San Diego: Sun and Fun Anytime of the Year
When people think of San Diego, they think of summer fun. However, this southern California metropolis is perfect during any time of the year. Although the climate is relatively mild in any season, the beaches may still be too cool for a swim in the winter months. While this may be limiting for some families that love the sun and sand, smart families know that there are many other things to do in San Diego. They just have to know where to look.
To start planning for family fun in the winter in San Diego, consider this list of activities.
1. SeaWorld. People of all ages enjoy this marine park, which features some of the most spectacular sea creatures in the entire world. With the mild climate in San Diego throughout the year, SeaWorld is a great choice in the winter, especially since it may be less crowded during the off travel season. All this makes SeaWorld a prime attraction for the family in winter.
2. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Animal lovers should never skip out on the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Of all the things to do in San Diego, there are few more famous than these sister attractions. The zoo features an impressive collection of animals. Although the Safari Park is often less well known, the experience is just as memorable, giving guests an up close view of animals in a more authentic habitat.
3. Balboa Park. Just because it is not summer does not mean that spending time outside is an impossibility in San Diego. To the contrary, when the water may be just a little too cool, families have the opportunity to explore the other outdoor attractions in San Diego. There is no better place to start than Balboa Park. This sprawling park is 1200 acres, featuring gardens with plants from around the world, many of which are in full bloom over the winter months. Plus, the Balboa Park Activity Center lets families play volleyball, badminton and table tennis.
4. The New Children’s Museum. No matter what the weather is like, the New Children’s Museum is a great place for families. This family oasis is located in the Gaslamp Quarter and features exhibits for kids of all ages. There is even an area for teenagers, making the New Children’s Museum a must for families when the weather gets cooler.
5. Birch Aquarium. While SeaWorld gets most of the attention for its marine displays, the Birch Aquarium is a good attraction for families as well. Although it is smaller than SeaWorld, the Birch Aquarium has plenty of fish and marine life to explore and discover. The colorful tanks and accessible tide pools give children a personal view of the animals.
6. Legoland. Legoland is often bustling in the summer months when school is out and families are traveling. While the rides and attractions are great during the summer, the quieter days over the cooler season are often even more engaging because there are fewer people and shorter lines. Hours are more limited during the school year, but Legoland is still a great stop for families during the cooler part of the year.
7. Whale watching. During the summer, people flock to the water for surfing, swimming and more. However, during the off season, the water is perfect for whale watching. Whales pass by the San Diego coast on their way to warmer waters in the south, and there are numerous boat tours that give families the chance to see these massive creatures in their natural habitat. Whale watching may not be the best for the youngest children, but families with older children who can appreciate the water should be sure to consider this unique opportunity.
8. Maritime Museum. When considering things to do in San Diego, families should always remember the Maritime Museum. This museum features nine boats for families to explore first hand. This gives families a unique educational opportunity while also sparking the imagination to consider life on the high seas. Better still, the boats are often decked out with lights during the holidays, making them a spectacular attraction that will wow people of all ages.
9. Old Town California. Most kids do not enjoy studying history but having the chance to discover it for themselves is a whole different story. This is why Old Town California is a great stop for the family. This attraction is home to 15 historic buildings, giving families a glimpse of what life was like for the early Spanish settlers in the area. In addition to the living history, there are shops, restaurants and even a haunted house. Visiting Old Town California in the off season is a perfect way to beat the crowds and soak up the atmosphere without the usual hustle and bustle.
10. Holiday celebrations. While most people think of attractions when looking for things to do in California, every family should remember that the off season also has some fantastic events to enjoy. While there are ample summer festivals, the holiday celebrations in San Diego are just as invigorating. Some of the most popular options include Christmas in the Village in La Mesa and the SoNo Park Holiday Fest. From the lighting of a 75-foot tree in Coronado to the festive parade in La Jolla, the holidays may not be quite as warm but they are just as exciting for families in San Diego.
This list is just the start. Clearly, there are always things to do in San Diego. In the summer, the sand and sun attract the most attention, but families should always remember that there are plentiful choices in the off season. Some of these attractions, such as the gardens in Balboa Park or whale watching from the coastline, are free for everyone, while others will have some sort of admission fee. Either way, with so many things to do in San Diego, all families should be able to pass the winter months with ease, enjoyment and excitement.