40 things to do in San Diego with teens

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San Diego vacation is one of the top family travel destinations in the USA, and for good reason. The city has one of the best zoos in the world, a great food scene, accommodation options for all budgets, and renowned interactive museums. 

Whether you’re interested in good beaches, water sports, shopping, or thrill rides, there is a San Diego with teens activity waiting to be experienced by you and your family. 

Table Of Contents
  1. Know before you travel. Our top San Diego travel tips
  2. The best things to do in San Diego with teens
  3. Annual events in San Diego that teens will love
  4. Best day trips from San Diego
  5. Things for Young Adults to do in San Diego
  6.  Teen-friendly dining options in San Diego
  7. Frequently asked questions about the USA
  8. Where to stay in San Diego with teenagers
  9. Author bio:

San Diego is one of the top family travel destinations in the USA. Once you experience your first San Diego sunset on the beach, walk along the boardwalk at Mission Bay, or see the San Diego skyline at night as you’re driving back downtown, you’ll be hooked. 

San Diego in Southern California is a city that was built for family travel, so get ready to relax, feel the sea breeze, and take in the many sights that America’s Finest City has to offer. 

Know before you travel. Our top San Diego travel tips

Travelling to San Diego can be such an enriching experience for the whole family. There are so many things to do in San Diego with teens, and having the best place to stay and wander is extremely important.

Here, we’ve got some information to get you planning your trip to San Diego to make it completely hassle-free.

Where to stay in San Diego with teens

You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in San Diego. You find a range of hotels, apartments and hostels in San Diego for families. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families and groups on every budget.

Hotel Name Hotel Facilities Review Rating
Paradise Point Resort & Spa Family-friendly bungalows and suites. Multiple swimming pools, a private beach, and water sports 8.7
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Spacious family suites with bay or city views. Rooftop pools, fitness center, and various dining choices 9.2
Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa Family rooms with bay or garden views. Multiple swimming pools, waterslides, and a spa. . 8.1
Bahia Resort Hotel Family-friendly suites and bungalows. Private beach, swimming pools, and water sports 8.0
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Family-friendly suites with bay or pool views. Multiple swimming pools, water slides, and a spa 8.2
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Spacious suites with bay or city views. Multiple swimming pools, fitness center, and dining choices . 8.4
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina Family-friendly suites with bay or marina views. Multiple swimming pools, fitness center, and on-site dining . 7.6

If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Trip Advisor and Agoda to find the best prices in San Diego.

San Diego apartment alternative for your stay

If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation on your holiday with teenagers in San Diego, then an apartment is the best choice for you on your family vacation to San Diego.

There are so many options for singles, families, and budget-friendly options in San Diego as well. You can search VRBO for tourist-class apartments in cities worldwide.

an apartment on the beach in San Diego listed on plum guide
A luxury apartment as found on Plum Guide

If you’re looking for something fancier, discover Plum Guide’s exceptional luxury apartments, handpicked for their stunning views, prime locations, and indulgent amenities.

With meticulous quality checks and a focus on unique experiences, they offer the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. Experience the extraordinary and create unforgettable memories in these truly special accommodations.

How to get to San Diego

  • San Diego International Airport is the main airport in San Diego County and one of the cheapest airports to fly into and out of on the West Coast of the US. You can search for flights to San Diego with CheapOair
    • You can book an airport transfer to your hotel for convenience
      • If your flights have a long stopover, or you just want to relax before your trip, you should consider getting a lounge pass with Priority Pass. Priority Pass has access to airport lounges all over the world. Search now for your lounge pass
  • You can also drive to San Diego from anywhere in the mainland USA. It’s about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles and a nine to 10-hour drive from San Francisco on the I-5 if you’re travelling within California.
    • You can pick up a hire car at any major airport in the United States, including San Diego if you decide to road trip with teens.
  • If you are travelling by bus, you will probably be dropped off around the Greyhound Bus Terminal at Trolley Plaza, near Petco Park downtown. You can search for a bus journey to San Diego with Busbud
  • If you’re staying in North County, there’s an Amtrak stop in Solana Beach. If you’re staying near Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach or Mission Bay, there is a stop in Old Town San Diego. Book your trains with Omio, the world’s premier transport search engine.

How to get around San Diego with teens

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System features three tram/trolly lines throughout the city. The Orange Line connects the Downtown area to the eastern parts of San Diego through Lemon Grove and El Cajon.

The Green Line runs from Old Town through Mission Valley, San Diego State University, and Santee.

97 bus routes run throughout the San Diego area. As always, you can catch a taxi or book an Uber on your vacation with teens to get around to places like Petco Park, Mission Bay Park or a whale-watching tour.

Weather in San Diego

August is the hottest month in San Diego, with an average temperature of 23°C (73°F). Summer is the most popular time to visit for people who love the beach.

Winter brings cooler weather, with the coldest being January, with an average of 14°C (57°F).  The sunniest month is July, when you will see up to 10 hours of sunshine.

The wettest month is February, with an average of 53mm rain. The best month to swim in the ocean is in August when the water temperature is around 20°C (68°F).

San Diego for international visitors

International travel to San Diego requires a bit more thought. You will need travel insurance in the United States of America. Medical care is not cheap; if you want good quality care, it will cost you a fortune if you don’t have travel insurance.

The official currency of the USA is the United States Dollar. If you use your bank account from home, you will be stung with high transaction fees, while your mobile phone calls will all be charged at an international rate.

These are just some of the things you need to think about when travelling to San Diego with tweens and teens.

  • For International travellers, travel insurance is a must. Get a quote through Insurance Masters, and don’t go home with a huge bill for medical expenses.
  • Do you need a visa to visit San Diego? The United States may require you to have a visa or an ETA (Electronic travel authorization) to enter the country. You can check and buy these documents at iVisa
  • Load a Revolut Travel Money card with US dollars for your visit to San Diego and save on transaction fees
  • Make phone calls with an international sim card that you can buy before leaving home or buy a voucher for a virtual e-sim for your mobile phone.
  • A 4G pocket Wi-Fi modem is essential for accessing the internet. You can rent a pocket modem that you can pick up at the airport or your hotel, or alternatively, buy a pocket modem that you can use on all future trips with your phone, tablet or computer.

Travel accessories for teenagers on vacation

For teenagers, travelling can be a fun and exciting experience. However, there are a few things that they need to take into account in order to make the trip as comfortable and safe as possible. One of these is ensuring that they have the necessary travel accessories.

Get the Go San Diego Pass

Get digital delivery of the Go San Diego Pass to your device for easy use when travelling in San Diego with family. The Go San Diego Pass offers the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility, which is brilliant when you are vacationing with teenagers.

There are so many things to do in San Diego for families, and you can save up to 55% off retail prices on admission to 55+ top San Diego attractions and tours, including San Diego Zoo and USS Midway.

Multi-entry passes such as this are great for families visiting San Diego. There are 2 different passes to choose from, including an all-inclusive and an explorer pass. Get your Go San Diego pass today

The best things to do in San Diego with teens

There are numerous things to do with teens in San Diego, such as visiting the famous San Diego Zoo, exploring the historic USS Midway Museum, and enjoying various water sports at Mission Bay.

These are our picks for the best things to do in San Diego with teens, and we know they will help you with planning a trip to San Diego with your family.

Teenage hangouts in San Diego – The Beach

You can’t visit San Diego with teens without visiting the many stunning beaches around the city. And the great thing about the beach is that it’s an ideal activity for the whole family. It’s also one of the best free things to do in San Diego with teenagers.

San Diego beach is one of the best things to do in San Diego with teens
Get your Baywatch on with a San Diego beach vacation for teens

Whether you want to play volleyball, sunbathe with a good book, go swimming in the ocean, or maybe even learn how to surf for the first time, there’s a little something for everyone at the many San Diego beaches.

These are a few of our favourite beaches in San Diego County that are worth a visit:

  • Windansea Beach 
  • Pacific Beach
  • Coronado Beach
  • Mission Beach + Mission Bay 
  • Torrey Pines State Beach
  • Ocean Beach
  • La Jolla Cove 
  • Children’s Pool beach

Teenagers in San Diego will love the beaches and the Californian beach culture. San Diego makes for one of the best beach vacations with teens. If you would like a local insight on the best beaches you can join this extensive city and beach tour

Learn to surf in San Diego with teens

San Diego is a beach city with the waterfront playing a huge part in this city’s lifestyle. Families visiting San Diego with teenagers can take a surfing lesson and get a feel of the waves.

Surfing lessons are one of the fun activities.

A qualified surfing instructor teaches the basics of how to surf or assists you in refining your existing skills. Surfing is one of the fun things for teens to do in San Diego.

Mission Beach in San Diego with teens

Mission Beach in San Diego, California, is the perfect destination for a fun and exciting vacation. From thrilling amusement park rides to delicious food options, there’s something for everyone when visiting Mission Beach – including teens!

an artificial wave at mission beach in San Diego
Fun for teenagers, wave house pool in San Diego Mission Beach boardwalk

With plenty of outdoor activities and attractions, visitors can easily spend a few days exploring all that this beach has to offer. There are also many beaches and parks nearby so you can take a break from all the excitement to relax.

Sit on the sand, walk along the Mission Beach Boardwalk or have an outdoor picnic lunch with friends at Mission Beach Park.

Things to do at Belmont Park in Mission Beach

Ready to give your travelling teens a thrilling activity in San Diego? Belmont Park is a classic amusement park right on the ocean at Mission Beach that has been providing adrenaline rushes for all ages since 1925.

The most popular attraction at Belmont Park is the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, which is definitely worth a few rides. Other favourite rides include Control Freak, Beach Blaster, and Krazy Kars. 

There are also fun attractions outside the rides that are great for teenagers. These include laser tag, a laser maze, a rock climbing wall, a ropes course, a mini-golf, a 7D theatre, and a zipline. This has to be one of the top attractions in San Diego for teenagers!

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What to do in San Diego with teens -Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the most popular attractions in San Diego and another spot that is ideal to visit for the whole family. 

This is where you’ll find the majority of San Diego’s best museums, as well as a 1,200-acre park filled to the brim with tasty food, nature, classic cars, and the San Diego Zoo. 

Visit Balboa Park in San Diego

A few museums that would be especially good for teenagers at Balboa Park are the San Diego Air & Space Museum, Fleet Science Centre, San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. Have at least one of these on your must-see list when you visit San Diego with teens!

Sesame Palace theme park with teens

Sesame Palace San Diego is the perfect destination for a fun-filled family day or adventure-packed weekend. Sesame Place open in 2022 on the former Aquatica San Diego site. The park is more aimed at young teens and tween in San Diego, with multiple attractions.

The new name and upgraded facilities kept many of the Aquatica San Diego water park features and added to them. Located in Chula Vista, this water park features thrilling waterslides and attractions that are sure to delight people of all ages.

From toddlers to teens, Sesame Palace has something to keep everyone entertained and smiling. The park offers a wide variety of slides and activities that make it ideal for families with children of all ages.

You will find a variety of family friendly roller coasters and amusement park rides as well to fill in your day at Sesame Palace.

San Diego Maritime Museum

The San Diego Maritime Museum is an ideal destination if you’re looking to inject a little learning into your holiday in San Diego. It was recently named in the top 3 maritime museums in the world.

Step back in time as you explore our range of historical ships and vessels, learn about their unique stories and be inspired by the colourful maritime past that lies within them.

From bustling steamships to majestic tall ships, there’s something to discover no matter what your age or interests may be. The museum has a terrific reputation for restoring historic vessels.

Families can enjoy interactive exhibits or take a relaxing boat ride around San Diego Bay while discovering stories from the sea.

With plenty of educational activities available too, youngsters can get hands-on with Maritime history while adults brush up on their knowledge with informative talks and presentations. Book your entry tickets today.

San Diego with older kids – Point Loma

Point Loma is a great place for visitors to escape the city without having to travel far. On the southern tip of Point Loma, you’ll find Cabrillo National Monument.

The Cabrillo National Monument is a tribute to explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Point Loma Peninsula is the best place to see the Grey whale migration (January to March) from land.

Take time to explore the old Point Loma Lighthouse, hiking trails and the coastal tide pools on the beautiful beaches. The sunsets from Point Loma over the Pacific Ocean are nothing short of amazing and offer stunning views.

Things to do in San Diego for teens – Watch Sport

San Diego is home to many sports teams, the most notable team is the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. The annual Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament on the PGA Tour occurs annually at the municipally-owned Torrey Pines Golf Course.

You see minor league teams from San Diego who play Soccer, Hockey and Rugby. You can buy MLB tickets, and watch a San Diego Padres game, or even just do a stadium tour of where the Padres games are played.

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Kids things to do in San Diego – Zoo & Safari Park

Although the San Diego Zoo is located inside Balboa Park it deserves its own section because it’s huge. 

San Diego zoo animals
San Diego kid’s activity includes a visit to the zoo

It’s not uncommon to spend a couple of days exploring the zoo because it’s hard to see everything in one day. Some of the favourite animals to see at the zoo include Giant Pandas, Gorillas, Leopards, Koalas and more.

Although some people are not fond of zoo-like attractions, the world-famous San Diego Zoo is another level of zoo. It has been voted the #1 zoo in the world for years and offers all kinds of animal encounters – both outside and inside the enclosures. 

If you have time, make sure to also spend a day exploring the sister park to the zoo as well – the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. If your kids enjoy seeing animals then this has to be on your list for San Diego with teenagers.

If you had to pick one to visit, I still always recommend the zoo first, but San Diego Safari Park offers a more unique take on the average zoo experience. 

At the Safari Park, you can choose from a number of different safaris to go on that will allow you to get up close and personal with wild animals in open enclosures. 

The jungle ropes safari at the park is popular as you climb high into the tree tops and then use a zip line to move through the tree tops,

One thing to keep in mind is that Safari Park is not actually located in San Diego. It’s in Escondido, just north of the city. You could easily spend a full day there and have a great time.

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Things for teens to do in San Diego – USS Midway Museum 

Unless you’re really into military history, touring a historical naval aircraft carrier doesn’t sound all that interesting, but the USS Midway Museum is actually one of the coolest things to do in San Diego Harbour. 

Located in downtown San Diego, at Navy Pier, the USS Midway Museum allows you to see just how huge an aircraft carrier really is. 

Uss midway san diego
USS Midway Battleships is one of the top things to do with kids in San Diego

As you walk through the carrier, you’ll feel like you’re out at sea about to take on a mission. Throughout the main tour of the carrier, you’ll come across interactive rooms where you’ll learn more about the naval history of the USS Midway and the US Navy as a whole. 

After exploring the carrier, make sure to head outside to sit inside some of the most famous military aeroplanes in US history, and experience a flight simulator to test out your piloting skills. Buy your skip the line Midway entry tickets.

San Diego with young adults – Patriot Jet Boat 

If you’re craving more thrills and adventurers in San Diego, hop on the Patriot Jet Boat for a speedy ride around San Diego Bay. 

Featuring loud rock music and 360-degree turns, this 30-minute jet boat tour gives you a scenic ride past some of San Diego’s most famous downtown waterfront sites, and San Diego beaches and gets the adrenaline flowing. Book your San Diego Harbour Jet boat experience today <

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Sea Caves kayak tour

One of the best San Diego activities is from the sea, especially by kayaking around the many sea caves in La Jolla. The sea life around San Diego Bay is amazing, you will most likely see Seals and Sea Lions while on a kayak tour.

kayaking through the sea caves in San Diego
The sea caves provide an incredible view

Even if your teen hasn’t kayaked before, La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks is a great company to go with if you’re a beginner, as long as your teen knows how to swim. 

If you’re under 14, you’ll be placed in a tandem kayak with your parent, otherwise, they’ll show you the ropes on how to maneuver your own kayak if you’re 14 and up. 

The tour they offer is 1.5 hours and takes you around five distinct marine environments that are all within less than two square miles. You’ll come across wildlife, kelp forests, deepwater canyons, rocky shallows, and sandy beaches throughout the tour. Book your Sea Cave Kayak tour today.

San Diego itinerary – whale watching

Whale watching in San Diego is an unforgettable experience that you won’t soon forget. Embark on a tour of the Pacific Ocean and spot some incredible species of whales swimming gracefully through the water.

Go whale watching in a San Diego vacation

Climb aboard a luxurious boat where you’ll be led by experienced guides who will point out the majestic creatures and marine life in their natural environment.

On your whale-watching tour, get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful animals on earth. From the blue whale to the grey whales and the humpback, your eyes will be fixed on each mesmerising creature as they swim around your boat.

Keep an eye out for dolphins too! As you sail along, enjoy stunning views of San Diego’s coastline while learning about different species and their habitats from knowledgeable guides.

Amusement Arcades in San Diego

Amusement arcades offer a variety of entertainment options for teenagers as a great way to spend a few hours having fun. They can play the newest video games or indulge in some classic pinball machines of the past.

a teen is having fun in amusement park. Playing table hockey.
A teen is having fun in an amusement park. Playing table hockey.

Some of the more modern arcades will have Laser Tag, bumper cars and indoor mini golf as options. Arcades are popular because they offer things to do that are fun and affordable to do, most arcades have food and beverage options for you.

There are some great arcades in San Diego to have a good time at including Laser Blast, Dave and Busters and the Gaslamp Quarter.

Rage Rooms in San Diego for teens

Rage rooms are cool things to do in San Diego with teens. These unique spaces provide a safe and exciting outlet for teenagers to release stress and frustration by smashing objects like glassware and electronics.

It’s an empowering, physically engaging, and unconventional experience that offers stress relief and fosters bonding among friends and family while ensuring a controlled and safe environment.

Add a rage room such as Smash City to any San Diego with a teen itinerary for one of the best fun things to do in San Diego for teens.

Swimming San Diego for families

This Southern California city has miles of beaches for swimming, For inexperienced beach swimmers La Jolla Shores is a great location. This mile-long stretch of sand at La Jolla Shores is known for its gentle waves.

A teenage girl at one of San Diego’s beaches

Other San Diego beaches such as Coronado Central Beach and South Mission Beach provide an amazing experience for those looking to have a beach day.

Stand-up paddle boarding in San Diego

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the water and get some exercise, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) might be just the thing.

SUP is a relatively new sport that involves standing on a large, surfboard-like paddleboard and using a long paddle to move through the water.

It can be done in lakes, rivers, and oceans, and is great for all ages and abilities. It’s also a great way to explore new areas and see things from a different perspective. Stand-up Paddle Board Lessons and Rentals happen at the scenic San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Book your amazing Paddleboard fun in San Diego.

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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Located within the city boundaries is the Natural Reserve at Torry Pines. The reserve consists of walking trails, beaches, lagoons, and a plateau with cliffs that overlook Torrey Pines State Beach.

There is a lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds, wildlife including bobcats, skunks, coyotes and rabbits inhabit the area.

cliff formations and beaches in San Diego
Getting outside and exploring is one of the top things to do with kids in San Diego

It’s one of the famous California landmarks known for its Torrey Pines. The Torrey Pines glider port is popular for watching people hang gliding. Get outdoors in San Diego on your family vacation, and you will be rewarded with a visit to Torrey Pines.

Does your teenager fancy extreme adventure? Maybe they can try hang gliding at the Torrey Pines gliderport. The area is the perfect place for stunning views.

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Ghost tours in San Diego

Ghost story tours are a popular tourist attraction in many parts of the world. They are usually conducted by a guide who tells stories about the ghosts and legends of the area.

The tour guides often dress up in period costumes to add to the atmosphere. To make the experience more authentic, the tours usually take place at night, when it is dark and spooky. In San Diego, you can book the Haunted San Diego Ghost tour or the San Diego Ghosts and Gravestones tour

Seaworld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego and similar venues can often polarise opinions in people. We are neither here to endorse nor criticise people who visit such places. At Sea World, you will see animal shows featuring killer whales, dolphins and Sea Lions.

dolphins in the water at San Diego
Seaworld is on many San Diego itineraries

Most people come to SeaWorld San Diego to see the Whales. You can see Orcas, Beluga Whales and Pilot Whales. You can explore different exhibits featuring Walruses, Sea Turtles, Penguins, Sharks, Sea Otters and even Sloths. SeaWorld is one of the most popular attractions in San Diego. Book your tickets now.

San Diego fun places for teenagers -Indoor Skydiving

Indoor skydiving is a new trend that is catching on with teenagers. It is a safe way to experience the thrill of skydiving without having to go through all the hassle of getting on an aeroplane and going to a place that is outside the city centre that may require transportation.

a young adult getting ready to go indoor skydiving
Fun kid-friendly things to do in San Diego

The indoor skydiving facility in San Diego has been attracting many teens who are looking for something a little different and exciting on their vacation to California

Indoor Rock Climbing – things to do with teenagers in San Diego

Indoor rock climbing offers a great alternative for those who want to enjoy the sport but don’t have easy access to outdoor climbing areas or want something a little safer. Indoor rock climbing in San Diego offers classes to teach beginners the basics of wall climbing or free climbing for more advanced.

The first step in learning how to climb is mastering the basic techniques. Once you have learned the basics, you can start exploring different routes on the wall. In San Diego, you can head to Vertical Hold or Mesa Rim. Indoor rock climbing is a great way to get fit and have fun at the same time.

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San Diego Harbour Cruise

Looking for outdoor adventures in San Diego for teens? Consider a San Diego Harbour sightseeing tour.

a tourist boar that does cruises around San Diego harbour with teens and families
Ferry ship in San Diego, California, USA

This popular activity offers an exciting boat ride through the scenic harbour, passing by landmarks like the USS Midway Museum, Coronado Bridge, and Point Loma’s sea lions.

It’s an engaging blend of education and outdoor fun, making it a must-do activity with your teenage children during your San Diego vacation. Book your harbour cruise.

Indoor Go-Karts in San Diego

The next time you’re looking for an indoor activity that is both exciting and challenging, look no further than indoor go-karting on your family vacation in San Diego!

Indoor go-karting is the perfect activity for groups of friends or family members looking to add a little friendly competition to their day. With its fast speeds and sharp turns, indoor go-karting is sure to get your heart racing.

You can do indoor go-karting at K1 Speed and Speed Circuit in the San Diego area.

San Diego Seal Tour – amphibious tour

The San Diego Seal Tour, often referred to as the Seal Tour, is a unique amphibious sightseeing experience that combines a land and water adventure.

The amphibious boat car that runs a seal tour in San Diego
San Diego SEAL Boat tour waits for passengers to board in a parking lot

On this tour, you’ll board a specially designed vehicle that can operate both on city streets and in the water. The tour typically begins with a guided land-based exploration of San Diego’s historic landmarks and vibrant neighbourhoods.

However, the highlight of the tour comes when the vehicle transitions into a boat and enters San Diego Bay, offering a different perspective of the city’s waterfront and its famous naval base.

On the water, hopefully, you will encounter marine wildlife and enjoy beautiful views of the skyline. Book your tickets today.

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Things to do in San Diego with teenage girls – High Tea

High Tea started out as a quintessentially British thing. This afternoon tea tradition involves savoury sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and of course, tea. For mothers and daughters, it’s a cherished ritual that often brings them closer together.

If you’re looking for something to do in San Diego with teenage girls, then you should experience high tea firsthand, there are plenty of places to go in San Diego. But be warned – it can be quite addictive!

Once you’ve had a taste of those delicious treats, you’ll likely want to indulge again and again. You will find the best High Tea, Afternoon teas in San Diego at The Westgate Hotel and The AubreyRose Tea Room.

Segway tours in San Diego

There is nothing more fun than zipping around a city on a segway and for teens, this has to be one of the best things to do in San Diego. A San Diego Segway tour is a great opportunity to have fun and learn about the city.

Segway tours are for the whole family, you will be given instructions and a short amount of practice time before you set off on your adventurers in San Diego

The most Instagramable shots in San Diego

The best family vacations for teens always incorporate something they love. Social media is important and teenagers can use Instagram to stay connected with friends, share their interests, and express themselves creatively.

The lighthouse at La Jolla

We recommend visiting downtown San Diego, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and the Blacks Beach lookout at La Jolla for the best Instagram shots in San Diego.

San Diego Tiktok inspiration

If you’re in need of some inspiration, look no further than TikTok. This app is full of creative content and talented people from San Diego who teens will love. From fashion to beauty to DIY, there’s something for everyone on TikTok. Here are just a few of our favourite San Diego TikTok accounts to help inspire you and plan for your vacation.

Professional family photoshoot in San Diego

As our kids get older, we spend less and less time with them making family travel memories.

One excellent way to capture some of these important family vacations with teenagers moments is to hire a professional photographer for a few hours to make some lifelong memories for you on your family vacation with teens.

a professional photographer on the beach taking pictures of families on vacation
Family friendly activities, San Diego

The photographer will supply everything, your family just needs to provide the smiles for your San Diego with Teenagers photoshoot. Book an unforgettable family memory today and secure your family travel photo shoot.

Things to do in San Diego with kids – scavenger hunt

If you are looking for great vacations with teen ideas, then look no further than a family scavenger hunt. There are quite a few different scavenger hunts to do in San Diego for families. Instead of a traditional sightseeing tour, get to know the area in a unique way with a scavenger hunt.

On your hunt, you will discover both popular and lesser-known sights of the city as you solve clues and tackle challenges to complete the adventure. Scavenger hunts are completely unique things to do in San Diego with teenyboppers.

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Street Art in San Diego

Street art is found throughout the world, but it is especially prevalent in major cities. Cities are home to a wealth of street art, from graffiti on building walls to pieces painted on lanes and bridges.

Street art provides a unique aesthetic for these places, with topics including current events, pop culture, portraits and more. Street art is a very popular free thing to do in San Diego and attracts tourists and teenagers alike.

Street Art in San Diego can be found at North Park Main Street and murals at Chicano Park.

Axe Throwing in San Diego

Axe Throwing is a new phenomenon that is sweeping around the world. San Diego is home to Axeventures Axe ThrowingNo experience is required, and participants learn how to throw an axe at a target from expert coaches in a safe environment.

Targets are painted onto soft wooden boards that line the walls. Axe throwing might be just the family competition that will last in the memories forever. Axe Throwing is one of the awesome things to do in San Diego.

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10 Pin Bowling in San Diego

10 Pin bowling is a great family activity to do with teenagers. There is nothing like a bit of family competition and 10-pin bowling in San Diego is just the thing. Strikes, spares, and gutter balls are all part of the action.

Most of these bowling venues have food and beverage options for you. Find a place to bowl in San Diego with Yelp

going bowling in San Diego
Bowling is one of the fun things to do in San Diego with kids

Going to the cinema in San Diego

Watching a movie is popular with teenagers anywhere in the world. Going to the cinema in San Diego with teenagers is a great evening activity. You will find state-of-the-art screens and sound for you to watch the latest blockbusters in San Diego cinemas. The cinema is good cheap family fun in San Diego.

We recommend the following San Diego Cinemas:

  • AMC La Jolla 12 – Showing the latest movies with comfortable reclining chairs. Find out movie times at AMC here
  • The Lot at Liberty Station – This venue has an onsite restaurant as well as the latest blockbusters. Find out more about The Lot here

Pack like a pro: Browse all the top travel with teens essentials on Amazon now

Bike riding in San Diego with kids

San Diego bike riding is a popular family activity when travelling with teenagers. Bike riding allows you to experience your location either in town or out in the surrounding areas. You will find bike tours are the best way to go.

You will either have a guide to point out all the important attractions or a map to follow. The bike tours will take you on a San Diego family vacation 2-wheeled adventure. Alternatively, you can find locations that hire bikes and let you explore on your own. Book all your family travel San Diego bike tours today

Escape rooms in San Diego

For those new to Escape rooms, this is a quick run down. An escape room, also known as an escape game, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to complete the objectives at hand.

Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room, or span multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. If your teen likes this stuff it is definitely one of the top things to do in San Diego with teenagers.

Lockdown Escape Rooms – features Medieval, Western and Science rooms.

Address: 1037 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103, United States

The Great Room Escape – features an art heist and mad lab room plus more.

Address: 9340 Dowdy Dr Ste 105, San Diego, CA 92126, United States

Going to the gym in San Diego

Fitness is very important to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Just because one is travelling does not mean one needs to stop working out.

In San Diego, you can go to a number of Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes start at $16 a day while a week pass costs $45. You can find a list of Gyms in San Diego on the Trainaway fit website

Related: North of San Diego lies San Francisco. We have a great article on things to do with teens in San Fransico for you to read

Best places to shop with teens in San Diego

Fashion Valley – The go-to shopping centre for teens and young students at nearby universities, Fashion Valley has all the popular stores that teenagers love to shop at. 

Shopping in San Diego
Shopping with teenagers in San Diego

A few favourite stores here include Abercrombie & Fitch, Claire’s, Forever 21, Gap, H&M, Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Vans, and the Disney Store. 

There is also an 18-screen movie theatre that features 3D films, and plenty of dining options to satisfy a number of different food preferences.

Old Town San Diego – If you’re looking for a more unique place to bring your teen for shopping, check out Old Town San Diego. 

You won’t find international shopping brands here, but it’s a great place to find handmade goods and local souvenirs. I especially love the Mexican-themed shops selling handmade alpacas, colourful jewellery, and small knick-knacks. 

Travel with teens budget tip: Read why we love staying in hostels with our teens

Annual events in San Diego that teens will love

San Diego is a city with a rich culture and history. There are many annual events that take place in this Southern California city that can be enjoyed by families and teens visiting San Diego Some of these events include:

San Diego’s annual Comic-Con event
  • Comic-Con International in July
  • Miramar Air Show in September
  • Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival in November

These teenage holiday activities in San Diego help to make it a vibrant and exciting city to visit on your next family travel vacation.

Best day trips from San Diego

There are many cool things to do in San Diego, such as exploring the iconic Balboa Park, taking a bike ride along the beautiful Pacific Beach boardwalk, or visiting the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

Taking a day trip from San Diego also adds to your experience. San Diego is located in an enviable position on the Pacific coast of California. This makes both Mexico and Los Angeles very accessible to your family for a day trip

Tijuana Day Trip from San Diego

Tijuana is a great place to visit for families and San Diego because it offers a different perspective of Mexico. It has friendly people, great Mexican food, and plenty of shopping and sightseeing to enjoy.

The Mexican side of the border is known for its large selection of souvenirs, bars, and restaurants. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and is perfect for those looking for a laid-back adventure in Mexico! Book a Tijuana day trip with a local guide to experience a little piece of Mexico.

Visit Disneyland theme park on your San Diego family vacation

A train trip north towards Los Angeles from San Diego to Disneyland is one of the best things to do in California for teens. The option is to take the train as there can be a lot of traffic in North County San Diego, around Oceanside. Travel time is around 2 hours on the train.

Train travel to Disneyland

Times can vary depending on where you catch the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from. The Amtrak station at Anaheim is around 5 kilometres from Disneyland theme park. Your best options are UBER or Anaheim Resort Transit Route 14 or 15 bus.

A San Diego teens trip to Disneyland will be memorable. If you get up really early, you can do a Catalina Island Day trip.

Family travel with teenagers: 34 awesome things to do in San Antonio with teens

Things for Young Adults to do in San Diego

San Diego, is the perfect destination for young adults seeking adventure and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for teen-friendly nightlife in San Diego or fun things to do in the city with fellow young adults, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.

From beach days and brewery tours to exploring the Gaslamp Quarter’s vibrant nightlife, San Diego has something exciting for everyone.

  • Experience the vibrant nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter, known for its bars, clubs, and restaurants. It’s a hotspot for young adults
  • San Diego is famous for its craft breweries. Consider taking a brewery tour and tasting some local brews.
  • Catch a live music performance at venues like House of Blues or The Observatory North Park.
  • Keep an eye out for food truck events, which are popular among young adults and offer a variety of delicious cuisines.

These activities offer a mix of adventure, relaxation, and entertainment, making your trip to San Diego as a young adult memorable. There are many things for 18 year olds to do in San Diego, Enjoy your vacation with these exciting experiences!

 Teen-friendly dining options in San Diego

Sharing a meal at the end of the day is a great way to talk with your travelling teens on your family vacation in San Diego. Finding a great place to eat in San Diego with teens is easy with our suggestions below.

Corvette Diner

This 1950s-themed restaurant is a fun place to eat for the whole family. Corvette Diner goes beyond the classic old-school diner, with waitresses that are dressed head to toe in 1950s garb and sing as they bring you your burgers and shakes. 

Corvette Diner is located near Midway District/Loma Portal on Historic Decatur Road. 

Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

Although not a traditional taqueria, Lucha Libre is a colourful in-your-face wrestling-themed taco shop. 

They serve up delicious Mexican food, over-the-top decor, and even have wrestling memorabilia and masks that you can pose with for the ‘gram.

Their original location is near Mission Hills on Washington Street, and they’ve now expanded to having another location on University Avenue in North Park.  

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto Little Italy

Who doesn’t love a good pizza shop? And even more than providing tasty pizza, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is known as one of the most family-friendly pizza places in town. 

The aspects that make Filippi’s Pizza Grotto so special, besides their quality food, is their generous portions and affordable prices. Make sure to go to their location in Little Italy on India Street for an authentic Italian atmosphere. 

Just note that this place gets packed, so be prepared to wait in line if you’re going during peak lunch or dinner times. 

Read More: 31 things to do in Chicago with teenagers

Frequently asked questions about the USA

When you are planning a family vacation with teenagers there are always some things you need to know. Below we have some answers to the most asked questions for families travelling to the US.

What is the currency used in The United States of America?

You will need US Dollars for your family trip. We suggest you get a Transferwise Money card prior to leaving to save on withdrawal fees. You can transfer money from your home country into USD if you’re travelling international with teens.

What type of power plug is used in the USA?

For the USA there are two associated plug types, types A and B. Plug type A is the plug that has two flat parallel pins and plug type B is the plug that has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. The USA operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz. Buy your A-Type adaptor today before you travel

How do I call the Police in San Diego?

Call 911 when in the USA

Can you drink tap water in San Diego?

Yes, tap water is drinkable. If you are unsure we suggest you buy a drink bottle with a water filter on it for travelling with family. You can buy your water bottle here before you leave

Is tipping required in San Diego?

A general rule for waiters is to tip 15 to 20 per cent of the pre-tax bill

Where to stay in San Diego with teenagers

At the top of the article, we suggested some accommodation choices for your family vacation in San Diego with teenagers. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices please find below an interactive map from Booking.com for you to find your perfect stay in San Diego


Are you looking to book flights, hotels, apartments, tours, airport transfers, travel insurance and more for your vacation with young adults? Are you just not sure what travel companies you can trust to book your family travel online? We have a family travel resource page that is full of companies that we personally use, trust and book through for all our family vacation trips from a weekend away to long-term travel with older children around the world. Click here to search our travel resources page.

This article was contributed by Mimi McFadden who blogs at https://theatlasheart.com/ for us here at Wyld Family Travel. We hope this article inspires you inspired to visit San Diego with teenagers. There are so many things to do in Southern California with young adults that will have you entertained for your family’s whole stay in the city. 

Travelling with young adults, teens and tweens has just as many issues as travelling with young children. Choosing the best teenage vacation destinations, working out a budget, what bags and suitcases to take, travel essentials and more can be so time-consuming. Planning family travel with teenagers and tweens can be stressful, and finding the best tips for travel is essential. 

Our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides have you covered! With insights from around the globe, these guides will spark inspiration for your next family vacation, making it an epic adventure with your teens.

For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in the USA click through to our USA Destination Page for more brilliant inspiration.

More travel inspiration for your trip to the United States of America

Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing travel or planning travel, you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

Content Creator

1 thought on “40 things to do in San Diego with teens”

  1. Wow! There a lot of things to do in San Diego. I think to enjoy the beach is an amazing one


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