San Diego has so many kid-friendly activities, but in the summer, it’s the sand and surf that are the real attraction — and, best of all they are free!Beaches are plentiful and easy to access and the sand and surf provide hours of entertainment for both the kids and parents.
Mission Beach, San Diego
We just got back from a trip where we decided to check out Mission Beach. I hadn’t been down to Mission Beach for a while and I had heard from other families that Belmont Park was fun so we decided to check it out. Now, Mission Beach is certainly beautiful, with wide beaches and a boardwalk that perfect for walking, biking or rollerblading, but it can also have a mixed element, with it’s fair share of burn-outs and shady characters. That said, most people are laid back and mind their own business.
Surfing with dolphins
We decided to head down early and grab breakfast on the beach. This area is also known for great breakfast spots, like the Broken Yolk, Mission Café, and North Shore. We dined beachside at North Shore, which was easy, reasonable and great for people watching. However, it was what we stumbled on next that was the highlight — The Wave House.
The Wave House
The Wave House sells by the hour a huge adrenaline rush, aka an artificial wave machine, all packaged in a Spring Break setting. It caught our eye as we saw school age kids surfing on an eternal “pipe” wave. We signed up for the next hour. Now, this is not for the faint of heart. I can’t say that if I watched the massive wipeouts ahead of time that I would have agreed to letting my kids — ages 11, 10 and 7 — participate.
They, on the other hand, said hands down this was their favorite San Diego activity. With the “mellow” flow-rider machine broken, they got to ride the pipe at a slower speed (plenty fast for us!). I’d say your best bet is to go earlier in the day because it is a bar setting and there was a fair share of drinks flowing. At night there are competitions and Sunday nights are for adults only.
The Wave House is set adjacent to Belmont Park which is a small but really fun little amusement area for kids. There are a few rides and an arcade. It is perfect for an afternoon.
As for the real waves, we rode our fair share in Del Mar. We love 17th Street where the lifeguards are terrific, parking is easy, and you have access to bathrooms and a snack shop.
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