arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Eight Kid-Approved Parks

Some of the best places to play

Whether you are looking for a larger area to roam or swings to push while you watch the ocean waves, here are eight family-friendly parks that are sure to please.

By: Chelsea Gladden; Mommy Blogger at Breezy Mama

Ready, Set, Go!

Year-round sunshine makes the outdoors in San Diego irresistible. Along with the gorgeous beaches, stunning hiking trails and countless attractions, families have plenty of parks to enjoy as well. Letting the kids burn their energy on the climbing structures while laughing their way down the slides adds to a great family vacation.

San Diego County Waterfront Park

After enjoying the many famous boats that are a part of the Maritime Museum, kids can burn off their extra energy directly across the street. In fact, they can also cool off in the fountain, complete with shooting water. To top it off, there are terrific climbing structures, picnic tables and themed gardens. While in the downtown area, this is a must-stop for families.

Where: Downtown San Diego, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101

Fanuel Park

Prepare to have your breath taken away as you enjoy the gorgeous bay views of Mission Bay from this park at the north end of Sail Bay. Equipped with a playground, there is plenty of grass to play on and trees to climb and best of all, it’s right on the water. Enjoy the swing set, jungle gym and, on warmer days, have bathing suits ready.

Where: Mission Bay, 4000 Fanuel St, San Diego, CA 92109

Mission Bay Playground

Located on the east side of Mission Bay, the playground area is nestled between the bay and a large grassy area for families to relax. There are a variety of age-specific structures for climbing and swinging, with tons of sand underfoot, and also walk-bike paths for family members who have outgrown the jungle gym. And the coastal breezes and open grass areas make this park ideal for flying kites.

Where: Mission Bay, 1344 East Mission Bay Drive, CA 92109

Kate Sessions Park

If you’re looking for a picnic park, visit this scenic park located in a residential area. The hills are a blast for kids to roll down or learn to balance on bikes. The expansive space makes flying kites a lot of fun and the play structure is a bonus. Often a destination for weddings, this park offers views of the mountains and the bay, leading to a stunning day for the whole family.

Where: Pacific Beach, 5115 Soledad Rd, San Diego, CA 92109

Kit Carson Park

Heading east and nearing San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, this open spaced park is great for picnics and hiking. With three ponds, kids get a kick out of watching the ducks. A tot lot and playground make this park a great fit for varying ages. Truly the standout, however, is the Queen Califia’s Magical Circle created by renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle. It is the largest American collection of Saint Phalle's whimsical work with nine large-scale structures covered in brightly colored tiles and ceramics. Kids and parents alike will enjoy seeing and exploring the larger-than-life artistic creations.

Where: Escondido, 3333 Bear Valley Pkwy S, Escondido, CA 92025

Moonlight Beach Park

Right next to one of the most gorgeous beaches, the play structure at Moonlight enhances an amazing day at the water and lets parents enjoy the sound of crashing waves as kids have fun climbing, swinging and playing at the mini picnic table under the slide. During summer months, the snack shack is open and a great place to enjoy a snow cone to top off a magnificent time at the park.

Where: Encinitas, near the end of Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas, CA

Cottonwood Creek Park

Just up the street from Moonlight Beach Park is another fabulous option. Equipped with a rock-climbing wall for the bigger kids, toddlers adore the water pump that streams down on a play structure. Both sand and rubberized ground surround the play areas so bring your buckets and tiny shovels for fun with digging. Large structures and various slides and swings add to the fun. And be sure not to miss the teeter-totter, too!

Where: Encinitas, 95 N Vulcan Ave, Encinitas, CA 92024

Balboa Park

Of course no San Diego park list would be complete without the incomparable Balboa Park. Frequently called the Smithsonian of the West, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in America and is home to 15 major museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens and many other cultural and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, all incorporated among its 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres. The park features a great playground and plenty of places to grab something to eat. Family-friendly best bets include the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

Where: Downtown, San Diego, CA 92101


Follow this link to find more information on San Diego's Parks & Gardens!

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Restaurants

$5 off Full Moon or Blue Moon Dinner Cruises

Hornblower Cruises & Events
Valid: Jul 17, 2018 - ongoing

Evenings on the water take on a whole new luster under the light of a full or blue moon. Save $5 off any Full Moon or Blue Moon Dinner Cruise.

Venues

Special Cruise Passenger Offer

BIGA
Valid: Aug 10, 2018 - ongoing

Come join us at BIGA San Diego, located in downtown's Historic Gaslamp District, for a scoop of our delicious, artisanal gelato.  We also offer exquisite espresso drinks and pastries starting at...

Activity

Build Your Own Pass to Top San Diego Attractions!

Go San Diego Card by Leisure Pass Group
Valid: Mar 29, 2018 - ongoing

Save up to 20% off admission when you choose 2 or more attractions. Pay nothing at the gate. Take up to 30 days to visit the attractions you choose.

Events to check out

Event

San Diego International Auto Show

Dec 27 - Dec 30, 2018

Where the cars are the stars! The San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof.

Event

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Dec 31, 2018

Don't miss America's Finest Bowl Experience! This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and...

Event

2019 Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon

Jan 20, 2019

The Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon course goes through Carlsbad Village and along the oceanfront Pacific Coast Highway.

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish