San Diego's Animal Parks
San Diego offers a much more relaxed, family-friendly vibe than L.A., and you won’t miss out on great restaurants and beautiful, oceanfront boardwalks. It’s also a relatively painless drive down the coast, and there’s much less traffic upon arrival.
SeaWorld San Diego
This marine-inspired theme park has activities for kids of all ages, including several water rides like Shipwreck Rapids, a tube-style rafting adventure. Aquariums and permanent exhibits, such as Turtle Reef and the California Tide Pool, allow for up-close encounters with the animals.
San Diego Zoo
Drop into the lively diner, for midday burgers and onion rings served by sassy waitresses.
Sammy's Woodfired Pizza
Order the barbecued-chicken pizza at this local favorite of everyone from grandmas to surfer dudes.
Catamaran Resort Hotel
The hotel takes full advantage of its waterfront location (relaxed sports rule these waves; rooms have coastal views) on kid-friendly Mission Bay, which has 19 miles of beaches.