Looking to feel a million miles away yet only a few hours from home? I got the place for you. We just returned from an incredible weekend in San Diego. There was so much to do that we couldn’t even cover all we had planned to. Read on for the ultimate family-friendly itinerary in San Diego!

What to do in San Diego

LEGOLAND California

The first thing is first: get yourself a San Diego CityPASS. As I wrote about in my Philadelphia guide, CityPASS enables a family to see all of the must-see sights. Just at a fraction of the cost. The best part? It includes admission to SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, or both in addition to three more local attractions. We started with the latter. 

LEGOLAND is an excellent family theme park. Even if you’re like myself and not a die-hard Lego fan. All rides are aimed at visitors 10 and under with several toddler-friendly zones. Ours could have stayed all day at the Duplo Play Town. She enjoyed slides, playhouses, a train ride, and tables to build with Legos (of course). 

For those like me who love city landmarks, Miniland USA is where it’s at. Dozens of famous cities like Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles are rebuilt in complete Lego forms. It’s also a terrific way to introduce children to geography and iconic places. 

The Hollywood Bowl Lego replica at LEGOLAND’s Miniland USA. (c) Mary Farah
Make sure to try LEGOLAND’s famous apple fries! (c) Mary Farah

More to Explore with San Diego CityPASS

What’s a trip to San Diego without seeing one of their world-renowned zoos? CityPASS gives visitors the option to visit the zoo or animal safari park. From there, two more selections will remain. USS Midway Museum, City Cruises, Old Town Trolley Tours, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and Maritime Museum of San Diego. If you’re not feeling either zoo, it’s just an option and not a required visit. 

Any choice is ideal for a family visit. The Old Town Trolley Tour is an exciting ride for kids as is the City Cruise. 

Where to Stay

After a long day of adventures, come home to Paradise Point Resort. We stayed in one of their Bayside Bungalows and truly felt away from it all. It’s a 44-acre island overlooking Mission Bay. Our door literally opened onto the sand. Were we in San Diego? Or Tahiti? It was also helpful to have a kitchenette.

The resort boasts five pools, a mini golf course, movie nights on the beach, and much more. Make sure to bring supplies to roast marshmallows on the bay. You can also buy everything you need at their gift shop. A hit with our daughter was feeding the ducks that hang throughout the property. Duck food is also available for purchase. 

Our porch at Paradise Point Resort. (c) Mary Farah
Spacious bedroom in our bayside bungalow at the resort. (c) Mary Farah

Where to Eat

Since it was so inviting to stay at Paradise Point, we dined at their scrumptious restaurant. Tidal appeared high-end on the outside. Making me nervous that our rambunctious two-year-old was in tow. Once we stepped inside, I could tell all were welcome. 

Our server understood the importance of getting a youngster fed despite mom and dad wanting to enjoy an appetizer and drink. Our kid’s pizza and juice order were put right in for us and served promptly. They also ensured plenty of crayons and coloring sheets were at the ready. 

Our meals were excellent. Although I envisioned the portions as small, they turned out to be ample. We were full for the rest of the evening. They are open for dinner nightly and have a delicious brunch on Sundays. During the week, grab all-day dining at Barefoot Bar and Grill. The resort also offers food delivery. 

Enjoying Mission Bay outside our bungalow. (c) Mary Farah
Beautiful nighttime views at the resort. (c) Mary Farah

Plan Your Vacation to San Diego

Beyond these picks, so much more awaits you. Balboa Park, amazing beaches, food, and more. I hope I’ve got San Diego on your radar. Learn more about the city HERE

Beach - weekend in San Diego with family and kids


  1. This is awesome, Mary! I want to visit SD this summer and you included so many tips I didn’t know about. I’d been looking into this hotel so I’m glad to hear you liked it.


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