San Diego has so many great outdoor activities, and one of our favorites is exploring local parks. We’ve organized the following list of nine parks into those that have great views, are great for kids, or are the best for dogs.
We hope this list of popular parks inspires you to get out and enjoy some fun in the sun with your friends and family!
Crown Point Park – Large grass area next to a beautiful sandy beach, with a wide paved pathway leading from Mission Bay to Mission Beach. Spend the day using picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire rings. Located at Crown Point Drive in San Diego.
Ellen Browning Scripps Park – A large picturesque grassy park with gorgeous ocean views. Close to multiple sandy beaches usually full of seals basking in the sun. Be sure to check out La Jolla Cove and the Children’s Pool, or walk along the Coast Walk Trail to La Jolla Shores. Located at 1100 Coast Boulevard in La Jolla.
Point Loma Tide Pools – Explore the rocky intertidal zones and tide pools while watching the waves crash on the cliffs at the Southern end of the Cabrillo National Monument Park. Who knows what little creatures you may discover! Late Fall and Winter are the recommended seasons to visit because the tide is low during daylight hours. Requires a small hike along the Coastal Tidepool Trail to get to the tide pools from the parking area, so wear comfortable shoes. We also recommend dressing in layers! May be a small fee to enter Cabrillo National Monument, but there is a lot to see here. Learn about the park’s namesake by visiting Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s statue and the Visitor’s Center full of artifacts and exhibits. Enjoy beautiful views of Downtown, with the chance to observe Pacific Gray Whales from December to February! Located at 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive in San Diego.
Great For Kids
Waterfront Park – Offers a huge children’s play area, interactive splash fountains, and several picnic areas. Bring a bathing suit! Located right next to San Diego Bay at 1600 Pacific Highway in Downtown San Diego.
Silver Terrace Mini Park – A great small playground in Mission Valley with a swing set, a little sand pit, and a relatively large lawn. Offers picnic tables and a barbecue. Rarely crowded, especially during weekdays. Located at 5550 Friars Road in San Diego across from the YMCA.
Mission Bay Park – Multiple playgrounds, swing sets, and sandy areas for kids to explore. Plenty of grassy areas for picnics and kite flying, and a wide path along the beach perfect for a long stroller ride. Located at 2688 East Mission Bay Drive in San Diego.
Best For Dogs
Fiesta Island Dog Park – Our favorite dog park in San Diego, Fiesta Island Dog Park is a completely off-leash park surrounded by Mission Bay on three sides and a fence on the other. Walk along the beaches and let your dog swim in the bay, or stay up higher on the cliff edges and grassy areas. Beautiful bay views, especially at sunset. Located on the southwest end of Fiesta Island at 1750 Fiesta Island Road in San Diego.
Mission Trails Regional Park – Part of a gorgeous 5800 acre open space nature preserve with multiple trails for all levels of walking and hiking, and even rock climbing. Dogs are welcome in the park but must be on a leash at all times. Located at 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail in San Diego.
Morely Field Dog Park – An open dog park where dogs can enjoy playing off-leash in a partially grass and dirt area. Recommended for dogs that are good with voice commands, as the park is not fenced. The dog park connects to the Florida Canyon Nature Trails for some easy and fun hiking, but requires dogs to be on leash. Located in Balboa Park at 2225 Morely Field Drive in San Diego.