy the hustle and bustle our downtown has to offer with some gorgeous water views thrown in. Here are some fun-for-the-family activities to check out:

The New Children’s Museum

New Children's Museum

Kids can paint, play and climb around at the New Children’s Museum downtown.

Start your day with a little rock and roll by grabbing the delicious MJ’s famous sticky bun at the Hard Rock Hotel’s MaryJane’s Café or some infamous breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake house. Once fueled with coffee, turn the corner to the amazing art based children’s museum. From the bubble fountain to the indoor and outdoor art studios, your budding Picasso’s will have a day that will go down in art history.

Where:  200 West Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about The New Children’s Museum

Ferry from Downtown to Coronado

Visitors and locals alike enjoy the views and short trip across San Diego Bay on the Coronado Ferry.

Visitors and locals alike enjoy the views and short trip across San Diego Bay on the Coronado Ferry.

Catch the ferry that leaves downtown to cross over to Coronado. Enjoy the waterfront marketplace with over 25 shops and restaurants. Be sure to check out the flamingos at the nearby Marriott then head back to grab some gelato. Or just go for a round trip water ride with a cityscape view – whichever floats your boat.

Departing from two San Diego locations; Broadway Pier and the Convention Center
> Find out more about the Coronado Ferry

Petco Park

Padres at Petco Park

Catch the Padres play at the beautiful Petco Park in the heart of San Diego

During the spring and summer, enjoy Padres baseball from the kid-friendly picnic hill or “The Beach,” a sandy play area to keep your children entertained as you take them out to the ballgame. Bring plastic sand buckets and shovels for the kids to enjoy behind the right-center-field fence as you root, root, root for the home team.

Where: 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the San Diego Padres at Petco Park

Seaport Village

Boy on Carousel at Seaport Village

Take a spin on the carousel at Seaport Village in Downtown San Diego

With so much to do and see, this set of shops and restaurants is a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Stop at the kite shop or toy store after enjoying some ice cream or frozen yogurt. Go for a spin on the carousel that was built in 1895 after watching one of the various street performers. And when all is said and done, drop some pocket change in the seaside telescopes to watch the boats glide by and really magnify the view.

Where: 849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Seaport Village

San Diego Maritime Museum

maritime museum of san diego

The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Ahoy thar matey! Let your pirates walk the plank or at least the decks of the many boats to choose from! Some set sail and others have lessons in knot tying and rope making. Be sure to check out all the activities available for kids as well as your options for hitting the seas for a boat ride, including some seasonal whale watching. And if you time it right, you may be able to take in Pirate Days, complete with sword flying demos that will shiver yee timbers.

Where: 1492 North Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the San Diego Maritime Museum

San Diego County Waterfront Park

San Diego County Waterfront Park - Downtown

Relax and enjoy the views at the new Waterfront Park. Photo credit: County of San Diego

Just across the street from the Maritime Museum is the amazing new waterfront park. Let your little ones run cool off in the splash fountain while you take a break on the green grass. They can burn off even more energy on the plethora of climbing structures and hills. After an hour here, you’re almost guaranteed a happily tired group who will sleep soundly on the ride home.

Where: 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the San Diego County Waterfront Park

Like the song says, forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go downtown for some San Diego fun with the family!


Rent an Adventure: Great San Diego Family Bike, Board and Boat Rentals Spots

Family Kayaking in San Diego
Family Kayaking in San Diego

Rent a kayak or two and the whole family can explore the waters of San Diego

With all that a family needs to pack these days, the more that you can leave home, the better. Yet, there are so many fun ways to explore San Diego, that it’s tempting to try and “check” your boat at the airport luggage counter…kidding…kind of. Thankfully, instead of paying that fee, there are plenty of spots around town to rent transportation that can lead to some fun exploring with the family.

Water Fun in Mission Bay

Visit the Aquatic Center in Mission Bay and arm yourself with everything you could possibly want to do in the water! From wakeboarding to windsurfing and so much more in between, make this a destination stop for water sports fun.

Where: 1001 Santa Clara Pl, San Diego, CA 92109 > Find out more about the Mission Bay Aquatic Center

Boating in the Harbor

Visit Harbor Sailboats to pick up your rental or take a guided tour. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Coronado Bay Bridge and sail past the aircraft carriers as you relax on the water. And keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and seals! Where: 2040 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 > Find out more about Harbor Sailing

Bikes in Pacific Beach

Serious cyclists should visit San Diego’s biking page, but for some casual exploring on beach cruisers, head to PB. Check out Pacific Beach Bikes for for the whole family. Hop aboard your two wheelers and cruise the boardwalk to Mission Beach on the bike paths while you enjoy watching the waves. Where: 1852 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach, CA 92109 > Find out more about Pacific Beach Bikes

Kayak Exploring in La Jolla

Don’t miss out on the kayak rentals at La Jolla Shores! Paddle your way over to take in the breathtaking cliffs and caves. Keep your eyes peeled as you are likely to see a seal or two along the way! And if you want more sea creature fun, rent a snorkel to bring along and swim with the (harmless) leopard sharks in spring. Where: 2199 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about La Jolla Kayak

And Learn to Surf in La Jolla

It would almost be remiss to visit Southern California in general and not attempt to surf! Surf Diva and Menehune Surf Camp are both great options for getting use to the waves.  If you are already a seasoned pro and just didn’t want to bring along your board, check out their rentals, too! Surf Diva Where: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about Surf Diva Menehune Surf Camp Where: 2216 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037 > Find out more about Menehune Surf Camp

Hot Air Balloons in Del Mar

Book a bird’s eye view of San Diego while floating around in a hot air balloon! A big thrill for my kids is just seeing them in the sky so imagine getting to ride in one! > Find out more about Another Side Tours

WaveRunners in Carlsbad

For some north county fun, visit the Carlsbad Lagoon! Fly through the water in your WaveRunner, or casually float along in an aqua cycle, kayak or stand up paddleboard. Boat rentals are available, too! Where: 4215 Harrison Street, Carlsbad, California 92008 > Find out more about Carlsbad Lagoon

> Plan your trip with more San Diego Family vacation itineraries


Exploring La Jolla With Kids From Sea Level to Mountain Tops

Windansea Beach in La Jolla
Windansea Beach in La Jolla

Even the kids will have a great time watching the surf from Windansea Beach

Having been to several seaside cities around the world, I can truly say that La Jolla is one of the most beautiful destinations by the water. Once you head down Torrey Pines Drive from the north, you are immediately greeted by spectacular ocean views. With its European vibe, La Jolla is an amazing vacation destination and a must-do and see stop in San Diego. And, yes! You should take the kids. Here are some fun things to check out with your children.

See the Seals

Avoid driving down Prospect (as it tends to get backed up with traffic), aiming to drive down Girard instead to the north and check out the Cove to see the seals! Walk out along the bridge surrounding The Children’s Pool (just a name, not an actual pool and, well, kids aren’t even allowed to swim there) for not only a better view of the barking sea mammals, but to get a little sprayed by an up close view of the waves!

Tide Pools

Walking in the westerly direction from The Children’s Pool, stop off at the tide pools to (cautiously) touch a sea urchin or two! Hop along from section to section to track just how many creatures you can find.

> Hang out at San Diego’s tide pools

Swim at the Shores

Since the cove waves can be a tad unpredictable (read: be prepared to get wiped out), head to La Jolla Shores for gentle waves that are a lot of fun for the first tries at boogie boarding or just play in mellow water in general.

Kayak through the Caves

While at the shores, pick up your kayak rental and paddle your way toward the caves!  Either take a guided tour or explore the seven caverns during low tide on your own. And keep your eyes peeled as a seal or two may swim along side you!

> Find out more about kayaking in San Diego

Pet the Sharks

If you are like me, you will skip this adventure, but May through October, apparently harmless leopard sharks visit La Jolla Shores and you can allegedly (kidding…kind of) snorkel safely as you get a (too close for me) personal view that many families I know enjoy the thrill!

> Learn more about swimming with the leopard sharks in La Jolla

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – La Jolla

When you are ready for dry land, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art located on Prospect Street. Always a funky, fun time, it also has one of the most amazing views! And be sure to check out the store for some of the most unique souvenirs.

> Find out more about the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – La Jolla


Heading to one of the most popular local surf spots is a must! Sit atop the cliffs as you watch the waterman get barreled. Though a well-liked beach destination, you may want to think twice before letting your kids jump in as the shore break can pummel even the most seasoned swimmers if not timed right. Be sure to hit the Busy Bee’s, a favorite spot for coffee, bagels and pastries to enjoy as you check out the surf.

Mount Soledad

Make sure either on your way in or your way out to check out the infamous top of Mount Soledad! Though the  cross at the top that was built-in 1913 has long been a source of controversy, you and your kids will love the picturesque scenery from atop the “mountain”!

> Discover more of San Diego’s La Jolla

From views to fun in the water,  La Jolla is a breathtaking destination that the whole family will love. When planning your travels, add to the list to take your kid’s to San Diego’s “Crown Jewel!”