what to do in san diego with teens

Fun San Diego Activities for Teens | Family Guide

Families visiting San Diego with teenagers will find plenty of fun activities to keep them entertained. From outdoor adventures to educational experiences, there are numerous attractions and destinations that cater to the interests of teens. In this family guide, we will explore the best things for teens to do in San Diego, including beaches, amusement parks, museums, and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • San Diego offers a wide range of activities for teens, including beach adventures, museum visits, and amusement park thrills.
  • Popular beaches for teens in San Diego include La Jolla Shores Beach, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach.
  • Teens can explore wildlife at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, while learning about conservation efforts.
  • The USS Midway Museum offers a unique opportunity for teens to experience life on an aircraft carrier and learn about military history.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking trails in Mission Trails Regional Park and take in stunning views from Cabrillo National Monument and Mount Soledad.

San Diego Beaches for Teens

San Diego beaches

San Diego is renowned for its picturesque beaches, offering a plethora of activities that are ideal for teenagers. Whether they’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or water sports, these beaches have it all. Check out some of the top options for teens to enjoy in San Diego:

1. La Jolla Shores Beach

Located in the charming neighborhood of La Jolla, this beach provides an array of thrilling water activities. Teens can embark on snorkeling adventures, try out kayaking, or catch some waves while surfing.

2. Pacific Beach and Mission Beach

These vibrant coastal areas are perfect for young-at-heart teenagers. Enthusiastic boardwalks, lively beach scenes, and surfing schools make Pacific Beach and Mission Beach prime destinations for teens seeking an energetic atmosphere.

3. Mission Bay

Nestled near Pacific Beach, Mission Bay offers an ideal setting for a wide range of water sports. Teens can engage in kayaking or paddleboarding activities that allow them to explore the placid bay waters.

4. Coronado Central Beach and Silver Strand State Beach

For those in search of tranquil shores with gentle waves, Coronado Central Beach and Silver Strand State Beach are perfect choices. These family-friendly beaches provide opportunities for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and building sandcastles.

With these diverse beach options, teens can make the most of their coastal adventures in San Diego. Whether it’s catching waves, exploring marine life, or simply enjoying the sun and sand, these beach destinations are sure to provide unforgettable experiences.

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park

For animal-loving teens, a visit to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an absolute must. These world-renowned attractions offer an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with a diverse range of animals while learning about wildlife conservation.

The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,700 animals representing more than 650 species from around the globe. It provides a fascinating and educational experience for teens, with interactive exhibits and informative presentations. Whether it’s observing the playful antics of pandas, marveling at the majesty of lions, or discovering the wonders of marine life, the San Diego Zoo offers an unforgettable journey into the animal kingdom.

For a more immersive wildlife encounter, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park offers guided tours that allow visitors to embark on a thrilling expedition through expansive habitats. Teens can witness animals roaming freely in large enclosures designed to replicate their natural environments, creating an authentic safari experience. The park is particularly known for its efforts in wildlife conservation, providing a safe haven for endangered species and promoting awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity.

San Diego Zoo San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Over 3,700 animals Large enclosures and natural habitats
Educational exhibits and presentations Guided tours and immersive experiences
Wide variety of species Emphasis on wildlife conservation

Both the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park offer unique animal encounters where teens can get even closer to their favorite animals. From feeding giraffes to interacting with lemurs, these experiences provide an exclusive opportunity to connect with wildlife in a meaningful way.

So, if your teen has a passion for animals and a desire to contribute to wildlife conservation, a visit to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventure they won’t want to miss!

Animal Encounters Description
Feed the Giraffes Get up close and personal with these gentle giants and hand-feed them their favorite treats.
Lemur Walk Take a leisurely stroll through a lush habitat while lemurs freely roam around you.
Elephant Odyssey Experience Learn about the fascinating world of elephants and participate in their daily care and feeding.

Experience the wonders of the animal kingdom and make lasting memories at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. These world-class attractions offer wildlife encounters and educational experiences that will leave a lasting impact on animal-loving teens.

USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway Museum is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in military aircraft. This fascinating museum is located on a retired aircraft carrier, the USS Midway, which served in the US Navy from 1945 to 1992.

The museum offers over 60 exhibits that showcase the ship’s rich military history and provide visitors with a unique opportunity to step aboard an actual aircraft carrier. From the flight deck to the engine room, teens can explore different areas of the ship and gain a deeper understanding of life on board.

Exhibits and Experiences

The USS Midway Museum features a variety of exhibits that highlight the ship’s role in the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and Operation Desert Storm. Visitors can learn about the aircraft carriers’ vital contributions to military operations and the everyday challenges faced by the crew.

“Walking through the USS Midway Museum was like stepping back in time. The exhibits gave me a real sense of the ship’s history and the bravery of those who served on board.”

– Visitor testimonial

In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers interactive experiences that allow teens to get a hands-on feel for life on an aircraft carrier. One popular attraction is the flight simulator, where visitors can experience the thrill of piloting a fighter jet. There are also guided tours led by knowledgeable docents who can provide in-depth insights into the ship’s operations and the stories of the sailors who served on board.

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Plan Your Visit

The USS Midway Museum is located at 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101. It is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with the last admission at 3:00 PM. Visitors are advised to allocate at least 3-4 hours to fully explore the museum and take advantage of all the exhibits and experiences it has to offer.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum’s ticket booth. Admission prices are as follows:

Ticket Type Price
Adult (18-61) $26
Senior (62+) $23
Student (13-17) $18
Child (6-12) $13
Retired Military (with ID) $18
Active Duty Military (with ID) Free

With its immersive exhibits, educational experiences, and rich military history, the USS Midway Museum is an ideal destination for teens and anyone fascinated by the world of aircraft carriers and military operations.

Outdoor Hiking and Nature Trails

hiking in San Diego

San Diego offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore nature through its hiking trails and nature parks. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you’ll find trails that cater to your skill level and provide breathtaking views of the city and the ocean.

One of the most popular destinations for hiking in San Diego is Mission Trails Regional Park. With over 65 miles of trails, this expansive park offers something for everyone. From easy strolls to challenging treks, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and enjoy the peace and tranquility it brings.

If you’re looking for panoramic views, Cabrillo National Monument and Mount Soledad are must-visit locations. These vantage points offer stunning vistas of the city skyline and the sparkling ocean beyond. Capture breathtaking photos and take in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

For a unique hiking experience, head to Eagle Rock in Warner Springs. This trail takes you to a rock formation shaped like an eagle, providing a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventure. Connect with nature as you explore this hidden gem in the heart of San Diego.

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of San Diego’s hiking trails and nature parks. From awe-inspiring views to unique rock formations, these outdoor activities are the perfect way for teens to appreciate the beauty of nature and engage in healthy outdoor activities.

Benefits of Outdoor Hiking and Nature Trails

  • Physical exercise and fitness
  • Stress relief and mental well-being
  • Opportunity for wildlife encounters
  • Exploration of diverse ecosystems
  • Bonding with friends and family

Embark on an adventure and discover the wonders of San Diego’s hiking trails. Get ready to connect with nature, breathe in the fresh air, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploring La Jolla

La Jolla Cove

Located along the picturesque coastline of San Diego, La Jolla is a captivating neighborhood that offers a range of attractions for teens to enjoy. With its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture, La Jolla is the perfect destination for adventurous and curious young minds.

La Jolla Cove:

One of the highlights of La Jolla is the renowned La Jolla Cove, a scenic spot that captures the hearts of both locals and tourists. Here, teens can embark on exciting kayaking adventures, navigating through the crystal-clear waters around the cove. The experience offers an incredible opportunity to explore the underwater world, observe marine life, and create unforgettable memories.

Boutique Shops:

In addition to its natural wonders, La Jolla is also known for its charming boutique shops. Teens can spend the day strolling along the streets, discovering unique and stylish clothing, accessories, and artwork. From trendy fashion boutiques to art galleries, La Jolla’s boutique shops offer a delightful shopping experience for fashion-forward individuals seeking something special.

“La Jolla is a captivating neighborhood that offers a range of attractions for teens to enjoy.”

Exploring La Jolla is an opportunity for teens to immerse themselves in the vibrant coastal culture, embrace thrilling adventures, and indulge in the fashionable offerings of its boutique shops. From kayaking in La Jolla Cove to discovering hidden treasures in its fashionable stores, La Jolla has something special for every teenager’s taste.

Attractions Highlights
La Jolla Cove Kayaking and snorkeling
Boutique Shops Unique shopping experiences

Belmont Park Amusement Park

Looking for a thrilling adventure at an amusement park in San Diego? Look no further than Belmont Park, a classic seaside attraction that promises excitement and fun for teens and the whole family!

At Belmont Park, you can experience the heart-pounding thrills of the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster. This iconic roller coaster has been enticing visitors since 1925, providing an exhilarating ride that will have adrenaline coursing through your veins.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Belmont Park offers a variety of other rides and attractions for teens to enjoy. From spinning bumper cars to the thrilling Octotron, there’s something for everyone seeking an adrenaline rush.

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If you’re up for a challenge, test your skills at the carnival games scattered throughout the park. Win exciting prizes and showcase your competitive side as you take on these classic fairground games.

After all the excitement, indulge in a delicious treat at one of the park’s eateries. Whether it’s a refreshing ice cream cone or the famous Dole Whip, there’s a delightful treat to satisfy every craving.

Belmont Park’s location right on the beach adds to the overall experience. Enjoy the cool ocean breeze, take a stroll along the sandy shores, or simply relax and enjoy the idyllic seaside setting.

Belmont Park At a Glance

Location Rides Attractions Food & Drinks
San Diego (Oceanfront) Giant Dipper roller coaster
Spinning bumper cars
And more!
Carnival games
Midway arcade
Bounce house
And more!
Ice cream cones
Dole Whip
Cotton candy
And more!

So, if you’re looking for an amusement park in San Diego that will provide endless thrills and excitement, make sure to visit Belmont Park. With its iconic roller coaster, exciting rides, fun attractions, and beachside location, it’s the perfect destination for teens seeking an unforgettable experience.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is a popular attraction that offers a unique blend of marine life exhibits, captivating animal shows, and exhilarating rides. It’s the perfect destination for teens looking to dive into the world of marine biology and enjoy a day filled with fun and adventure.

At SeaWorld San Diego, teens have the opportunity to encounter a wide range of fascinating marine animals. From adorable penguins to majestic polar bears, playful dolphins to awe-inspiring orcas, there is something for everyone to marvel at. Witnessing these incredible creatures up close can be a truly unforgettable experience, leaving teens with a newfound appreciation for the wonders of marine life.

Aside from the captivating animal exhibits, SeaWorld also offers entertaining shows that feature the incredible talents and intelligence of its resident marine animals. The shows not only entertain but also educate, shedding light on important conservation efforts and the importance of protecting our oceans and marine ecosystems.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, SeaWorld San Diego doesn’t disappoint. The park boasts a variety of thrilling rides that cater to the adventurous spirit of teenagers. Take a plunge on the water ride “Journey to Atlantis” or feel the exhilaration of the “Manta” coaster as you soar through the air.

SeaWorld San Diego is not just about entertainment; it’s also dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. The park offers educational experiences for those who want to learn more about marine biology and animal care. These experiences provide insight into the efforts being made to protect and preserve marine life, inspiring teens to become advocates for the environment.

Visiting SeaWorld San Diego is a truly enriching experience for teens. From the captivating marine life exhibits to the entertaining animal shows and thrilling rides, there’s never a dull moment at this beloved attraction. It’s a perfect blend of education and entertainment, giving teens the opportunity to connect with marine life and have a blast at the same time.

Padres Baseball Game or PETCO Park Tour

Sports-loving teens in San Diego have an exciting choice: attending a Padres baseball game at the iconic PETCO Park or taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium. Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, PETCO Park provides an immersive experience for both local fans and visitors alike.

Watching a live game:

Attending a Padres baseball game at PETCO Park is an exhilarating experience. As the official home of the San Diego Padres, the stadium offers a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to witness the excitement of professional baseball.

Teens can watch their favorite players in action, cheer alongside passionate fans, and enjoy the thrill of each pitch, swing, and catch. The energy of the stadium is contagious, creating unforgettable memories for the whole family.

Exploring PETCO Park:

If your teen is curious about the inner workings of a baseball stadium, a tour of PETCO Park is the perfect opportunity. The guided tour takes visitors behind the scenes, providing an insider’s perspective of the stadium’s rich history and unique features.

During the tour, teens can explore areas such as the dugouts, press box, and exclusive suites. They’ll gain insights into the game-day operations, visit the Padres Hall of Fame, and learn interesting facts about the stadium’s architecture and design.

Whether attending a Padres baseball game or taking a tour, PETCO Park offers an immersive experience that allows teens to dive into the world of sports and create lasting memories.

“Attending a live Padres game at PETCO Park was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere was electric, and I loved cheering alongside fellow fans. It’s definitely a must-do for any sports enthusiast!” – Teen visitor

Padres Baseball Game or PETCO Park Tour

Experience Highlights
Padres Baseball Game
  • Live action of a professional baseball game
  • Vibrant stadium atmosphere
  • Opportunity to witness exciting plays and home runs
PETCO Park Tour
  • Behind-the-scenes access to different areas of the stadium
  • Insights into game-day operations and stadium history
  • Exploration of exclusive suites and the Padres Hall of Fame

Balboa Park Museums

Balboa Park is a cultural hub in San Diego that offers a diverse range of museums covering various subjects like art, history, and science. With over a dozen museums to explore, teens will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich culture and heritage of the city. Some of the notable museums include:

Fleet Science Center

The Fleet Science Center is a popular destination for science enthusiasts. It features interactive exhibits, interactive science demonstrations, and IMAX movies that are guaranteed to engage and educate teens.

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San Diego Air & Space Museum

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is ideal for teens with an interest in aviation and space exploration. It showcases a vast collection of aircraft, spacecraft, and exhibits that highlight the history and technology of flight.

Model Railroad Museum

For those who appreciate model trains and railroads, the Model Railroad Museum is a must-visit. It features intricate model train displays, hands-on activities, and historical exhibits that will fascinate teens and transport them into the world of railroading.

From art to science to history, Balboa Park’s museums provide an enriching experience that combines education and entertainment. Teens can explore different subjects and indulge their curiosity while enjoying the vibrant cultural atmosphere of the park.

In addition to the museums, Balboa Park boasts picturesque spots that are perfect for capturing memorable photos. The Lily Pond, with its vibrant water lilies and serene surroundings, offers a tranquil setting for a picturesque snapshot. The Balboa Park carousel, with its beautifully crafted horses and nostalgic charm, provides a whimsical backdrop for fun and unique photos.

Top Museums in Balboa Park

Museum Subject Highlights
Fleet Science Center Science Interactive exhibits, science demonstrations, IMAX movies
San Diego Air & Space Museum Aviation and Space Aircraft and spacecraft displays, educational exhibits
Model Railroad Museum Trains and Railroads Intricate model train displays, hands-on activities

With its diverse range of museums and captivating photo spots, Balboa Park is a cultural oasis that offers teens a chance to explore, learn, and appreciate the vibrant arts and sciences that San Diego has to offer.


San Diego offers an array of exciting activities and attractions that are perfect for teenagers. Whether they enjoy beach adventures, wildlife encounters, or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Teens can explore the beautiful beaches of La Jolla or take part in thrilling rides at Belmont Park Amusement Park. For those interested in wildlife, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park provide unique opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of animals.

In addition to outdoor adventures and wildlife encounters, San Diego also offers educational experiences at museums like the USS Midway Museum and Balboa Park Museums. These attractions provide insights into history, aviation, science, and more. Sports enthusiasts can attend a Padres baseball game at PETCO Park or take a tour of the stadium to see behind the scenes. The city’s diverse range of activities ensures that teenagers will have a memorable and enjoyable time during their visit to San Diego.

So, if you’re planning a family trip to San Diego, be sure to include these fun activities in your itinerary. With its stunning beaches, fascinating museums, and exciting amusement parks, San Diego is the ideal destination for a family vacation. Create lasting memories and embark on unforgettable adventures with your teens in this vibrant coastal city.


What are some fun activities for teens in San Diego?

Teens in San Diego can enjoy a variety of activities such as visiting the beautiful beaches, exploring museums, going on outdoor adventures, and experiencing amusement parks.

What are the best beaches for teens in San Diego?

Some of the best beaches for teens in San Diego include La Jolla Shores Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Coronado Central Beach, and Silver Strand State Beach.

What can teens do at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park?

Teens can explore the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park to encounter a wide variety of animals, participate in educational exhibits and experiences, and learn about wildlife conservation efforts.

What is there to see and do at the USS Midway Museum?

At the USS Midway Museum, teens can explore the history of a retired aircraft carrier, visit over 60 exhibits, and even participate in flight simulator experiences to get a taste of life on board.

Where can teenagers go for outdoor hiking and nature trails in San Diego?

San Diego offers several outdoor hiking trails and nature parks for teenagers, including Mission Trails Regional Park, Cabrillo National Monument, Mount Soledad, and Eagle Rock.

What are some attractions for teens in La Jolla?

La Jolla offers attractions such as La Jolla Cove, which is perfect for activities like kayaking and snorkeling. Teens can also explore the boutique shops and enjoy the beautiful views in the area.

What can teens do at Belmont Park Amusement Park?

Belmont Park is a seaside amusement park where teens can enjoy thrilling rides, play carnival games, and indulge in delicious treats like ice cream cones and Dole Whip.

What can teens experience at SeaWorld San Diego?

At SeaWorld San Diego, teens can encounter marine animals, watch entertaining shows, experience thrilling rides, and learn about wildlife conservation and marine biology.

What can sports-loving teens do in San Diego?

Sports-loving teens can attend a Padres baseball game at PETCO Park or take a tour of the stadium to immerse themselves in the world of sports.

What museums can teens visit in Balboa Park?

Balboa Park is home to a variety of museums that are perfect for teens, including the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the Model Railroad Museum.

What are some must-visit spots for teens in San Diego?

Some must-visit spots for teens in San Diego include the beaches, San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, Belmont Park, and Balboa Park museums.

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