San Diego Travel with Kids
Under 13 The more than 4,000 chirping, howling, growling and roaring inhabitants of the San Diego Zoo (2920 Zoo Dr.) promise a full day of education and fun things to do. Highlights include a closer look at cuddly, eucalyptus-munching koalas from the elevated walkways in the Outback exhibit and a behind-the-scenes peek at the facility's animal husbandry area in Elephant Odyssey.
At LEGOLAND California Resort (1 LEGOLAND Dr. in Carlsbad ), little ones will feel like Godzilla as they walk through Miniland USA, where Mt. Rushmore, the New York City skyline and scenes from “Star Wars” movies are constructed entirely of LEGO blocks.
Belmont Park (3146 Mission Blvd.) is a great place to spend the afternoon with youngsters. The beachfront amusement park is crowded with laser tag, midway games, bumper cars, a Tilt-a-Whirl and other pay-as-you-go activities. There are also plenty of places to eat when tummies start rumbling.
Gentle waves and a wide stretch of castle-ready sand welcome kids at La Jolla Shores (8302 Camino Del Oro) in La Jolla . Just 2 miles south near the junction of Coast Boulevard and Jenner Street is La Jolla's Children's Pool (swimming here isn't recommended), where a cliffside walkway affords amazing views of harbor seals flopping around on the sand.
While in La Jolla, stop at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2300 Expedition Way). Wee ones can touch sea stars, hermit crabs and sea cucumbers at the Preuss Tide-Pool Plaza before expending some energy in the Boundless Energy exhibit's outdoor play area.
Teens There's no better place to enjoy the sun than Mission Bay Park (2688 E. Mission Bay Dr.), where miles of trails crisscross the country's largest man-made aquatic park. For more athletic things to do, rent bikes or inline skates and cruise across Mission Boulevard to Mission Beach (at Mission Boulevard and San Fernando Place), another bike-friendly spot with a 3-mile boardwalk. The über-adventurous can take a beginner's surf lesson or try stand-up paddleboarding.
AAA/Photo submitted by Maria White
Beach-themed shops and dozens of affordable restaurants make Seaport Village (849 W. Harbor Dr.) a popular destination for tourists and young locals. It's great for people-watching; plus, outdoor entertainment is a safe bet on most afternoons and weekends.
Take the 35-minute guided nighttime tour of the historic Whaley House (2482 San Diego Ave.), a paranormal activity hot spot. The spirits of James “Yankee Jim” Robinson, hanged on the site where the 19th-century structure now stands, and Violet Whaley, who committed suicide on the property in 1885, are just two of the ghosts said to be in residence at the two-story Old Town landmark.
All Ages Thrill rides like Journey to Atlantis and the steel roller coaster Manta at SeaWorld San Diego (500 SeaWorld Dr.) are a hit with older kids while aquarium displays and interactive encounters with marine life fascinate the littlest members of your group. Live shows, such as Cirque Electrique and a comedy skit with lovable California sea lions Clyde and Seamore, provide plenty of family-friendly entertainment.
AAA/Photo submitted by Maria White
Museums, gardens and miniature railroads, oh my! There are a million things to do and see during a trip to Balboa Park (1549 El Prado). Grab a map at the visitors center to navigate your way around the urban cultural park to the San Diego Air & Space Museum (2001 Pan American Plaza), the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (1649 El Prado) and other kid-pleasing points of interest.
If you're wondering where to eat, even the pickiest of eaters drool over Mexican dishes at Casa Guadalajara (4105 Taylor St.), at the north entrance of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park . The servings are massive, so share a few combination plates and save room for desserts like deep fried ice cream, sopaipillas and churros. A roving mariachi band adds to the festive vacation atmosphere most nights.
San Diego, CA
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
State and county sales taxes total 7.75 percent in San Diego. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 10.5 to 12.5 percent also is levied along with a 10.5 percent (11 percent at the airport) rental car tax.
Alvarado Hospital, (619) 287-3270; Scripps Mercy Hospital, (619) 294-8111; Sharp Memorial Hospital, (858) 939-3400; University of California-San Diego Medical Center, (858) 657-7000.
996 N. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101. Phone:(619)236-1242
San Diego International Airport
San Diego County is served by major rental car agencies. Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (619) 767-5700 or (800) 654-3080.
Amtrak, (800) 872-7245, rolls from the historic
Greyhound Lines Inc., (619) 515-1100 or (800) 231-2222, has a depot at 1313 National Ave. Greyhound buses and Five Star Tours' eight-passenger shuttles, (619) 232-5040, offer service to downtown Tijuana, Mexico; reservations are required 24 hours in advance.
Local taxis are metered. Cab companies include Orange, (619) 223-5555; San Diego Dispatch, (800) 368-2947; USA, (619) 231-1144; and Yellow, (619) 444-4444. Base fare is around $2.80, with a rate of approximately $3 for each additional mile. Limousine service is available throughout the area averaging about $75 an hour.
Transportation by bus and trolley is available in San Diego.