Fun Summer Activities for Kids (K-12) in San Diego – 2016
School is out and it’s officially summer. There are plenty of fun activities in San Diego to keep the kids learning and entertained this summer. Below is a brief list of enriching events and activities for all ages.
- Pan for gold or gemstones at the Julian Mining Company. Kids can learn about San Diego’s only gold rush and the minerals themselves. Attend Julian’s Gold Rush Days to learn more about the history of Julian and the gold rush. Held at the Cross Family Farm, the event will feature historical encampments, vendors, reenactments, gold panning and gem mining, and children’s pioneer games. Admission for children aged 12 and younger is free. This is a great activity for our 6th graders, as they study the California gold rush during the school year.
- Visit a museum. Select museums in Balboa Park offer free admission for residents every Tuesday. The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad features exhibits with the history of music and concerts showcasing a variety of music. The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido provides a Summer Concert Series. This museum’s exhibits encourage learning through play.
- Learn more about California history at Old Town San Diego. The state park offers a vast range of activities over the summer, including historical dance society socials, woodworking guilds, games and amusements of the 1800s, and a Mark TwainFest.
- Explore the California Missions. The very first mission is located here in San Diego (http://www.missionsandiego.com/). Enjoy the Festival of the Bells on July 16-17 as the mission celebrates the church’s 247th birthday. Two other missions are nearby in Oceanside and San Juan Capistrano.
- Enjoy an organ concert. The Spreckels Organ Society hosts the 2016 International Summer Organ Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays from June 27th to August 29th with free admission. This is a great activity for our 1st graders who study California history.
- Set your sights on the stars. The Palomar College Planetarium offers shows every Friday evening. The first show option is an live narrated exploration of the sky that night. The second show option is fulldome astronomy-related presentation. Tickets are $4 for children 5-12 and $6 for general admission.
- Sign up for a reading challenge. All San Diego County Library branches offer a reading challenge program for all ages with prizes awarded at completion. Barnes & Noble and Scholastic also offer summer reading programs.
- Participate in a 5K run. The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K happens July 10th at Waterfront Park. Kids 5 and under run for free. Color Me Rad San Diego at the Marine Corps Air Station features free running for kids 7 and younger. You can even run in the evening with the Cabrillo Sunset 5K Run/Walk at Cabrillo National Monument on July 23rd.
- Learn a new sport. The San Diego Fly Fishers club offers free fly-fishing lessons on Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Murray in La Mesa.
- Discover a new farmer’s market. San Diego features many weekly farmer’s markets all over the city. Support local farmers by visiting one of these markets!
- Take a hike. Trails are abundant in San Diego, from the mountains to the coast. Cowles Mountain, the San Elijo Lagoon, and the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve are just a few of many family-friendly hikes in the area.
- Watch (or participate in!) a surf contest. San Diego native band Switchfoot will host their 12th annual BROAM surf contest and concerts on July 9. Oceanside will host the US Police and Fire Olympics surf contest and the Supergirl Pro Surf Contest this summer.
- Watch master sandcastle builders. The Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival on July 15-16 features world-class sandcastle building competitions. The festival is packed with many activities including a pancake breakfast and a Kids Zone.
- Enjoy a free movie in the park. There are many different movie-watching options in cities all over the county. Check out this list to find a movie in the park near you.
- Have a beach day! Family-friendly favorites include Coronado Beach on Coronado Island, Powerhouse Park in Del Mar, Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, and La Jolla Shores in La Jolla.
- Go to a car show. Escondido’s Cruisin’ Grand features classic cars on display every Friday evening. Enjoy Car Show Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Restaurant Row in San Marcos, where you can view exotic cars, classic cars, and hot rods.
Did we miss anything?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!