Amazing Mother-Daughter Trip To San Diego California! Learn the Best Things To Do In San Diego, along with Restaurants, Hotels, Beaches and Weather!

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Looking For Mother-Daughter Trip Ideas?

Hey moms, are you planning a trip with your mini-me?

Ava and I have taken some wonderful trips together over the past few years.

These experiences not only expose her to new people, places, and things that can broaden her worldview, they also offer us focused time to bond, as only mommies and daughters can.

Today I’m sharing our mother-daughter adventure in San Diego, California. I hope this post inspires you to set aside special time for your little girl… No matter how old she is!

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San Diego, California

Why did we pick San Diego?

I was looking for a “big city” experience in a place Ava had never been before… One with city life, yet opportunities to experience nature, and of course, dazzling restaurants!

Ava had never been to California before, so that narrowed down the search. Yet of all the lovely cities in California, San Diego is a personal favorite.

  1. First of all, I was born there. So sentimental value.
  2. San Diego has glorious weather, year-round.
  3. There are so many things to do, in and around the city.
  4. We knew we would experience some killer Mexican food!
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Things To Do In San Diego

Are you trying to determine what to do in San Diego? It can be tricky, because there are so many exciting options!

Explore the City

San Diego has many wonderful neighborhoods that are worth exploring. The historic Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town San Diego, Little Italy, La Jolla, and Barrio Logan are just a few!

Pick 2-3 neighborhoods that seem interesting to you. Then spend half a day in each location… Dining, popping in shops and galleries, or just taking in the diverse architecture.

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Take a Tour

Can’t figure out where to start? Take a tour on your first day to get a feel for the lay of the land.

We booked a Segway Tour with Another Side of San Diego Tours. This not only checked off an item on Ava’s bucket list (ride a segway), it gave us an opportunity to see most of the city in a couple of hours.

Then we were able to go back a visit the areas we loved!

If you’re not a fan of segways, Another Side Tours also offers van and bike tours. You can book boat tours and helicopter tours through other local companies as well.

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San Diego Zoo

If you are an animal lover, you can’t go to San Diego without visiting the zoo!

The San Diego Zoo is considered the best zoo in the world, for its:

  • Dedication to research and conservation
  • Commitment to offering high-quality homes for the animals
  • Vast collection of animals
  • Brilliant landscaping

You can spend an entire day at the San Diego Zoo. Or you can jump on the bus tour and make the rounds in less than an hour.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s best historic treasures. In the late 1800s, San Diego was the second US city to designate a large piece of land to become a community park. (After New York’s Central Park.)

Over the years, many important events have taken place in Balboa Park. Therefore, elegant Spanish exposition buildings, gardens, and music venues were designed and erected.

Nowadays, you can stroll through the massive 1400 acre park. Visit one of many museums, gardens, and attractions. Dine in open-air restaurants. Go to a concert. Or shop in a Spanish village. Even the famous San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park.

There are so many surprises in Balboa Park, it’s a good idea to plan to spend an entire day there. If you only have half a day, Ava and I suggest you stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden and visit the Spanish Village to watch artists make their crafts!

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Theme Parks

Thrill-seekers, San Diego has several theme parks that are worth a visit. Consider going to:

San Diego Beaches

Part of the appeal of San Diego, is its glorious coastline!

Consider spending a day at Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Coronado Beach, or La Jolla Shores. Find out more about Sand Diego’s beaches and bluffs at

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Water Sports

During your beach day, be sure to get in or on the water. Here are a few fun ways to explore the waves…

  • Take a Kayak Tour into sea caves
  • Learn how to stand up paddle (SUP)
  • Ride on a sailboat or catamaran
  • Catch an epic fish on a deep-sea excursion
  • Get SCUBA certified

Ava and I went on a sea cave kayak tour in La Jolla. We got our daily exercise while maneuvering through dark caves, and spotting baby seals!

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Go San Diego Card

If you want to see all the attractions, or just want to have all the options, investing in a Go Card is a great idea!

A Go San Diego Pass offers huge discounts on all your favorite museums and attractions, so you don’t have to narrow them down as much to fit your budget.

Plus, the “card” is now also an app, so there’s less risk of losing it along your adventure!

We used our Go San Diego Passes to enter the San Diego Zoo, and several museums and gardens in Balboa Park.

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Selecting San Diego Restaurants

There are so many fabulous restaurants in San Diego, it would be difficult to name them all. When dining in San Diego, focus on what’s locally sourced, and what’s cultural.

The two things you know you can count on to be fantastic are obviously seafood and Mexican cuisine. Being right on the Pacific ocean, and so very close to the Mexico border, has its perks.

Ava is very allergic to gluten, so these two elements made it easy for her to safely find meals to enjoy. Fish tacos in corn tortillas are her new favorite food!

When in San Diego, I suggest mixing up your meals. Try to make a reservation for 1-2 elegant dinners. Then check out taco trucks, oceanfront seafood shacks, and breakfast-all-day diners for your other meals. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

You’ll be so glad you did!

San Diego Weather

We visited in June… Sometimes called “June Gloom” in San Diego.

This is the one time of year notorious for overcast skies, in Sunny San Diego. However, the temperature was still gloriously moderate.

The gray haze in the mornings usually disappeared by early afternoon.

San Diego’s temperature stays between 66 and 76 degrees F all year long!

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San Diego Hotels

Where should you stay in San Diego?

Well, that depends on what you plan to do. First map out your activities, then find a hotel in a centralized location.

Ava and I stayed at the Andaz San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter. The Andaz is a chic modern hotel with spacious rooms and bathrooms, and a rooftop pool and lounge, right in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

You can walk to the San Diego bay, shopping areas, and restaurants within minutes. We loved it!

Follow Our San Diego Itinerary

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