The Best Staycation Ideas in San Diego


Family vacations are so great to spend time with your kiddos and family–especially during the summer when they are out of school. Depending on where you go for a staycation, the expense really adds up! Plane Tickets, gas, food, lodging.. phew!

Have you ever considered spending your time in a Staycation with family and friends? Exploring the city you LIVE in (or live close enough to)  for fun, inexpensive or FREE family activities. In San Diego, there are quite a few things that you can do that are budget friendly–then you can spend your time at home and enjoy the comfort of your home.

  1. Beach! While this may be obvious–there are several wonderful beaches in San Diego. This can take up most of your day–so dedicate a day!
  2. Ocean Pier — longest pier on the west coast at 1971 feet into the ocean
  • Ocean Beach Pier, 1950 Abbott St.,  San Diego, CA
  1. Seaport village— you can plan to walk the village and visit unique shops and see many performers entertain!
  2. Balboa Park — Very unique gardens and museums. While the park admission is free– the museums are fairly priced at have lots of exciting exhibits.
  3. Trolley Rides — Take a vacation and ride through the city for $5 on a day pass. This is a great way to get to the various parts of downtown San Diego
  4. Presidio Park — walk the grounds and visit  The Serra Museum for a small fee.
  5. Coronado Ferry— Plan to travel to Coronado island and back on this great ferry! 
  6. Embarcadero Waterpark— fun and FREE water park for kids and adults! 
  • 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA. 92101

As you can see, there are so many things that you can enjoy doing in San Diego during your vacation with very little money! Please share your Staycation ideas in the comments below! 

A – D

Phoenix, Arizona — Saving For Someday

Fresno, California — Living A Frugal Life

Orange County, California — More With Less Today

San Diego, California — Southern Cali Saver

Denver, Colorado — Bargain Blessings

Washington, District of Columbia — Kidventurous

F – I

Disney World, Florida — The Happy Housewife

Jacksonville, Florida — Saving The Family Money

Orlando, Florida — Coupon Mamacita

St Augustine, Florida — Simply St. Augustine

Tallahasse, Florida — SwagGrabber

Tampa Bay, Florida — LaToyaEdwards.net

Atlanta, Georgia — Pretty Frugal Diva

Dahlonega, Georgia — Kathys Cluttered Mind

Savannah, Georgia — This Mommy Saves Money

Aurora/Chicago, Illinois — A Savings WOW!

Chicago, Illinois — Entertaining Chicago

Indianapolis, Indiana — Chaos Is Bliss

K – P

Lexington, Kentucky — Homeschool Village

Louisville, Kentucky — The Kennedy Adventures

Northern Kentucky, Kentucky — Simply Sherryl

Carroll County, Maryland — Looking at life CreativLEI

Boston, Massachusetts — Maven of Savin

Battle Creek, Michigan — Pichea Place

Grand Rapids, Michigan — Give Me Neither

Metro Detroit, Michigan — Saving Dollars and Sense

Kansas City Area, Missouri/Kansas — Redefined Mom

Omaha, Nebraska — Family Fun in Omaha

Central, New Jersey — Our Good Life

Cincinnati, Ohio — Adventure Mom

Cleveland, Ohio — Kosher on a Budget

Columbus, Ohio — Cleverly Simple

Dayton, Ohio — Savings Lifestyle

Mansfield & Richland County, Ohio — The Traveling Praters

Miami County, Ohio — Something 2 Offer

Northeast, Ohio — Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring

Portland, Oregon — Frugal Living NW

Harrisburg/Central, PA — Family Balance Sheet

Erie, Pennsylvania — Growing Kids Ministry

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Moms Need To Know

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — The Coupon High

R – W

Arlington, Texas — Grocery Shop For FREE

Fort Worth, Texas — Coupons and Freebies Mom

Houston, Texas — Melissa’s Bargains

Katy, Texas — Moms Confession

San Antonio, Texas — How to Homeschool My Child

Tyler, Texas — iLoveMy5Kids

Charlottesville, Virgina — How to Have it All

Norfolk, Virgina — The Talking Suitcase

Richmond, Virgina — Vacation Maybe

Seattle, Washington — Thrifty NW Mom

Tacoma/South Puget Sound, Washington — Queen Bee Coupons

Oshkosh, Wisconsin — A Little Bit of This and That

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  • Rose says:

    We’ll have to do Seaport Village and ride the trolley when we are there!

  • Ekanne says:

    I work at that park that you posted above- it’s a County Admin. Building in San Diego… nice park recently opened.

  • My husband and I have done this several times for our anniversaries. We save up change in a sparkletts jug every year and use the “hidden deals” sections of travel websites to get great deals on the best hotels. We’ve never been disappointed!

    • Mariana says:

      Can you share the website for hotel deals, I will be going to san diego this weekend. I really need a good deal any recommendations?

  • KC says:

    & if you are in Escondido you can check out a kids pass to the children’s museums from the library. On Tuesdays there’s various free admissions to certain museums within balboa park. Check to see if balboa park is hosting free events, which they often do on the weekends during summer. There’s missions, the light house, old town & tons of hiking places & cool parks.
    Make sure to check amazon local & groupings & try to get your hands on an entertainment book… & there’s a lot of restaurants here that have kids eat free on certain night. Hth someone 😉

  • Harry Martin says:

    As a native San Diegan, these are great recommendations, Josie! Old Town is also cool for the older kids.

    It is also home to what is called the most haunted house in the U.S. The Whaley House.


  • Michelle says:

    Watch a Padres game! Park at the Park tickets are the cheapest and Sundays are family days. They fill the grassy area with inflatable jumpies for the kids. The New Children’s Museum in Downtown is awesome! $10 per person or $80 for an annual FAMILY pass!

  • Mary says:

    The Flying Leathernecks aviation museum is free located in miramar. Goimg to
    go check it out for the first time today

  • That is a really cool looking climbing structure! We started exploring Rhode Island last summer with a project called R is for Rhode Island. Basically we’re creating our own alphabet book about all things RI. It’s been fun and a lot cheaper than Disney!

  • julie says:

    I love this post and the links to the different cities. This is perfect! Thank you.

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