You’ve got the perfect family vacation to San Diego all planned out, including stops at the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park and lots of other touristy must dos. But there’s a whole lot more to do, see and experience in America’s Finest City. Check out some of the most adventurous and unique things to do in San Diego, guaranteed to thrill and delight children and adults of all ages and provide an unforgettable family vacation.
Take the SEAL Tour
It’s a boat, it’s a bus … oh wait, it’s both! The San Diego SEAL Tour is a totally wacky and out-of-the-ordinary sightseeing experience everyone loves. The vehicle, an amphibious, hydra-terra vessel, is designed to go from the street to the water and back again without any alteration. It’s specially designed, Coast Guard approved, comfortable and safe—not to mention it’s like being in your own James Bond movie! When you board the SEAL, you’ll immediately notice there’s not a bad seat to be had. That’s because the vehicle is open on both sides, providing great views and cool breezes. Once you find your seat, sit back and enjoy the ride. The conductor will entertain you with his or her wit and knowledge about the sights. The 90-minute tour is fully narrated and takes you from Seaport Village or the Star of India at the Maritime Museum though the streets of the city. Then, without missing a beat, it will plunge into the San Diego Harbor, where you’ll see various sights including the North Island Naval Air Station, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Shelter Island and more. Keep an eye out for San Diego’s resident sea lions and brown pelicans as you glide along – they are a sight to behold.
Ride the Giant Dipper at Belmont
Talk about thrilling – the Giant Dipper is a “put-your-hands-in-the-air and scream-your-head-off” roller coaster. It’s an authentic wooden roller coaster, built in 1925 and fully restored and maintained for a safe and wildly fantastic ride. It’s located at Belmont Park, a historic beachfront amusement park in Mission Bay. And there are a bunch of other exhilarating rides and attractions for thrill-seeking kids and their parents. Get your daredevil on when you ride the Beach Blaster, Control Freak, Octotron and the Vertical Plunge. After you play, eat! Belmont has the expected amusement park fare and some unexpected delicacies like sushi and authentic Chinese dishes. For a totally cool California beach experience, stop into the Wavehouse, located on the boardwalk. From fire pits to palm trees, cold beers, cocktails and breathtaking views, you’ll be totally stoked!
Take a Beach Tour
Nothing says fun like a day at the beach, and this unbeatable tour takes you to four! Hop on the Old Town Trolley Beach Shuttle and get set for fun in the sun and some of the most beautiful scenery in San Diego. The shuttle makes a 24-mile continuous loop, transporting you to Mt. Soledad, La Jolla, Mission Beach and Old Town. Along the way, kick back and enjoy some tunes, fun stories and San Diego history. Get off and explore some of the beaches; each one is unique in its own way. Whether you want to check out the aquatic inhabitants of tide pools, climb a rocky cliff to see the waves crashing or take a stroll along a sandy shoreline, you can do it all and more. The tour is between 90 to 110 minutes and you can get off and on and take your time. It’s a perfect outing for kids and adults. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and towels!
Explore Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
True wilderness in the midst of San Diego city limits, Torrey Pines Natural Reserve offers picturesque ocean views, pine forests, sandstone canyons and a chance to connect with nature. Located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, this park offers nearly 2000 acres of gorgeous scenery, hiking trails, miles of unspoiled beaches, a lagoon and the opportunity to see many plants and wildlife. Home to the rare Torrey Pine trees, the area has been lovingly protected and maintained. The numerous hiking trails offer different levels of difficulty with several just perfect for small children and others for the more advanced hiker. The park also offers guided nature walks on weekends and holidays. A favorite among locals and visitors with an affinity for outdoor adventure, Torrey Pines is a fun and interesting excursion for the entire family.
About the Author: Wendy Meyerson Vogeley is an award-winning copywriter, travel writer and blogger who travels extensively throughout the Caribbean and the United States. She’s a contributor to several travel blogs and websites offering tips and reviews on sightseeing and unique things to do and see in various destinations around the world.