San Diego with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

San Diego with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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San Diego is chock-full of things to do and places to see. Of course your tweens will enjoy the San Diego staples - the world famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. However, once you've seen those, how about spending your perfect family vacation day like a local by exploring Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Mission Bay.


Start the day for your tweens in San Diego at Kono's (704 Garnet Ave.; 858-483-1669, San Diego, CA 92109, on the boardwalk) in Pacific Beach for a delicious breakfast. You may have to wait in line, but it is one of those places where it is well worth the wait. The breakfast dishes are HUGE, so bring your appetite, and try to get a seat on the patio for an ocean view. Now that you are sufficiently stuffed, walk down the boardwalk toward Belmont Park in Mission Beach, a San Diego favorite for 85 years. You can't miss it, just head toward the famous Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. Along the way, be sure to say "hello" to Slo Mo, Mission Beach's resident guy on Rollerblades. Once you reach Belmont Park, you can walk around the grounds and gift shops for free. If you want to experience the rides, an unlimited rides pass costs $22.95 for those 50 inches and taller and $15.95 for those under 50 inches. In addition to the Giant Dipper, your tweens can experience the Krazy Kars, Tilt-A-Whirl and Vertical Plunge (note: these rides can be pretty fun for mom and dad, too).

Once you are all worn-out from all the roller-coaster-fun, get out your beach towels and find a place on the sand for a beach-side snooze or warm-up the boogie boards to ride some waves.


Now, it may be a while until you are hungry for lunch after that big Kono's breakfast, but the San Diego sun will eventually have you and your tweens craving an authentic, casual Mexican lunch. Once this happens, head to Taco Surf (4657 Mission Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92109; 858-272-3877). Don't worry, your flip-flops and tank tops are the perfect attire for this casual dining, local hot-spot. I can guarantee that anything you order at Taco Surf will be excellent, but I recommend you try the best rolled tacos in all of San Diego. Between the super-friendly employees and the surf-board decor, this is the perfect casual family dining spot during a day at the beach.

If, after lunch, you want a change of scenery, stay on that side of Mission Blvd. and walk toward San Rafael Place (or any small street after that), where you can turn onto Mission Bay's Bayside Walk. Here you can explore Mission Bay, where it is likely to be less crowded than the beach. There you can walk around the boardwalk and find a place on the sand to camp-out the rest of the afternoon or find the kayak rentals and paddle around the beautiful bay. You can even rent beach cruisers to bike your way around the 14 miles of bike path.


Be sure to head back out to the beach at the end of the day to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Then you can head back to your hotel, worn-out from the day's activities. You and the tweens are sure to have a blast experiencing all there is to do at Mission Beach, Mission Bay and Pacific Beach -- soaking up the sun, sand and true local San Diego flavor!

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