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We started off 2018 with a fun trip to San Diego. My parents came with us and we had so much fun exploring with Grandpa and Grandma.

3 Days in San Diego with Kids #sandeigowithkids #familytravel #traveltips #california #Sandiego #mangopie

Day 1 in San Diego

The first stop in San Diego for us was the San Diego Zoo. If you have kids this is a must visit! Even if you don’t have kids you should probably visit.

This is an all-day activity I recommend getting there when they open or shortly after and staying until dinner time. When we visited they closed at 5 and we stayed until closing.

For tips about visiting the zoo and which side of the bus to ride on you can read more about our day at the zoo here.

After the zoo we were hungry, we headed for Cafe Rio. When we got to the parking lot we found it didn’t open until a week later! Cafe Rio is open in San Diego now so you should totally try it if you haven’t yet!! Find out how to get free cafe Rio here.

Since we couldn’t get Cafe Rio for dinner we headed for Olive Garden to get the all you can eat Soup and Salad. After dinner, we went to check into our hotel.


We stayed at The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter. This hotel is located in Downtown San Diego and has a unique style. All of the parking at the Weston is Valet. The cars are parked in a garage so you can’t access them.  We ended up calling the Valet desk multiple times for things we forgot in the car. They were always very nice and quickly had the items for us.

The hotel rooms are a good size with comfortable beds and a nice bathroom with a rain showerhead.We were really happy to find that the hotel had an in-room fridge. So we were able to keep waters and breakfast foods in the room.

The hotel also has a pool and fitness center as well as a restaurant and spa. One thing to note about the hotel is there is a daily parking fee.

Day 2

Jared had meetings so the kids and I went exploring with Grandpa and Grandma.

We decided to go exploring Balboa Park. On a map, it looks like a short walk so we decided to walk. If you have kids you might want to consider driving the walk isn’t overly long it just has a lot of hills.

Balboa Park has a lot of museums, gardens, and fountains.

Many of the Gardens are free and fun to walk through. We enjoyed a quick walk through the Botanical Building and Lily Pond. The little man found a turtle outside the building in the pond and thought that was cool.

In the Fleet Science Center is a little cafe Craveology we got lunch from. We were all pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. The selection was limited as most of the items are premade and they can run out fast.

On our walk back to the hotel we found the playground that’s at the bottom of the hill near Balboa Park. The little man was so excited to run and play.

After getting lots of wiggled out we put both kids back in the stroller and headed for the hotel. Then it was time for dinner. Since we were all really hungry we decided to go with an old favorite The Cheesecake Factory. We called in our order to go so we could eat in our room and let the kids play and get to bed early.

Day 3

Jared had a few meetings in the morning so we decided to stay close to the hotel. As we walked away from the hotel we found a splash pad. Not sure how we missed it the day before.


The Little Man and Sis had so much fun playing in the water. Grandpa was so nice to help Sis play in the water. His shoes and pants were soaked!

Once the kids started getting cold we went back to the hotel. Luckily it was only half a block away.

After getting the kids warmed up and dressed. We met up with Jared and headed out to explore in the van.

Our first stop was lunch. We decided to Drive out to Del Mar to get some mango pie.

Urban Pi is a pizza restaurant with amazing desserts. The pizza was good but the mango pie is what dreams are made of!

After eating dessert both before and after pizza we headed to Cabrillo National Monument.

This National park is something that should definitely be on your bucket list.

Once you reach the parking lot there is a museum and visitor center where you can get a free map, a junior ranger packet and ask questions.

A short walk up from the visitor center is the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Cabrillo was the leader of the first European expedition to explore the West Coast of the United States.

A little farther up is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. With a small museum to the side.

Cabrillo National Monument is a great place to see Gray Whales the peak of migration is in Mid- January but you can possibly see them from December through March. It was really foggy when we visited so we didn’t see anything. We will have to visit another time when the weather corporates.

If it wasn’t cold and cloudy we would have spent more time at the monument. Since it wasn’t the best weather we cut it short and headed to the Mormon Battalion Museum.

The Mormon Battalion Museum is a free museum with an interactive tour about a group of Mormon families that joined the U.S. Army. They marched from Iowa to San Diego.

The tour is perfect for kids with a fun and informative tour, about life in the U.S. Army, followed by some fun activities. The activities including a free photo, panning for gold and pumping water to wash clothes.

Our little man loved playing in the water, panning for gold that is.

We had such a fun time exploring San Diego, we can’t wait to go back and do some more exploring.

Let us know in the comments your favorite San Diego activities so we can check them out next time we visit!