• Fam Diego

San Diego Kids Summer Bucket List

Summer is here and the living is easy...especially if you're a kid in San Diego! There are lots of summer buckets lists out there online, but none quite as unique as what San Diego has to offer for the little ones. You'll find over 100 things to do in San Diego on my San Diego Kids Summer Bucket List below. (I even left some out!) And since summer weather pretty much lasts all year long in San Diego, you can use this list throughout the year.

These are grouped generally by activity, so pick one from each section or try to do all of them in one category. It's up to you how you spend your summer, but you don't want to miss out on these epic activities that for some only San Diego can offer.

I know there are a TON more that I could have included, so add in comments what your favorite places in San Diego are to spend the summertime!

Here you go.....


SeaWorld at night!

Ride the SkyTram over Mission Bay

Sesame Street summer weekend parade

Awe at the Electric Ocean Show

Watch the fireworks shows: 4th of July & Labor Day weekends

Zoo at Night!

Ride the Skyfari Tram over the zoo

Night time parade & special events

Safari Park at Night!

Caravan through the Safari Park

Zipline over the rhinos and try not to scream (ages 8+)

Balboa Park

Play in The Backyard: Natural History Museum, it’s their brand new feature!

Walk inside the Packing Tape Tunnels at the Fleet (2018)

Find the moon rock: Air & Space Museum

See a puppet show: Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater

Climb on the green dragon: in front of the Mingei Museum (currently out for restoration)

Dance to the Sunday concerts: Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Ride the mini train & grab the Brass Ring on the carousel: just outside of the Zoo

Friday Night Food Trucks & Museums: Balboa Park

Climb the California Tower: Museum of Man (ages 6+) (currently cancelled for retrofitting)

Seaport Village/Headquarters

Ride the carousel

Get locked up: jail cell at The Headquarters

Belmont Park

Eat a Dole Whip

Lots of rides for tots too

Cabrillo National Monument

Climb to the top of the lighthouse

Find sea creatures at the tide pools below

Old Town

Sit in a covered wagon: next to Cosmopolitan

Meet Don & Dulce, donkeys: next to barn

Drink fresh brewed iced tea: American House tea shoppe

Get schooled: old children's schoolhouse

See the slammer: jail cell behind Sheriff's Museum


Go to as many beaches as possible, build sand castles with your kids and look for seashells or cool rocks

Go camping on the beach: Campland or San Elijo

See the Sand Sculpting Challenge - this year it’ll be lit up after dark

Make s’mores at one of the bonfire pits on the beach

Watch the sunset with your kids from the beach

Attend a luau on the beach: Catamaran Resort (or watch from the sidelines ;)

Walk down the longest concrete pier on the west coast: Ocean Beach*

Or walk down any other pier: PB, Shelter Island, Oceanside*, Scripps Pier (walk under it for pics), Imperial Beach Pier* (*these have a restaurant at the end of the pier)

Go tide pooling: Scripps Pier, but there are lots of other great spots too!

Play on a Beachside Playground


Dance with your kids at a summer concert: Hullabaloo, Children's Discovery Museum concerts, summer concerts. concerts in the park

Watch an outdoor movie

Tour PetCo Park before a baseball game then sit in the family area so kids can play

Catch the $1 Movies! UltraStar, Regal Entertainment, Reading Cinemas

Or $6 movies at the Luxury Cinepolis in Del Mar! (tickets come with kids drink & snacks!)

Touch a crocodile: library’s summer reading program events, County Library

Read a book - join a summer reading program: public library, county library, B&N

Attend a local story time:

public libraries, B&N, SD Model Railroad Museum, SD Natural History Museum, SD Botanical Garden, Pottery Barn Kids, UTC Mall in front of Macy’s (next to the playground & new splash pad), Children’s Museum downtown, Children's Museum Escondido, Warwick’s Bookstore, symphony story time

Draw with neon body paint: Wonderspaces (currently running again this summer with new art installations)


Go on a Cruise:

Bahia Belle on Mission Bay, Ferry to Coronado, Hornblower Cruise, rent a boat on your local reservoir

Ride the Trolley:

there are lots of great stops for kids to have fun, like Old Town, Hazard Center for $1 movies or Little Italy for the Waterfront Park downtown

Ride the Rails:

Take the Coaster Train up to Solana Beach, Oceanside or San Juan Capistrano for the day; each of these stops have kid-friendly activities within walking distance. The Sprinter connects inland North County.

Take a Tour:

We love riding on The Hopper! It's a Double Decker bus (with AC and free snacks!). You can hop on and off anywhere along the route between Old Town, Downtown, Little Italy and more.

Catch the Old Town Trolley Tours, a hop on/off trolley

Ride the SEAL Tour car/boat

Ride the trains:

Poway Train Park

Ride the mini train: Balboa Park

Up in the sky:

Grab lunch while you watch some planes take off: Casa Machado at Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa, Gillespie Field Cafe in Santee, The Landings at Palomar

Earn your Jr. Pilot Wings from the scavenger hunt: USS Midway

Sit in a fighter jet: USS Midway

Sit in a helicopter: Air & Space Museum or the Zoo (Northern Frontier)

Watch paragliders jump off the cliff: Torrey Pines Glider Port

Ride a carousel:

Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Belmont Park, Legoland


Horses: Attend a family day at the Del Mar Horse Races

(every Sat 1-6pm, pony rides & lots of other fun kids events


Birds: see them for free at the Catamaran Resort (on display 10a-3p)