The possibilities are seemingly endless for entertaining things to do in San Diego. There’s so much to explore with the ocean, mountains and desert close by. But what should you see and do during your San Diego vacation? The team at Bluewater Vacation Homes has created a list of our favorites!

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Jaguar

Voted the #1 zoo in the world, the San Diego Zoo® spans 100 acres and is home to more than 3,500 rare and endangered animals representing over 650 species. Some of its animal residents include Amur leopards, California condors, giant pandas, red pandas and sun bears. Don’t miss the 35-minute narrated Guided Bus Tour near the entrance. See the Africa Rocks exhibit and the gorillas in Lost Forest. For a great view of the city, ride the Skyfari. On weekends, you can feed giraffes. Purchase tickets

SeaWorld San Diego

Turtle from Sea World San Diego swimming underwater

SeaWorld® San Diego is part theme park, part oceanarium. Ride the all-new Electric Eel roller coaster, witness live natural orca behaviors at Orca Encounter and spot rare sea turtles and thousands of tropical fish at Turtle Reef. Soar high for fantastic views of the park on the Bayside Skyride. At Wild Arctic, embark on a thrilling jet-helicopter simulator ride and explore a frozen wonderland of Arctic animals. Purchase tickets

Balboa Park

View of the sunset reflecting off the water in front of the Botanical gardens at Balboa Park

Declared a National Historic Landmark and listed as one of the Great Places in America, Balboa Park is known for museums, performing arts and lush gardens. Visit one of the fascinating museums like the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum or Centro Cultural de la Raza, and have a picnic afterward (alcohol is permitted only in these areas). The park also offers walking trails, delightful shops, delicious restaurants, picture-perfect landmarks and guided outdoor tours. Purchase tickets

Mission Bay

Picture of a man on a paddleboard at sunset on Mission Bay in Mission Beach

Mission Bay presents a multitude of water sports and outdoor activities perfect for all ages. Go for a swim or relax on the sand at Mission Bay Park, the largest aquatic park of its kind in the country, stretching over 4,235 acres. Rent a paddleboard and paddle around to spot endangered species of birds; cruise to watch the sun set aboard the classic sternwheeler, the Bahia Belle; travel the bay by speedboat; dock up for lunch by the water at Barefoot Bar & Grill; or warm up by the fire at a firepit.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Two giraffes looking at you at San Diego Safari Park

Explore the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo® Safari Park, a wildlife sanctuary featuring more than 300 species of animals and a renowned botanical collection of 3,500 species of plants. The Asian Savanna and African Plains are the park’s largest exhibits covering over 300 acres. Climb aboard a safari vehicle for the Africa Tram tour to see flocks of birds and free-range herds of giraffes, rhinos, zebras, antelope and buffalo. Purchase tickets

La Jolla

Seal relaxing on a rock next to the ocean in La Jolla

With incredible lookouts, expansive beaches and dramatic coastline, La Jolla is one of the top beach destinations in the world. It’s home to the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Children’s Pool with colonies of playful harbor seals and sea lions. Check out Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial with a 360-degree view, La Jolla Shores – a favorite beach among locals, or go shopping in the many beach boutiques.

Gaslamp Quarter & Downtown San Diego

Photo looking from the San Diego Convention Center at the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego

There’s so much to do in downtown San Diego. Tour the historic Gaslamp Quarter offering museums, art galleries, concert venues and nightlife; step aboard the USS Midway Museum housed in the retired USS Midway aircraft carrier; visit Seaport Village to browse shops and take in views of the Coronado Bridge; or cheer for the Padres at Petco Park.

Cabrillo National Monument

Picture of the old lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego

Embark on a voyage of discovery at Cabrillo National Monument featuring a wealth of cultural and natural resources. The site commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Tour the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and museum, check out the Visitor Center to learn about the voyage of Cabrillo, walk trails for views of downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean or search for sea creatures in tide pools.

Torrey Pines State Beach & Natural Reserve

Picture at Torrey Pines Nature Preserve looking down the coast to La Jolla

Extending from Del Mar past Los Peñasquitos Lagoon to the base of sandstone cliffs at Torrey Pines Mesa, Torrey Pines State Beach is a pristine beach ideal for exploring and relaxing. Nature lovers can enjoy a walk through the trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve to see native animals, wildflowers and the area’s namesake pine trees. Golfers can tee off at the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Craft Beer Scene

Picture of a flight of beers on a table from a local San Diego brewery

Taste your way around San Diego with delicious locally made craft beer. Book a tour and leave the logistics to a professional or go at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Some of our favorite beer stops are Hamiltons Tavern in South Park, Modern Times Beer in North Park, Ballast Point Brewing Company in Little Italy or Miramar, Amplified Ale Works for a great view in Mission Beach and Alpine Beer Company in Alpine to experience a totally different side of San Diego.

More things to do in San Diego

Boating in San Diego with the skyline in the background

There is so much to do in San Diego. Click here to explore things to do by neighborhood

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