Family Fun on a Budget


5 fun and affordable San Diego summer activities to do with infants and toddlers in San Diego!

American’s Finest City offers many fun and engaging experiences for all ages, many of which will leave your wallet and family happy. We’ve done the work for you and dug up five budget friendly things for you and the little ones to enjoy. Not listed in any order of importance, here are the activities we think your family will enjoy:

  1. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and plenty of space for the family to explore. Take a walk on one of several trails under a mile and enjoy the flowers and birds along the way. Guy Fleming Trail, the easiest trail, is a 0.7 mile loop with spectacular ocean views. Along the way, enjoy the colorful wildflowers as well as birds from the waterfowl refuge. Bring along swimsuits and enjoy the beaches flanked by towering cliffs. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. If parking within the Reserve, there is a $10 charge for each vehicle. Visit their website for more information:
  2. To enjoy a more urban outdoor experience, try Waterfront Park located in downtown San Diego. Right off Harbor Drive, park-goers have great views of the bay. Bring along your own fun or explore the Children’s Play Area and cool off in the interactive fountain near the Play Area.  Make a day of it and walk less than a mile down to Seaport Village. From $3 carousel rides, to restaurants and shops as well as outdoor entertainment, there’s fun for all ages. For more information visit: and:
  3. Continuing with the current theme of outdoor activities, Balboa Park is next up on our list. Not one, not two, but four play areas designed specifically for those age 0 – 5 are scattered throughout the Park. After some good physical activity, stimulate the senses with a visit to one of seven gardens, free daily. Take along a picnic and relax on the large lawn areas the park is known for. On the first four Tuesdays of the month, Park organizations offer free admission on a rotating basis for San Diego City & County residents (with ID) as well as active military and their dependents. To plan your visits, use this year’s schedule:
  4. Shifting gears a bit, our next pick is the San Diego Botanic Gardens located in Encinitas. The first Tuesday of every month is Free Tuesday, with free admission to San Diego County residents, verified by ID. Parking is $2 on Free Tuesday. Once there, take the little ones to Hamilton Children’s Garden designed to encourage exploration, learning and excitement. Here children can play in Tony’s tree house, a mountain stream, musical instruments, the spell and smell garden, and the incredible edible garden where children can see where their food comes from. Play and learning, all in one place!
  5. The New Children’s Museum! Specifically, The New Children’s Museum Target Dollar Second Sundays. The second Sunday of each month, admission is $1 per person, normally $12, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The New Children’s Museum is founded inspiring children to think, play and create through contemporary art. Children engage with art through interactive exhibits, attractive art-making activities, and educational opportunities. Exhibits change regularly, so be sure to check their website for a current list: