50+ Reasons Why San Diego Was Voted the Most Kid-Friendly U.S. City

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San Diego was just named the most kid-friendly city to visit in 2017! We’re tooting our own horn with 50 reasons why we think ‘America’s Finest City’ was awarded the top destination in the country to take the kiddos. But before we get to our list, did you also know that San Diego’s parks are ranked among the best in the nation, Dr. Beach named Coronado Beach as one of the country’s top 10 beaches and the San Diego Botanic Garden made the 2017 list of the Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Travelling For? Read on to learn more about what our fabulous, award-winning city has to offer kids.

We’re spoiled for choice with a wide selection of gorgeous family-friendly beaches.

Easy day trip excursions to quaint mountain towns like Julian.

Lots of splash pads and water parks for soaking up outdoor fun in the sun.

Tide pools to explore and to learn about and appreciate sea life.

Birch Aquarium is always an amazing family outing and resource for diving into ocean education.

As the “craft beer capital of the world” San Diego has over a dozen family-friendly breweries. Cheers to that!

San Diego has a thriving food scene with an endless variety of dining options: amazing vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free restaurants, delicious pizzerias, mom and pop specialty bakeries, plenty of places to go out for ice cream and frozen treats, terrific tacos and unbeatable burger joints.

Our fair city is also perfectly located to take unforgettable California road trips.

Two words: Balboa Park. This gem is home to fourteen museums, exquisite gardens, cultural programs, restaurants and family-friendly events like Food Truck Fridays, Balboa Park After Dark and stargazing with experts.

Historic Old Town where the authentic Mexican food and San Diego history make for a delicious and engaging adventure.

Dr. Seuss inspo! The beloved author called La Jolla home and his charm still abounds all over town.

The ideal weather to dine al fresco year round on the best restaurant patios.

Lots of great bike paths for rolling with the fam.


One word: LEGOLAND! How awesome is it that LEGOLAND is a super fun and convenient theme-park vacation right here in Carlsbad?

Plenty of free or cheap fun activities to do from art classes to train rides.

Speaking of art classes: check out all the places for kids to get creative.

Not to mention the epic indoor play centers designed for infants and toddlers.

The glory that is the hours of open-ended, imaginative play offered at The New Children’s Museum.

Miles of kid-friendly hiking trails with gorgeous views.

Beach camping trips for memorable summer family vacations.

According to Reward Expert, “San Diego has the most playgrounds per capita in the country. The city has 22 playgrounds per 10,000 residents”–– which means there are fun parks and playgrounds in every corner of the city.

The beauty of hiking and the adrenaline rush of paragliding at Torrey Pines.

The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas offers amazing programs to connect kids to nature and flora with year-round activities, classes, festivals and events.

Farmers Markets galore!

Family-friendly sports and outdoor family fitness adventures from surfing to surrey rides.

Plenty of hidden gem outings to avoid the visiting crowds.

Lots of fun to be had with little night owls all over the city after dark.

Sunny blue skies equal plentiful fun outdoor activities for kids.

Soccer programs for kids to develop skills and a love of the game throughout all seasons of the year.

Train rides that will thrill tiny conductors.

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Padres games!

10 fantastic locales to have fun as a family for $10 or less.

Exceptional places to have animal encounters: the world famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park and the Children’s Nature Retreat.

The opportunity to explore interactive naval ship the USS Midway.

Mission Bay Park and other amazing natural playgrounds.

Quaint, picturesque Seaport Village, complete with an antique carousel.

Righteous skate parks.

An impressive theater and arts scene with productions geared for kids.

Serene, wow-worthy resort pools that offer day passes for families.

Family weekends at the Del Mar Races.

What’s your favorite thing about raising kids in San Diego? Share in the comments!

–– Beth Shea

All photos by Beth Shea

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