In case you haven’t noticed . . . it’s June.
Which means summer – and if you’re lucky – summer vacations!!
We feel so fortunate to live in Carlsbad, CA – which is about 20 minutes north of San Diego.
And since we are living in a place that so many people love to come for vacation, I thought it would be fun to share a few free (or mostly free) activities to do around San Diego!!
It’s easy to find not-so-free things right? I mean, you have Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and Wild Animal Park, and Legoland all within 45 minutes of each other. Oh and there’s that big park just an hour north of here that you might have heard of . . . Disneyland? And yeah. Not too much free there.
But San Diego has a ton of fun activities that won’t cost you much at all – so let’s check some of them out!
1. Let’s start with the obvious – THE BEACH!!
It doesn’t get much better than a day playing in the sand and waves.
Here are some ideas for different beaches – depending on what you’d like to do:
Best Beach for Kids – Coronado Beach
Little waves – lots of sand – plus you get to go across the fabulous Coronado Bridge to get there
Best Beach for Dogs – Ocean Beach
If you brought Fido you want to check this one out.
North County Beaches – Oceanside Pier
Playground & McDonald’s on the beach, plus the pier which is great for fishing and watching the waves!
My Biased Favorite – South Ponto Beach, Carlsbad
Not too crowded, even in summer. Great boogie boarding and surfing too.
And the added bonus there – you can ditch the sand and meet me for lunch instead!!
2. La Jolla Park/Seal Beach/Tide Pools
La Jolla Cove is a great place to spend the day. You will find a large grassy area for playing with barbeques and picnic tables, tide pools and just a short walk to Seal Beach where you can view seals playing in the water or sunning on the beach. They stink but they’re fun to watch. ;)
Those activities are free, but if you’re adventurous and want to spend some of your vacation dollars - you can also rent kayaks or go scuba diving!
3. Balboa Park
Located in the heart of San Diego – Balboa Park is the home to 15 museums, gardens, the San Diego Zoo, concerts and art exhibits.
Parking is free and there are walks and trails throughout. There are 8 gardens – most of which are free.
There are also lots of play and picnic areas.
For a small fee ($2) you can ride the Historic Carousel or the Miniature Train.
For larger fees :) you can visit the Museums or the Zoo!
Seaport Village is located right on the bay in downtown San Diego.
It is filled with shops, restaurants and entertainment, or you can just sit and watch the activity in the bay.
Parking is a small fee, especially if you make a purchase in one of the shops or restaurants.
If you hang around all day – the view in downtown San Diego is just gorgeous.
5. Summer Concerts in the Park
Several local parks offer free concert series throughout the summer.
Carlsbad hosts Jazz in the Park on Friday Nights.
In July and August at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas you can grab a spot on the beach and enjoy a live concert. Call 760.633.2756 for info.
Mondays in Balboa Park you can listen to a free Organ Concert!
For a small National Park entrance fee ($5 per vehicle) you can explore beautiful Cabrillo Park in Point Loma.
Located just minutes from downtown San Diego – Cabrillo Park is the home of the Point Loma Lighthouse, trails, tide pools and amazing views!
If you’re going to check out the rocks and tide pools, where some decent shoes – the rocks are sandy and slippery.
They have a Junior Ranger program for kids too - check the Visitor Center for info.
7. Farmer’s Markets
San Diego county is FULL of Farmer’s Markets – hosted in different cities around town every day.
Some markets sell only food, some also have craft items as well.
Check the SD Farm Bureau site for times and locations.
8. Mt. Soledad, La Jolla
Take a quick scenic drive up to Mt. Soledad, a beautiful Veterans Memorial set high on a hill in La Jolla.
It has a breathtaking view of San Diego.
9. Coronado Island
Not only are the beaches and bridge fabulous, but Coronado is home to shopping, restaurants and the gorgeous Hotel Del Coronado.
The hotel was built in 1888 and the buildings and grounds are very pretty.
10. Old Town San Diego
Old Town is full of historic buildings, restaurants, shops and entertainment!
You can take tours of the museums, visit the haunted house or just listen to the mariachi’s and sip a margarita!
Hopefully you’ve found some things here to do in San Diego that are fun easy on the budget!
If I’ve missed any of your favorite freebies around here, leave them in the comments!!
So what about you – any big summer plans?