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?
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
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).
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.
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.
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!
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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
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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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.
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