Each autumn, families flock to sunny San Diego—not only for the amazing weather but also for some added freebies. The month of October is Kids Free San Diego, an entire month dedicated to delectable discounts. I recently headed south to scope out the places included in the deal, and am sharing all of my secrets with you guys.
The discounts apply to children that are ages 11 and under. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents along for the ride. Kids Free San Diego applies not only to museums, outdoor adventures and other family-friendly activities, but also restaurants and hotels. So pack your bags, zip over to California and get ready to explore with the whole family on the cheap.
While not the main draw of Kids Free San Diego, free meals are always a plus. While properties like Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter offer up meals in their on-site restaurants, it’s the other eateries on the list that really stand out.
For a casual meal after a day of discovery, head straight to John’s Incredible Pizza Company, where a tasty buffet is included in the free child’s admission. For a more elegant experience, dine on fish at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. Each kid in your party can get a free meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Because of San Diego’s proximity to the border, there is an array of delicious Mexican cuisine too. Carnitas Snack Shack, Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina and Casa Guadalajara all offer free meals as well.
Step it up a notch and take advantage of free stays for kids at the San Diego RV Resort. Gather your group and camp out in the warm, breezy California sunshine. Take a dip in the on-site swimming pool or head to the coast for a swim in the Pacific. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had, nearby learning experiences and ways to bond as a group.
While most of the hotel deals involve free meals, there are quite a few that also present Kids Free San Diego welcome gifts. Sure, it’s not the same as a free stay. But use the chance at free food and activities to make the most of a San Diego vacation.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa is one of the best hotels in town for groups, offering spacious bungalows to accommodate everyone. The island-themed property is also on its own private island, meaning there are secluded coastlines to take advantage of as well. Welcome gifts can also be found at spots like Hotel Z, Ocean Park Inn and the Empress Hotel of La Jolla.
Now it comes to the most exciting part of any vacation—where to play. Travel to San Diego to experience the best of the West Coast. Kids can go surfing, hop on a speedboat, ride an Italian gondola or take a luxury cruise, all for free. But the excitement doesn’t end by the sea.
Tours are always an important part of Kids Free San Diego and, this year, there are tours devoted to the city’s history, photography, kayaking, baseball and much more. Get an even deeper understanding of local California culture at the San Diego Symphony, where children can attend a free concert. There is also free entry to SeaWorld San Diego, where you can learn about animals, the famous San Diego Zoo, the Living Coast Discovery Center and the nearby Water Conservation Garden.
But those that will enjoy Kids Free San Diego the most? Anyone who loves museums. There are endless museums on the list, typically providing free entry for children with a paid adult ticket. Explore the heritage of the Americas or learn about automobiles. Visit the U.S.S. Midway to experience some military history, create a tune at the Museum of Making Museum or view art at the Lux Art Institute or the Museum of Contemporary Art. No matter which choice you make, you’re bound to discover something new, exciting and interesting in the city’s cultural sphere.
Kids Free, Adults Rejoice
There’s no doubt that Kids Free San Diego is aimed at children. But it’s also an excuse to gather your whole gang, escape to the beach and spend some quality time together. Whether you’ve got one kid in tow or 10, you’ll discover an endless array of new spots to explore.
San Diego is known for its zoo, but between the museums, kayaking experiences, bike rides, surfing and more available through this annual program, you’ll be inspired to see and do everything you can during your fall trip to California.