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Bay Explorers

My vision is to inspire families of all backgrounds to explore, be present, and have fun with their children in the Bay Area.

What To Do In San Diego with Kids

San Diego is one of my favorite places in California (aside from the Bay and Tahoe) and we have been there twice since October so I wanted to do a special spotlight about what to do with your kids in San Diego. Here are some of our favorite places to visit and also favorite spots to eat vegan food at.

1. Mission Beach: Although San Diego is equipped w many wonderful beaches. Mission Beach remains my favorite! You can play in the waves, swim in a pool, ride rollercoasters at the Boardwalk, get good food including dole whip, bike, or just hang out all day all in one spot. Me & my oldest had so much fun boogie boarding in the waves in October. (You can buy boards, sand toys, towels, etc at many of their stores on the shores). The waters feels less frigid in Southern CA than the Bay & we were all too happy to be washed in them. The sand is soft and there's a ton of restaurants to grab a sweet treat from while you hang on the beach. Plus bathrooms and the Boardwalk.

2. Belmont Park: It is finally back open! Like really open. I can’t tell you how happy I was to ride a rollercoaster- until I wasn’t lol! Disclaimer not all the rides are open every day but most of them are & at least different ones kids of varying ages can have fun on! The cons of the situation is that they’re charging more for less & Not everything is open. But pros are riding actual rides w your kids is fun, especially for those harder to please older kids- seeing my oldest laugh & smile for an afternoon made the extra pricey wristband worth it. You can buy tickets & wristbands both online & in advance. Right now all CA theme parks are only open to Cali residents from my understanding. Belmont Park gets crowded but I don’t think the tickets are selling out like Santa Cruz is! Wristbands are $46- $56 & ticket bundles are available as well. This was our one expensive thing we spent $ on.

3. The Plunge: It wasn’t sunny all of our days in San Diego so we finally took a the Plunge. It’s an indoor pool with obstacle course & gym right on the Boardwalk in Belmont Park. We’ve always wanted to go, it was really fun for the kids who went on the obstacle course a million times. Open 9am-6pm daily. $15 per person per 3 hour session or $20 for the day. $50 for a family of 4 session pass or $60 for all day. $5 for kids under 2. In & out privileges allowed so you can go hang out at the Boardwalk, beach, or get something to eat & come back & swim some more. If you need to wear your kids down or looking for something to do on a chilly day in SD- this is it.

4. Hillcrest Farmers Market: is on your must go list when visiting San Diego, especially if you’re vegan! It’s every Sunday at 3960 Normal Street. 9-2pm I believe. 211There are hella vegan options! Our personal fave though is Harmless Eats, my kids love their chicken strips & they have a fire chicken sandwiches. Get there early because they sell out. Also this time we tried Mayas Cookies who have the yummiest vegan cookies in all of San Diego. One of mine had a while ass Oreo baked inside. We also had water-melanin smoothies & sugar cane watermelon drinks & some African food we took for later. San Diego is for sure a vegan hub! I’ll post more of my favorite vegan spots in SD on the next post. The Market has a whole vegan aisle & you can get vegan cheese, cookies, vegan salad dressing, hot plates, plus tons of fresh fruit & veggies.

5. Vegan Food: San Diego is a vegan hub - it is soooo vegan friendly! There are a ton of vegan restaurants & also many places have vegan options. Here’s some to put on your list next time you go down South.

- Casa Guadalajara 4105 Taylor St. in Old Town. This was my favorite meal because the atmosphere at the restaurant is super cute! We ate outside under heat lamps sipping mango margaritas. I got the no-fish tacos which were bomb! Highly recommend this place & also taking a walk around Old Town.

- One Love Island is located in Oceanside at 4225 Oceanside Blvd. I get the vegan Ital plate w rice & peas, cabbage, mango salad, potato salad, & plantains. Veggie patty & Soursop drink on the side.

- In Grossmont Center in La Mesa (like 15 mins from downtown) there are about 4 different vegan spots all in the food court. Including Split Bakehouse, really good pastries.

- Veg n Out is in the Grossmont Center too as well as a vegan ceviche spot. My oldest liked her burger from Veg n out.

- El Veganito is also in the food court & that’s what I came for! I had their food a few years ago at a night Market & they hooked me! I hunted them down & ordered damn near the whole menu- no really. Love their tempeh rueben, loaded fries were bomb, phish tacos got devoured by my daughter. Hella good- I give this spot 5 stars & the guy working the counter is really nice.

- Evolution Fast Foods is vegan fast food complete w a drive thru window. They have a huge menu that’s hard to choose from but don’t miss the shakes- so yummy! My kids loved the chicken strips.

- & last but definitely not least is Eve Vegan Eats in Encinitas or Oceanside. Kids eat free all the time w a paying adult. I had an amazing jerk burger w mango & they had cute outdoor seating.

6. Carlsbad Flower Fields: is such a site to behold! Wow it was amazing! I don’t remember how I found out about this place but I didn’t really understand what I was signing us up for until I saw it. It’s every IG influencers dream lol. Lots of photo shoots happening here. Located at 5704 Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad. It is only open seasonally from March 1st-May 9th. From 9-6pm. So this is the last weekend. Tickets were def a little pricey $20 for adults & $10 children Free under 3. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat! Unfortunately the day we went was a little bit overcast otherwise we would’ve stayed all day! There’s so much to do... you can walk for as long as you want around the flower fields, there’s a sweet pea maze, blueberry picking, wagon rides, & the cutest little playground with little houses kids can go in- it was so cute/ literally had to rip my daughter away! They had food including a dessert stand that has strawberry shortcake, chocolate dipped strawberries, & dole whip. And of course tons of spots for photo opts! Everyone is stopping to smell the flowers while taking a ton of pictures lol. The gardens are a result of 85 years of cultivation. There’s a long back story but basically this is a landmark & it’s pretty well known! People come from all over to witness the beauty that is these flower fields! If you’re visiting San Diego in Spring this is a Must See place!

7. Oceanside Pier: Biking in Oceanside is always one of our favorite things to do around San Diego. There is a bike rental right at the Oceanside Pier called Wheel Fun Rentals. You can rent a little bit of everything there from surreys, double surreys, coupes, cruisers, tandems, kids bikes, electric bikes, quads, choppers, even paddle boards. Rentals are about $13 to $75 depending on what you rent. Open daily, year round 9am-sunset.

There’s a long street leading down the beach that’s blocked off to ride on. It leads under the Boardwalk & by a cute Park that’s on the beach. Oceanside has a lot of cute restaurants near the pier as well as the Farmers Market on Thursday mornings. Two of my favorites to get good vegan food are & One Love Island Cuisine. Also there’s a bomb fruit/ beverages / dessert stand right next to the bike rentals. Our family is big so we always rent a double surrey. It can fit 4-6 people & a baby or two on the front. Even if you don't go biking the Oceanside beach and pier are worth a visit and the cute playground that is on the beach.

8. Old Town: in San Diego is considered the birthplace of what Cali is today. There’s a long history of settlers, missions, & colonization that created the hub of Old Town & established its presence. But some refer to it as the birthplace of California. Today currently it is one of the most visited places in San Diego. You can walk around Old Town visiting museums & historic sites. There’s a ton of cute shops & so many Mexican restaurants to choose from. In the middle of it all there’s a plaza with vendor stands selling all kinds of things that’s open daily. Pre-covid there were cultural celebrations & live music in the plaza frequently - I’m not sure if that’s still going on. Anyways it’s a super cute area to visit in San Diego & a great place to grab some food. We ate at Casa Guadalajara restaurant which was my favorite meal while there! Nice outdoor seating, good food w vegan options, & tasty mango margaritas! Also beautiful murals all over as you walk around. Definitely worth a stop on your San Diego trip!

9. Mission Bay: Mission Bay is right down the block from Mission Beach. There are two cute playgrounds right on the water here where kids can play and then dip their feet as well. Paddleboards and jet skis are also for rental here.

10. La Jolla Beach and Cliffs: The beach in La Jolla is really nice and really big- it's also really popular so parking can be difficult. You can rent kayaks and paddle around the caves that are located around the beach. It's also supposed to be a great spot for seal watching.

*Honorable mention San Diego Zoo Safari park which we always love is a great place that we always love to visit is our favorite animal park because the animals get to roam free in the fields. But right now because of covid the famous tram that you get to ride through the animal fields is closed, so I would wait to go back when the trams open back up.


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