sandiegoleadSan Diego, the perfect family destination, has beaches, with near perfect weather to enjoy them, theme parks, family friendly restaurants and kid-friendly museums.

The Southern California city also offers a host of freebies for families on a budget. In October, savings grow with the 3rd annual “Kids Free San Diego” promotion. There are dozens of free family activities, making for an affordable and fun family vacation.

Family Attractions

The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park give families with young animal lovers free admission for kids under age 11.

At SeaWorld San Diego get a free child admission (ages 3 – 9) with each with full-paid adult admission. If you have a 10-13 year old (who is also at least 4 feet tall), he can participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs with one paid adult.

seaworldKids Ride Free

Take a sightseeing cruise on the harbor. Hornblower Cruises & Events and Flagship Cruises & Events give kids ages 12 and under a free ride on San Diego Bay. The Hornblower offer is for up to two kids per full-price adult admission; Flagship offers one child per paid adult.

On the hop-on-hop-off Old Town Trolley Tours of America and the San Diego SEAL Tours Sea and Land Adventures one child, age 12 or under, rides free per paid adult.

The Mission Beach amusement park Belmont Park  offers free rides for kids a ages 12 and under on its 11 rides. Take the opportunity to ride the National Historic Landmark “Giant Dipper,” a wooden roller coaster.

Amtrak is offering one child, ages 2-15, free rides per paid adult fare on the Pacific Surfliner. The route, from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, includes stops in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Juan Capistrano.

Cultural attractions

These museums have free admission in October for kids 12 and under:

The San Diego Air & Space Museum; San Diego Automotive MuseumSan Diego Model Railroad Museum; Reuben H. Fleet Science Center; USS Midway Museum, and Birch Aquarium.

Get Active

Learn to surf with your child; at the Surf Diva Surf School in La Jolla, one child, ages 5-12, gets a complimentary surfing session or lesson with one paid one adult surfing lesson or session.

Maderas Golf Club lets golfers ages 15 and under, play free after 3pm, with a paid adult. Young golfer also get free Callaway club rentals all day.