7 Unique Adventures for Families Visiting San Diego

With the holidays fast approaching, it may be time to think about winter vacations for the family. For those looking to escape the cold weather, San Diego is a great option with highs in the mid-70s in autumn and mid-60s in the winter.

This kid-friendly destination is also a favorite among travelers seeking unique adventures that bring the city to life and offer a true sense of place. Book your vacation now and enjoy these fun and exclusive excursions in America’s Finest City.

Gondola Rides on Coronado Island

Coronado Island is a favorite among locals due to its miles of soft sand beaches, charming downtown and the 130-year-old Hotel del Coronado. While there are plenty of ways to enjoy its sights, a fun experience for families is to cruise around the island via a gondola.

The Gondola Company offers private cruises through the canals of the Coronado Cays for up to six guests at a time. Each cruise includes non-alcoholic beverages, select wines and chocolate truffles. Cruises are available from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and from noon to 11 p.m. on the weekends.

Feature photo credit: The Gondola Company

Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park

Sports fans and baseball lovers can experience the magic of San Diego’s beloved Petco Park, no matter what season you visit. The ballpark offers group and private tours including a behind-the-scenes educational tour to learn about its storied history.

Guests can explore the dugouts, tour private luxury suites, check out the Padres Hall of Fame and even sit in the press box during the experience. And, come 2022, a new VIP tour will be available for baseball fans to watch batting practice from the Templeton Rye Barrel Deck. Educational Tours are available starting at $12 per child grades K-12.

Hidden Swing in La Jolla

Overlooking the ocean, a secret swing sits on the hillside above the Scripps Memorial Pier near the Birch Aquarium and can be reached by a small hike up from Expedition Way. Though the actual swings have changed over the years, the destination has remained a popular attraction for visitors and an Instagram-worthy destination. For families, pack a picnic, snap a few shots on the swings, and enjoy an afternoon meal overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Mermaid Fitness at the Del

For families traveling with older children, the Hotel Del offers the perfect activity for teens to get enjoy the sun poolside while getting in some fitness. The mermaid fitness class at the resort is a unique 45-minute aerobic workout led by an instructor.

Photo Credit: Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Guests 16 and older are treated to a colorful mermaid tail to wear while working out and each session focuses on swimming, cardio, and strength training. The $35 class is offered in the spring and summer on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. To reserve by phone, call 619-435-6611.

San Diego Photo Scavenger Hunt

 Instead of simply walking around downtown, consider a scavenger hunt with the family and turn your afternoon into an exciting game. This three-hour tour makes its way through downtown as groups use their smartphones to solve clues and complete challenges.

The best part is, you can play any time you want. Just put together your teams of two to five, and set off on your adventure. At the end of the game, players will see how they stacked up against others on the San Diego leaderboard. Tickets are priced at $45 per team and can be booked all year long.

Falconry at Torrey Pines

Ever wanted to see a falcon up-close-and-personal? Now you can with an interactive experience that teaches participants all about these birds of prey. During the class, your family will learn how to call them to a hand-held perch before releasing them; all the while learning about the history of falconry, raptor ecology and conservation. Open to all ages, the falconry group classes are offered from Wednesday to Sunday at $77 per person.

Photo Credit: Total Raptor Experience

Sail Aboard a 1542 Galleon Replica 

 You can’t make a stop in San Diego without getting out on the water on a sailboat. Offered through the Maritime Museum of San Diego, families can book a day at sea aboard the San Salvador, a replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s ship.

The four-hour educational trip includes a historian who will teach guests about how the San Salvador is sailed and navigated, while also learning the impact of ships such as this one during the age of exploration. Prices start at $25 per child and $99 per adult.

Still in need of more suggestions? Visit the San Diego Visitor’s Center for more ideas and tips on what to do while here. Before booking any activity, be careful to avoid travel scams and opt for reputable companies and services that have plenty of reviews to ensure their trustworthiness.

About the Author

Nicolle Monico is a writer and editor with more than 14 years of experience in the industry. A former Travel Editor, she garnered an extensive background in travel, writing articles from city news to hotel and resort openings, wanderlust trends, and in-depth pieces on the industry. In 2014 she was voted by USA Today 10Best readers as the #1 Best Luxury Travel Blogger in the nation.