{Guest Post by Rebecca West}

Collection of free or cheap kids activities in San Diego, California.

San Diego is known for the beach and sun. Our popular tourist activities can really break the budget. I’ve put together a list of my family’s favorite free or cheap kids activities in San Diego. Your family can have fun without spending a ton of money in San Diego and its surrounding areas. These activities are also great for all ages of kids. That means less bickering about what to do and more time to create memories as a family!

Free or Cheap Kids Activities in San Diego

Mission Beach

Spend the day at Mission Beach. Not to be confused with Mission Bay, Mission Beach is tucked behind the popular tourist destination of Seaworld. It is within walking distance of Belmont Park. Bring a paddle board or some sand toys and soak up the sun.

Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream

Get a tiny ice cream cone at Hammonds Gourmet Ice Cream in North Park. Famous for their ice cream flights that include six small cones topped with scoops of ice cream of your choice. If North Park isn’t in your plans they also have shops in Point Loma and Pacific Beach.

Santee Lakes

Visit Santee Lakes in Santee, CA. Have a family picnic, play on one of the many playgrounds, or feed the ducks.

Balboa Park

Walk around Balboa Park to see the architecture, street performers and fountains at no cost. Stop by the Model Railroad Museum for an afternoon. Kids love to watch the train go around the tracks of their miniature cities and towns. If you’re a San Diego resident, museums in Balboa Park offer free admission with a valid ID. They also offer free admission to select museums every Tuesday. If you are military, you can enter free all Summer.

Old Town San Diego

Experience a bit of San Diego History in Old Town San Diego. Pan for gold, explore historic artifacts, and visit the free museum.

Visit the California Missions

Exploring the California missions is a wonderful history lessons. Whether you homeschool or not, kids learn a lot from exploring historical locations.

Seaport Village

Ride the historic Seaport Village Carousel near the San Diego waterfront in Seaport Village. The carousel was built-in 1895 and operated in several cities on the west coast before making San Diego its home.

Cowles Mountain

Take an early morning hike at Cowles Mountain. The hike is only about three miles long round trip. At the summit you’ll see breathtaking views of San Diego County.

Hotel Del Coronado

Explore the grounds of the historic Hotel Del Coronado. Once you’re done at the hotel head to what many think is the best family beach in San Diego.

Attend a Farmer’s Market

Spend the morning at a farmer’s market. A great one to visit is the Little Italy Mercanto on Saturday mornings. Check out the fresh produce, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, flowers, jams, seafood and local artisan food. The selection seems endless as you browse the 200+ vendor tents at this certified farmer’s market.

Central Library

Spend the afternoon at the Central Library in downtown San Diego. Spend some time in the 3 story domed reading room, teen center or children’s library.

Even more free or cheap activities for kids in San Diego!

Do you know of more great free or cheap kids activities in San Diego? Comment below with your suggestions!

Collection of free or cheap kids activities in San Diego, California.

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Rebecca is married with four young children that make the house messy, the schedule crazy, and her heart full. She loves to craft, browse home decor, create lists she may or may not complete, and family.  Rebecca blogs at CraftCreateCalm sharing her journey towards creating a family life that feels less stressful. You’ll find craft projects, home decor, DIY, household organization tips, relaxation ideas, and family activities. Follow CraftCreateCalm on Facebook and Pinterest.