You’ll get the sand beneath your toes and the slides they love so much
San Diego is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the country, so it makes sense that they would also have some of finest beachside parks too. These picturesque play spots deliver serene coastal views, cool ocean breezes, and maybe even some whale or dolphin spotting if you’re lucky. We’ve rounded up seven of our favorite beachside parks perfect for your next play date hang.
Right near the boardwalk in the heart of La Jolla Shores, you’ll find beautiful Kellogg Park. With a large grassy area that’s perfect for a game of frisbee or an afternoon picnic, as well as a top-notch playground, it’s one of our absolute must-dos in the city. The “Respect the Ocean” themed playground features a rubber surface system offering more support for tiny feet. There are also tons of swings and interesting structures to climb. During your visit, make sure to check out the life-size bronze statue of a baby gray whale that’s a perfect size for little explorers to climb. The family-friendly space has plenty of restrooms and showers if you fancy dipping your feet into the ocean, and the parking lot is open until 10 p.m.
Insider’s Tip: This park gets busy on weekends so make sure to arrive early if you want to claim some prime picnic space on the grass. Also, one block away on Avenida de la Playa, families can find a variety of cafés, shops, and sports rentals, as well as the Birch Aquarium just up the hill.
8200 Camino Del Oro
Fletcher Cove Park
Perched high above the Pacific in Solana Beach, popular Fletcher Cover Park reopened its playground this summer after a $400,000 refurbishment. Improvements to the playground include a new shaded structure to keep kiddos cool, a blue rubberized surface with a whimsical whale design, as well as new play equipment like a slide, monkey bars, swing set, ADA-accessible disc net climber, and stationary boogie board. The playground was purposely designed to accommodate a wider range of age groups and features new activities like a mini clubhouse and sensory panels for the under-5 set. If you have a basketball player in the family, they’ll also dig the new half-court that’s been completely resurfaced and leveled up with a new hoop and backboard. There are also restroom facilities on site, a free parking lot, and plenty of street parking.
Fletcher Cove Park
111 S. Sierra Ave.
With scenic views of San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge, Tidelands Park has 22 acres of amenities to keep littles entertained all day long. There is an inclusive playground designed for kids of all abilities, four baseball fields, exercise stations, a fishing pier, picnic areas, paths for rollerblading, breathtaking art installations, and a bike strand that extends from Silver Strand to Old Ferry Landing. Plus, there is a small sandy beach if kiddos get the itch to create a sandcastle masterpiece. Facilities are plenty as well with a large parking lot and plenty of restrooms.
Insider’s Tip: If you take follow the bike path to Old Ferry Landing, you can grab a bite to eat at one of many restaurants in the area or catch the ferry to San Diego—bring your bike aboard for no extra charge!
2000 Mullinex Dr.
If you’re looking for stunning views of the sea and updated playground equipment, Powerhouse Park should be on your list. Recently renovated, the park features an ocean-themed playground with instruments to bang on, plenty of swings, a great climbing structure, and a sand play area. There’s also plenty of grass for a rousing game of tag and some swell walking trails to explore. And the cherry on top is not only is there a beautiful view of the ocean, but kiddos get an amazing view of the train whenever it passes by. Win-win!
Insider’s Tip: Mornings are best to avoid the crowds and be sure to bring an extra change of clothes and a towel since kids will get messy playing in the sand. Also, pay attention to street parking signs—some spots are free for two hours, but there are metered spots available as well.
1658 Coast Blvd.
Spanish Landing Park
Spanish Landing Park gives families a dose of San Diego history along with beautiful views the marina. This very spot held the meeting of the 1769 Gaspar DePortola and Father Junípero Serra expeditions. So after you’ve Googled all of that and impressed the fam with your knowledge, you all can enjoy the groovy playground on the west side of the park, a sandy beach, interesting art displays, and plenty of picnic tables for a delightful afternoon meal together.
Spanish Landing Park
3900 N. Harbor Dr.
Located in a magical part of Encinitas right on the ocean is Moonlight Beach. This family-friendly beach has waves that are perfect for surfing and boogie boarding, as well as a great beach-themed (and shaded) playground just steps from the sand. The bright blue and gold structure features a climbable surfboard, slides and tons of other fun nooks and crannies to explore. Next to the playground is a large grassy area that has picnic tables when your hungry brood is ready for a snack.
400 B. St.
Tyson Street Park
Easy walking distance from the pier, Tyson Street Park features a playground that’s just about as close to the water as you can be without getting wet. There’s a jungle gym with views of the Pacific, a large grassy area to run and play, and lots of picnic tables and restrooms. If your kiddos are begging to take a dip after they check out the playground, the summer months are a great time to do it since they close the water to surfers during the season, making it ideal for swimmers and waders.
Insider’s Tip: The park and beach are accessible via the stairs on Pacific St. where there is plentiful metered parking.
Tyson Street Park
121 S. Pacific St.