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Karla from Minneapolis asked

3.5 day family trip - ideas for itinerary?

Heading to San Diego with a 6 year old in a few weeks.  One full day at LegoLand (will it be enough??), a visit to the San Diego Zoo (will it take a whole day??), and his first time at an ocean beach (which one??).....what else might fit into a 3.5 day trip?  

San Diego (California)

3 Answers
answered by
Lucy from San Diego

In SD County is huge so you need a car. If not, Lyft it! Uber is a little more expensive. Anywhere you stay in SD, you will enjoy. Weather always nice. 72 and even.People are friendly.  

North County Coastal 

Yes, you can spend a full day at Legoland California Resort (DO NOT MISS THE APPLE FRIES! A must have treat in Castle Hill). They have a water park that even you can enjoy. You pay xtra if not included in your ticket. You can bring a cooler with your own lunch and snacks or buy food anywhere in the park (including water park). I agree about South Carlsbad State Beach Campground from the other review. In Carlsbad Village, Pizza Port Ocean Beach has amazing pizza and beer (microbreweries are big here) family ok but loud and busy.  

North County Inland  

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

You can get tickets for both Zoo and Animal park. For both-you Must Have hats, sunscreen and dink water. Even if it's overcast! You will burn burn, burn, burn! Pay attention to ears, neck and nose. Drink water throughout the day even if you're not thirsty. Get the refillable plastic drink cups that can be used at both parks. Drinks cost but water refill free. I promise, this will make your end of the day more pleasant. Small area by the hot air ballon for your kid to get wet and cool down. North County inland is hot. If it's 100 f or more that day they will not let the animals out. You can still go but most will be coming down. The zoo you need good walking shoes. I recommend using the tram. We have a lot of animals at the zoo but it's spaced out. Plan for a lot of walking!  


La Jolla  is nice to see but "ho hum"for 6 year old except The La Jolla Children's pool. Long story short:Seals on the beach with their pups and a jetty you can walk on to see them bask in the sun. The residents want their beach area back. The animal activists want them protected.High end shopping and Resturant's nearby and beautiful coastal view. Go up the cost and kayak on a guided tour with La Jolla sea caves kayak (Groupon for savings).  


Mission Bay

I'm sorry but I LOVE Sea world. They did change up the shows so the trainers are not as interactive. Feed the dolphins! Do that first. Get in line early to buy fish ( you can also do a one on one with dolphin n trainer but you need reservations) While waiting, map out your shows. I like Clyde and Seymour, Shamu and Pets rule. Sit close and get soaked or sit further and get sprinkled. You can go in swim trunks, water shorts, water shoes/flip flops and brings dry clothes for later that evening. They have lockers. Bring zip lock bags for cell phones and cameras. Journey to Atlantis and ship wreck rapids is a definite wet ride. Shark tank, go to Artic trading post for Polar bears and penguins nearby the same area. Oh and you can also feed sea lions there. Snack of the day-funnel cake a must. Churros are good but watch out for the sea gulls they will take it right out of your hand! Even the fish you buy for the dolphins and sea lions. This is an all day into the evening event. 

Downtown San Diego

We have a strong military presence here is San Diego. From Oceanside (California) to National City. If your into battle ships check out USS Midway Museum. Huge. Depending on the kid you have will determine his attention span. You can look it up. Great historical information and all the tour guides are Volunteer Vets! Photo to take-Next to the ship is the Sailor kissing the Nurse. Gas lamp is about 3 mi away. Lots of Resturant's, pedi cabs, people walking, shops, dancing etc. It's a good mix of locals and vacationers. Not too much for a 6 yr old but Petco Park is there. So if there's a ballgame going on that may be fun.  

Point Loma

Marketplace for the adults. The Lot for fancy lounge chair movie with dinner and drinks served at your seat while the movie is playing!  

Corvette Diner For the kids. Hamburgers, fries, malts, milkshakes with dancing waitresses. Dont go starving because sometimes there is a wait.  

Tell me more about what you're looking for because I can go on and on and on! I love San Diego!

Comments (2)

Thanks! Can both the zoo and safari park be done in 1 day? Lego Water Park will be closed in Nov so thinking either SeaLife or SeaWorld - sounds like you think SeaWorld is better? :-) I think we'll stay in Carlsbad, would love more suggestions on where to eat!

The zoo and safari park are in two different areas of San Diego. Although the safari park is smaller, I would recommend doing one or the other so you're not rushing through the exhibits etc. Its different when you have kids. Sea World use to have a free return visit within so many days from the ticket date. Call them because you may want to take advantage of this offer so you can do things you may have missed or want to see again. From Carlsbad to the zoo is 37 miles and depending on traffic it can be 36 min or more. Sea world is 34 miles 40 min. If you keep this in mind there won't be any surprises. Food: Hopefully some Carlsbad foodies can weigh in. Since San Diego is so close to the boarder, our Mexican food is different from other states. California burrito is a favorite (carne asada with guacamole and French fries inside! ) along with fish tacos, Street tacos and rolled tacos. Your little one may opt for the quesadilla. Basically you should try the Mexican food here. Carlsbad Village has a lot of Resturant's to choose from. I'm hoping someone from Carlsbad will weigh in.

Mentioned in this answer:

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answered by
Brenna from Tempe

The San Diego Zoowill probably take at least half a day and you can easily spend the other half of the day in Balboa Park(The park that the Zoo is in). 

As for which beach, I'm partial to Coronado Beach because it's beautiful but parking can be tricky if it's a Sunday or Saturday. There's also La Jollawhich is a little further out but can be a lot of fun as well as Ocean Beach (California)

Other ideas:

I know that's a lot to sort through - I'd recommend setting aside at least half a day to go back to anything you really liked.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  2. Balboa Park (attraction)
  3. Coronado Beach (attraction)
  4. La Jolla (city)
  5. Ocean Beach (California) (attraction)
  6. Little Italy Mercato Farmers' Market (restaurant)
  7. SeaWorld (attraction)
  8. Seaport Village (attraction)
  9. Embarcadero Marina Park North (attraction)
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answered first by
John from Carlsbad (California)

I would say one day at  LEGOLAND Californiais enough.  The beaches in Carlsbad are as good as they get, especially with kids.  Try the beach in Carlsbad Village, where you can rent boogie boards.  The San Diego Zoo can easily take most of a day if your son is up to it, and Balboa Park has some nice things close by to see.  Downtown San Diego has the USS Midway Museum, which I think would be cool for a 6 year old.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. LEGOLAND California (attraction)
  2. Carlsbad Village (attraction)
  3. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  4. Balboa Park (attraction)
  5. USS Midway Museum (attraction)
likes (1) thanks

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